Luter sells Arrowhead Environmental Services

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, June 1, 2024

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Mike Luter, a Zuni native, recently sold his Windsor-based company Arrowhead Environmental Services to Superior Environmental Solutions, a portfolio company of private investment firm Palladium Equity Partners LLC.

The sale will help Luter’s rapidly growing company to continue to grow in a manageable way while allowing its employees greater opportunities for development and advancement.

A news release highlighting the transaction stated that the combination of Arrowhead and SES “broadens SES’s geographic reach into the Southern Mid-Atlantic market, where Arrowhead is based, and expands SES’s position as a leading provider of environmental and industrial services in the Midwestern and Southeastern U.S.”

The release noted that terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Luter said that he created the company on April 3, 2006, operating out of a house on North Court Street in Windsor, where he was living at the time.

The release stated that Arrowhead is “a leading provider of environmental and specialized industrial services including tank cleaning, vacuum truck services, hydro blasting and other related services. 

“The company provides these mission-critical services to a number of customers operating industrial facilities in the Southern Mid-Atlantic U.S. in a wide variety of industries including chemical manufacturing, paper and pulp, wastewater treatment and others,” the release noted. 

Arrowhead is an acclaimed and decorated company, as the release went on to highlight.

“Arrowhead has been recognized on Inc. Magazine’s ‘Inc. 5000’ ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies multiple times; was awarded Entrepreneur Magazine’s ‘Entrepreneur 360’ Award multiple times; (and) was featured on the TV show ‘World’s Greatest’ for their exceptional safety record and customer service,” the release stated.

Arrowhead also won the Hampton Roads Roaring 20 Award, which recognizes the most dynamic area businesses in terms of revenue and employee growth.

Luter said he started Arrowhead as its single employee, “and when I sold it, it was actually 54 employees total.”

The transaction closed on May 13.

“Two days before my birthday,” Luter said. “That’s a pretty good birthday gift, isn’t it?”

He shared why he chose to sell the company at this time.

“What prompted me was we were one of the very last privately owned companies in this industry, and all of the other competitors had been bought up,” he said. “I was the last one there.”

He was also finding the company’s growth increasingly difficult to manage by himself.

“We were growing and still growing like wildfire, but as an individual, I couldn’t keep my hands around everything, because we were stretching out to North Carolina and Maryland and South Carolina, and … I needed help,” he said. “So initially I was just looking at someone to come in and partner with, but it quickly turned into an all-out sale, because it just made sense.”

He noted that SES is “a bigger company, got more resources, more people and that was really helpful in growing the business. And ultimately, with a bigger company like that, it gave all of my employees more opportunity for growth, increased responsibility, and that’s what everybody likes. Yeah, money’s always good, but really and truly your good employees want growth and more opportunity for more responsibility, and with a bigger company, that was a big thing that they could offer, whereas I felt like that where we were now, we were about as big as I could keep my hands around.”

The news release described SES as “a leading provider of comprehensive, vertically integrated environmental and industrial services, including emergency response, hydro blasting, vacuum truck services, sponge blasting, product destruction, recycling and universal-waste management, transportation and waste disposal, and related, complementary services.” 

The website for SES,, offers more information about the company.

In a quote found within the release, Luter said, “I am very excited about the combination of Arrowhead with SES and am confident it will serve the best interests of our valued employees and customers. In aligning with SES, we are partnering with a company with a strong culture of excellence and a private equity sponsor in Palladium, who brings decades of experience investing in founder-owned businesses.”

The release stated that Palladium, since its founding in 1997, has invested in more than 210 companies, including 40 platforms and more than 170 add-ons. 

“With over $3.7 billion in assets under management, the firm focuses primarily on buyout equity investments in the range of $50 million to $150 million,” the release stated. “Palladium seeks to acquire and grow companies in partnership with founders and experienced management teams by providing capital and strategic guidance.”

Arrowhead Environmental Services has about 85 active customers, including local companies like Solenis, in Courtland and Suffolk, and Dominion Energy, in Franklin.

Arrowhead has about 54 employees, eight of which are from Windsor, and they should expect no change in the company’s operation.

“I negotiated everything to stay the exact same,” Luter said. “As a matter of fact, all the pay is the same. The vacation time for each employee has increased. The observed holidays off have increased with the bigger company.”

Luter reiterated that there will be more opportunity for professional growth, and then he noted that “the ladies who are working at the Windsor office, they all can work fully remote at their homes now, which they are so excited about.”

Luter’s role with Arrowhead will change significantly with the sale to SES.

“So basically I’ve been hired as a consultant for the transition period, and then after that, I will just be an investor in the new company,” he said. “So I will still be part-owner of the new company, but only from an investment perspective, not in the day-to-day operations. And that was by choice because I was ready to relinquish all of the day-to-day operations so I could spend time with my family.”

In addition to coaching baseball at Windsor High School, Luter has three children and five grandchildren for himself and his wife to keep up with.

“I’ve worked a lot,” he said. “My wife has put up with an insane work schedule for years and years, and so she’s been through the wringer with me, and so it’s time for me to let that go and just enjoy spending time with the family.”

Luter said he and his wife, Judy, have a foundation through which they work to benefit combat-wounded military veterans.

Luter said that because of the sale of Arrowhead, he now has the financial capability to carry out a lot more of that work.

He noted that he and his family are involved in a lot of events with veterans, most notably the Legacy Ranch Tower Shoot, which he said was the largest single hunting event for wounded veterans in the country for about seven years.

“It’s since been taken over, but that’s something we did, and we’ve done that for… we’re working on our 11th year,” he said. “This past February was 10 years, and we have 40 veterans come every year, so that’s over 400 people we’ve gotten back out in the field. And that is something that me and my wife and all of my kids and even my oldest grandson do every year in February. And we’re going to take that platform and continue to do more for our veterans.”

The news release reporting the sale of Arrowhead noted that Marriott & Co., described as a premier middle market investment banking firm based in Richmond, served as the exclusive financial adviser to Arrowhead in the transaction.

“I would like to thank Marriott & Co. for the critical role they played in the process of identifying a fantastic partner for Arrowhead and our people,” Luter stated in the release. “As the founder of Arrowhead, it was extremely important that I had a firm with proven (mergers and acquisitions) process expertise that I trusted on my side when I made the decision to explore a sale. Marriott & Co. delivered every step of the way to ensure this transaction was smooth and successful.”

Luter also credited attorney Jeanette Ojeda for helping facilitate the sale. Ojeda has been his corporate attorney for all 18 years he has been in business.