Greenville company acquires Charleston aviation services business

By Andy Owens
Published Jan. 14, 2013

A Charleston company that provides aviation fuel services and support to federal and state facilities has been purchased by a company in the Upstate.

The president and CEO of Greenville-based Louis Berger Services Inc. said the company expects to grow after the merger with Hawthorne Services Inc. He said the company is well-positioned to start bidding on the growing market for domestic fueling sites and overseas fueling, which would be a new avenue of business for Hawthorne.

“Now that they have a billion-dollar parent company with a huge global footprint, we’re going to help them carry their business into overseas, (Department of Administration) fuel points,” said Louis Berger Services President and CEO Steve Townes.

Louis Berger is part of global engineering firm Berger Group Holdings Inc. in Morristown, N.J. The Berger Group established a footprint in South Carolina in February by acquiring Ranger International Services Group of Greenville. At the time of that sale, Ranger, which is now Louis Berger Services Inc., had 1,000 employees around the world providing a variety of aviation, logistics and engineering services.

Hawthorne began in 1932 as a civilian airport fueling operation at the Charleston Municipal Airport. Today, the company provides fueling and support services in several states. The company also provides facilities services for the S.C. Department of Transportation, including supporting the state’s system of welcome centers. Hawthorne Services Inc. employs 350.

“We are immensely proud of this merger of two excellent South Carolina companies,” Townes said in a news release. “These two strong organizations are joining hands across the state, from Greenville to Charleston, with an air to continue growing and adding more new jobs.”

He would not disclose the terms of the sale because the Berger Group is a privately held corporation. Hawthorne’s team in Charleston, including President Bruce Stoehr, will continue with the company, Townes said. Hawthorne will be the fourth division managed under the Louis Berger Services company.

“Combining the Berger Group’s global footprint and Hawthorne’s government operating and maintenance services makes us better and stronger for our clients and employees,” Stoehr said in a statement.

Townes said a team of executives from Berger and Hawthorne are planning to meet Tuesday in Charleston to discuss how to grow the company.

“Everybody’s very enthused about this,” Townes said. “We couldn’t be happier that these really two good South Carolina companies have teamed up like this.”

Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142. Scott Miller, editor of GSA Business, contributed to this report.

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