Denis Medeiros, CEO of JBT Transport in Ayr, Ont., went from contemplating retirement to entering growth mode with the acquisition of nearby Heritage Transportation Group Feb. 2.
“My son’s gotten more involved [in the business] and my idea of retiring came to an end when he wanted it to become part of his life,” he says of 33-year-old son Kyle. “I do enjoy the building process, and this gives me something to do as long as I’m healthy enough to grow it.”
The younger Medeiros has been actively running the company’s operations and his father, now 60, and business partner decided growth through acquisition was the right path forward for the company. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Heritage adds about 56 drivers, well maintained equipment, and strategically located land and warehousing.
“We’ve been landlocked for quite some time,” said Medeiros, who struggled to find suitable land to grow and wanted to keep the company based in Ayr so as to not disrupt the lives of employees.
“Heritage somehow fell into our lap and we said ‘That’s the company we want.’ They have the warehousing and warehousing was one of the biggest interests of ours,” Medeiros said of the deal.
JBT now has 165 trucks, 280 employees (about 185 drivers) and 500 trailers. It also now boasts 325,000 sq.-ft. of warehousing with another 100,765 sq.-ft. coming available April 1.
Heritage will continue to operate under its existing branding, but founder Steven Lowe is retiring.
“He’s a wonderful human being and I’m happy we were able to put this together,” Medeiros said of the deal with Lowe. “It’s been fun. He’ll keep his phone on in case we need him.”
Peter Stefanovich, president of Left Lane Associates, which represented Heritage in the transaction, said the two companies were a good fit.
“This transaction will allow everything Steve built to continue and grow as part of JBT Transport’s expansion plans throughout Canada and into the U.S., which will benefit all their drivers, office staff and customers alike,” Stefanovich said.
Medeiros said the acquisition didn’t come as a surprise to JBT staff, who knew the company was looking to grow through acquisition. He said Heritage’s personnel will be retained and are now part of a larger organization that’s looking to grow further in the months and years ahead.
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