Chartwell is pleased to announce Blackstone has successfully completed a minority equity investment in Salas O’Brien, a leading employee-owned engineering and technical services firm.


Chartwell Advises NOVA Geotechnical on Sale to Obsidian Group Holdings

May 2020

Chartwell is pleased to announce the sale of NOVA Geotechnical & Inspection Services, LLC to Obsidian Group Holdings, LLC, parent company of Universal Engineering Services, LLC and GFA International, Inc. Chartwell acted as exclusive financial advisor to NOVA (the “Company”) throughout the transaction providing comprehensive, unbiased counsel to the shareholders on the sale of the Company.

NOVA provides geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, soils inspection and testing, construction materials testing, and special inspection services throughout Nevada and California. Founded in 2001, the Company has established itself as a market leader in a fragmented industry by providing consistent quality and deep expertise across a full spectrum of services, from project concept to post-construction. NOVA’s staff consists of engineers, geologists, scientists, inspectors, technicians, and specialty consultants with decades of engineering and construction experience. With substantial, proven knowledge and diversified technical expertise, the difference NOVA provides is continuous integrity. The Company is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada with additional offices in Reno, Nevada and Irvine, California.

The shareholders believed that in order to accelerate growth and capitalize on favorable construction trends in the Company’s key markets, NOVA needed to find the optimal partner to support its next chapter. NOVA’s shareholders chose Obsidian to provide both the economic and strategic resources necessary to further expand NOVA’s service offerings and geographic footprint, thus facilitating continued growth and expansion of the business.

“We chose Chartwell as our financial advisor due to their industry experience, reputation, and transaction expertise. Chartwell was instrumental throughout each step of the process, providing in-depth analysis and unbiased guidance. They took the lead in evaluating offers and educating us on our options with strategic and private equity investors. Chartwell led the negotiation process with Obsidian in this highly complex transaction. I was very impressed with Chartwell’s expertise and guidance and the superior outcome for our shareholders and employees. We are extremely excited about the future of NOVA and Obsidian.”

 – James Bristow, CEO, NOVA

About Obsidian Group Holdings

Obsidian is a network of engineering, inspection, and testing firms. Headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, Obsidian was formed in 2019 following the merger of Universal Engineering Sciences, LLC and GFA International, Inc. The combined company’s resources include 26 offices and over 1,300 professionals.

Chartwell Contact

For more information about this transaction, please contact Chris Staloch. To learn more about Chartwell’s corporate finance capabilities, please contact Wil Becker.

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