Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, made a majority investment in St. Louis-based Potter Electric Signal Company LLC, a provider of mission critical products to the fire safety industry.

Kelly Romano, the former president of several of United Technologies’ Fire and Security, and Carrier Corporation global businesses; Mark Levy, the former president and CEO of Honeywell Life Safety; and Rob Salek, the former CEO of Gryphon portfolio company Consolidated Fire Protection, will join the board of directors of Potter (along with Gryphon professionals Bob Grady, Wes Lucas and Felix Park) as part of Gryphon’s investment. CEO Bernie Lears and the Potter management team have retained a significant ownership position in Potter, and will continue to lead the business, managing all day-to-day operations. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1898 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Potter designs and manufactures specialty electronic and electromechanical products and solutions to enable fire safety protection and code compliance in commercial, industrial, multi-family, and residential end-markets in both the U.S. and international markets. 

In a press release, Potter reported it is well positioned for continued strong growth based on innovations, advanced product introductions, investments in sales and marketing, expansion with current customers in both the U.S. and international markets, increased penetration in the fire alarm systems market, and acquisitions. The partnership with Gryphon will provide Potter with significant resources to accelerate these investments, with a specific focus on innovation, new solutions, and increased customer service and support.

Potter CEO Bernie Lears said, “We are excited to partner with Gryphon as we enter the next exciting stage of Potter’s evolution. Potter has many opportunities to serve our existing customers even better and to expand our share in markets such as the fire alarm systems segment. We look forward to working with Gryphon to grow our business, and most importantly to deliver even more outstanding products and service to our customers in the coming years.”

Stifel Nicolaus acted as financial advisor to Gryphon and Harris Williams & Company acted as the financial advisor to Potter. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP acted as the legal advisor to Gryphon and Bryan Cave was the legal advisor to Potter.