WATERTOWN — The new owners of Hi-Lite Airfield Services, a multinational airstrip maintenance provider, plan to not only keep its headquarters in Jefferson County for several years, but grow across all offices, according to its president.

Mangrove Equity Partners, Tampa, Fla., along with some of Hi-Lite’s existing management team, purchased the company for an undisclosed amount, a transaction Hi-Lite announced Monday. The company has since relocated from Adams Center into its facility on Route 12F, which has new office spaces for administrative staff and a new warehouse.

With Hi-Lite focused solely on its core services, such as painting airstrip markets, pavement maintenance and runaway rubber removal, President Christopher J. Miller said the management team plans to acquire more airport maintenance contracts and grow its workforce.

The company has 125 airfield maintenance, warehousing, fleet maintenance and office personnel across its Watertown, Atlanta, Ga., Palmetto, Fla., and Dallas, Texas, offices. About one-third of its crew resides in the north country. Mr. Miller said he wants to recruit about 20 percent more workers, or about 25, across all locations, starting with a five to seven percent growth in the first year.

“The biggest thing that makes me get up in the morning is to see the growth opportunities ahead, yes for the company, but also for the people,” Mr. Miller said. “Hi-Lite is excited about what the future brings. The opportunities are there for personal growth, for business growth and for client satisfaction.”

Former Chief Executive Officer John McNeely decided to sell the company to focus solely on its technology division, including his newer company Spec-Rite, an airfield maintenance software developer. Spec-Rite was developed within Hi-Lite years ago, but Mr. McNeely separated the software endeavor into its own company in Jan. 2018.

The McNeely family founded in Hi-Lite in 1989. The company has serviced 60 to 70 percent of the top airports in the U.S., as well as other airports across North America and the Caribbean.

“(The company will) evaluate all of our resources; we are going to minimize waste and maximize opportunity,” Mr. Miller said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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