Guardian Fleet Services

Mergers Create an Employee-Owned Towing Company

Guardian Heavy-Duty Fleet

As featured in the October 2017 issue of Tow Times Magazine

Like many towing company owners approaching retirement age, Geoff Russell, CEO of Kauff’s Transportation Services, a large, multi-location, South Florida towing, recovery and transport company, considered his long-term business exit strategy options. Sell? Merge? Pass the business to his children? There was no interest on his family’s part on taking over the business, so that was not an option. And like other owners, he’d worked hard for decades with the hope that he would be adequately compensated when it came time to leave the company.

Then, last year, Russell was contacted by a transportation group, separate from the towing industry. They were interested in investing in a like-industry, but outside of their regular customer base. Their selling point was that they were an employee stock ownership plan, an ESOP. They had spoken with some mid-west towing company owners about possible mergers and during these talks, Russell’s name kept coming up, so they reached out to him.

As Russell learned more about the benefits of an ESOP, he envisioned the strategy he was looking for.

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