Entrepreneur Interview – Nick Ball, Managing Director at Impact


This month we had the pleasure of getting to know Nick Ball, Managing Director at Impact Air Systems – global waste extraction and separation specialists. Nick shares some valuable information about his experience of the M&A process as well as gives some tips to entrepreneurs considering a sale. We also learn about his journey to Managing Director and his hopes for the future of the business.


1. What is your background prior to becoming Managing Director at Impact Air Systems?

I have only ever worked at Impact Air Systems.  I started as a van driver as a holiday job in 1994, was asked to consider a role as a junior project engineer instead of going back to college, which I took and then worked my way up through the project and sales team to general manager before being given the opportunity to buy the business in 2007.


2. How has Impact Air Systems evolved since you bought out the business?

When we bought the business in 2007 we were primarily working in waste and trim from production machinery but as recycling started to take off in a big way we got involved in using air to separate waste in the recycling industry itself and that catapulted us into a whole new market which escalated and allowed us to create some machine based solutions instead of the traditional bespoke system solutions we were used to.


3. Sustainability seems to be increasingly more important to business owners, have you noticed a greater uptake in air-based solutions to move and separate waste in the last 5 years? Can you comment on how your systems are improving sustainable practices?

There has certainly been an increase in interest in our solutions over the last 5 years although I can’t honestly say that from a customer’s perspective it is with sustainability in mind, it seems to be the value of the recyclable materials that can be recovered that drives interest more than a moral responsibility. That said, our density separation systems provide an efficient way to refine the recyclable content and prevent unnecessary material going to landfill, thus improving sustainable practices.


4. How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected the business, and what contingency plans were put in place to ensure survival?

We have been very lucky to be largely unaffected by the pandemic, we had a little time when we couldn’t get engineers into customer’s sites to survey or maintain but as soon as industry starting moving again we resumed business as usual. We are very lucky to work in packaging and recycling and as everyone was at home ordering items that are delivered in boxes that were then recycled, our core customers were as busy as ever.


5. Impact has recently been acquired by ADDTECH, how did you find the M&A process? What were the biggest challenges you faced during the process and how did you get past them?

Our whole M&A process took place during the pandemic which was a challenge in itself as it meant that all meetings took place over Zoom. Building a rapport was difficult and relying on internet connections from home was problematic with the whole family at home.  We were very lucky to be able to get one face to face meeting for a couple of hours at the airport.  Apart from that I’d say the two biggest problems we faced were keeping the whole process a secret from all staff which was extremely difficult as we are a very open company and everyone knows where I am at all times and the amount of work involved in the due diligence phase to provide all of the answers to the tireless solicitors.  Despite the fact that we have very well organised documentation for all aspects of the business I couldn’t have provided all of the answers without the help of our Accounts Manager and Business Systems Manager.


6. What three tips do you have for business owners looking to sell their business?

  • Use a reputable company to help you, don’t think you can do it by yourself.
  • Don’t underestimate the time and effort involved in the process and how distracting it can be.
  • Be very clear on why you’re doing it and what you are going to do after.


7. Post deal, you remain at Impact as Managing Director, where do you see the company going in the future?

Impact has lots of opportunity to grow and improve its market presence around the world in a number of sectors including metal packaging and with the support of our new owners I look forward to pursuing these new opportunities.  In the last few years are work in the United States had really started to ramp up and I’m looking to see that grow post pandemic.


8. What 2 personality traits do you believe make a good Managing Director?

  • The ability to see situations from different perspectives.
  • The ability to keep calm and level headed in stressful situations


9. What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur starting up their own business?

Keep your eye on the numbers, it is so easy for a great idea to run away with itself, you have to keep a constant check that it is going to be profitable.  Listen to as many podcasts and mentors as possible to learn from other people’s mistakes, there is a lot of advice out there if you take the time to look for it.


Rapid Fire:

  1. If you could have one super power, what would it be? To stay young
  2. If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present) who would it be? My late Grandpa, he would be so proud of what I have achieved.
  3. Go to holiday destination? Maldives
  4. If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chicken Mushroom & chips with a bit of curry sauce (and maybe a slice of bread and butter).


If you’re thinking about selling your business and need some assistance, we would be delighted to arrange an informal meeting (over Zoom or Teams) to discuss your options in more detail. Book a call via this link or email us at info@blueboxvelocity.com.