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Construction firms merge via an ESOP

A Das-co crew is seen on a recent job.
Photo courtesy of Das-co

NAMPA – Employees at utility contractor Das-co now have a shot at becoming owners.

Das-co, a 135-person firm, said Aug. 2 that it had joined forces with Brigham, Utah-based Whitaker Construction Co., which operates as an ESOP, a business structured under an employee-owned stock ownership plan.

The ESOP transition is part of Whitaker’s acquisition of Das-co, the companies said in a joint statement. The shift to employee ownership was what made the deal attractive to Das-co, according to company President Jeff Dancer, who’d been researching ESOPs when he met Mike Whitaker, president of Whitaker Construction.

With similar business niches, Whitaker and Dancer decided it made sense to merge, and give employees a chance to also have an ownership stake in the enterprise. They said the firms have shared values, culture and business goals, and had similar family-run roots.

First incorporated in 1970, Das-co works primarily in the utility contracting services arena with expertise in handling pipeline transmission and distribution in the natural gas industry as well as communications and underground power distribution. In 2018, the company completed more than 7,500 projects.

Whitaker Construction, the Utah company, which was founded in 1953 with little more than a shovel and pickup truck, now numbers 400 employees and has clients in the Beehive State, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Colorado.

“Das-co is a new market, specializing in similar underground utility services of natural gas and telecommunication construction, allowing for additional growth opportunities in the sewer, water and heavy civil segments,” said Whitaker.  “It’s also a chance to grow our ESOP and help a company that was looking to transition to employee ownership.”

“We are excited to have our team of employees become a team of owners so we can continue to improve and grow for the Treasure Valley,” said Dancer. “Becoming an ESOP allows us to have an owner, if not multiple owners, of the company out on every project, dealing with our customers and the community on a daily basis.”

The company’s leadership structure and all employee jobs will stay the same.

Franklin Building Supply is another Treasure Valley-based company that went the ESOP route in 2016.

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