Owen Equipment

Quick Stats

  • Leadership: Earl Rose
  • Prospect Team: Brett Holcomb, Lou Kenter
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Industry: Value-Added Distribution
  • Investment Date: December 2013
  • Exit Date: November 2018


Owen Equipment is a leading specialty equipment dealer and rental company providing critical infrastructure solutions to municipal, utility, and commercial customers throughout the Western U.S. As the number one Pacific Northwest and Northern California dealer of specialty infrastructure maintenance vehicles and rental equipment, with over 50% estimated market share, Owen offers new and used equipment sales, rentals, parts, and service capabilities. The Company maintains deep relationships with the industry’s leading OEMs.

Our investment in Owen is a great example of how we partner with management teams and their OEM partners to invest heavily into growth initiatives and pursue geographic expansion.

We were introduced to Earl Rose, CEO of Owen Equipment, via an intermediary in the Pacific Northwest. Earl was looking for a partner to help him grow his rental fleet and pursue add-on acquisitions both in his existing territory and in contiguous territories. Earl selected us as his partner for two reasons: (1) our willingness to allow him and his team the independence to continue their organic growth plan, and (2) our serving as a value-added partner to pursue add-on acquisitions. We were able to structure a transaction that gave the Owen management team an opportunity to retain significant ownership in the business, while creating a capital structure that supported the Company’s capital-intensive rental fleet growth.

Partnership Rationale

We saw a talented, data-driven CEO who dominated his geography, had unmatched channel presence and access, and cultivated very sticky relationships with a diverse set of customers. As a result, Prospect Partners made a control-equity investment in Owen Equipment and focused on leveraging Owen’s data-driven culture to grow both organically and through acquisitions.


Growth Initiatives

  • Closed one add-on acquisition: expanding the Company’s geography and providing additional product lines for cross-selling
  • Invested over $17 million into the Company’s rental fleet
  • Began penetrating the utility and commercial markets after being initially focused on the municipal market
  • Hired a dedicated parts and service team expanding Owen’s reach and driving sales opportunities

Strategic Partnership

  • Invested significant time with the Company’s OEM partners to position Owen as a solution-provider
  • Encouraged culture of accountability; tied compensation directly to mapping market territories and lead generation
  • Implemented the first equity incentive plan for key members of the management team

Infrastructure Building

  • Developed monthly financial reporting packages, established KPI reporting and tracking, and built out board materials
  • Rigorous equipment mapping initiatives – identify, map and track units; monitor equipment age and location
  • Implemented Infor CRM to build relationships with end-users and position the Company to win new, used and rental business

Management Team Additions

  • Added key members of senior management to further support Earl Rose, including a CFO and Parts & Service Manager
  • Hired Director of Business Development as a result of strategic acquisition
  • Strengthened the next level managers throughout the organization


In 2018, Prospect Partners sold its interest in Owen Equipment for a significant gain to a larger private equity fund. Earl Rose and his team continue to grow the business.

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