Maximizing Value: How Summit Professional Education Scaled with Forward-Thinking Leadership and Technological Integrations

The American healthcare system is a complex organism, constantly evolving to meet the needs of patients and professionals alike. In this dynamic environment, Summit Professional Education, a national leader in continuing education for allied health professionals, understood the critical role of keeping these technicians at the forefront of their fields. However, traditional, in-person learning models faced limitations in a rapidly modernizing landscape.

Enter Greybull Stewardship. With a keen eye for identifying developed pre-middle market companies, Greybull saw an opportunity to empower Summit’s established reputation and niche expertise. This case study chronicles the inspiring decade-long partnership and business growth that came to fruition. We’ll explore the challenges that threatened to limit Summit’s reach, our joint vision for a future-proofed learning platform, and the collaborative efforts that scaled Summit into a disruptor in the healthcare education space.

About Summit Professional education

An emerging force in allied health training...

Founded in 2004, in Nashville’s historical suburb of Franklin, Tennessee, Summit Professional Education carved a niche in continuing education for allied healthcare and special education professionals. Capitalizing on mandatory license renewals, the founder-led company found roots in the industry. However, over the course of its first 10 years limitations and opportunities emerged. The fragmented industry offered a chance to expand its reach, but Summit relied on traditional marketing, hindering its ability to connect with a broader audience. Opportunities existed to improve internal systems and build a stronger leadership team. This foundation, now primed for innovation, presented Greybull Stewardship with the perfect partner: a company with a solid core poised for growth with the right guidance.

Opportunities for Growth

Demographic Tailwinds

The aging US population is driving a surge in demand for healthcare services. This translates to increased demand for qualified allied health professionals, who play a critical role in patient care. Summit's focus on continuing education (CPE) directly addressed this need, ensuring healthcare professionals have the necessary knowledge and skills to meet the growing demand.

Limited Tech Disruption

Certain healthcare specializations, like physical therapy, rely heavily on hands-on interaction between professionals and patients. While technology plays an increasingly significant role in education, it cannot fully replicate the value of live therapy sessions or physical demonstrations. This limited threat of technological disruption presented an opportunity for advancement while holding space for Summit’s niche to expand in the market.

Regulatory Mandates

Regulatory requirements for continuing education for health professionals ensure a consistent and predictable market for Summit's services. This stable foundation provided a strong base for potential growth.

Greybull's Strategic Expertise

Beyond these market factors, Greybull’s particular expertise made Summit a strategic fit. With extensive experience in educational content delivery and digital marketing optimization, Greybull recognized an opportunity to help expand and achieve Summit’s vision. This unique combination of market opportunity and situational skillsets paved the way for a growth-oriented partnership.

Value Creation + Impact:

By Summit’s 2024 exit, a 600% surge in net EBITDA had been achieved, painting a clear picture of the core of Greybull’s functionality — value creation. With a diverse team of operational experts onboard, we’re able to offer portfolio companies comprehensive and tactical expertise like the initiatives that fueled Summit’s ascent.

Modernizing the Learning Experience: A Hybrid Approach

Greybull’s experience in identifying market trends revealed an opportunity for online learning solutions within the continuing education landscape. Summit leaned in and developed a robust online course library exceeding 600 on-demand courses, 200+ webinars, and more than 50 annual live-streams; all meeting nationwide state requirements. This wasn’t just a digital migration; Summit pioneered a hybrid model, blending in more than 500 high-quality in-person training sessions to cater to diverse preferences and maximize accessibility for a geographically dispersed workforce. They were able to recoup revenue by limiting the overhead from the previously in-person exclusive model and effectively future-proofed the company from the potential impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As event-based businesses and in-person trainings closed or suspended operations, Summit strategized and engaged customers online to mitigate similar backlash.

Harnessing the Power of Digital Marketing: From Mailboxes to Inboxes

For the first 10 years of their business, Summit relied on traditional direct mail marketing to reach existing and potential customers. Greybull leveraged its operational knowledge of digital marketing optimization to support an overhaul. This data-driven approach included strategically segmenting marketing channels and meticulously optimizing Summit’s SEO presence. The results were significant improvements in subscriber acquisition and retention, contributing to revenue and profitability growth.

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Building a team for the future

Recognizing the importance of strong leadership, Greybull introduced Scott Vogel as the CEO, offering Summit to bring in his multifaceted marketing expertise and leadership practices. Vogel’s focus was on empowering and activating the existing team, then onboarding roles specific to growth areas. Many of Summit’s staff and leadership team throughout Greybull’s ten-year holding period were long-term collaborators with deep institutional knowledge. Under Vogel’s guidance, this team flourished, continuously demonstrating agility and adaptability in the face of change. Vogel further supported this strategy by fostering a strong company culture and implementing a competitive compensation structure, allowing associates to confidently work toward ambitious goals.

Building a team for the future

One of the most impactful value-creation drivers was the introduction of a subscription service. The subscription model has become a common sales vehicle across multiple industries. In 2012, creative software company Adobe launched its Creative Cloud subscription model for designers and creatives, and within a year of the launch, customers had grown 244%, resulting in 50% growth in revenue. By 2021, Adobe reported a 29% revenue increase in Q2 from subscriptions after already accomplishing $2.87 billion in revenue in the previous quarter. [1]

In adopting a similar mindset and implementing a subscription program, Summit shifted from a one-time transaction model to growing sustainable recurring revenue. The subscriptions were enhanced with “All Access” product features and a bundled pricing strategy. The result? Recurring revenue rose substantially from 0% to 90% by 2020. Building on this momentum, Summit established a dedicated B2B sales team. This team focused on developing customized content and compliance solutions for healthcare institutions, solidifying Summit’s position as a one-stop shop for healthcare professionals and organizations seeking continuing education solutions.


Greybull’s partnership with Summit wasn’t just an investment; it was a testament to the transformative power of a strategic partnership and the strength of Greybull’s core values. Unlike traditional private equity firms with 3-5 year holding periods, Greybull’s commitment to patient capital allowed Summit a decade to compound its development. This long-term approach provided the runway for strategic investments in growth areas like digital marketing and leadership management.

With a direct, hands-on, and immersive approach role, Greybull was able to uphold Summit’s existing culture. This collaborative spirit fostered continuous improvement, working alongside Summit’s team to refine and scale the business for long-term success. Ultimately, by embracing innovation, harnessing digital tools, and empowering a talented team, Summit transformed from a traditional education provider into a thriving leader in the online healthcare education space

The information presented in this newsletter is the opinion of Greybull Advisors, LLC and does not reflect the view of any other person or entity.  The information provided is believed to be from reliable sources but no liability is accepted for any inaccuracies.  This is for information purposes and should not be construed as an investment recommendation.  Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.  Greybull Advisors, LLC is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The holdings identified do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. The calculation’s methodology along with details on all holding’s contribution to the overall account’s performance during the measurement period are available upon request.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
1.    Source: PYMNTS | Published September 2021