Call Jerry Cort these days, and you're likely get his voice mail. And when Jerry calls you back, the messages he leaves read like a travelogue, phoned in from such far-flung locales as Palm Desert, California, Dunkerton, Iowa, and Hannibal, Missouri. Today, Jerry's calling from somewhere in Indiana. "Some little town," he reports, "where my wife and I have stopped to negotiate the signs."
Steering his new motor home along the country's byways is about the only "negotiating" Jerry's doing this summer. His business dealings ended last year, when he and his wife, Nancy, sold their payroll- and HR-software company, Cort Directions, to Infinium Software, Inc., a leading developer of enterprise solutions. At Infinium's request, Jerry and Nancy stayed on for several months after the sale. But as soon as the company they built was safely in the hands of its new owner, Jerry and Nancy sold their house, bought a motor home, and hit the road.
They're currently in the midst of a cross-country journey that will take them from their hometown of Bend, Oregon, to a family reunion in the Midwest; to Pennsylvania, where they first met, for their 30th anniversary; and then eventually back to the West Coast. "We plan to do this a couple times a year," says Jerry happily. "We've talked about it for so long, it's great to finally be doing it." Given his enthusiasm, you might think this is the first time Jerry has retired. In fact, he tried it once before, back in 1985, after he sold another company. "I bought a ranch in Arizona, which I still own, but the retirement just didn't take. I got really itchy to get back into business,"he remembers. "This time, though, it feels comfortable. I'm not getting the symptoms I had before."
One of the things that really gave me a lot of confidence, as Corum took us through the process, was that ultimately, a deal is about the people. It’s about chemistry, the fit, the synergy between the people involved.