CI Capital-backed Summit Companies enters Texas market

20 November 2018

After acquiring five fire protection firms in Michigan earlier this fall, St. Paul, MN-based fire protection services and consulting firm Summit has now expanded into the Lone Star State with the purchase of Houston-based A-1 Fire Equipment Co. The move continues Summit’s accelerated acquisition pace since coming under the ownership of private equity firm CI Capital Partners in 2017.

Founded in 1999, Summit Companies offers a full range of services related to fire safety, including inspection, monitoring, installation and repair, and advisory support. The company’s consulting division – Summit Fire Consulting – helps clients ranging from building owners and developers to architects and contractors traverse the complexities of building and fire code regulations.

The consulting division’s design and engineering professionals offer support in the areas of building and fire code consultation, fire protection system design, smoke management and fire detection systems, fire life safety performance-based design and analysis, liaison between clients and fire code officials, and hazardous materials analysis.

Since being acquired by NYC-based CI Capital Partners in September 2017, Summit has swiftly grown in size, capability, and geographical footprint. With 18 add-on acquisitions completed in little over a year, Summit has locations in Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.CI Capital-backed Summit Companies enters Texas marketCI Capital took a majority stake in Summit because it viewed the fire and life safety services industry as a fragmented one ripe for consolidation. As such, CI Capital selected Summit as a platform to ‘buy & build’ within the industry, having successfully initiated such a strategy in numerous markets since it came on the scene in 1993. The private equity firm also likely saw Summit and its industry as having predictable growth and strong cash flows, in addition to consolidation potential.

Since its founding, CI Capital has made 33 ‘platform’ acquisitions and over 270 add-on acquisitions – representing about $9 billion in enterprise value. Some of its current portfolio companies include customer experience agency Hero Digital, logistics services firm Redwood, and tree/lawn care services company SavATree.

Now, Summit Companies has expanded further on the back of CI’s strong capital investment, entering the Texas market with the acquisition of A-1 Fire Equipment. The company’s Houston location will become a new branch office for Summit, retaining A-1’s management and staff while operating under the A-1 National Fire Co. subsidiary.

Founded in 1967, A-1 sells and services fire extinguishers, suppression systems, and fire alarms. The company also provides design and installation services, fire training, and fire equipment inspection and maintenance.

“Summit’s entry into Texas is in direct alignment with the company’s growth plan to expand nationally,” stated Summit CEO, Jeff Evrard. “Establishing a presence in Texas not only demonstrates Summit’s continued commitment to our customers and expanding our customer base, but also complements our existing southwest service base in Arizona and Nevada.”

Summit plans to expand A-1’s offerings with additional fire life safety services, including sprinkler systems and fire protection consulting services.

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OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yet

11 April 2019

Human resources and benefits consultancy OneDigital Health and Benefits has acquired Northwestern Benefit, the largest privately held benefits broker in Georgia.

Atlanta-based OneDigital has carried out an aggressive acquisition strategy in past years, completing 28 deals in 2018, as well as five in 2019 thus far. Its recent acquisitions have included consulting firms Paradigm Group, Cherry Creek Benefits, and Veritas Risk Services. OneDigital’s rapid expansion last year boosted annual revenue by $100 million in 2018, reaching $400 million.

OneDigital’s core offerings include strategic benefit advisory services, analytics, compliance support, human resources management technology, and insurance broking. The firm has more than 80 offices in the United States.

The consulting firm has continued its accelerated growth strategy with the purchase of benefits and HR consultancy Northwestern Benefit, which is also based in Atlanta. “This represents an exciting milestone for OneDigital, where our largest acquisition to date is also located right here in our home state of Georgia,” Adam Bruckman, CEO of OneDigital, said. “Northwestern lets us compete in the Atlanta benefits marketplace in an entirely new way.”OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yetThe acquired firm was founded in 1996, and provides benefits, HR, compliance, wellness, education, and workforce planning advisory services to clients in George and across the US. Northwestern Benefit’s 150 employees will join OneDigital, bringing the firm’s headcount to over 1,600 employees, and its employer client count to approximately 50,000.

OneDigital’s chief growth officer, Mike Sullivan, highlighted Northwestern’s excellent sales culture and client service models as factors in the deal, while noting that the deal will significantly expand the firm’s middle market scale and capabilities. Sullivan expects more deals on the horizon, as OneDigital seeks to scale up further. “We expect north of 25 acquisitions again this year to bring us over the $500 million revenue threshold,” he said.

David Asbury, CEO of Northwestern Benefit, will join OneDigital as a senior managing principal. “As the benefits space continued to consolidate and we considered acquirers, it was incredibly important to me to find the right partner,” he said. “With OneDigital’s scale, reach and long-term vision, we knew our organizations would fit together and be stronger together right off the bat.”

As employment levels remain at record highs, employers are increasingly turning to effective and comprehensive benefits packages in order to attract and retain a dwindling pool of talent. HR and benefits firms help employers strategize the ideal benefits and compensation packages to get the talent they need, while doing so in the most cost-effective manner. “In a rapidly changing economy, an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent is often directly tied to the benefits they can provide, and OneDigital ensures we’re supplying our clients with the most robust health, wealth, and HR advisory services,” Bruckman said.