Tom Certo Featured

10:01am EDT July 22, 2002

There’s not a lot of flash or dash to Gemini Holdings Inc., at least not a lot that meets the eye.

Nonetheless, Gemini Holdings has accumulated an impressive lineup of businesses in a short stretch of time and plans to grow them substantially this year.

“We think we built a nice, solid group of companies in 1998,” says founder and CEO Tom Certo.

Launched in 1997 by Certo and four other entrepreneurs, Gemini Holdings has acquired two companies in the laundry supply business and formed USA OnRamp Network Integration Corp. and Leasing Capital Equipment Corp. Gemini Holdings also acquired Pittsburgh Applied Research Corp. last spring.

Gemini Holdings sees its biggest opportunities in 1999 with PARC and the laundry supply ventures.

PARC, says Certo, has been able to solidify relationships with companies such as Mobil, attract project contracts with other major players in the petroleum industry and land a lucrative long-term deal with engineering and construction giant Bechtel Corp.

To make its services more attractive to potential clients, Gemini Holdings has invested in a remote on-line data-access network, facilitated by its ownership of USA OnRamp Network Integration, that allows PARC clients to access research data on a nearly real-time basis.

“One of the glaring deficiencies [at PARC] was the inability to provide expedient results to the client,” says Dave Gilpatrick, Gemini Holdings’ chief operating officer.

Certo says the laundry supply industry is ripe for consolidation, with many companies operating in rather limited geographic areas, often under family ownership. Many, he says, are strong players in their respective markets, but may lack the resources or expertise to grow their businesses to the next level.

To prepare for acquisitions, Gemini Holdings has formed USA Clean, a company that manages its two laundry supply companies, including Pittsburgh’s Carman Supply & Equipment Co. and Havnaer Supply & Equipment Co., based in Virginia. With the two or three acquisitions it intends to make this year, Gemini Holdings plans to build its laundry supply business from $12 million-$15 million in annual sales to an operation pulling in $60 million-$75 million a year doing business in as many as 15 states east of the Mississippi.

Not a lot of flash or dash, but potentially, some serious cash.