Fastest-growing AEC Firm in the U.S. Adds Growth Capital to Fuel Nationwide Expansion
Orlando, FL — Universal Engineering Sciences® (UES), a national leading engineering and consulting company specializing in geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, building code compliance, threshold inspections and environmental consulting, has announced that BDT Capital Partners, LLC (“BDT”) has entered into an agreement to make a significant strategic investment in the company through an affiliated fund. BDT, affiliated with BDT & Co., LLC, a merchant bank that provides family- and founder-led businesses with long-term differentiated capital, will become the majority shareholder of UES, joining existing shareholders comprised of Palm Beach Capital, company founders and the management team. Former AECOM Chairman and CEO and current UES Chairman Michael Burke will continue to serve in his current role.
“UES is an industry leading geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing and environmental consulting services firm with a growing national footprint, and we are looking forward to partnering with Michael Burke and UES’s highly experienced management team comprised of the founders of businesses UES has acquired to date,” said Ben Sher, Partner at BDT Capital Partners. “BDT’s commitment to a long-term partnership with UES and Palm Beach Capital is consistent with our merchant banking model of providing patient capital to founder and family-led businesses, similar to the companies that have formed the foundation of the UES platform.”
Nate Ward, co-founder of Palm Beach Capital, and industry veteran Gary H. Elzweig, PE, F.ASCE, created what is now known as the UES family of companies. Elzweig will remain with the firm as Vice-Chairman. Nate Ward and Palm Beach Capital will remain a major investor and retain board representation.
“We are excited to partner with BDT given their experience investing in and advising founder-led businesses with transformative growth opportunities,” said Ward. “We would like to thank our partners and every UES team member for their contributions which led to this significant milestone. With BDT as the lead investor, UES will achieve our goal of becoming the nation’s most sought after, respected, and successful geotechnical, construction materials testing, inspections and environmental consulting business.”
“The geotechnical engineering, construction materials and environmental services industries are highly fragmented, and I see a great deal of opportunity to identify and partner with strong, well-run businesses who will expand our portfolio and our geographic footprint,” said Burke. “As the country focuses on the repair and improvement of our existing infrastructure, we play a critical role in serving engineering firms, developers, contractors and architects in all of our communities. I look forward to supporting this impressive leadership team as they lead UES through our next phase of rapid growth and development.”
Founded by Sy Israel in 1964, UES offers nearly six decades of experience and recognition as the premier engineering and consulting firm in the geotechnical engineering space and is well-positioned to serve the needs of commercial, residential, and civic customers across the country. Recent mergers with GFA International, Inc., NOVA Geotechnical & Inspection Services, Contour Engineering, Wallace-Kuhl & Associates, Construction Testing & Engineering, SUMMIT Engineering, Laboratory & Testing, P.C., GEOServices, LLC, McGinley & Associates and Geotechnology Inc. have made UES one of the largest, most resource-rich organizations of its kind nationwide.
UES, a privately held company, has made a commitment to growth, both organically and through strategic acquisition. UES’s presence includes locations throughout the high growth markets in the South, Midwest and West, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Washington, D.C., California, Utah, Nevada, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
The closing of the investment is subject to customary conditions and is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2021.