Return to search

HKW recaps Protect Plus Air

Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company Inc has recapitalized Hickory, North Carolina-based Protect Plus Air Holdings LLC, a maker of retail air filters and related products for home HVAC systems. No financial terms were disclosed.


Indianapolis, IN – Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company, Inc. (“HKW”) announced that it closed on the recapitalization of Protect Plus Air Holdings, LLC (“Protect Plus Air” or “Company”) on September 19, 2017. Protect Plus Air was founded by the Robert W. Lackey family and is headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina. The company is a top manufacturer and distributor of retail air filters and related products for home HVAC systems. For additional information on Protect Plus Air, please visit

Robert W. Lackey, Jr., CEO of Protect Plus Air, stated, “On behalf of the Protect Plus Air management team, we are excited about the investment by HKW. We look forward to retaining our current staff and maintaining our headquarters in Hickory. We are positioning ourselves for further growth with this new structure, while maintaining a significant investment in the Company. HKW did what they said they would do from the very first meeting all the way to the closing table. Their approach gives us continued confidence in the partnership between our firms as we embark on the next stage of our strategic plan.”

“The Protect Plus Air opportunity embodies what we look for in our platform investments,” said Luke Phenicie, HKW’s Lead Transaction Partner. “This is a highly talented and passionate management team who were looking for a partner who could provide additional capital and strategic resources to help them grow. Their product line is highly attractive to HKW, as their business model creates predictable recurring revenue throughout the varying stages of the economic cycle. Consumers are more focused than ever on a healthy living environment, and we believe the company fits nicely with that long-term growth trend.”

Chris Eline, HKW Vice President, added, “Management is an excellent cultural fit with HKW. The Company has a well-defined growth plan and we are excited to work with the executive team to achieve our shared goals.”
Protect Plus Air was represented in this transaction by Patrick Heinrich of The VSTH Group, LLC, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

About HKW – HKW is a private equity firm founded in 1903 with offices in Indianapolis and New York. Since 1982, HKW has sponsored 55 platform transactions of lower middle-market companies throughout North America, as well as 61 add-on acquisitions. For further information on HKW, please visit