ARLINGTON, TX – November 7, 2023 – MidOcean Partners (“MidOcean”), a premier New York-based alternative asset manager specializing in middle-market private equity and alternative credit investments, today announced that it has acquired Smith System Driver Improvement Institute, Inc. (“Smith System” or the “Company”), a leading B2B workplace safety training platform and the recognized “gold standard” provider of driver safety training for commercial fleets, from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1952, Smith System established the first professional driver training company in the United States. Today, the Company remains the trusted global leader in B2B driver safety training, while also offering comprehensive fleet management services and a rapidly growing, diversified suite of workplace safety training solutions. Smith System’s leading position within corporate safety training is evidenced by its premier customer base, which includes over 20% of the Fortune 500. The Company offers its critical instruction resources in more than 22 languages and 100 countries worldwide.
Marshall Phelps, Partner at MidOcean, stated, “We’re thrilled to welcome Smith System into the MidOcean portfolio. The Company has clearly and consistently demonstrated the power and effectiveness of its unique approach to safety training, and we’re excited to continue building the premier B2B safety training platform alongside CEO Tony Douglas, Executive Chairman Derek Dunaway, and a great management team.”
MidOcean plans to leverage its expertise to support Smith System’s continued growth through both product enhancements and extensions as well as via organic and inorganic investments.
Mr. Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of Smith System, commented, “Smith’s long history of success delivering lifesaving and bottom-line results has been a great source of pride for our extraordinary team while creating remarkable loyalty with our customers. We look forward to working with MidOcean to amplify and accelerate our mission of protecting our customers’ most valued assets - their people - and are excited about the opportunity the MidOcean partnership brings to our company.” Mr. Douglas and the Smith System management team have invested in the Company alongside MidOcean.
At the close of the transaction, current Smith System board member Derek Dunaway will become the Company’s Executive Chairman. Prior to joining Smith System, Mr. Dunaway was the CEO of TPC Training, a leading provider of industrial skills and workplace safety training, performance management, and environmental, health & safety compliance software solutions. At TPC Training, Mr. Dunaway led the build-out of a diversified workplace safety training platform that identified, executed, and integrated six acquisitions during his tenure and delivered over 4x EBITDA growth before being acquired by Certus (formerly American Safety Council) in 2021. Mr. Dunaway has also made an equity investment in the Company alongside MidOcean.
"I’m thrilled to expand my role at Smith System and partner with Tony and MidOcean to continue to build the premier corporate safety training platform on the market today,” said Mr. Dunaway. “Smith System has a longstanding reputation for delivering high-ROI safety training by leveraging the Company’s significant core training assets. Our vision for the future is to build upon and diversify the existing set of high-value safety training and commercial fleet services to continue to deliver exceptional solutions for Smith System’s blue-chip customer base.”
About Smith System
Utilizing principles and techniques proven for over 70 years, Smith instructors and customer trainers certified by Smith have trained millions of employee drivers, all vehicle types, in more than 100 countries and in 22 languages. Smith’s customers, many of whom are Fortune 500 companies, represent diverse end markets from logistics to pharmaceuticals. Over the past decade Smith System has grown rapidly and become a recognized brand in workplace safety offering holistic lone worker safety and compliance training as well as leading-edge monitoring solutions. Our impact is global, but our mission is simple: prevent incidents, reduce costs and most importantly, save lives.