M&A Transition Interview with Mike Mosdell

Mark Shields
July 10, 2024

Post-Acquisition Q&A Session with Mike Mosdell

In the ever-evolving landscape of transportation data collection, acquisitions are a common strategy for growth and sustainability. From an Operations Manager’s view point, being acquired by a larger firm can unlock a myriad of new opportunities and advantages. In this Q&A session, we delve into the insights of QC’s Salt Lake City Operations Manager Mike Mosdell, formerly of L2. Mike discusses navigating his transition to QC and explores how the acquisition has impacted his work. Through his experience, we’ve uncovered tangible benefits that come with the support and scale of a larger organization like QC.  

What was your role at L2 Data Collection? What were your primary responsibilities while employed there?

I served many roles at L2DC. I started out as a part-time Field Technician and filled in as needed.  Over time, I transitioned to Field Work Manager, and finally Operations Manager. I also helped craft our safety protocols and design/assemble our in-house cameras. Half of my time was spent in the field, the other half was spent in the office counting videos, testing software, making maps, and building spreadsheets.

When you learned about QC acquiring L2,what was your initial reaction? Describe how news of that nature impacted you or your L2 peers.

Finding out about the QC acquisition was crazy.  I knew it was coming. The owner of L2, Lori, had warned me it would happen by the end of 2023, but I didn’t think she was serious.  I had been with L2 for a long time, so it felt like my world was ending, or my kid was moving away.  I spent a lot of time talking things through with Lori. But I worked with her for so many years that I knew she wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t in the best interest of L2 and its employees. Shortly after that I was able to talk with Jean-Paul and knew L2 was still going to be in good hands.

What were some motivating factors in your joining/integrating with the team at QC?

Meeting David Bernard and Peter Kurtz at the Utah DOT conference last year reassured me that we were just gaining resources and capabilities by joining QC. I knew I’d be doing more or less the same thing, but with different tools. Lori has been a mentor to me, and I knew she wouldn’t misguide me, or her baby (L2). After meeting Jean-Paul, I knew I was here to stay.

During the transition, what support/resources did you receive from QC that you found helpful?

It was nice talking with Dan Franz and realizing we had both been counting cars for the better part of 20 years and had come across many of the same problems and had come up with similar solutions.  Meeting John Goodwin and the rest of the West Coast team at the holiday party in Portland last year was great too. QC sending me/my team on travel jobs was a major confidence booster and put me in touch with Noah Smith in LA. Connecting and bonding with my new team members over shared experiences made me feel more positive and supported during the transition process.

Were there any unexpected benefits or opportunities that arose for you post-acquisition?

The acquisition has provided access to some superior tools, equipment, and technology, streamlining some of my responsibilities and enabling me to concentrate on more strategic, big-picture initiatives. Some examples are setting up cameras using extension poles, 24-hourvideos in one 1.5 G file, DataLens, and the Operations Support Team.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the transition to QC? What were some ways that you overcame these challenges?

A huge challenge was taking the plunge into using DataLens. The first few quick turn traffic counts we took on as QC, I insisted we count in house (manually in SLC/BOI). Trying to coordinate that was tricky. We had to get videos to the team in Boise and then compile everything before 9:00 AM the next day. We counted one study in-house and had it processed through DataLens. The numbers came back super close, and we felt more confident in DataLens’ numbers than our own.  So, we made the jump and having counts ‘magically’ completed has been a huge help!

What is your role now like at QC? How have things changed?  

I really enjoy my new role at QC. I still get into the field, but much less. I spend more time in the office, but much less time counting. I don’t have to worry about getting videos counted, or delivery.  I feel like I spend my days figuring out the logistics of data collection and have a lot more resources to draw upon when I need help.

Were there any values or lessons learned during your time at L2 that you have carried over and continued to uphold at QC?

Safety, safety, safety.  A big thing Lori would say is, ’10 fingers and 10 toes.’ Nobody is perfect and mistakes will be made, but it’s important that stay cautious and follow our safety protocols so that we come home today and every day.

What lessons did you learn from the overall experience, both professionally and personally?

Stick with it, work hard, ask questions, and take notes.

What advice would you give to other employees or owners of count firms that are exploring acquisition opportunities?

QC is great. There is a seasoned team of Field Technicians, Operations Managers and Data Collection experts in place. DataLens is awesome. I basically do the same thing I have done—count cars and solve problems, but I now have better tools that allow me to focus my time on planning and deploying bigger jobs at home and in more places. It has been great having resources across the country. These resources run the gamut from equipment to technicians to ideas and strategies.  The amount of knowledge and experience that QC’s managers and technicians bring to the table is so valuable.

As a smaller company, we got PTO each year, but it wasn’t as official as it is at QC. We were a much smaller operation, so even when on PTO I kept my phone around to help cover bases as needed. QC seems to be the perfect size. I am able to have autonomy in running the SLC branch and developing individual client relationships but also have the freedom to take time off. With the added support of a professional count firm when I need time off, I can take it and relax knowing my bases are covered. The support team is great to have day to day, but it’s especially nice to be able to take needed time off to make mental space for the busy season(s) to come.  

Mark Shields
As Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Mark is responsible for QC’s Proposal, Business Development, Marketing, and DataPoint Sales teams. Starting at QC as an Operations Manager, his project management experience involves methodology development, scoping, overseeing fieldwork tasks, data processing, and delivery for efforts ranging from small TIAs and neighborhood counts through state coverage programs and nationwide research projects.