The Zaf Group’s Mike Zafirovski Interview With Steven Burke From CRN

The Ephiphany That Led To ACP CreativIT’s Fast Growth Buildout


When Mike Zafirovski was acting as an executive advisor for private equity behemoth The Blackstone Group he had an epiphany.


“The epiphany I had six years ago was that I was making decisions to simply optimize the short term returns (of companies),” said Zafirovski, the former CEO of Nortel Networks and a 47-year technology veteran that held high-level executive positions at Motorola and General Electric, in an interview with CRN. “So the initial thesis for The Zaf Group was to acquire several well-run family businesses and keep them in perpetuity. So they will be around 50 to 100 years from now- after my lifetime. We are in the business of identifying companies that are well run and that the most strategic players would love to buy.”


That epiphany led to the creation of The Zaf Group, which has made four solution provider acquisitions over the last five years that have established ACPCreativIT- the umbrella company- as one of the fastest-growing national providers in the country.


“We have quadrupled (the size of the business) since we made the first acquisition,” said Zafirovski, founder of The Zaf Group and executive chairman of ACP CreativIT, reflecting on the journey that has put ACP CreativIT on the map as a $300 million solution provider powerhouse. “Half of that has come from acquisitions and the other half from organic growth.”


The latest acquisition came in July when ACP CreativIT added Versatile Communications, a 28-year-old Hudson, Mass headquartered solution provider to its roster.


The Zaf Group and ACP CreativIT’s mission to preserve these solution provider businesses “in perpetuity” working hand in hand with the founders is resonating with solution providers, says Zafirovski, who emigrated from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a teenager and became a much sought after technology executive.


“Private equity firms would also have loved to buy ACP,” said Zafirovski. “But there was a level of hesitation (from ACP) because there was a concern that they would get absorbed and a lot of the cultural values that brought the company to this point in time would disappear. There was also concerns that if you sell to private equity the business would get reconfigured and sold off as quickly as possible.”


The Zaf Group’s long term focus is paying off for owners and customers, said Zafirovski. “I believe the long term commitment to employees and customers is a recipe for significant success,” he said. “This is an employee first and customer first organization.”



Read the whole interview here: The Zaf Group’s Mike Zafirovski On Why ‘In Perpetuity’ Ownership Is Driving ACP CreativIT Acquisitions | CRN

Better.Stronger.Together. ACP CreativeIT Acquires Versatile Communications, Expands Footprint and Offerings

ACP CreativIT, a technology solutions provider based in Chicago, Ill., announced its most recent acquisition today with Hudson, Mass., based Versatile Communications. Versatile is the third acquisition for ACP CreativIT, and the second in six months.



Founded 28 years ago, Versatile Communications is a market leader in the small- and medium-sized business segment, with a broad suite of solutions and services, including digital transformation, cloud infrastructure, cyber security, networking, managed services and procurement services. With offices in Hudson, Mass., and presence in Tampa, Fla., Versatile continues to be led by its founding partners, John Barker and Kevin Meany. The organization is guided by a mission and belief to, “Deliver empowering IT solutions that drive meaningful value and success for our clients.”


Versatile builds upon ACP CreativIT’s family of organizations (ACP – Arlington Computer Products, Buffalo Grove, Ill., Camera Corner Connecting Point, Green Bay, Wis., and Citon Computer Corp., Duluth, Minn.) and the organization’s strategy of continuing to grow through acquisitions of companies sharing a common platform, backbone and integrated organization, while preserving the local customer, employee and community roots that have fueled Versatile’s success. Taken together, the businesses will have over 155 years of founder/family ownership heritage, more than $3.5 billion of IT products and solutions delivered since inception, over $300 million of annual revenue and roughly 350 employees.


As an organization, ACP CreativIT’s goal is to drive sustained growth, doubling every few years, organically and via acquisition.


“When evaluating companies to add to the ACP CreativIT family, we look for companies who fit ACP’s customer-centric focus, share our cultural values, and add depth and capabilities to our solution and service practices,” said Matt Zafirovski, ACP CreativIT’s COO. “We could not be more thrilled to add Versatile, a talented, highly technical and respected organization, to our company.”


In announcing the decision to merge, John Barker, who will continue as Versatile’s CEO, stated, “We could not have found a better organization to merge with. The ACP CreativIT family of organizations brings together superior solutions combined with incredibly talented employees to support all of the collective customers’ needs.”


Added Kevin Meany, who will continue as Versatile’s CTO, “Besides the excellent match of our corporate cultures, we also align extremely well with our strategic initiatives and growth plans. We have common areas of strength, including network, infrastructure and cloud technologies. We’re also excited for the new opportunities ACP CreativIT brings Versatile, including AV, voice, cyber security and physical security.”


All Versatile employees will stay on as part of the acquisition, with continued commitment to growth in all locations.


CEO of ACP CreativIT Scott Dunsire, who oversees the organization as a whole, added, “We’re excited to add Versatile to the ACP CreativIT family of organizations. They’ve done a great job building and growing their portfolio over the last 28 years, and we look forward to all we’re going to accomplish together as one company.”


The controlling shareholder of the combined entity is The Zaf Group, which aims to partner with well-run family/founder-led businesses and own them in perpetuity.


Founder of The Zaf Group and Executive Chairman of ACP CreativIT Mike Zafirovski noted, “We are delighted to welcome John, Kevin and their entire team to our organization. ACP has now quadrupled in size since The Zaf Group’s original acquisition five years ago, with half of that growth coming organically and half coming via acquisition. More important than growth for growth’s sake, we want to make ACP one of the best and most exciting places to work in the industry and become a leading solution and services provider for our customers. The Versatile team shares these goals, they have a noted track record and they will play a key role in advancing this mission for our employees and for our customers.”



About ACP CreativIT
ACP CreativIT is focused on business outcomes and providing long-standing solutions to its customers that incorporates world-class technology. ACP has teams of pre, post and solutions architects and engineers who can design a full-scale solution to meet any challenges. The company brings visions to life, as well as deploys, installs, maintains, and supports organizations well into the future. With specialties in managed services, professional services, cyber security, cloud, infrastructure, AV, voice and endpoints ACP’s team provides organizations with an end-to-end solution.



About Versatile
Versatile is an information technology consultancy dedicated to helping organizations improve workforce productivity. We help our clients define a clear roadmap to implementation and leverage technology that supports business strategy, reduces costs, mitigates risks, and streamlines operations.


For nearly 30 years, Versatile has built a national portfolio of clients spanning healthcare, pharmaceutical, higher education, manufacturing, and commercial businesses. Versatile stays on the cutting edge of the latest technology and security trends to deliver differentiating value that empowers you to protect your organization and ensure continuity and productivity.



Originally posted on ACP CreativIT website