Kevin Rodgers, founder and former CEO of US rental giant National Equipment Services (NES), has headed up the buy-out of NES’s Industrial Hoist division, the business where it all started.

National Equipment Services Inc was established by Rodgers in 1996 and through acquisitions – starting with Industrial Hoist Services – rapidly grew to be one of the largest players in the US construction equipment rental market. NES hit financial problems in 2002, however, and Rodgers left the company at the end of that year. NES entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2003 and re-emerged as NES Rentals Holdings Inc in February 2004.

Rodgers has teamed up with investment company Prospect Partners to take back NES Industrial Hoist.

NES Industrial Hoist rents, services and sells pneumatic, electrical and mechanical powered chain hoists and winches ranging in capacities up to 100 tons. The company also provides certification services for overhead hoists and winches and has load-testing capabilities.

The new company operates under the name of Industrial Hoist Services LP, with Rodgers as CEO and Louis Kenter, a principal at Prospect Partners, as chairman. General manager James Kowalik, who founded the business in 1983 and continued there after NES bought it, will continue to run day-to-day operations as president, alongside the current management team of Mark Atnip (operations), Anthony Piwonka (sales), and Ed Gonzales (service).

Rodgers will be based in Chicago, working with Prospect to acquire other specialized industrial hoist equipment and rental businesses.

Industrial Hoist’s 2004 turnover was approximately $12m. The target is to grow to $50m in five years.

Louis Kenter said: ‘We see significant opportunities for growth, including the ability to further develop the market for new construction as well as markets such as the certifying, load-testing and maintenance of hoists, overhead cranes and winches.’