Compass Precision Acquires Sixth Operating Company

CHARLOTTE, NC – April 26, 2022 – Compass Precision, LLC, a Charlotte-based manufacturer of custom, close-tolerance metal components for mission critical applications, announced Monday that it has acquired R&D Machine and Engineering, Inc. in Oldsmar, FL.

“R&D Machine fits in perfectly with our strategy of building a decentralized collection of highly differentiated CNC machine shops serving growth markets,” explained Compass President and CEO Gary Holcomb. “We were attracted to the company’s precision 5-axis machining capabilities, its high tech metrology lab which includes three state-of-the-art Zeiss coordinate measuring machines, and its blue-chip customer base.

R&D Machine and Engineering was founded in 1992 and has been owned by Hilary and Carl Whitley since 1999. It serves 25-30 customers in the aerospace, defense, and space markets including numerous Fortune 500 firms. R&D Machine operates out of a modern 10,000-square-foot facility just north of Clearwater, FL and has about 36 employees. It specializes in complicated metal components typically requiring 5-axis machining capabilities to manufacture efficiently and correctly.

“Carl and I have poured our hearts and souls into R&D Machine for more than two decades,” extolled Hilary Whitley. “We are proud of what we have accomplished in growing the company, serving our great customers with quality machined parts, and developing the R&D Machine organization by providing a stable operating environment for our great employee base.

“We had a great run,” added Carl Whitley. “But it is time for us to retire. Hilary and I could not be more pleased to have our legacy in the hands of Compass Precision.”

Like Compass’s other operating companies, R&D Machine will continue to operate autonomously from its facility in Oldsmar. Hilary and Carl Whitley will remain with the company in full-time capacities for a transitionary period. Gary Holcomb will serve as interim General Manager, with considerable support from Compass Vice President of Sales Jim Miller, who himself has started and run two Southern California precision machine shops.

“We are very excited to be joining forces with R&D Machine,” exclaimed Jim Miller, who will be heading up Compass’s efforts to introduce itself to R&D Machine customers. “Unlike some acquirers in our business, we don’t shut down or consolidate machine shops. Instead, we embrace each new acquisition’s strengths and build upon them. Compass often learns as much from its acquisitions as they learn from us. It is a powerful model, with customers being direct beneficiaries.”

R&D Machine and Engineering will become the sixth operating company under the Compass Precision umbrella, and the second situated outside the Charlotte area, location of the company’s headquarters. The Compass operating model has proven highly effective in integrating and supporting geographically dispersed operating units. In particular, Compass believes that numerous cross-selling and cross-sourcing opportunities exist to enable each operating company to succeed in ways not possible by itself.

Main Street Capital Holdings, LLC, a Pittsburgh-based private equity firm, purchased Quality Products & Machine, LLC, along with Advanced Machining & Tooling, LLC and Tri-Tec Industries, LLC in October 2019 and officially formed Compass Precision, LLC shortly thereafter.

In August 2020, Compass added Gray Manufacturing Technologies, LLC as its first add-on acquisition. Seven months later, Douglas Machining Services, LLC became Compass’s second add-on acquisition in March 2021.

Together, Compass’s six operating companies, including now R&D Machine and Engineering, serve a diversified group of blue-chip customers in the aerospace & defense, space, medical, industrial automation, power generation, telecommunications, and general industrial markets.

For more information on this acquisition, please listen to the latest episode of our podcast, The Right Direction.