Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shipley Associates (the proposal consulting firm) is independent...again

I worked as a proposal writer from 1994 to 2000, and therefore have taken an interest in what is happening in the proposal development community. One of the leading companies in the proposal development space has been Shipley Associates. Tom Boren detailed the early history of the group:

Shipley Associates, when originally founded in 1974, was dedicated to training in the technical writing area. By 1985, Shipley Associates had been introduced to the problems and complexities of managing and writing proposals and opened a new Proposal Development business area. Steven Shipley led this new business opportunity and started offering seminars and workshops, including Developing Capture Plans, How to Write Winning Proposals, How to Manage Winning Proposals, Writing Executive Summaries, Preparing Oral Proposals and Briefings, and Just-In-Time Proposal Training.

But this independent organization didn't stay independent for long:

Along the way, Shipley Associates was merged into Franklin Quest in 1994 and then later into Franklin Covey.

But the Franklin Quest/Covey period was short-lived:

In 1997 the proposal development business area was reacquired from Franklin Covey, and is now operating again under the name Shipley Associates.

That "now" statement was written in the spring of 1999 (in the Association of Proposal Management Professionals newsletter). And as Shipley Associates moved into the 21st century, it got acquired again - this time by Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI). And after two decades at the helm, Steven Shipley retired:

I am excited about the future of Shipley Associates and the opportunity to officially pass the leadership torch to Sean Slatter, President and CEO of Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI). After over 20 years with Shipley Associates, building the company to be a thought leader in Business Development, I have retired to pursue full-time service opportunities with my church - an opportunity my wife and I havedreamed of for years.

Thanks to the many loyal clients and the friends that have evolved over the years. The Shipley leadership team remains intact and is excited to continue growing the business. I have complete confidence in Sean's leadership and the team's ability to continue to meet your needs. Thank you!!!

Steven P. Shipley, former President Shipley Associates

So Shipley continued as part of LSI...well, until a few days ago, when LSI issued a press release that began as follows:

LSI Announces Sale of Shipley Associates -

10/6/2009 2:10:39 PM

Logistic Specialties, Inc. Provides Full-Service Strategic Integrated Consulting Services for Government and Commercial Clients

LAYTON, UT.--(BUSINESS WIRE)- Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI), a consulting and management services company specializing in business development and program support services, announced today that the company has sold Shipley Associates, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The press release included the requisite statement from the seller:

"The major changes in government procurement and the maturing of corporate business development capabilities, offer an excellent opportunity for LSI to integrate its 37 years of experience into a more agile, full service business development and program support company," said Sean Slatter, CEO of LSI. "Our clients are increasingly demanding new services and support customized to their changing competitive environments. The sale of Shipley provides the opportunity to invest in meeting these needs in new ways, which will deliver more value to our clients."

However, there was no corresponding statement from the buyer, or even an identification of who the buyer was. Eventually, however, that was cleared up, and the buyer of Shipley Associates was revealed to be...Tom Sant! (No, I'm kidding. A little inside humor there.)

OK, here's the beginning of the Shipley Associates announcement:

Shipley Associates Returns to Prior Ownership

Shipley to Reestablish Leadership Role in Business Development Consulting

Kaysville, Utah – October 6, 2009 -- Shipley Associates announced today that the previous owners of the company have reassumed full operational control and ownership of the company, effective immediately. Shipley was acquired in 2006 by Logistic Specialties Incorporated (LSI). This separation frees Shipley to return to its original mission of helping clients win business.

Now LSI and Shipley know that effective business communications preclude you from trashing competitors in public, but between LSI's attempts to become "more agile" (were the Shipley consultants a bunch of stiffs?), and Shipley's recommitment to "helping clients win business" (was LSI was helping clients lose business?), you have to wonder about what was going on behind the scenes.

Or maybe the church asked Steve to fix the gutters one time to many, and he thought to himself, "Working would be a lot easier than retirement."

(Picture source, license)
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