Chartwell Advises Bernards Holdings, Inc. on the Transition to 100% Employee Ownership



MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – April 20, 2017 – Chartwell is pleased to announce Bernards Holdings, Inc. (“Bernards” or the “Company”) has completed the transition to 100% employee ownership (the “transaction”) through a newly established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”).  Chartwell acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Bernards throughout the transaction, providing comprehensive counsel on the sale of 100% of the Company’s stock to its employees. Following an efficient, organized ESOP transaction process that exceeded the expectations of all stakeholders, the transition to employee ownership was completed on April 12, 2017.

Founded and headquartered in Los Angeles, Bernards has been owned and guided by three brothers, Doug, Greg, and Jeff Bernards for over forty years. The Bernards brothers built the Company into a nationally ranked, multidisciplinary construction firm that provides general contracting, construction management, and program management services to a wide range of end users throughout Southern and Central California. The Company delivers full-service construction services to public and private corporations, developers, colleges, universities, K-12 school districts, government entities, and healthcare organizations. Bernards has contributed to the design, construction, and restoration of a number of notable facilities and landmarks throughout the Los Angeles area, including: Magic Mountain theme park, the historic Pasadena Rose Bowl Stadium, the Americana at Brand mixed-use development, and Disney’s California Adventure theme park, among others.

From the commencement of the transaction process, the Bernards brothers were highly focused on preserving Bernards’ superior reputation and corporate culture, while rewarding and incentivizing its employee base and establishing a strong foundation for the Company’s future growth and success. Employee ownership offered the Bernards brothers the opportunity to preserve their legacy and provides long-term benefits to Bernards’ employees who have been instrumental in establishing the Company as a nationally recognized builder.  



“My brothers and I have enjoyed over forty great years leading Bernards, and from the moment we began considering our ownership transition alternatives, we knew an ESOP was the logical next chapter in the history of our great Company.  Our employees have been critical to our history of success, and we can’t wait to see what the ESOP has in store for both them and Bernards’ future.  We chose Chartwell as our financial advisor because of their reputation and expertise, and their delivery far exceeded our expectations.  I could not be happier or more impressed with Chartwell for all of the hard work they invested into ensuring the future success of our Company and ESOP.  I truly appreciate Chartwell’s guidance and everything they’ve done for Bernards, as well as my brothers and me.”

Jeffrey Bernards, Chief Executive Officer
Bernards Bros, Inc.


“Chartwell’s extensive expertise and professionalism made our Company’s ownership transition as seamless as possible. From this experience, I can say that it takes great skill and expertise to efficiently structure and execute an ESOP transaction, and I firmly believe we chose the best partner in Chartwell to deliver unbiased, thoughtful advice throughout every step of the transaction. Chartwell took the time to listen to both the Company’s and sellers’ objectives, thoroughly explain ESOP mechanics, and determine a unique structure that mutually benefits the Company’s employees, partners, and customers.  As Chief Financial Officer, I especially appreciated Chartwell’s objective perspective provided throughout the process, particularly regarding the structuring of the transaction, which ensures that our management team has the flexibility necessary to drive Bernards’ ongoing growth and success.”

Ken Menager, Chief Financial Officer
Bernards Bros, Inc.



Founded by brothers Doug and Greg Bernards in 1974, Bernards is a nationally recognized, leading provider of construction services for a broad range of commercial, retail, governmental, educational, and specialty clients. Bernards delivers an array of construction services under all variations of general contracting, construction management, and program management contracts. Bernards currently has a staff of over 240 professionals that together serve the Southern and Central California markets through the Company’s San Fernando corporate headquarters and four regional offices.  For more information about Bernards, please visit


Chartwell provides comprehensive financial advisory solutions and investment banking services to the middle market.  With substantial corporate finance and capital markets expertise, the Chartwell team works with clients and their advisors to deliver independent, solutions-based advisory services that are unbiased to outcome, free from conflicts, and focused on optimizing client objectives.  For more information about Chartwell, please visit  For additional information on this transaction, please contact Wil Becker at 612-230-3130 or; Richard Joseph at 714-769-9038 or; or Ted Margarit at 312-638-5656 or For information about Chartwell’s corporate finance capabilities, please contact Greg Fresh at 612-230-3125 or