Beam Reach Education Adds On

Beam Reach Education, a portfolio company of Summer Street Capital Partners, has acquired The Refrigeration School Inc., a Phoenix-based operator of career schools for heating ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. No financial terms were disclosed.


Beam Reach Education’s Tulsa Welding School has acquired The Refrigeration School, Inc., one of the nation’s largest and best-known accredited single-campus career schools for heating ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), with more than 500 students and 45 instructors and administrators.

“The Refrigeration School was founded in 1965 by my parents, and our students, faculty and administrators are like family,” said Elizabeth Loney-Cline, who is retiring as president of RSI. “We were very deliberate about who we turned my family’s legacy over to, and I know it’s in good hands with Tulsa Welding School and Beam Reach Education.”

The Phoenix company’s new owners intend to retain the RSI brand, maintain and grow its local workforce, invest in equipment and technology, and increase local enrollment while seeking opportunities to expand within and outside Arizona. RSI’s outstanding HVAC/R curriculum will also be offered at the nation’s largest accredited welding school’s campuses in Tulsa, OK, and Jacksonville, FL.

“RSI’s founders, management, administrators, and faculty have consistently demonstrated the highest ethics and values, as well as a zeal for compliance, providing generations of students with lifelong careers and an outstanding return on their education investment,” said Larry Brown, president and chief executive officer of Tulsa Welding School and its corporate parent Beam Reach Education. “We intend to continue the great legacy of Elizabeth and her family.”

RSI’s placement rate has exceeded 90 percent for each of the last three years. Its students earn an average of $16.25 per hour, or about $34,000 per year, after graduating from RSI educational programs which include: Electrical Technologies (ET), Refrigeration Technologies (RT), Electro-Mechanical Technologies (EMT) and Mechanical Maintenance Engineering (MME). All of the school’s HVAC/R instructors are North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certified, and its campus is located at 4210 East Washington Street in Phoenix.


The RSI acquisition is part of Tulsa Welding School and Beam Reach’s strategy to grow organically while pursuing acquisition opportunities among skilled-trade career schools.

Tulsa Welding School has grown enrollment consistently since the Fall of 2008, when the career-education company and its two campuses were acquired by Beam Reach and its majority shareholder, Summer Street Capital Partners LLC. Beam Reach has expanded Tulsa Welding School’s faculty and administrative staff while investing in excess of $600,000 in technology and equipment, including 150 new welding machines, and other capital projects.

While financial terms of the RSI deal were not disclosed, Summer Street’s $300 million of managed capital enables Beam Reach to make equity investments in the post-secondary career school industry by acquiring institutions with revenues in the range of $2 million to $50 million. In addition to buyouts like the RSI acquisition, Beam Reach intends to invest alongside talented managers, bringing capital and resources to support growth and acquisitions.

The Beam Reach team is led by experienced career education leaders who are committed to providing outstanding industry-driven career education for students, a rewarding work environment for employees, and a fair return on investment for all stakeholders. Brown, who has more than 35 years of career education experience, previously served as vice chairman, chief operating officer and president of Lincoln Educational Services Corporation. During his tenure at Lincoln Educational Services, the company grew to more than $300 million in revenue, 18,000 students, and 2,700 employees at 37 schools in 17 states.

Beam Reach’s chief marketing officer, Dawn Bravo, previously served as divisional vice president of marketing and admissions at Career Education Corporation. She also held numerous leadership positions with companies such as Universal Technical Institute and Lincoln Educational Services Corporation.


The Refrigeration School, Inc. ( of Phoenix is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC ), which named RSI a “School of Distinction” based on its re-accreditation. RSI was established in 1965 and is one of the largest and best-known single-campus HVAC/R schools in the United States.

About Beam Reach Education and tulsa welding school

Beam Reach Education ( focuses on the acquisition, growth and development of specialized career education schools, particularly skilled-trade programs designed to address the nation’s growing infrastructure needs. Beam Reach makes equity investments in the post-secondary career school industry by acquiring institutions with revenues in the range of $2 million to $50 million. The company’s Tulsa Welding School ( subsidiary was founded in 1949 and has grown into the largest accredited private welding school in the United States with campuses in Tulsa, Okla. and Jacksonville, Fla. Tulsa Welding School is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and is a member of the American Welding Society and the Career College Association.


Beam Reach Education’s majority shareholder is Summer Street Capital Partners LLC. Founded in 1999, the Buffalo, NY-based private equity fund with approximately $300 million of committed capital is focused on investing in small-market companies. The firm invests alongside talented managers, bringing capital and resources to support acquisitions and aggressive growth strategies. Summer Street’s investors include leading pension funds, insurance companies, and banking institutions. Summer Street’s investments support management buy-outs, family transitions, corporate divestitures, growth financings, and recapitalizations. The investment team is complemented by a team of experienced operating partners who are integrally involved in assisting portfolio companies. Visit for additional information.