Atlantic Energy merger allows for big growth

As schools and municipalities scramble to control soaring energy costs, a local energy efficiency co

As schools and municipalities scramble to control soaring energy costs, a local energy efficiency consulting firm is entering a phase of hyper growth as it aims to develop a coast-to-coast service network.

To gain a presence on the West Coast, Atlantic Energy Solutions President Tim Brock found an unlikely partner in Brett Weiss. Weiss ran a retail store sign manufacturer called Notch Novelty Corp., a Los Angeles area company whose predecessor made the “Baby on Board” signs that launched a 1980s fad.

Notch last week entered into an agreement to acquire Atlantic. Brock will succeed Weiss as the chief executive officer and chairman of the merged entity, Notch announced Wednesday.

“I’ve been looking around for a while [for growth opportunities], and it turned out to be a perfect marriage,” Brock said of the merger.

But Brock, a 56-year-old Lake George native, will not sell signs made in China to value retailers such as dollar store chains. The merged entity will still be known as Atlantic Energy, and Brock will employ Weiss as his West Coast director. And most importantly, Brock will use Notch’s status as a publicly traded company on the Pink Sheets trading system to propel Atlantic’s nationwide growth.

“As the energy prices get higher, our business is in fast-pace growth,” said Brock.

By becoming a publicly traded company through the merger, Atlantic should be able to catch up with the rapidly increasing demand for energy efficiency consulting services, Brock said. Atlantic, which Brock founded in Saratoga in 1992, last month opened a four-person office in Fairfield, N.J.

Another office should open in Maryland within 90 days. After that, Atlantic will eye offices in other states facing imbalances in energy demand and supply, particularly Florida, Texas and Connecticut, Brock said.

Atlantic ended last year with $7.5 million in annual revenues, and Brock expects that figure to reach up to $20 million this year. Brock wants Atlantic to be trading on the Nasdaq stock market within two years. During the next five years, the company’s annual revenues could climb up to $200 million.

Atlantic currently employs 20, with 15 workers at its Saratoga headquarters on Congress Street. The company is now looking to employ up to 20 more workers, with half of them likely to go to the California office and the rest to be split among the East Coast offices.

By 2013, the company could employ 150, with half of them being located in Saratoga, Brock said.

Schools and municipalities pay Atlantic through savings they realize from the more efficient energy systems the company establishes for them. The need to reduce energy costs has become increasingly pressing for school and government officials since the price of crude oil began hovering above the $100-per-barrel mark.

About three years ago, Atlantic helped take the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District off the power grid by equipping it with natural gas-fueled cogeneration plants, which produce low-cost electricity. Excess heat from the electric generators is used to heat the school.

Atlantic is currently developing a wind turbine for Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake.

Brock created Atlantic after he sold his share in Technical Building Services, a Ballston Spa building management and monitoring service he co-founded in 1981. Brock said mutual acquaintances brought him to Weiss.

Weiss, a 42-year-old Chicago native, acquired in 2000 the California sign business previously known as H&L Enterprises.

Weiss said H&L, which was founded in 1971, made the famous “Baby on Board” signs. But Notch could not get “momentum behind the stock,” forcing him to look for other growth avenues.

Categories: Business

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