Apis & Heritage Capital Partners Complete First Two Transactions as Part of Their Mission to Close the Racial Wealth Gap Through a New Employee-Led Buyout Model
Black-Led Investment Fund A&H Transitions denverto Apex Plumbing Co. and El Pasobased at Accent Landscape Contractors Inc. into 100% employee-owned businesses, which benefits BIPOC’s large workforce and all workers in general
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Apis & Heritage Capital Partners (A&H), an investment fund that finances the conversion of businesses with large black and brown workforces into 100% employee-owned businesses, announced today that it has converted denver-based Apex Plumbing Co. and El Paso-based Accent Landscaping Contractors Inc. in companies 100% owned by employees.
“We are extremely proud to announce these groundbreaking partnerships with Apex Plumbing and Accent Landscape Contractors. Not only will they preserve jobs and generate wealth for employees, but they will also help ensure the long-term sustainability of these great companies in their communities,” said Todd Leverettefounding partner A&H. “We are grateful to all of our partners, including Democracy at Work Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation, and to the visionary owners, Brian and DeAnn Wilkie from Apex Plumbing and Cameron Stevens from Accent Landscape Contractors, for sharing our vision of increasing economic equity and entrusting our fund with helping their employees take ownership of their future. »
A&H finds businesses with a large workforce of color where the owner is ready to retire and provides financing and technical support to convert businesses to 100% employee-owned businesses. Their new “employee-led buyout” (ELBO) model helps workers create wealth through ownership, especially black and brown workers who have historically been excluded from these opportunities.
“Bridging the racial wealth gap is why we created A&H. Today, more than 40% of all Americans surveyed say they couldn’t easily pay an unexpected amount. $400 medical bill while about 2/3 of black and Latino workers retire with no savings. While the average employee of an employee-owned company in the United States approaching retirement has $147,000 on his ESOP account1which we believe will be transformative for our workers, their families and their communities,” said Phil Reevesfounding partner A&H.
“Today is a great day for Apex Plumbing, and especially for our employees who will now become owners. We have built a great company in 35 years through the dedication and hard work of our team,” said Brian Wilkieco-founder and owner, Apex Plumbing. “By converting our company to an employee-owned company, we’ve given everyone on the team the opportunity to reap the rewards of their hard work through stock ownership. The future is literally in their hands, and “We couldn’t be happier for our company and its new owners, our employees. We deeply appreciate the A&H team for funding, supporting and preparing our employees for this transition.”
“I could have sold my business to a competitor or to private equity, but I know what can happen next – the culture changes and people are laid off. I didn’t want that for my employees. They are like family for me, and they A&H gave me a fair market price, didn’t have me carry a big seller’s note, cut all the bureaucracy, and showed me throughout the process that my people were going to be able to drive Accent forward. I want to express my gratitude to A&H and its investment partners for making this transition to employee ownership possible,” said Cameron StevensFounder and Owner, Accent Landscape Contractors.
A&H, which is black-owned and invests in businesses where at least 40% of the workforce is made up of workers of color, announced its first closing at $30 million in June 2021 through its flagship Legacy Fund I. The fund has been backed by investments from the Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Zero Gap Fund, The Skoll Foundation, Capricorn Investments, Gary Community Investments, Ascension Investment Management and many other impact investing institutions and individuals.
About New Employee-Owned Companies
In business since 1985, Apex Plumbing Co. is one of the largest residential, commercial and municipal sewer and waterline repair and replacement providers in the denver Subway station. Known as the “Basement Guys”, they have successfully completed tens of thousands of sewer repairs and water main replacements. Apex also performs emergency repairs and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure for cities and districts and provides excavation services and turnkey surface restoration solutions for concrete, asphalt and landscaping. Apex currently has a staff of approximately 50 people, of which approximately 50% are Latinos. Senior funding was provided by UMB Bank (www.UMB.com).
About Accent Landscape Contractors Inc.
Accent Landscape Contractors Inc. has been incorporated into Texas in 1979. Accent engages in commercial landscaping, irrigation construction work and maintenance services. As certified irrigation specialists and skilled commercial landscape developers, the company specializes in large-scale, commercial-grade projects for private, public, and local/state/federal clients, with a current customer base of over 70 active accounts. . Accent has a staff of approximately 120 full-time workers, the majority of whom are low-income, hourly-paid Latin American workers. The main funding was provided by Woodforest National Bank (www.woodforest.com).
About Apis & Heritage Capital
Apis & Heritage Capital is using a new “employee-led buyout” (ELBO©) structure to provide workers of color and workers in essential industries with the nation’s most powerful wealth-building tool: equity in a thriving business. A&H finances the acquisition of large businesses from retired owners/founders and converts them into 100% employee-owned businesses. ELBO© uses the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which has more than 50 years of bipartisan policy and regulatory support, to secure significant tax benefits for eligible businesses and wealth-creation opportunities for employees. To facilitate ELBO©, A&H coordinates senior financing for some of America’s most forward-thinking lending institutions. A&H and its operating partner, the nonprofit Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), invest in training to create an ownership culture that ensures all employee owners, from management to the shop floor, are engaged in a joint effort to create long-term profitable and satisfying workplaces. A&H was incubated at DAWI with seed funding provided by the Kendeda Fund, the Kellogg Foundation and support from Citi Community Development.
About the Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy founded on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology and innovation to enable individuals, families and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our goal is to develop renewable energies for all, to stimulate economic mobility and to ensure equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, subscribe to our newsletter at foundationrockefeller.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
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SOURCEThe Rockefeller Foundation