WARNER ROBINS, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Building Industry Partners LLC (“BIP”), the leading building industry- focused private equity investment firm, has formed a new regional lumber and building materials (“LBM”) pro dealer organization, Southeast LBM Interests (“Southeast LBM”), in partnership with pro dealer industry veteran, Roger Farmer. BIP and Mr. Farmer formed Southeast LBM to build a best-in-class, people-first regional LBM pro dealer organization in the southeast U.S., commencing with the acquisition of the assets of the Warner Robins family of businesses: Warner Robins Building Supply Co., Henson Building Materials, and Mountain Building Supply (collectively, “Warner Robins Supply”).
Founded in 1947, Warner Robins Supply is a longstanding independent, eight-location LBM pro dealer, serving local, regional and national builders and contractors, as well as do-it-yourself (“DIY”) customers, in Warner Robins, Georgia and across seven rural markets throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The business has a 70+ year legacy of integrity and service, generates over $80 million in annual sales and employs over 190 people.
The transaction addressed the Bayer family’s succession planning needs for the business. Mark Bayer will remain as an advisor to Southeast LBM and Chairman of Warner Robins Supply post-transaction, after more than 40 years leading the organization. Mr. Farmer will serve as President of the platform Southeast LBM and succeed Mr. Bayer as President of Warner Robins Supply. The businesses will retain their longstanding business’ names in the market.
Matt Ogden, Founder & Managing Partner of BIP, said, “We’re excited to kick off our new regional LBM platform with these businesses as our foundation. The Southeast has strong housing construction fundamentals and it’s a region we have deep affinity for, close strategic relationships in, and we’ve wanted to invest here for many years. On the personal front, four generations of my grandfathers are buried in Southeast Georgia, and I spent my annual holidays as a child in Tallahassee (FL) — so I have extra fire for building a business in this region. We’re buying longstanding, high-integrity businesses here, with such good people, who are excited to be part of a bold, but realistic, growth vision for the future. We’re introducing a new proven, growth-minded LBM leader in Roger Farmer (46), growth capital, and a commitment to elevate the business’ employee value proposition and operational performance.”
Mr. Ogden also noted, “Southeast LBM is BIP’s first new platform under our people-first purpose — we’ll be implementing broad-based employee ownership programs, with supporting programs designed to set in motion the virtuous cycle of investing in people. There is a wonderful opportunity ahead for this family of companies, our employees, our customers, and all of our business partners.”
Mark Bayer, a second-generation owner of the Warner Robins Supply, commented, “BIP has significant experience creating value in the businesses in which they invest. The Warner Robins Building Supply, Henson Building Materials, and Mountain Building Supply teams are energized about the prospects for the future with BIP. I believe our combined talents and capabilities will deliver great results for our customers.”
Roger Farmer joins as President of Southeast LBM, and will lead the company’s future growth across Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond. Mr. Farmer has led and grown market-leading LBM businesses throughout the U.S. for over 25 years. He most recently served as Executive Vice President of a sixth-generation family-owned pro dealer, Swift Supply, where he led substantial growth across ten locations in Alabama and Florida, including green fielding millwork, component, and showroom facilities. Mr. Farmer’s earlier career spanned pro dealers 84 Lumber, Hope Lumber, and American Building Supply.
Pat Mascia, Partner & Head of Strategic Development for BIP, said, “BIP’s core business model is to sponsor the best and brightest operators in the building products industry in realizing their entrepreneurial dreams. Roger has grown up in the LBM industry and has created success for others and himself at all levels of the organizations he has led — including in small markets, big markets, with national builders, custom builders, and DIYers, and across commodities, components, and hardlines. We are thrilled and honored to sponsor Roger in pursuing his entrepreneurial vision. We are beginning with acquiring a business he’s long known and admired — the Warner Robins family of companies, in markets he knows well —Georgia and the Southeast U.S., where he’s had terrific success growing businesses of this complexion before.”
Roger Farmer commented, “I’ve been fortunate to work for outstanding family-owned businesses during my career. The formation of Southeast LBM gives me a great opportunity to become an owner, and to establish and lead the strategic direction of a great organization. I have the utmost respect for, and trust in, BIP, as well as a great admiration for the Warner Robins family of companies. I’m looking forward to partnering with the teams at BIP and Warner Robins Building Supply, Henson Building Materials, and Mountain Building Supply on this growth journey.”
BIP Operating Partner Nick Massengill, a Georgia native and greater Atlanta-based LBM veteran, will be part of the BIP Investment Team supporting Southeast LBM’s success. Nick previously served as President of Robert Bowden Inc., where he led the business with people-first principles to extraordinary performance and equity value creation, transitioned the organization to employee ownership in 2001, and led its sale to BMC in 2015.
The Warner Robins family of companies was introduced to BIP by Walt Kurek and Mike Collins at Building Industry Advisors (www.buildingia.com), a building products-focused investment banking boutique established in 2012.
Other partners involved in this opportunity were Holland & Knight LLP and Fifth Third Bank. Intrinsic LLC, CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., and DSG Benefits Group were also instrumental.
About Building Industry Partners
Building Industry Partners (“BIP”) is the leading private equity investment firm focused on the U.S. building industry. Founded by Matt Ogden in 2008, BIP is headquartered in Boston, with partners across the U.S. The firm is led by Matt and Partners Pat Mascia, Pete Robinson, and Stu Kliman and supported by the firm’s Operating Partners. BIP invests its Partners’ own capital, as well as that of a number of strategic, like-minded investors, including business leaders and family offices affiliated with the U.S. building industry.
In 2020, BIP redefined its purpose: Build exceptional and enduring businesses, generate world class investment returns, and contribute to elevating the building industry and its workforce through people-focused investment & business principles. Accordingly, BIP is committed to elevating the employee value proposition at its portfolio companies. This will include introducing broad-based employee ownership and supporting programs across future BIP investments in order to better align the interests of shareholders, management, and the broader workforce, to help elevate workforce prosperity and accelerate collective performance and equity value creation. Further, in 2021, BIP established its Center of Excellence, which will support BIP portfolio companies in developing and implementing best practices, foremost in Human Capital Management, in support of the firm’s redefined purpose.
BIP remains firmly grounded in its core fundamental investment principles: Unwavering integrity, a people first approach to business, alignment of long-term interests with partners, respect for the advantages of local, independent, entrepreneurial businesses, deep sector focus, the power of relationships, and a prudent approach to macro, business and financial risk.
Over the past decade, BIP is proud to have been part of building some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic businesses in the middle-market U.S. building industry: U.S. LBM Holdings, Kodiak Building Partners, United Cabinet Holdings, Rugby Architectural Building Products, Homewood Holdings, and U.S. Fence Solutions Co/Binford Supply. BIP continues to seek opportunities to sponsor the building industry’s greatest talent in building exceptional businesses and realizing entrepreneurial visions.