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Benchmark International successfully facilitated the acquisition of Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc. to CES inc.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc.Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc. (BWLK) by CES, Inc. BWLK provides land surveying, mapping, civil engineering, and land planning services in Florida.

BWLK has been in the land surveying, planning, and engineering services business since 1987. The company’s proven track record, commitment to high-quality, professional work, combined with its advanced engineering and surveying technology has enabled BWLK to establish a solid reputation and build long-lasting client relationships.

CES, Inc., a Maine-based firm of engineers, environmental scientists, and land surveyors is expanding its footprint to the Southeast. Denis St. Peter, President and CEO of CES, commented, “CES, Inc. has been utilizing M&A as one of our strategies to help achieve our growth goals over the past several years. By working with Sunny Garten, Leo Vanderschuur, and their team at Benchmark International to acquire Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc., we were able to identify and perform preliminary evaluations of several companies quickly and accurately within our targeted geographic area. Benchmark represented several prospective sellers that fit our criteria, and the responsiveness and quality of their initial teaser summaries and more detailed confidential information memorandums allowed us to optimize our search efforts to end up with the best company for CES, Inc. Their significant knowledge of the acquisition process, the sophistication of their systems (e.g., online data exchange), and their willingness to communicate deal structures based on their past experiences were all valuable to the success of our acquisition.”  

Scott Whitaker, president and one of BWLK’s owners stated, “On behalf of everyone at BWLK, we are delighted to join the CES team. The more we learned about CES’ approach to its employees and clients, including its Best Places to Work recognition and past project awards, the more we grew excited about our partnership. By joining our professionals with theirs, we will offer new opportunities to our employees and continue our dedication to our clients and provide them the same high-quality services they enjoy.”

“I am honored to join CES as a Shareholder and to help be the link between Maine and Florida,” said Ahmad Kareh, also an owner of BWLK. “CES’ depth of engineering and environmental experts means that we will be able to collaborate with shared expertise to provide our clients with additional capabilities to reach their project’s goals.”

Regarding the deal, Transaction Director Leo VanderSchuur at Benchmark International stated, “It was a pleasure to represent BWLK in this strategic transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.” Senior Associate, Sunny Garten, added, “Scott, Ahmad and their team were wonderful to work with. They were engaging and always responsive to diligence requests. We’re excited to see that their legacy will be preserved and enhanced through this transaction with CES.”

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Top 10 Industries for Private Equity Investment Revealed

A study by Private Equity Info has identified the top 10 industries that private equity firms have been acquiring during 2018. Below is a breakdown of the industries along with why they have been so popular with private equity firms.

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Benchmark international Facilitates the Acquisition of Urban Design Group PC to Dunaway Associates LP

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Urban Design Group PC to Dunaway Associates LP. Benchmark International worked hard to find a buyer that was a good cultural fit for the business and would allow each of the three principals achieve their personal goals.

Urban Design Group PC is a Texas-based professional firm that provides a full range of civil engineering, urban design, and surveying services to a diverse group of clientele in the Austin market. UDG has been "shaping the urban environment" since 1981. UDG brings 37 years of engineering experience to the Austin, Texas area, and this experience will be beneficial in the years to come through their new partnership.

A professional services company with over 60 years of delivering results and an expansive footprint in the state of Texas, Dunaway was an obvious choice for a buyer. Dunaway provides services including civil engineering, structural engineering, planning and landscape architecture, environmental and surveying. The acquisition of UDG will provide Dunaway with surveying and planning operations , two services the firm offered in its other offices but were missing in Austin.

Laura Toups of Urban Design Group stated “The Benchmark International Austin team brought invaluable results to this transaction for us. They put our personal and professional objectives at the front of their objectives in driving this deal through to the end. They presented us with a variety of potential buyers to fit our needs. In the end, they were able to provide a buyer that would culturally align with our vision. We would highly recommend the Benchmark International team of experts to anyone planning to successfully exit their business.”

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Mergers and Acquisitions in the Architecture and Engineering Industry

Over the last few years the architecture and engineering industry has seen a marked increase in mergers and acquisitions activity. Since reemerging from the depths of the recession, the industry has been ripe with activity; with everything from the expansion of the ever growing reach of firms like DLR, Perkins & Will, and HOK, to the merging of small businesses to facilitate the retirement goals of local industry experts. Considering there is typically a few year lag between economic fluctuations and corresponding changes in M&A activity, as the bull market run is approaching nine years, this type of inorganic growth activity shows no signs of slowing down.

As an industry agnostic mergers and acquisition leader, Benchmark International is in touch with leaders from a variety of industries on a daily basis. We’ve seen significant movement from corporate development teams in a number of industries which are beginning to expand their services to grow not only their customer base, but also to gain additional wallet share of their existing clients. This type of cross pollination has occurred in interior design, surveying, construction, architecture, engineering, and technology. We currently are in the midst of closing a transaction which would allow a specialized electrical engineer which focuses on the commercial and healthcare markets to broaden their end market to include the hospitality sector, and their service offerings to include the upstream design, planning, and engineering components of a building’s IT infrastructure needs.

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Austin, Texas Proves to be an Engineering Hotspot

We’ve all heard it, the best measurement of a city’s growth is the number of cranes and projects going up. We’ve all heard buzzwords about Austin, TX being an “IT” city, but it’s not just Austin that is sprawling with new developments and high-rises. Stop and think about this type of buzzing activity throughout a 70 mile stretch from San Antonio, the home of the Alamo, to Austin-Roundrock. This, my friends, is the I-35 corridor, a stretch of interstate highway that connects San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin and Dallas. Almost everyone has benefited one way or another from the massive growth happening in the region. Better jobs, more activities for the young professionals, and an overall increased quality of life. The growth in the region has, of course, brought upon Central Texas its unique set of challenges that one does not think of
right away.

No, it is not practically unaffordable real estate and rent. The biggest challenge lies in making these interconnected cities feel like home 24/7. Going home sure in the knowledge that the roads will be safe, our lights will turn on, and that water will flow when we take a shower after a long jog in Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake for you non-Austinites).


With the increased growth in population over last decade, the Central Texas region, that is known as the i-35 Corridor, has experienced its unique set of challenges. While home builders and apartment complexes make fortunes from overpriced property values, there is an unsung hero behind the scenes: the engineers who make all this growth possible. As mentioned previously, everyone expects their roads to be safe, their lights to turn on, and their water to run. In Texas, these are all major engineering feats. No, we’re not just flatland sitting on enormous oil and gas reserves. Central Texas is home to the Hill Country, one of nature’s gifts to the world; and as its name implies, it has plenty of hills.

So, how does one exactly get water to flow up the hill? Well, we didn’t know the answer either, and quite frankly, we still don’t, but some of the Benchmark International teammates live on top of hills. So, not having water up there would be a problem. Engineering firms in Texas have long solved problems before the growth spurt in Central Texas. The Colorado River dam for example, or the Houston Port.

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Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the sale of Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins to RTM Engineering Consultants

Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. is a leading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering firm specializing in commercial construction. The company has extensive experience in several different industries and has completed numerous projects for national retailers and hospitality companies throughout the US. Located in Springfield, MO, and Overland Park, KS, the company is licensed to perform work in all forty-eight contiguous states. Over its thirty-five years in operation, Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. has successfully completed hundreds of large-scale retail and hospitality projects.

Rod Finkle, President of Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. commented, “We are excited about the acquisition and RTM’s future capabilities with the firm. Benchmark International’s transaction team provided a great buyer that fits perfectly with the culture of our company. Tyrus, and the team quickly sourced a motivated buyer which eventually turned into our exit strategy. We would like to extend a special thanks to the team that quickly brought us results in finding the right buyer.”

Tyrus O’Neill, Managing Director at Benchmark International, stated, “It was a pleasure to represent Rod and the firm in this transaction, and on behalf of Benchmark International, we are extremely pleased with the outcome. The acquirer and seller have numerous strategic synergies which has led to a great process and result. Overall, this has been a thoroughly satisfying experience and we wish both parties the best of luck moving forward”

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