Two St. Paul-Area Construction Cos. Merge

Black and Dew is expected to bring in $40 million of revenue in its first year of operations, and its president said the company wants to grow by expanding its footprint geographically.

Maplewood-based LS Black Constructors and North St. Paul-based Dew Corporation said late last week that they have merged and are now operating as Black and Dew.

Financial terms of the merger were not disclosed. The merged organization will be based in North St. Paul and employ 25 permanent staff members. Sterling Black will serve as CEO, and Robert Dew will serve as president.

Although the firms are merging, L.S. Black will continue to operate as a separate entity under the Black and Dew umbrella-albeit with a more narrow focus; it has ongoing state and federal government contracts and employs carpenters and laborers who act as general contractors or are hired out for various projects.

According to Dew, revenue is expected to total about $40 million for the first full year of joint operations. He said that his firm's average annual revenue over the past five years was about $25 million, and L.S. Black's was about $35 million.

But “we certainly have a desire to grow, and we're going to do that in a controlled fashion, mostly through spreading our wings geographically.”

The firm now has a second, limited-operation office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But it has contracts in the Dakotas, Nebraska, and New Mexico-and leaders are considering opening additional offices in North Dakota and/or New Mexico, Dew said.

Black and Dew have a combined 45-year history. They have collectively completed more than 2,200 projects-including the Sandstone Federal Prison, the Science House at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport freight facility, and renovations to the Minnesota State Capital.

Dew and Sterling met when they were both serving on the St. Paul Builders Exchange board-and it didn't take them long to realize that their firms had complementary experience and capabilities.

For example, Dew's firm had experience with housing projects, but L.S. Black had very little-and L.S. Black had won a number of federal contracts, but Dew didn't have much experience in that area. After successfully partnering on a few projects, the firms decided that merging made sense.

“Coming together gave us a depth of leadership and a depth of talent that I think companies of our size and scope don't really possess,” Dew said.