Regional construction firm changes hands

David Cross (left) has sold Mowery Construction to Seth Hughes. (photos/submitted)

When Seth Hughes first stepped onto a construction site as a teenager, he didn’t think about owning a construction company someday.

  • But as his career advanced, it started to emerge as a goal, Hughes said.
  • The goal is now a reality. Hughes has purchased Mechanicsburg-based Mowery Construction from its previous owner, David Cross. 
  • The pair began laying the groundwork for the sale at least three years ago, said Hughes, 42, who joined Mowery in 2016 and was named president earlier this year. He started in construction at the age of 15.
  • “Dave and I have been planning this since probably 2018, 2019,” Hughes said in a phone interview.

Why now: Hughes and Cross initially planned to close the deal at the end of 2022, Hughes said.

  • But the two men were ready early and decided to pull the trigger ahead of rising interest rates and potential increases in capital gains taxes, Hughes said.
  • “When all the pieces fell together in the right place, it just seemed like, we’re here, we might as well just go,” Hughes said.
  • He declined to share the terms of the transaction.
  • Cross, who had owned the company since 2017, said it is on track this year for revenue of $280 million, up from $175 million in 2021.
  • Founded in 1925, the firm specializes primarily in commercial work, including industrial, warehouse and distribution facilities, schools, senior care communities, medical facilities, auto dealerships, office complexes and special projects.
  • It employs 84 people, Hughes said.

What’s next: Hughes said he plans to continue in the same vein as Cross.

  • “Does that mean there’s not going to be change? No. There’s change in any company,” Hughes said.
  • Like other construction firms, for example, Mowery has had to adjust to shifting challenges in getting materials.
  • The company also has to contend with an uncertain economic climate.
  • Mowery has a healthy backlog of work and sees no signs of decline over the next 12 to 18 months, Hughes said. But, he added: “That doesn’t mean it’s not happening in other industries around us, so we’re cognizant of it.”

What’s next for Cross: He is staying on as chairman to support Mowery’s strategic development but he also is looking forward to taking a break from the daily demands of running a business.

  • “I’ll miss the challenges that come with it, the things that make you smarter and more creative,” he said. “But I’m ready to have a day without some major issue popping up that creates a great degree of tension.”
  • He plans to travel over the next six months with his wife, Julie Lando-Cross, who sold her York-based firm, GRIT Marketing Group, last year.
  • Cross also plans to stay involved in local real estate projects.

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