Longleaf Systems, Triad Tech Services taking long view after merger – Triad Business Journal – Triad Business Journal

The pandemic did not play a role in the merger of Longleaf Systems LLC and Triad Tech Services, two longstanding Greensboro-based IT managed service providers (MSPs), founded in 2007 and 2006 respectively. 
But the pandemic has provided an opportunity for smaller businesses like these to prove the value of leveraging strategic partnerships and a distributed work model, which larger companies have resisted, to fuel growth.
Tamara McLendon has held nearly every leadership role in Longleaf Systems since she and husband Harvey McLendon founded the company, previously serving as company president. She is now chief financial officer of the new entity created from the merger, The Longleaf Network (TLN), which very deliberately indicates a vision for a national network of managed service providers. Terms were not disclosed, but the merger of equals — completed in June of this year — was a carefully considered first step in this direction. 
“We started with an enterprise-level helpdesk model, which remains a distinct division within The Longleaf Network,” McLendon said.
Early on, Longleaf Systems began working with PetVet Care Centers, which was rapidly growing through acquisitions of independently owned veterinary clinics at a rate of 43% a year to its present level of about 350 clinic locations. Longleaf scaled to support that growth, totaling about 35 employees prior to the merger with Triad Tech Services.
“We actually doubled our workforce during the pandemic,” McLendon said. “Some of our clients struggled, but we provide a critical service, so we didn’t see much revenue disruption. Our team and the work they do are well-suited to work-from-home, but we did have to change how we prioritized and executed on client on-site needs.”
With this growth came the realization that, while Longleaf wanted to build on demonstrated success supporting enterprise-level clients, there was value in having greater balance in their array of services. Also, the McLendons had relocated to Connecticut but wanted to retain the local presence they had built in the Triad. That led to conversations with Trey Miller, CEO and founder of Triad Tech Services, which had 10 employees and an established business model of providing full-service IT consulting and support to small and midsize Triad businesses.
“I built Triad Tech Services from just myself to adding contractors who then became employees, and we were growing at about 20% a year,” Miller said. “But I was interested in moving from a practice business model, which only has so many billable hours to sell, to a managed services provider model that would retain our full-service approach with greater range to support client needs.”
The merger provides exactly that to both companies – a way to develop relationships with smaller but growing clients and the ability to scale that growth to enterprise-level support.
Miller is now the CEO of The Longleaf Network, within which Triad Tech Services is a division, and which now occupies office space with Longleaf’s location on Friendly Avenue downtown. Harvey McLendon, now the chief technology officer of TLN, heads the Longleaf Systems TechDesk. The combined company now numbers about 45 employees, and continues to hire. 
The long-term goal  is to find strategic partners in other fast-growing areas of the country that can extend their combination of full-service support for growing businesses and enterprise level support for larger clients. For now, adjusting to that first step is paramount, Tamara McLendon said. “This year has just been about the merger and making sure we are in a strong place to move forward.”
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