HEPCO Capital Management, LLC Acquires Leading Lifeguard Uniform Business, Original Watermen

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HEPCO Capital Management, LLC (“HEPCO”), a family investment firm founded and operated by Jonathan and Edward Cohen, has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Original Watermen, Inc. (“Watermen”), an industry-leading supplier of men’s, women’s, and junior lifeguard uniforms.

Watermen was founded in 2005 by Jen and Ken Miller, both former professional lifeguards. Ken also worked with the Half Moon Bay, CA Fire Department as a paramedic/firefighter and rescue swim instructor. The brand has always had a singular vision: to provide the best quality, fit, and performance in every garment. The brand has an unmatched reputation and is widely considered the gold standard within the US lifeguard industry. Today, Watermen outfits thousands of organizations including a majority of all beach lifeguard and beach patrol organizations nationwide as well as state, county, and city lifeguard and fire agencies. Watermen also supplies multiple branches of the U.S. military including the U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Coast Guard, and other special forces. Intercity pools, parks, lakes, waterparks, and resorts are a massive growing market for the company. The Millers remain committed to the business and will be actively involved as shareholders and advisors.

HEPCO is partnering with Daniel Levine, a seasoned executive from the surf, outdoor, and lifestyle apparel industry, to grow and expand the core Watermen lifeguard uniform business and its portfolio of consumer lifestyle brands. Levine is joining as both an investor and CEO.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with HEPCO and for the opportunity that the founders Ken and Jen Miller have entrusted in me as CEO,” said Daniel Levine. “While Watermen’s core business is B2B, the brand has the attributes of all the amazing startup & heritage lifestyle companies I have committed to throughout my career. The Watermen brand encompasses great product, relentless focus on quality and customer service, a robust culture, and most importantly an impressive team. I am excited about this opportunity to take Watermen to the next level.”

“From our perspective, Dan has the potential to transform this business with a consumer-facing brand story,” said Bill Fradin, a Managing Partner at HEPCO. “We are incredibly impressed by his track record in brand building and feel very confident about driving our value creation strategy under his leadership.”

“Jen and I wanted to find the right partners to help grow our core business and drive a value creation strategy that capitalizes on the opportunity we’ve identified in the market,” said Ken Miller, founder of Watermen. “With HEPCO’s proven track record building and managing businesses, and Dan’s tenured experience leading large vertical apparel retailers and consumer businesses, we feel very optimistic about the future of Watermen and are excited to build upon the strong reputation we have built for our business. Dan is an accomplished brand builder and well-equipped to continue the Watermen heritage.”

Brien Rowe, Founder of Rowe | Tomes Advisors, led the seller process and Akerman served as legal advisor to HEPCO.


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Written by SerieAUKWire

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