Truck maintenance firm gears up for growth with new investment

A North Carolina private equity firm has purchased a stake in a local family-owned truck maintenance and repair company with operations across the country as its two founders retire and the next generation takes the helm.

Ridgemont Equity Partners, which specializes in middle-market buyouts and investments in the $25 million to $100 million range, has made a undisclosed investment in Indianapolis-based Dickinson Fleet Services LLC, according to a media release and one of the remaining owners.

The transaction closed on March 31.

Ridgemont is expected to help the firm aggressively expand its footprint through organic growth and mergers and acquisitions.

Headquartered at 4709 W. 96th St., Dickinson was founded in 1997 by brothers Bob Dickinson and Dick Dickinson, who most recently served as CEO and president, respectively. Other owners included Bob’s son Mike Dickinson and son-in-law Ted Coltrain, who both were senior vice presidents.

Bob Dickinson and Dick Dickinson recently decided to retire, triggering a search for a new investor.

“We as a company were looking for opportunities to grow the firm, and Bob and Dick were looking for an exit strategy,” Coltrain told IBJ on Tuesday. “Ridgemont was a great fit for us.”

Mike Dickinson and Coltrain retain equity in the firm and will serve as executive officers of the company going forward, Coltrain said.

Representatives for Ridgemont, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, declined to comment on the size of the firm's investment. Since 1993, the principals of Ridgemont have invested $3.5 billion in 137 companies, according to a media release.

Dickinson provides services for vehicle fleet owners and operators, including mechanical and accident repairs, equipment installation, and welding and fabrication. It operates in 34 states and counts about 500 full-time employees, including 400 technicians, Coltrain said.

“Our biggest concentration is east of the Mississippi, but we think there is a lot of opportunity to expand west of the Mississippi,” Coltrain said.

"Through organic growth and merger and acquisition initiatives, we plan to aggressively expand the geographic footprint of the company, add new customers and enhance an already strong service offering,” said Jack Purcell, a Ridgemont partner, in a media release.

Purcell also praised Dickinson’s proprietary software platform used to manage maintenance programs, streamline communication and provide data to customers.

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