Asheville company focused on water and wastewater infrastructure announces acquisitions of companies in Vermont and Pennsylvania
(ASHEVILLE, N.C. – March 25, 2018): Asheville-based Infrastructure Services Group LLC, a company that uses the most up-to-date technology to inspect and repair part of the 1.6 million miles of underground water and wastewater pipelines and associated manholes in the U.S., announces the acquisition of companies in Vermont and Pennsylvania with combined revenues of more than $32 million.
The acquisition makes ISG the largest for-profit company with its corporate headquarters at The Collider, a global center for climate entrepreneurship and innovation focused on creating breakthrough solutions that enable humanity to adapt and thrive in a changing climate.
The business thesis for the company strongly embraces the relationship between climate, weather and water says ISG founder and CEO Tom Barr, whose career solving problems in water and wastewater management and water-related laboratory testing spans more than three decades.
ISG offers state-of-the art trenchless cleaning, maintenance, and repair or rehabilitation of water and wastewater pipelines, both gravity and pressure fed, and their related structures, such as manholes. The company serves municipalities and industry using trenchless technologies that lessen more disruptive and expensive “dig and replace” techniques.
The company views the significant water infrastructure pipeline challenges in a holistic way, beyond just inspection and repair, said Barr.
“Every two minutes a water main breaks in the United States, with more than two trillion gallons of treated water lost every year,” he said. “Over the past several decades, extreme weather exacerbated by climate change, changing demographics, and decaying infrastructure have contributed to major pipeline challenges.”
Barr says water and wastewater systems will need as much as half a trillion dollars over the next 25 years – of that, as much as $300 billion in the next five years alone just to maintain the current systems.
“Perhaps because it is underground and out of sight, it’s easy to let water and wastewater infrastructure deteriorate significantly so the challenge will be with us for decades to come,” said Barr. “Such systems require continuous inspection and maintenance, as well as major relining.”
ISG was formed by Barr, a veteran in growing successful companies, and acquired in a partnership led by Juniper Capital Management, a Dallas-based private equity firm whose focus includes investing in growth opportunities in the infrastructure, manufacturing and industrial service industries.
In 1986, as CEO with investors, Barr acquired a water and wastewater treatment contract operations and laboratory company. After growing sales by 400 percent in 10 years and receiving the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company award two years in a row, the water treatment division was sold to Culligan. The environmental laboratory’s name was changed to TestAmerica with revenues of $6 million.
As a result of a focused roll-up play led by Barr, TestAmerica grew to more than $350 million in sales with over 15 acquisitions as well as strategic divestments. Equity investors and financial institutions supported the company’s growth. Like he did with TestAmerica, Barr will seek to grow ISG in a similar manner.
Joining Barr at ISG’s corporate office in Asheville are Jamie Gilpin, serving as ISG’s chief financial officer, and Kathi Petersen, starting in April as director of research and communications. Their appointments are the result of connections made at The Collider: Barr met Gilpin as a fellow Collider member; Petersen currently serves as The Collider’s communications director.
“Infrastructure Services Group is a fantastic example of a company we want to emerge from The Collider, locating its corporate headquarters here and creating new jobs in Asheville,” said Collider Executive Director Megan Robinson. “ISG not only addresses a pressing issue exacerbated by climate change but also illustrates the valuable connections that are made daily at The Collider. We are excited about their continued presence and growth.”
Barr along with Lou Grabowsky, co-founder and managing director of Juniper Capital, were among more than 40 speakers at ClimateCon 2018’s Business of Climate Forum, held recently by The Collider. Barr and Grabowsky spoke on a panel that addressed optimizing business for a changing climate.