PROVIDENCE, RI – Nautic Partners, LLC (“Nautic”) is pleased to announce the recent formation of HES Facilities LLC, (“HES”), in partnership with management.

Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, and founded in May 2020, HES’s mission is to provide high-performing facilities management services to K-12 and higher education customers nationwide.

HES intends to grow via both acquisition of suitable companies poised for growth across the country, as well as through sustained organic growth. In conjunction with its formation, HES acquired SMS, LLC in May 2020.  SMS was founded in 2007 and serves higher education and K-12 customers in Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.

HES was formed under the leadership of Charlie Spencer as President and CEO, and Buddy Helton as Chairman of the Board. This team previously collaborated to grow the top and bottom line of the education facility services segment of GCA Services (a former Nautic portfolio company) for 11 years, with high customer satisfaction across hundreds of universities and K-12 school districts. The two also partnered more recently at ESS, a current Nautic portfolio company, where Mr. Helton will remain as CEO.

“We are excited to have the support of Nautic as we seek to build HES into a strong national player. Our management team and customer relationships are already excellent, and we believe they will only improve over time through this partnership. We are actively seeking companies to join our platform and we aspire to be the acquirer of choice for high-performing family-owned companies in the education facility services industry,” says Helton.

“Particularly in light of the unprecedented budgetary and health challenges posed to schools by COVID-19, HES is proud to have the management depth and experience to offer the very highest levels of cleaning and facility maintenance services at a competitive cost,” adds Spencer.

Bernie Buonanno, Managing Director of Nautic, concurred: “Nautic is fortunate to have known Buddy and Charlie for many years, and to have supported them at GCA, ESS, and now HES. We believe our long-term and successful relationship is a testament to their talents and is an example of how we aspire to be the partner of choice for top management teams.”

Nick Vidnovic, Vice President of Nautic, continued, “We are proud to support a company that will provide K-12 and higher education customers with a premier level of facility services that will allow them to focus on their core educational mission. We are excited to work with the HES team to support their growth through both organic investment and acquisitions.”

About HES

Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, HES is an emerging leader in the facility services industry with a particular focus on the needs of customers in K-12 schools and higher education. Founded in 2020, the company’s roots in education extend over 40 years to our chairman’s first experience in the education facility services industry in 1976. For more information please visit

About Nautic

Nautic is a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on three industries: healthcare, industrials, and services. Nautic has completed over 135 platform transactions throughout its 34-plus year history. Nautic’s strategy is to partner with management teams to accelerate the growth trajectory of its portfolio companies via add-on acquisitions, targeted operating initiatives, and increased management team depth. Nautic generally makes equity investments of $25 to $250 million or more. For more information, please visit