Huron Capital’s Sciens Building Solutions completes second acquisition
DETROIT—Huron Capital, an operationally focused private equity firm based here, announced its fire detection and security services platform, Sciens Building Solutions, has acquired W.W. Gay Fire & Integrated Systems Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla.-based company that has been in business for 42 years. Sciens acquired its first company, WSA Systems of Boca Raton, Fla., in September of 2016.
In 2015, Huron Capital formed Sciens in partnership with former Siemens executive, Terry Heath, to pursue a buy-and-build investment strategy in the fire detection and security services sector.
“We are building a national fire and security service business with a presence in most major metros across the country,” Heath, CEO of Sciens, told Security Systems News. “There are a couple of big players in the market, but there is also a lot of fragmentation with hundreds of very capable independent dealers. So, we felt that there was a good opportunity to build out a national player that can take the local entrepreneurism and innovation of an independent dealer, retain their culture and spirit, while leveraging it to build a national platform to serve customers locally, regionally and nationally.”
Heath explained that Sciens’ “invest and grow” strategy is more like “a partnership,” as it is founded on several principles, including focusing on preserving people (including management), culture and expertise at the local level, which provides continuity to employee and customer relationships, while sharing best practices across the platform to ensure that all locations have the opportunity to benefit from successes in other markets.
In addition to providing growth capital, Sciens offers a business owner the chance to become an equity partner in Sciens, and to share in future equity upside of the larger Sciens platform.
“It’s very much an invest-and-grow strategy—not a cost-cutting strategy,” said Heath. “The market is very big, it is very vibrant, it is growing, so we think that our team can bring a lot of knowledge and expertise to independent dealers along with the necessary capital to help them grow. Many of them are looking to partner with us to help take their business to the next level and we provide development opportunities for their employees while providing a broader offering to their customers.”
W.W. Gay is a provider of comprehensive fire detection and fire suppression systems, as well as data/security and electrical services. The company, which primarily serves the healthcare, military/government, education/institution, commercial and industrial/utility end markets, has been owned and operated since 1991 by Nandu Paryani, who will continue to lead the business locally as a division of Sciens.
"I have known Terry Heath for many years as he is a very well-regarded executive in the fire industry,” said Paryani in the announcement. “I am excited to work with him and the Huron Capital team as we look to grow W.W. Gay and the Sciens platform.”
“We are delighted to add W.W. Gay to Sciens’ expanding platform,” said Heath. “I have known Nandu for many years and he has built a great company that brings tremendous capabilities to Sciens and will help us strengthen our offerings in key areas such as specialty suppression and increase our presence in important vertical markets.”
Jim Mahoney, partner at Huron Capital, added, “We are thrilled to bring W.W. Gay into the Sciens family. We continue to see momentum with other acquisition candidates as a result of the strong network that Terry Heath and board members, Mark Levy and Rick LeBlanc, have brought to this initiative.”
The entire Huron Capital-Sciens team is excited to leverage capabilities across the platform as “we bring on more deals and think about what it is that we do in Los Angeles that we can leverage in Jacksonville, for example,” said Heath.
Heath said Sciens hopes to add a few more companies to the platform this year, and has ambitious plans for long-term growth. “Over the next five years, we are looking to be in 20-25 locations, and that can easily be 40-50 locations if you look at the big picture over the next 10 years.”
He continued, “We are creating a fun environment where owners can be part of the next chapter for their companies, employees can develop their careers and customers can benefit from our obsession on their satisfaction.”