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South Carolina firm buys local biopharma engineering company

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(Contributed) O'Neal, a South Carolina-based design and construction firm, acquired DME Alliance of Upper Macungie Township to gain greater experience building and designing automated warehouses as e-commerce continues to flourish. Here is an example of an O'Neal advanced facilities project.
(Contributed) O'Neal, a South Carolina-based design and construction firm, acquired DME Alliance of Upper Macungie Township to gain greater experience building and designing automated warehouses as e-commerce continues to flourish. Here is an example of an O'Neal advanced facilities project.

A South Carolina engineering and construction firm acquired DME Alliance, a biopharmaceutical engineering company based in Upper Macungie Township.

O’Neal Inc., based in Greenville, S.C., acquired DME Alliance to allow O’Neal to expand its biopharmaceutical capabilities by building on DME’s ongoing success. DME Alliance has specialized teams that design solutions for advanced technology facilities, including those areas that require clean rooms, hygienic manufacturing and chemical processing.

David Marks founded DME Alliance in 2001 and will continue to lead the local office.

“We want to grow that office and we want to expand their capabilities in the biopharma industry on a national scale,” said Kevin Bean, president and CEO of O’Neal Inc. “The other interest we had was regional advanced facilities.”

Bean said these automated warehouses and distribution sites are a big market in the Lehigh Valley and the company is looking to do more work with those facilities.

“We believe this is the next generation, so we see the opportunity to not only expand and grow DME but that region fits very well with what we do,” Bean said. “We think we can do more in that market. These advanced facilities can also be called e-commerce. We think there’s an opportunity to participate in that industry.”

Bean said O’Neal also plans to build these types of facilities for all industries nationwide. His company also offers services that include design, planning, site selection support and procurement.

Locally, O’Neal has also done small projects for Boston Beer Company’s Sam Adams manufacturing plant in Upper Macungie Township, he added.

O’Neal hired all of DME Alliance’s employees and plans to add general engineering specialists. The company did not institute any layoffs in the acquisition, Bean said. Furthermore, DME Alliance will keep its name for a few months before fully transitioning to its new name, O'Neal. O’Neal acquired the entire company as an asset purchase but Bean declined to disclose the cost. With the acquisition, O’Neal now has 230 employees and has offices in Greenville and Atlanta with projects in more than 15 states throughout the U.S.

Overall, Marks said the acquisition would lead DME Alliance to experience more growth.

“It’s been a great move for us,” Marks said. “One of the challenges we had working in the industry, we were generally competing with companies that were much larger than us.”

O’Neal has a much more mature technology platform and more capability to meet the needs of DME’s clients locally and nationwide, Marks said. It would also increase O’Neal’s presence in the northeast market, he added.

“What we are hoping to do is build our capabilities in this office,” Marks said. “They are a nationwide project delivery firm. It brings in quite a lot of expertise, particularly in the biopharma industries.”

Marks said DME Alliance has plenty of room to expand in its existing office space on Windsor Drive but the challenge is finding the qualified workers with the right character.

“In this market, it’s finding the qualified people, we want them to have the right experience,” Marks said.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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