Doug Baker Becomes Part Owner of Excelsior Consulting Firm
Doug Baker. Photo courtesy of Ecolab

Doug Baker Becomes Part Owner of Excelsior Consulting Firm

The former CEO of Ecolab has joined the ownership of JIT Services Inc., a sustainability-focused consulting firm.
Doug Baker. Photo courtesy of Ecolab

Doug Baker, former CEO of St. Paul-based Ecolab, has become part owner of a consulting firm helmed by former Thor Construction CEO Ravi Norman.

On Monday, Excelsior-based JIT Services Inc. announced that Baker has become a minority owner of the company. Baker, who retired as Ecolab’s CEO in January, also joined JIT’s board. Baker still serves as executive chairman of Ecolab. When he announced plans to retire in October, Baker told TCB he wasn’t interested in being CEO of another public company.

JIT provides sustainability-related consulting for businesses. The company, which was founded in 1991, also handles utility invoicing for clients.

In a news release, Baker said he was looking for an opportunity to “invest in a team that is also ‘all in’ on sustainability and economic equity.”

In his view, the business community has an important role to play in conquering both climate change and racism. When it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it will be key to “leverage existing know-how,” Baker said in an interview late Tuesday.

“But if we’re going to get to zero emissions by 2050, we’re going to need a lot of new technology, too,” Baker said. “I think that technology is more likely to come from the business side of things than it is anywhere else. … It’s going to have to come from the business community or it’s not going to happen.”

As for addressing racism and equity issues? Baker said he’s been looking to share his expertise—and capital—with Black- and minority-owned businesses.

NGE Holdings, Norman’s company, purchased a majority interest in JIT in 2019. NGE is an entirely Black-owned operation, with ownership split between Norman and his business partner Harold Massey.

With Baker joining as part owner, NGE now owns 51 percent of JIT. For his part, Baker owns 20 percent of JIT.

JIT leaders are banking on Baker to help the company “achieve its growth and expansion plans, including greater sustainability service offerings,” officials said in a statement.

Thor Construction shut down in April 2019 following a string of lawsuits, including one from Sunrise Banks for unpaid debt.

Both Baker and Norman said that the past fallout from Thor won’t have any bearing on JIT’s future. “I’ve known Ravi a number of years,” Baker said. “I did my due diligence on JIT. … I feel great about the leadership team at JIT, as well as the opportunities at JIT. JIT’s in good shape.” He pointed out that JIT has a “very different model” than Thor.

For his part, Norman noted that he didn’t have an ownership stake in Thor, which made it tough to address the company’s problems. “If you’re going to be CEO,” Norman said, “you probably want to have an ownership interest at some level. It’s a learned experience for me.”