Waséyabek Development Company, LLC (WDC), a leading economic development firm in Michigan’s Indian Country, announced today it has become the majority owner of BLDI, LLC, an innovative environmental engineering, consulting and remediation firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. WDC is the non-gaming economic development company of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP) Tribe based in southwest Michigan.
BLDI’s staff of engineers, geologists, scientists and business professionals is focused on providing high-quality, cost-effective environmental services throughout the Midwest. The company’s services include environmental due diligence and risk assessment; Phase 1 & Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments; PFAS testing and remediation; underground storage tank assessment, removal and corrective actions; asbestos surveys; brownfield assessment grants, cleanup, remediation and closure; soil sampling; vapor intrusion and indoor air quality surveys, and wetlands assessment.
“Adding BLDI to the WDC family of companies creates a tremendous business growth opportunity for both entities and is in line with our overall strategic plan,” said Deidra Mitchell, WDC president and CEO. “BLDI delivers services, including PFAS assessment and remediation, that are in great demand and are largely impervious to economic slowdowns or recession. We’re thrilled to add this firm to the Tribe’s non-gaming economic development portfolio.”
BLDI was founded in 1991 and employs 25 people. It has offices in Grand Rapids and greater Detroit. The company serves clients throughout the U.S., but the bulk of their customers are in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Two of the current owners, Rich Spehar and Leslie DeBoer, will continue to have a minority ownership stake in the firm. DeBoer, who has served as company president since February 2023, will remain in that position.
“Having WDC as a new majority owner is a tremendously positive development and comes at a time of great opportunity for our company. As a West Michigan-based environmental firm, we’re interested in growing our company with a new majority owner that wants to invest in our operations while staying here in the Grand Rapids region. We feel WDC’s corporate culture and long-term business strategy are a perfect fit for us, and their minority status in the federal contracting space will open new business opportunities that will fuel our growth.”
With this acquisition, WDC’s portfolio of non-gaming investments increases to 30 entities, encompassing more than 450 employees. It also further diversifies the types of industries represented by companies the NHBP Tribe owns. BLDI will become part of the environmental services division in the Waséyabek Federal Group of companies.
“The addition of BLDI to our portfolio will strengthen our environmental service group and bring their experienced subject matter experts to our current customers and prospective clients in the federal contracting space,” said Bethany Harris, executive vice president of 8(a) business at Waséyabek. “BLDI will continue to deliver great service to its existing customers while expanding into new markets. Furthermore, having their staff and field engineers located near our headquarters will make this ownership transition a seamless process for all.”
WDC’s internal due diligence team handled the execution of the acquisition, a process led by Chief Operating Officer Rabih Jamal with support from long-term business partners BDO and Dickinson Wright. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
“While the merger and acquisition landscape has been unusually sluggish this year, our experienced acquisition team has continued to seek strategic opportunities that bring greater economic sustainability to the NHBP Tribe,” said Mitchell. “BLDI is perfectly aligned with our culture and environmental goals, and we’re excited to see how we can grow together in the future.”