Steve Osborn wasn’t looking to sell CE Solutions.
However, Matt Clark came up with an offer to buy the structural engineering company and keep the CE Solutions team. Osborn, who started the firm in his Carmel basement in 1998, recently became the founding principal with Clark’s purchase.
Clark, now the owner and CEO of the Carmel company, has two decades of heavy industrial and commercial construction experience. Clark’s portfolio includes work in health care, infrastructure, manufacturing, hospitality and higher education.
“Matt is a close personal friend and client since 2009,” Osborn said. “He got the entrepreneurial itch to buy a company.”
Osborn said he and Clark discussed that desire in May 2021.
“In October of last year, he approached (me) with the idea of buying CE Solutions,” Osborn said. “It took me by surprise. I was planning to do an internal transfer of leadership over time. But he brought an idea forward that would allow us to accelerate that ownership transfer and create opportunity for our folks quicker than the other approach was going to provide. I’m very flattered he saw something in our company he wanted to perpetuate and grow. I had no desire to sell the business to an outside entity. I would never sell it to another corporation with a different culture and different brand. I was very protective of what we started and created and promised to our staff. All those opportunities that were promised to our employees when we hired those people still exist today under Matt’s leadership.”
J.D. Taylor has been promoted to president and principal. Chip Bradway, Heather Cox and Carrie Walden were promoted to vice presidents and principals.
“That was the same leadership team I was going to put in place,” Osborn said. “I’m basically under contract for the next five years to provide a smooth transition and help continue to nurture relationships I have out there in the business community. I’m still involved with major brainstorming and the guidance of the firm. The idea of putting this new group of leadership in place gives me the opportunity to slow down.”
Osborn, 66, said he has been working 65 to 70 hours a week for 44 years. He said the goal is to get down to 20 hours a week.
“I was putting that much energy and effort in wherever I was,” he said. “I worked for three different companies before I started CE Solutions. I put my heart and soul in everything I do. That’s the challenge I have, to be able to rapidly downshift and allow the next generation to rise quickly and run the business. The future is incredibly bright.”
The company has approximately 15 employees, but Osborn said it is in a hiring mode. He has goal to hire four to five people this year.