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Arrow Environmental Services Acquires Bug Out Service

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Arrow expands its footprint with the acquisition of Bug Out, a $15.6 million operation based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Brad Harbison | February 14, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Arrow Environmental Services, Sarasota, Fla., has acquired Bug Out Service, a $15.6 million operation based in Jacksonville, Fla. The deal closed on Jan. 31. Terms were not disclosed.

The Bug Out deal is Arrow Environmental’s largest to date and gives the company a platform for expansion into eastern Florida. In 2010, Arrow Environmental Services partnered with Concentric Equity Partners, a private investment firm based in Chicago, and since then they have made 39 acquisitions.

“Bug Out is a premier company, no question about it,” Joe Finney, newly named CEO of Arrow Environmental Services (see related story below), told PCT. “The quality of their people and their longevity is phenomenal. One thing that stood out to me in visiting their branches was this pride of ownership all of their employees take in their individual responsibilities. They have a very structured and defined value system. Other companies might have a value or mission statement that just hangs in the break room, but at Bug Out you can see actual evidence of it in the day-to-day work of their people.”

Bug Out was founded in 1963 as division of Arlington Fuel Oil Co., and was purchased by John Sessions two years later. Sessions ran the business until 1998, when the daily operations were transferred to his daughter and son-in-law, Caren and Paul Felker. The Felkers will remain on board as large individual stakeholders and Paul Felker will remain with the company in a yet-to-be-determined role. Bug Out will continue to operate under the Bug Out brand and all Bug Out employees – including longtime employees Vice President John Milton and Technical Director Linda Prentice – have been retained.

Paul Felker, age 54, told PCT that he and wife Caren were forecasting ahead and since neither of their children (ages 20 and 25) were interested in the business, they began exploring other succession plans, including selling. “I wanted to make sure I created opportunities for our people and that they didn’t think I wasn’t just selling to one of our competitors,” Felker said. “The more I thought about this, the more it made sense.”

Felker added that he believes Bug Out and Arrow Environmental Services have compatible cultures, whose foundation is taking care of employees and customers. “I feel like our people look at this as an opportunity to join together with another company that shares similar cultures, and where we can work together to grow the business and create our own opportunities,” he said.

With the acquisition of Bug Out Service, Arrow Environmental Services is now close to a $40 million company and gives the firm three large operations that can serve as platforms for expansion: Arrow Environmental Services (Sarasota/Tampa, Fla.); Skyline Pest Solutions (Atlanta, Ga.); and Bug Out Service (Jacksonville, Fla.) “This is a game changer for us,” said Finney. “We are really looking forward to the cross-pollination of them learning from us, and us learning from them.”

The author is Internet editor and managing editor of PCT and can be contacted at bharbison@gie.net.

***updated on 2/17/2014 at 11:50 a.m.***

Finney Named CEO of Arrow Environmental Services

Joe Finney was appointed CEO of Arrow Environmental Services and operating partner at Concentric Equity Partners, in January.

Finney was brought on board as CEO as a result of Arrow Environmental’s recent growth, including the acquisition of large businesses in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bug Out Service) and Atlanta (Skyline Pest Solutions). With Finney’s move back to the pest control industry as Arrow’s new CEO, Bill Hurd moves into the role of chief operating officer and president, working with Finney and Arrow Chairman George Pickhardt to manage the company going forward.

Joe Finney

Finney comes to Arrow Environmental Services after serving as senior vice president of Sears Holdings Management Corp., and president of the company's automotive group, the last three years. Finney’s roots are in the pest control industry, having worked for Terminix from 1987 to 2003, including roles as regional vice president and European managing director. He’s also served as a board member for Arrow Environmental since it partnered with Concentric in 2010.

Finney told PCT he is thrilled to return to the pest control industry full-time. “I have a passion for assertive leadership and the ability to work with people and see the growth of individuals,” he said. “I’ve applied a lot of the principles I learned when I ran branches and some of my other roles. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I’m here to do some special things and it’s going to be a great ride.”

Ken Hooten, partner at Concentric Equity Partners, said Finney will be instrumental in the company’s future growth plans. “Joe is really well respected in the branch operation services industries for being innovative even though he’s built big companies. He's a builder by track record — he's not a maintainer,” Hooten said. “Joe is unbelievably gifted, but he is also humble, and our whole model is about serving our partners at the regional and local levels who are serving their customers. There isn’t a better guy in the country at doing that than Joe Finney.” — Brad Harbison

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