Often, it’s not the products or services that a bank offers that can make the biggest difference for a business, but rather the quality of the relationship between the business and the banker.

Such has been the case for A&T Systems, an IT, cloud, and telecommunications managed services firm based in Silver Spring, Maryland. When the company’s owners, Dr. Ashok and Mrs. Kimberly Thareja, decided it was time to transition ownership of the business, they were clear on two points. One was that they wanted to move to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) rather than sell to a third party. The other was that they wanted PNC to oversee the transaction.

“The decision to go with an ESOP largely came down to a desire to preserve the company culture,” said Dr. Thareja, founder and now Chairman of the Board of A&T Systems. “There were a number of employees who had been with the company for a long time, and we wanted to preserve the foundation they had worked for so many years to build.”

“For a lot of owners who are looking to exit their business, selling outright to a third party may not be in line with the legacy they envision for their business and the security of their employees. ESOPs can be an attractive option for this reason,” said Ginny Saloom, managing director of ESOP Solutions for PNC Bank. “ESOPs can also present a way to help set up the company for future success, since the broad-based employee ownership helps create employee buy-in over time, which can help drive business performance.”

In terms of how to manage the transition to an ESOP, the path forward for the A&T Systems leadership team was straightforward. “A&T Systems has a longstanding relationship with PNC, and we felt comfortable working with the team we had come to rely on over the years for help with setting up the ESOP,” said Dr. Thareja.

The team was able to finalize the ESOP transaction in August 2023, and, according to President and CEO Jeffrey Williams, A&T Systems is thriving and well-positioned for future growth. “One aspect of our banking relationship that we really value is that our PNC team has always been able to offer solutions for what we currently need, and we know they will continue to meet those needs going forward as the company grows and changes.”

“The relationship with A&T Systems really highlights how important trust and communication is between a business and its bank,” said Michael Willetts, a sales executive in PNC Commercial Banking. “When you have a relationship with an established team that knows your business, there is a certain level of comfort and confidence that comes from knowing you can rely on them to anticipate your needs and be there to provide solutions each step of the way, which means you can keep your focus where it needs to be – on driving business performance.”

Ready to Help

PNC Commercial Banking can offer insight into technologies, products, and processes that can help businesses seize opportunities, today and in the future. PNC also has specialists that can work with you to develop strategies for success in transitioning ownership of your business. For more information, reach out to your PNC Relationship Manager, or contact us.