The Branch Group after the acquisition of L.A. Lacy
It’s been almost three months since J. William Karbach, CEO of the Branch Group, Inc. announced the purchase of the assets of L.A. Lacy, Inc. According to Jeff Lewis, President of Lacy, the market has already responded to the acquisition favorably. “Our vendors, suppliers, and owners all have recognized an immediate positive impact,” he observes.
Within the short time that the Branch Group and Lacy have joined forces in the construction industry, the companies have seen the mutual benefits of the acquisition emerge more clearly. Karbach points out how the acquisition provides the “back-office services” hitherto unavailable to Lacy that “free up…[the company] to do what they do best, which is to pursue work and execute it.” Lewis says that the Branch Group has already brought “a tremendous amount of sophistication” to this area.
RAISING THE BAR WITH NEW RESOURCES
Lacy now also has the financial stability to secure and pursue a promising future. “We are strengthened with an improved balance sheet, bonding capacity, and just the ability to not only compete but really succeed in this market and grow our business in the way that we want to,” Lewis explains.
This new financial stability, however, enables the company to do more than just take on more projects. “We think we can really raise the bar of our team itself and recruit the best talent the market has to offer,” says Lewis. With the services and support of its parent company, Lacy can now focus on recruiting field resources such as mechanics, plumbers, and welders, as well as developing its employee programs to train entry-level employees who can build a career with the company.
NEW TALENT, NEW OPPORUNITY
Karbach says the acquisition furnishes the Branch Group with additional management and leadership talent from Lacy. This additional talent in concert with the Design-Build, Prefabrication, and Building Information Modeling resources of Lacy’s sister company, G.J. Hopkins (based in Roanoke, VA), will contribute towards the Branch Group’s efforts to fully leverage its latent capacity. “We have our capacity already,” Karbach explains, “and we’re looking for ways…to use it up, because the work is there.”
Another way the Branch Group is leveraging their capacity is by developing a new position they call Program Management. According to Karbach, this position will help clients anticipate unforeseen challenges and apply contemporary solutions to old challenges through the Design-Build and Special Projects approach. Tim Wheeler, a former member one of the subsidiaries’ project management team with experience in both the General Construction and Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing businesses, will take on this role.
SITES SET ON THE FUTURE
Lastly, Karbach says that the Lacy acquisition “is our signal to the market that we are serious about this business.” The Branch Group has other ambitions. “We are certainly not planning on stopping in Charlottesville,” Karbach continues. “We are interested in pursuing additional business in other Mid-Atlantic markets.”
THE PARENT COMPANY
Headquartered in Roanoke, VA, Branch Group, Inc., touches all aspects of the built environment through G.J. Hopkins, Inc. (another MEP business), Branch Civil, Inc., and Branch and Associates, Inc. The organization is committed to exemplary performance and to developing business relationships sustained by mutual benefit and respect. In 2017, Virginia Business Magazine ranked Branch Group, Inc., as the largest privately held company in Virginia, west of Richmond, and Engineering News-Record ranked the Branch Group, Inc., #209 of the Top 400 largest construction companies in the United States.
In 2017, Branch Group had total revenues of nearly $400 million and a workforce of over 800 employees. Through its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), it ensures that every employee has a vested interest in its success.