Facilitating Seamless Global Expansion for Thermo Systems

About Thermo Systems

In the dynamic landscape of industrial automation, Thermo Systems is a global full-service control system integration partner specializing in providing automation solutions for district energy, life sciences, and data centers. Its critical infrastructure services ensure the efficient regulation of pressure, temperature, and humidity, providing energy to vast industrial campuses such as hospitals, colleges, and universities. 

At a glance

Thermo Systems experienced significant commercial success over the past three years, requiring a doubling of employee headcount to support international customer requirements, growing in total headcount size from 150 employees to 300 employees. Initially, these international commercial projects were focused on Denmark as this is where Thermo’s main customer was located, and at the same time, Thermo also identified Ireland as a key location in which to establish a branch office.  

Over the past 12 – 18 months Thermo’s commercial contracts have required support in a number of other European countries, such as Germany, and given the nature of that commercial contract, required the establishment of a German legal entity for a number of reasons, not the least of which was to ensure compliance with Germany’s corporate tax rules. Without local people on the ground, Thermo looked to HSP for assistance to help navigate the numerous technical considerations required to enable Thermo to service their existing and new international commercial commitments and assist them with project viability assessments to validate new project tenders. 

What we did

Entity Management & Compliance

Payroll Consolidation

HR Administration

Tax Compliance

“We were particularly anxious about our operations in Denmark. – Once we started talking about EU countries, it became apparent that we had to make sure that we were doing the right thing and remaining compliant. We quickly recognized that as we moved into different countries with different roles, it was critical to ensure compliance. We recognized we needed to work with a company that could advise on and attend to multiple technical considerations provided us with seasoned experts.”

The Challenge

As Thermo Systems sought to service its clients’ international requests, the Vice President of Finance, Richard Dreher and the Chief People Officer, Sueann Snodgrass, faced the intricate challenges of ensuring timely resourcing for these commercial projects. This included hiring local employees as well as retaining and relocating a number of US employees and non-local EU employees to be temporarily deployed into the project country. 

In doing so, creating compliance complexities around local HR and employment law, immigration, EU posted worker regimes, income tax, social insurance, and employee benefits for both domestic and internationally mobile employees, including how to pay all staff compliantly (while retaining net income parity). 

The goal was to ensure seamless operations and compliance with regulations and maintain a positive employee experience across diverse international locations. 

Richard and Sueann were referred to HSP by their global payroll vendor to assist with short-term payroll in Ireland. However, they quickly realized that HSP provides a full suite of practical and technical international business solutions, and the partnership grew from there. 

“Overall, HSP’s customer service has been excellent – from the practical day to day project management of the dedicated implementation team to the consultant's expertise in various technical areas. Regardless of the country or problem presented to them, they are extremely responsive and demonstrate excellent guidance and solutions.”

The Solution

Enlisting the expertise of HSP, Thermo Systems found a strategic partner to guide the company through the complexities of its international business needs. HSP provided comprehensive support, ranging from legal entity setup and corporate governance to tax compliance, payroll management, and strategic HR advisory and global mobility solutions. The HSP experts are an extension of Sueann’s HR and operations team, which has been particularly helpful since she hasn’t had any local HR or operations staff based in Europe to date. The HSP team also advised on data protection compliance, which is critical for any company operating in Europe or handling personal data of European or UK citizens. 

The centralization of services became a key consideration, and HSP emerged as a one-stop shop, streamlining, and consolidating all global services required. 

The Results

The collaboration with HSP proved invaluable for Thermo Systems. The partnership started with Denmark and Ireland and they’re now working with HSP as they expand their operations into Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. With a growing team and operations in multiple countries, HSP seamlessly provided support, ensuring compliance, local expertise, and a responsive team that adapted to the unique needs of each country. The partnership evolved to encompass an expanded range of services and countries, mirroring Thermo Systems’ growth. The positive experience extended to various HSP consultants, such as Katie Davies and Paul Sutton, showcasing a high level of knowledge, responsiveness, and expertise. 

As Thermo Systems plans its ongoing hiring of staff and set up in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, the partnership with HSP remains a cornerstone of its international success. Through HSP’s support, Thermo Systems not only achieved regulatory compliance but also fostered a positive employee experience. The partnership has become a vital resource, allowing Thermo Systems to expand confidently, ensure compliance, and provide a platform to discuss and implement effective business strategies. As Thermo Systems aims to double its presence outside the U.S. by 2024, HSP stands as a trusted ally, contributing to its global success. 

Since partnering with HSP, Thermo Systems has achieved:

“Katie has become an extension to the team, demonstrating a deep understanding of our business model, our important third-party strategic business relationships, how we work, our growth expectations, and what our priorities are.”

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