Saunders takes 50% stake in Heath Construction

FORT COLLINS – Denver-based Saunders Construction Inc. has purchased a 50 percent stake in Fort Collins-based Heath Construction LLC in a deal that will help Heath grow and land more complex projects as the Northern Colorado development scene continues to boom.

Terms of the deal between the two privately held companies were not disclosed.

Heath, founded in 1977, will retain its branding and operate as a standalone company, with Randy DeMario continuing to run the company as president. DeMario, who took over the company from founder Bob Heath, retains 50 percent ownership of Heath Construction, while Saunders owns the other half.

Saunders’ chairman and chief executive, John Beeble, will serve on Heath’s board of directors and collaborate with DeMario on Heath’s strategy and long-term planning.

DeMario said in a phone interview Thursday that Heath is expanding its facilities at 141 Racquette Drive, and has ramped up recently to more than 50 employees, with another 10 to 15 new hires likely over the coming year. The company’s portfolio includes new facilities for both Woodward Inc. and Avago Technologies in recent years, as well as projects for the city of Fort Collins and Colorado State University.

DeMario said the growth of the Northern Colorado economy is accelerating rapidly, creating a need for contractors to take on larger, more complex projects. But he said many developers also still prefer to work with local contractors even as the scope of their projects expand.

“With Saunders’ investment into Heath, Heath can grow to the point of meeting or exceeding all of their needs and grow more quickly than a medium-sized contractor can grow organically,” DeMario said.

Heath does about $50 million per year in annual revenue compared to the roughly $400 million per year of Saunders. DeMario said Heath will benefit from Saunders providing professional, administrative and field manpower for new projects. Saunders’ investment will also help Heath with technology upgrades, increased bonding capacity and access to Saunders’ relationships with subcontractors and other project owners.

For Saunders, the deal means a local ownership stake in a company poised to expand its role in Northern Colorado’s development. Beeble said partnering with Heath and helping grow that company was more attractive than trying to expand Saunders’ own footprint and possibly take years to gain traction as a local player.

 “It’s really an opportunity for us to grow in the Northern Colorado market,” Beeble said. “We think it’s a great market. They’ve got a long, strong history throughout Northern Colorado, and we believe it’s just a great way to be in the market, partnering with Randy.”

Saunders, which employs about 550 people, has completed significant projects throughout the Front Range and Rocky Mountain region, a list that includes the student recreation center and indoor-practice facility at CSU and Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette.

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