Frontenac refinances A.H. Harris

Frontenac has completed a recapitalization of A.H. Harris, a West Hartford, Connecticut-based provider of construction supplies and equipment. No financial terms were disclosed.

Chicago, IL – Frontenac, a leading private equity firm focused on investing in the lower middle market, has completed a recapitalization of A.H. Harris, a leading distributor of construction supplies and equipment. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1916 and headquartered in West Hartford, CT, A.H. Harris distributes building products and equipment to the heavy & highway, commercial, industrial and residential construction markets. A.H. Harris has a special focus on forming & shoring, sitework, concrete repair and restoration, safety, tools, rebar and tilt-up. With 39 locations across the Northeast and Southeast, A.H. Harris is well positioned in a market that is staged for growth. A.H. Harris has earned a leadership role in the concrete construction industry by providing innovative technology and superior customer service while maintaining its historical values of service and integrity.

“Frontenac’s acquisition of A.H. Harris is consistent with our history of investing in industrial distribution businesses with leading franchises that are poised for substantial growth,” said Michael Langdon, Managing Director at Frontenac. “Frontenac is the ideal partner for the next stage of the company’s growth due to our strategy of bringing seasoned outside talent to the company, and our track record of successfully building industrial distributors to their next level of growth and profitability. We will support A.H. Harris as it continues its demonstrated organic growth trajectory and its pursuit of strategic and complementary acquisitions.”

Joining the Board of Directors as Chairman at closing is Frontenac CEO1ST® executive partner and 30 year industrial distribution veteran Joe Eichelberger, who is the former CEO of Industrial Controls, a distributor of industrial automation products and HVAC components. Previously, Eichelberger spent many years in senior roles with Daikin-McQuay International, Siemens Building Technologies and Johnson Controls. He currently serves as a board member at Ohio Transmission Corporation, Galco Industrial Electronics and Kele.

“This announcement marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for A.H. Harris,” said Eichelberger. “We look forward to partnering with management to enhance the culture of customer service, teamwork, and high performance that A.H. Harris has established over the past 100 years. We are excited to assist in building the next stage of growth initiatives to become the industry leading platform for specialty construction distribution.”

According to President and CEO Kimberly Corwin, the recapitalization will support the company’s future growth plans. “Our company goal for 2015 is to continue driving strong growth, organically and through acquisition. Our new partnership with Frontenac and the access to strategic insight and additional capital will be valuable in executing our ambitious expansion plans in 2015 and beyond by growing our team of Associates, expanding our base of products, and capitalizing on market expansion opportunities.”

“For the past 4 years, A.H. Harris has been strategically developing foundational platforms for growth. I am very pleased to have Frontenac as our partner to take our business to the next level, both financially and strategically,” said Corwin.

About A.H. Harris:
A.H. Harris was founded in 1916 as a small, family-owned and operated trucking company in Connecticut. Over the decades, the company has evolved into the leading construction supply company on the East Coast it is today. A.H. Harris distributes building products to the heavy & highway, commercial, industrial and residential markets with the same goal in mind as its founding fathers: To provide “the highest quality products and professional services” to its customers. The company still runs one of the largest trucking fleets, but today’s customers include state DOT’s, contractors, large construction companies, municipalities, and homeowners. With 39 locations from Maine to North Carolina, it is rapidly growing and has earned a leadership role in its industry by providing quality construction solutions, while maintaining its historical values of service and integrity.

About Frontenac:
Frontenac, based in Chicago and founded in 1971, is a private equity firm that works with proven operating leaders to grow successful mid-sized companies through an executive-centric strategy known as CEO1ST®. This approach is built upon partnering with a strong incumbent management team and complementing the current team with outside talent that has outstanding industry knowledge and a strong performance record. In partnership with management, Frontenac identifies, acquires, and builds market leading companies through operational excellence and transformational acquisitions.

Frontenac has a long and successful history of investing in industrial distribution businesses, including Ohio Transmission Corporation, GNAP LLC, H-E Parts International and Sigma International, among others. More broadly, the firm focuses on investing in lower middle market buyout transactions in the industrial, food and services industries. It has built a leading franchise working with over 225 owners of mid-sized businesses, almost always families, founders or entrepreneurs, as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement, and growth planning. For more information, please visit