Building Industry Partners Forms New Southeast LBM Interests, Picking Up Warner Robins

July 20th, 2021 by Drew Vass

Officials for private equity firm Building Industry Partners LLC (BIP) announced the formation of a new regional lumber and building materials pro dealer organization. Dubbed Southeast LBM Interests, the new organization results from a partnership with industry veteran Roger Farmer and the acquisition of the assets of the Warner Robins family of businesses, including Warner Robins Building Supply Co., Henson Building Materials and Mountain Building Supply (collectively referred to as Warner Robins Supply). In a press release issued by BIP, officials said the Warner Robins family of companies was introduced to BIP by [DWM] blogger and columnist Mike Collins and his partner, Walt Kurek, at Building Industry Advisors, an investment firm that focuses on building products.

Farmer joined the new organization as its president and will lead the company’s growth efforts across Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and beyond, officials said. For the past 25 years, he has led lumber and building material businesses throughout the U.S., most recently serving as executive vice president of Swift Supply, where officials said he led substantial growth across 10 locations in Alabama and Florida.

BIP operating partner Nick Massengill, a Georgia native and greater Atlanta-based industry veteran, will be part of the team supporting the new organization. Massengill previously served as president of Robert Bowden Inc., transitioning the organization to employee ownership in 2001 and eventually leading to its sale to BMC in 2015.

Founded in 1947, Warner Robins Supply is an independent, lumber and building materials pro dealer with eight locations serving local, regional and national builders and contractors, as well as do-it-yourself customers. The company serves Warner Robins, Ga., and seven rural markets throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, officials said, generating over $80 million in annual sales, employing over 190 people.

The transaction addressed the Bayer family’s needs for succession, officials for the new organization said. Following the transaction, Mark Bayer will remain as an advisor to Southeast LBM and as chairperson of Warner Robins Supply. Farmer will serve as president of the Southeast platform, succeeding Bayer as president of Warner Robins Supply. Both businesses will retain their existing names.

Matt Ogden, founder and managing partner of BIP, said the Southeast is an area that his company has wanted to invest in, citing “strong housing construction fundamentals.” Meanwhile, “On the personal front, four generations of my grandfathers are buried in Southeast Georgia, and I spent my annual holidays as a child in Tallahassee,” Ogden added, “so I have extra fire for building a business in this region.”

The move is the first under what Ogden refers to as BIP’s new “people-first purpose,” adding that his organization will “be implementing broad-based employee ownership programs, with supporting programs designed to set in motion the virtuous cycle of investing in people. There is a wonderful opportunity ahead for this family of companies, our employees, our customers, and all of our business partners.”

Other partners involved in the deal were Holland and Knight LLP and Fifth Third Bank. Intrinsic LLC, CBIZ Insurance Services Inc., and DSG Benefits Group were also instrumental, officials said.

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