Ever since Tom Putnam established Fenimore in 1974, he has maintained the practice of getting out from behind the desk and meeting in-person with management teams, a key tenet of Fenimore’s research process.
Why do we do it? There are a few factors that support Fenimore’s longstanding belief that face-to-face meetings are a best practice including learning the business better, getting a bigger picture view and building relationships.
Today, our entire research team is responsible for conducting in-person meetings annually with our portfolio companies with the purpose of achieving the following:
Fenimore’s trips to AHR Expo, an annual HVAC (heating, ventilation, an air conditioning) industry trade show, provide a great example of the in-person value we seek to create. Over the years, we have made a number of investments in the HVAC industry and this conference provides an efficient way for us to talk with all of our portfolio companies in this industry, as well as their competitors, suppliers, and customers.
At the last expo, we gained a better understanding of how powerful the tailwind of sustainability through reduced energy consumption will be for the industry. We also learned that several companies believed consolidation will continue, particularly as foreign companies try to buy their way into the US market to bypass the tremendous barriers to entry.
While the pandemic has temporarily changed the way we interact with management teams, the industry has done a great job adapting to a virtual world, which has enabled us to continue to have valuable face-to-face engagements with existing and potential investments. Most important, you can be assured that the Fenimore team is eager and planning to get back out on the road and resume in-person meetings as soon as possible.
It is this direct connection, and industry understanding that Fenimore has embraced for nearly 5 decades – a tradition we expect to remain for generations to come.