Growing Organically & Through Acquisition To Accelerate Business

Mario Toneguzzi

Last year, 360 Energy Liability Management launched the first phase of its strategic M&A expansion by bringing on new equity partners and closing three acquisitions.
In this interview with Ryan Smith, CEO of 360 Energy Liability Management, learn:

  • The importance of growing organically and through acquisition;
  • Topics to be covered in the upcoming Business Transitions Forum in Calgary;
  • Why human capital is a very strong consideration in acquisitions


Ryan Smith, CEO of 360  Energy Liability Management, said the company strongly believes that businesses that grow organically and through acquisition accelerate faster than those that choose to do one or the other.

“So we have a two-pronged approach to our growth strategy and M&A is equal parts to that. It’s a way for us to expand our technical expertise, our geographical reach and our client reach,” he said.

“We look for key strategic elements that match ours whether it’s one of three pillars - a geographical presence we don’t have, a technical skill set that we covet, or a client base that we’re interested in penetrating. We’re very focused on specific sectors. When I talk about sectors, it’s oil and gas, it’s energy, it’s renewables, it’s mining, it’s commercial real estate. We’re focused on sector penetration. So when we look for M&A we look for targets that fit inside of the sectors we want to grow into.”

Smith is part of a panel discussion ‘Growth by Acquisition: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Business’ at the Alberta Business Transitions Forum April 12 at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre.

Implementing an outbound M&A strategy at your company is a high-value, high stakes game.  How can people establish their M&A Mindset? The M&A process is intensive, with many steps – it can often take many months to identify acquisition targets, initiate and close transactions – all while people are still operating their business. In this panel discussion, people will learn how to operate and run their business while embedding processes that will improve M&A outcomes:

  • Identifying and comparing acquisition strategies for their business 
  • Various forms of capital to finance acquisitions
  • Real life lessons learned from both successful and failed acquisitions.

Smith is a graduate of the University of Guelph where he completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Economics. With a diverse service background, he has leveraged that into ownership positions in multiple oilfield service businesses. From 2011 to 2017 he built and grew Rigless Rentals Inc. prior to its sale to Frac Shack International. During that time he was also instrumental in successfully launching 360 Energy Liability Management.

His vision and energy drives growth for 360 while infusing an entrepreneurial spirit into the corporate culture. Smith pushes industry engagements and business interactions to propel 360 to the forefront of the liability management sector.

The transition to team leader and entrepreneur came easily for Smith after having completed a first career as a professional rugby player. A former captain of the Canadian team, he played 51 games, three Rugby World Cups and played professionally in France and New Zealand.

Smith said 360 has been around since 2015 with headquarters in Calgary.

“Our business is an engineering and consulting business and we solve problems in the oil and gas closure space. At the end of life of all assets, we assist clients in retiring those assets. So abandonment, decommissioning and environmental site closure are the services that we provide,” he said, adding that services are provided primarily in Western Canada but reaching into the United States and South America.

When looking to acquire another business, Smith said human capital is important.

“We look for a strong leadership group, not just a strong individual leader, but a strong leadership group and those that effectively fit inside of what is a pretty unique corporate culture,” he said. “So we look for people who have the ability to mesh with the team and find a way inside of a group like 360.”

The company’s acquisitions took place in March, April and May of 2022. It acquired Sharp Environmental in Fairview, Alberta; Owl River Environmental in La La Biche, Alberta; and a Calgary-based environmental consulting group bought out of Secure Energy Services.

What were the key lessons learned through that process?

“Integration is hard. Number one. Planning is crucial but you can’t plan for everything. There’s always things that come up. Even if you spend hours and hours and hours planning there’s things that come up that you don’t expect. You have to be nimble inside of that. I know that sounds cliche but you do need to be nimble and expect nuances,” explained Smith.

“The biggest lesson inside all of this is systems integration early and often and then allow the cultural integration and the people integration to happen slowly and naturally.”