HERMITAGE — When Dan Wallace and Brian Pancher first started Wallace Pancher Group in 2001, the company had one computer and worked out of Wallace’s basement.
The Hermitage-based environmental services company now has about 40 employees and offices in Hermitage, Cranberry Township, Waynesburg, and St. Clairsville, Ohio. That growth continues with the acquisition of Richland Engineering Ltd., of Mansfield, Ohio, Wallace said.
“We’re looking forward to growing our companies together and making it into a great company,” Wallace said. “When we started, we knew we were going to grow, and we wanted to survive, but now we’re able to building this into something that’s going to thrive and grow.”
The Wallace-Pancher Group has done some environmental projects, such as stream restoration and stormwater system mapping for the city of Hermitage, as well as more commercial projects such as the plaza that contains Buffalo Wild Wings and Kohl’s in Hermitage, and the Block Northway complex in Pittsburgh, Wallace said.
However, aside from a few projects in West Virginia, most of Wallace-Pancher Group’s projects is focused in the Pennsylvania area. That all changed with the prospect of acquiring Richland Engineering, which first came up a couple years ago, Wallace said.
The owners of Wallace-Pancher Group met with three of the five owners of Richland Engineering in August 2018 to discuss the acquisition. What was originally planned to be a one-hour meeting eventually turned into a three-hour conversation, Wallace said.
“They came across as very honest, very down-to-earth, practical, they were easy to talk to, and we instantly had this kind of chemistry,” Wallace said.
Like Wallace-Pancher Group, Richland Engineering has some municipal projects but is also heavily involved with civil engineering services such as bridge design and inspection, roadway design, and airport design and planning, partner Patrick Schwan said.
The company of about 25 people primarily works with the Ohio Department of Transportation but has done work for municipalities, too, with projects all throughout Ohio from Cleveland to Akron to Cincinnati, Schwan said.
“There was a lot of strategic planning on our part, as we figured out how we framework the future of the company,” Schwan said.
By merging or joining with another company, which was ultimately Wallace-Pancher Group, Schwan said this would give Richland Engineering a chance to for the company to “spread its web” by increasing their service areas and opening up new opportunities.
“Our ability to compliment each other with our services is going to be one of the big things,” Schwan said. “There are additional services they provided and we weren’t previously, and the same goes for their services as well.”
There are some commonalities between the two companies that will help smooth the transition, but the specialties in each company, such as bridge design and inspection at Richland Engineering and the environmental projects conducted by Wallace-Pancher Group could allow the two companies to share their expertise with new and old clients across Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere, Schwan said.
Both Wallace and Schwan said the acquisition will not result in layoffs. Just the opposite, in fact.
“We are looking to add some employees because we expect our overall work to be able to grow, and offer different services to all our clients,” Wallace said. “Brian and I are very excited to welcome Richland Engineering into our family.”
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