Mason Wells Newsletter 2018 – Volume 2

April 1 2018
In This Issue
  • Mason Wells Announces the Sale of The Oilgear Company
  • Paragon Development Systems, Inc. Merges with Works Computing, Inc.
  • Pacon Corporation Acquires Princeton Artist Brush Co.
  • Mason Wells Announces Promotion and New Hire
Mason Wells Announces the Sale of The Oilgear Company

Mason Wells recently announced the sale of The Oilgear Company, a Mason Wells Buyout Fund II portfolio company, to Texas Hydraulics, a portfolio company of Wynnchurch Capital, LLC.  The transaction closed on March 27, 2018.

Based in Traverse City, Michigan, Oilgear is a leading provider of highly engineered hydraulic pumps, valves, systems, and aftermarket services for heavy-duty applications.

“We have enjoyed working with the management team at Oilgear over the years.  Under their leadership, the Company was able to successfully navigate through a challenging oil and gas market while continuing to provide superior technical solutions for its customers’ unique application requirements. We believe that the combination with Texas Hydraulics will be viewed favorably by the market and may lead to new commercial opportunities for the combined hydraulics business,” said Jim Domach, Chief Financial Officer of Mason Wells.

“I am sincerely grateful to Mason Wells. Their support and significant investment into Oilgear will provide a platform for success for years to come. Mason Wells is a first-rate organization and I am thankful for their efforts on behalf of Oilgear,” said Craig LaFave, Oilgear President. “We are excited to join Texas Hydraulics and broaden our product and service offerings. Our two companies have significant design and engineering capabilities with a commitment to quality, durability, and performance in the most mission-critical applications. We are confident that, in partnership with Texas Hydraulics, we can leverage these capabilities and improve the value proposition and overall solutions we offer to our expanded global customer base.”

For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

Paragon Development Systems, Inc. Merges with Works Computing, Inc.

Paragon Development Systems, Inc., (“PDS”) a Mason Wells Buyout Fund III portfolio company, and Works Computing, Inc., announced in March that the companies have merged.

Both companies provide information technology solutions to a broad set of clients in multiple markets. The merged company will result in a stronger solutions provider capable of offering a broader portfolio of products, services, and solutions along with enhanced technical expertise to better serve their customers.

“PDS and Works Computing have similar business models, and share similar work cultures,” said Asif Naseem, President and Chief Executive Officer of PDS, who will continue in that role with the merged company. “As one organization, we will be positioned to better assist our customers in addressing their evolving Information Technology needs as they march forward with their digital transformation.”

PDS specializes in providing a variety of information technology solutions to clients in the Healthcare, Corporate, and Government/Education industry sectors. The company is headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, with five other offices throughout the Midwest in addition to a solutions development site in Silicon Valley, California.

Works Computing is headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, and specializes in providing data center technologies to customers throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota.

Both companies have well-established and respected brands among their customer base. By coming together as one company, both organizations will combine their respective strengths to provide better solutions for customers. The PDS brand will continue as it is, while Works Computing will be known as “Works Computing, a PDS Company” while they work to unify their brands.

“We see this merger as an exciting opportunity that brings together two like-minded organizations with products, services, and expertise that will complement each other and lead to greater growth opportunities in the competitive market space,” said Mitch Brown, President of Works Computing.

Mr. Brown will stay with the company through the initial transition process and plans to pursue other endeavors by the end of 2018. Mitch Prust, Chief Operating Officer of Works Computing, will join the PDS executive team and will oversee the merged company’s digital infrastructure program.

“Mr. Prust brings a wealth of experience in the data center technologies and market,” said Dr. Naseem. “We are delighted to have him join our team and fully expect him to leverage his knowledge in enhancing our value to our clients in this critical and growing space for us.”

There is little customer overlap between the two organizations. Works Computing has built a strong business around data center technologies, which will complement PDS’s existing services in that area. PDS has a broad portfolio of products and services, including end-user technologies, a state-of-the-art service desk, a broad-reach staff augmentation service, an expert Identity & Access Management offering, and a growing managed services capability.

“There are significant, realistic, and immediate opportunities for offering a broader portfolio among our combined base of clients.” Dr. Naseem said. “Additionally, there will be opportunities to expand manufacturer and distributor partnerships based on the enhanced sales volume as well as the size of our merged company.”

“At PDS, our focus is on strengthening our core and broadening it to bring enhanced value to our customers and partners,” added Dr. Naseem. “Our merger with Works Computing is a unique opportunity for us to fulfill these goals.”

For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

Pacon Corporation Acquires Princeton Artist Brush Co.

Pacon Corporation, a Mason Wells Buyout Fund III portfolio company and the parent company of Strathmore Artist Papers™, announced the acquisition of Princeton Artist Brush Co.™ earlier this year. Princeton, headquartered in New Jersey, manufactures and distributes fine art brushes worldwide and is the #1 supplier in North America.

Howard Kaufman, Founder of Princeton Artist Brush, began a small brush business in the basement of his home in Princeton, New Jersey more than 25 years ago. Prior to founding Princeton Artist Brush Co., Mr. Kaufman was President at one of the world’s largest art supply manufacturers where he gained a vast knowledge of brush-making and an understanding of the needs and desires of artists.

“This is about bringing two respected brands together with Strathmore Artist Papers and Princeton Artist Brush.  Mr. Kaufman has done an amazing job of building a premier company known throughout the artist community for its iconic fine art brushes. We look forward to working with Mr. Kaufman as he continues to deliver exceptional artist brushes with a focus on outstanding customer service and innovation,” said Jim Schmitz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pacon Corporation. “The mission and vision of our two brands align perfectly,” said Mr. Schmitz.

According to Mr. Kaufman, the timing is right. “This was a good time for me to do what’s best for both my family and the business. And, I get to do what I love by continuing to oversee Princeton Artist Brush and taking care of our customers,” said Mr. Kaufman. “Strathmore has an excellent reputation and is highly regarded in the industry. They are a perfect fit for Princeton. We are synergistic when it comes to principles and values such as innovation, listening to and inspiring the artist community.”

“Mason Wells was pleased to support Pacon in its acquisition of Princeton,” said Chris Pummill, a Director at Mason Wells. He added, “The acquisition fits perfectly with Pacon’s strategy of acquiring complementary art and craft product lines that serve the same retailers and consumers.”

Princeton Artist Brush Co., along with its marketing department, technical experts, and warehouse, will remain in New Jersey under the oversight of Mr. Kaufman and his dedicated team.

For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

Mason Wells Announces Promotion and New Hire

Jon Gladieux was promoted to Director of IT & Accounting Administrator. As Director of IT & Accounting Administrator for Mason Wells, Mr. Gladieux is responsible for maintaining Mason Wells’ information systems and supporting the Chief Financial Officer with the firms’ accounting needs. Mr. Gladieux has over 17 years of information technology experience and eight years of accounting expertise. He serves on the Board of Directors for Alliance Francaise de Milwaukee. Mr. Gladieux received a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Indiana University Bloomington.

Dan Shanahan recently joined Mason Wells as an Associate. Prior to joining Mason Wells, Mr. Shanahan was an Investment Banking Associate in Robert W. Baird’s Industrial Group in its Milwaukee office, where he focused on middle market M&A advisory engagements. Mr. Shanahan received a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with Distinction in Finance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. At Mason Wells, Mr. Shanahan is primarily responsible for supporting the funds’ investment activities, including financial modeling, investment analysis, market research, due diligence support, and the monitoring of portfolio companies.

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