Waukesha, Wis. – OwnersEdge, Inc., a local 100% employee-owned holding company, has acquired two Minneapolis businesses – Rhino Communication Rentals and Infinity Wireless, Inc. Rhino will join OwnersEdge as a portfolio company while Infinity Wireless will merge into Baycom, Inc. The employees of both companies are now part of the OwnersEdge employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
Rhino is based in Maple Grove, Minn., and specializes in the design and deployment of rental communications solutions across a number of industries, including film and production, outdoor special events and construction. Infinity, also based in Maple Grove, is a Motorola Solutions channel partner that designs, deploys and maintains business-critical communication systems for a variety of commercial customers, including utility companies, manufacturing operations and hospitality enterprises.
The acquisition is significant as it represents the first that OwnersEdge has made outside of Wisconsin. For Baycom, entering the greater Minneapolis market is a natural geographic extension and Infinity provides an established local presence from which to deliver its entire suite of voice, video surveillance and data solutions.
“We believe that Rhino has significant growth potential and adds a synergistic communications business to our portfolio,” says Lisa Reardon, President, CEO and Chairman of OwnersEdge Inc. “Merging Infinity into Baycom gives us a brick-and-mortar location to serve our existing Baycom clients in Minnesota and allows us to introduce new products and services to clients Infinity currently works with.”
OwnersEdge, an $85 million ESOP holding company, now has five 100% employee-owned businesses – Baycom, Inc., CC&N, QComp Technologies, Rhino Communication Rentals and TourGuide Solutions – and more than 300 employees. As of May 1, all Rhino and Infinity employees became employee-owners of OwnersEdge.
Rob Dillon, who was recently named Executive Vice President of OwnersEdge, will have full P&L responsibility for Rhino and lead the company’s strategic planning and growth initiatives. In addition to Rhino, Dillon is also responsible for the financial performance of Baycom. Dillon was previously President and owner of Communications Service Wisconsin, LLC, which was merged into Baycom in 2017.
“The people and intellectual capital at Rhino and Infinity are fantastic. Their core values and customer-centric approach align perfectly with our way of doing business,” says Dillon. “In addition, the opportunity to enter such an attractive market like Minneapolis with a trusted local partner was very compelling. Beyond the commercial opportunities in this market, Baycom offers a variety of mission-critical voice, video surveillance and data solutions to public safety customers and we are looking forward to the opportunity to demonstrate those capabilities to the Minnesota market as well.”
Acquisition Completed in Five Months
Infinity and Rhino were founded in 1998 by the husband-and-wife team of Dave and Michelle Toutloff. Dillon initially met with the Toutloffs in January to discuss their business, changes in the marketplace and to get to know them as business owners. That first meeting quickly led to an acquisition discussion.
“Our talks with OwnersEdge progressed in just a few months because we realized the tremendous advantages they could bring to Rhino and Infinity. They have the technical resources, expertise, people and infrastructure to help grow our businesses,” says Dave Toutloff. “Most importantly, Michelle and I wanted to find a buyer that would need and care for our employees. The employee stock ownership business model and the OwnersEdge leadership team made us feel that our employees would be taken care of and our businesses would continue to flourish.”
The Toutloffs and their two children will continue to be involved with both businesses.
As an OwnersEdge portfolio company, an advisory board will be established for Rhino and it will adopt the OwnersEdge strategic planning process. OwnersEdge will also handle Rhino’s financial, human resources and information technology functions, along with integrating its employees into the ESOP.
“With this recent acquisition, we now have five companies in our portfolio. Our ultimate goal is to have eight businesses,” says Reardon. “We’re interested in companies that are poised for growth, have a healthy culture and are run by leaders who see the value in an ESOP model.”
To date, OwnersEdge has acquired six companies in the past four years. In 2016, OwnersEdge added Baycom and TourGuide Solutions. In 2017, OwnersEdge acquired Communications Service Wisconsin and merged it into Baycom. In 2018, QComp was brought into the OwnersEdge portfolio. This May, OwnersEdge acquired Rhino Communication Rentals and Infinity Wireless, the latter of which was merged into Baycom.
OwnersEdge Moves Headquarters
To accommodate the growth of two of its portfolio companies (CC&N and TourGuide Solutions), in May, OwnersEdge moved its corporate headquarters and 11 employees to N16 W23217 Stone Ridge Drive, Suite 250, Waukesha, from 3325 Gateway Rd., Brookfield where CC&N and TourGuide Solutions have offices.
Four OwnersEdge employees remain at the Brookfield location to support CC&N and TourGuide Solutions, including Mark Wild, a newly hired Executive Vice President. Since November 2018, Wild has been leading CC&N, TourGuide Solutions and QComp Technologies.
OwnersEdge Inc. was formed in January 2015 as an ESOP holding company. Each of its portfolio companies are 100% employee owned. An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an ownership model in which company employees have partial or full ownership of the value of the company, collectively. The benefits of ownership are typically considered part of a wealth development and/or retirement benefit strategy for employees. Each year, the value of the stock is established and reflected in employees’ accounts.