Flagger Force sells stake to investment firm

A Flagger Force employee directs traffic (photo/submitted)

With spending on bridges and highways expected to ramp up, a Florida-based investment firm has bought into Flagger Force, a Hummelstown-based company whose crews can be found directing traffic around work sites.

  • Blue Sea Capital said yesterday it had invested in Flagger Force as part of a strategic partnership to support the company’s growth.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • “Flagger Force has built a robust and market-leading platform to serve customers across its multi-state footprint, providing a strong foundation for continued growth,” Blue Sea managing partner Rick Wandoff said in a statement.
  • Mike Doner, Flagger Force’s co-founder, will remain with the company as CEO and a “substantial investor,” according to company spokesperson Alyssa Martelli. 

Why is this happening: Billions of dollars are flowing to roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects over the next few years, so Flagger Force is anticipating growth, according to Doner.

  • “We are very optimistic about the sector’s economic conditions into the foreseeable future,” he said in an emailed statement.
  • In particular, he expects continued investments in energy and communications projects, which often require work near roadways.
  • “In anticipation of these opportunities, Flagger Force is making strategic investments to scale with the demand for our services in both our existing and expansion geographies,” Doner said.
  • Given the growth potential, investors have been keen on firms with ties to infrastructure work.
  • New York-based private-equity firm OceanSound Partners, for example, recently bought a stake in Camp Hill-based engineering firm Gannett Fleming.

The background: Flagger Force was founded in 2002 by Doner and his wife, Michele.

  • It has grown since then to a business with 1,900 employees and 12 locations in states stretching from Pennsylvania to Florida.
  • For the transaction with Blue Sea, Flagger Force retained Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc. for financial advice and Miles & Stockbridge for legal advice.
  • Blue Sea tapped William Blair & Co. on the financial side and Kirkland & Ellis on the legal side.

What’s Blue Sea Capital. The private equity firm has primarily focused on health care, industrial, aerospace and defense companies.

  • Its portfolio includes New York-based Spectrum Vision Partners, which provides management services to eye practices.
  • Spectrum client OCLI Vision has scooped up two practices in Central Pennsylvania: Armesto Eye Associates in Mechanicsburg and Dailey Harvey Eye Associates in Camp Hill.


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