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From 70 to 2000 employees – The Awesome EtA Growth Story of Pearce Services with its CEO, Bret Forster



Welcome to the “Masters in Small Business Mergers and Acquisitions podcast.” I am your host, Peter Lehrman, and I’m the Founder and CEO of Axial (, a trusted online platform business owners and their M&A advisors use to safely and intelligently explore and execute capital raises, exits, and acquisitions with strategic buyers and professional financial sponsors.

In this inaugural episode, my guest is Bret Forster, a good friend and Co-Founder/Co-CEO of Pearce Services. Pearce Services is a leading national provider of operations, maintenance, and engineering services for mission-critical telecom and renewable energy infrastructure. They safely service Wireless, Wireline/Fiber, Network ISP, Wind, Solar, EV Charging, and Energy Storage infrastructure customers around-the-clock. 

Join us for an in-depth discussion around Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (EtA) – the path to becoming an entrepreneur by buying and growing an established small business. For individuals with business skills and a desire to make a meaningful impact, this can be less risky than starting a new business around an unproven product or service.

Bret will tell us about his journey as a leader and his humble beginnings making cold calls from his tiny apartment in San Francisco, to acquiring and growing Pearce Services in Paso Robles CA from a 70 person team, to over 2,000 employees with a growing renewable energy network of wind, solar, and cell sites, and EV charge points.

If you have enjoyed this episode, check out for more.  There are recorded Axial member roundtables, downloadable tools for dealmakers, quarterly lead-table rankings, and lots of other useful information. To join Axial as an acquirer, an owner considering an exit, or as a sales-side M&A advisor, you can get started for free at  Feel free to reach out to me directly at with questions, suggestions, or show topic ideas.

Subscribe to the Masters in Small Business M&A Podcast 

Discussion points:

  • Bret’s background and career leading up to Pearce
  • Organic connections led Bret to his path
  • Memories and highlights from Bret’s time at Serent Capital, ServiceSource, and McKinsey & Co.
  • Tell us about your time at Willcrest Partners?
  • Bret’s “scrappy” days making cold calls from his tiny apartment
  • Pearce Services – how Bret discovered, the process of acquiring
  • The reputation of search firms in the market
  • Can you give us some advice on the EtA model?  What’s the best way to win business and compete?
  • Find a theme, stay focused, and learn everything about that industry
  • Some of the advantages of independent buyers vs. private equity firms
  • Tell us about the growth of Pearce, post-transaction
  • What was the impact of the pandemic on Pearce
  • Final words of advice for other EtA hopefuls?



Bret Forster LinkedIn

Ben Krick LinkedIn

Pearce Services Website

Peter Lehrman LinkedIn

Axial Website

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