CEO Manak Ahluwalia On Aqueduct Technologies’ Secret Sauce, Acquisitions And The ‘Huge Advantage’ Over Private-Equity-Backed Competitors

Aqueduct Eyeing ‘Tuck-In’ Acquisitions

Aqueduct Technologies is looking at potential acquisitions, including a cybersecurity deal, even as it plans for organic growth of as much as 20 percent over the next three years, said Aqueduct Technologies President and CEO Manak Ahluwalia.

“As much as we forecast and budget for the organic growth—and we have got the team here to do that —you are going to probably see us do some tuck-in acquisitions, adding new capabilities,” said Ahluwalia, who founded the company 12 years ago and has built it into one of the top technology service providers in the country. “We are looking weekly at acquisitions.”

Ahluwalia said he sees the potential deals as a way to “round out the portfolio” now that the Canton, Mass.-based company, No. 268 on the CRN 2023 Solution Provider 500, has built out the systems and leadership team to add to its core portfolio of enterprise networking, advanced security, data center, cloud-native, collaboration and carrier services.

“Now that we are at a point where cybersecurity is taking off and we really want to be ahead of this virtual CISO opportunity, it makes sense to go buy a company of five to 10 people that specializes in that as opposed to train those people organically,” he said.

The market dynamics are also favorable for an acquisition, said Ahluwalia. “We think there are a lot of organizations that are not going to be able to compete in the new world but have some tremendous talent and account bases that are well aligned with us,” he said. “We also have a scenario where we do work with a couple of niche partners today that, with the size and influence that we have working with them today, it may make sense for them to become a part of our organization as opposed to an outside piece of our organization. So we have almost cultivated our own farm system.”

Ahluwalia said the company’s core tenets of learn, teach, care and impact have paid off with numerous Best Place to Work awards that continue to attract the best and brightest engineers in the Northeast. “The fact that we have so many engineers in-region allows us to attract the best engineers because they want to work with the best engineers,” he said.

The company’s culture of caring for customers and making an impact has resulted in a number of cases where Aqueduct engineers have stepped up to save the day for customers hit with crisis situations. That includes a call center customer hit with burst pipes that Aqueduct had up and running remotely in just 15 minutes and a health-care organization grappling with a disaster that destroyed its facility being brought back online by quick-thinking Aqueduct engineers who set up a satellite solution.

“That is where true partnership comes in,” said Ahluwalia. “You have got to have the resources, and you have got to have the care. Our guys are out there at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., helping get service back up and running. They volunteer for that. When I am talking about care and impact, that is what they do for the customer. You don’t get that from a lot of VARs.”

Here is an edited transcript of the conversation with Ahluwalia.

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 Learn About Steven Burke


Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at [email protected].


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