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Summer Street enters vocational school sector

The Buffalo-based firm’s acquisition of Tulsa Welding School is its first investment as it looks to bolster its presence in the post-secondary education sector.

Mid-market private equity fund manager Summer Street Capital Partners has acquired Tulsa Welding School, the largest accredited private welding school in the United States, for an undisclosed price.

Equity investors in the deal include HSBC Capital and incoming management, with Summer Street forming a post-secondary career school investment team, led by managing partner Mike McQueeney, to lead the Tulsa Welding transaction as well as future partnerships in the industry. Investment team members Larry Brown and Dawn Bravo will be joining the school as chief executive officer and chief marketing officer, respectively.

The Tulsa Welding deal is the first investment for Summer Street in a for-profit post-secondary career school, an industry that the firm is targeting with a new investment team.

Summer Street is planning to acquire similar institutions with revenues ranging from $2 million to $50 million.

Summer Street manages approximately $300 million in capital and last year closed its second, small-market dedicated fund on $187 million, $37 million more than originally targeted. Its previous investments have included North American companies in the healthcare services, food services, and waste management sectors.

The firm in August acquired Buffalo-based Willcare, a provider of home health care services, and provided capital in April to Prism Health Networks, a New York-based muscular-skeletal health services company.