Whenever there is an acquisition of a locally owned company, there tends to be an elevated level of anxiety, as we witnessed last year with a series of acquisitions that riled stakeholders in the region.
One of the bigger acquisitions so far this year was the April 30 purchase of SouthGate Companies by Hillcrest Holdings. SouthGate, founded in 1962 and owned by the Braverman family, has become one of the largest real estate investment, development and rental companies in the Corridor.
Fortunately, it was purchased by another regional company, Hillcrest Holdings, which is the holding company of the John and Dyan Smith family of Cedar Rapids.
Hillcrest Holdings described the acquisition as a long-term investment that aligns with its strategy of diversification into new areas of opportunity, along with continued investment in its core trucking industry holdings, which include CRST International. No changes are planned to SouthGate’s operations or its staff of 30, led by CEO Jerry Waddilove and CFO Caleb Wilson.
Congratulations to the Smith and Braverman families for this important ownership transition and for keeping it locally owned in the Corridor.
Key state appointments
The Corridor continues to have a paucity of leaders on key state boards and commissions. Fortunately, we made some progress with the recent appointments of David Barker, partner with Barker Apartments of Iowa City, to the Iowa Board of Regents; Amy Reasner, shareholder with Lynch Dallas law firm in Cedar Rapids, to the Iowa Finance Authority board; and Pankaj Monga, president and CEO of Channel Fusion in Hiawatha, to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board.
These regional leaders will be great additions to those important state boards. We’re hoping that the Corridor will secure more representation in the months to come.
We appreciated University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld’s recent apology over the highly public compensation dispute between some prominent regional contractors and the UI.
“The war of words between the University of Iowa and Modern Piping is unprofessional and unfortunate,” Mr. Harreld said in a statement released April 25. “I would like to publicly apologize for playing a role in this escalation.”
It is difficult to know the validity of the claims on either side of the dispute, but the UI was clearly not winning the public relations battle.
Let’s hope this troublesome dispute finally gets resolved and the reputation of the UI doesn’t get further tarnished. •