Kentucky-based Charah Solutions Inc. has sold Allied Power Holdings LLC, a subsidiary engaged in maintenance, modification and repair services to the nuclear and fossil power generation industry, to an affiliate of Bernhard Capital Partners Management, the company’s majority shareholder, in a $40 million cash deal.

“Charah Solutions is laser-focused on capturing a significant share of the $75 billion ash environmental remediation and byproduct recycling market, and this transaction strategically positions the company to devote its full attention and resources to these higher margin and higher growth opportunities. We also significantly strengthened our balance sheet and reduced leverage by applying the full amount of the net proceeds to debt repayment, and we improved our cash flow and available liquidity,” says Chief Executive Officer Scott Sewell. “At Charah Solutions, our work, mission and culture are directly aligned with meeting Environmental, Sustainability and Governance standards, and providing innovative services to solve our utility customers’ most complex environmental challenges. We are an industry leader in quality, safety, and ESG compliance, and are committed to preserving our environment for a cleaner future.”

John Deere has obtained 5G licenses in five Iowa and Illinois counties as part of the Federal Communications Commission auction for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service 3.5 GHz spectrum, enabling the equipment giant to accelerate 5G technology rollout in its largest North American manufacturing facilities. Rural counties are often left behind in the race to implement broadband, the manufacturer notes, even as advanced connectivity underpins processing large quantities of data plus advances in smart manufacturing, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and other breakthrough technologies. The licenses equip John Deere to boost its wireless networks by providing 5G in its Upper Midwest operations.

“John Deere has always focused on how to empower customers to do more with less by using technology, and our focus on tech goes way beyond the fields. It impacts everything single aspect of our business, and we’re constantly looking at ways to improve our own efficiencies and outcomes with it,” says Chief Technology Officer Jahmy Hindman. “Implementing 5G in manufacturing facilities allows John Deere to make significant progress in our Smart Industrial strategy by turning factories into smart and connected manufacturing facilities—a critical piece of the industrial IoT.”

John Deere manufacturing facilities are extraordinarily complex environments that rely on automation and connectivity, Hindman adds. With miles of embedded Ethernet cables connecting Wi-Fi drop points currently in factory ceilings, the facilities are faced with limited flexibility for set up and upgrades. 5G enabled by private networks will allow John Deere to design a more flexible, nimble and connected facility, creating opportunity for further advancement and greater efficiency that will transform the manufacturing process. Private 5G technology also creates the opportunity to expand factory capabilities leveraging edge computing, analytics, and autonomous devices, and empowers a larger set of smart applications like real-time location systems, asset tracking, inventory management, wearables, building automation, and robotics for operational cost savings.

Houston-based Vortex Companies, a key player in trenchless infrastructure solutions, has acquired Parson Environmental Products Inc., a national source of sanitary sewer rehabilitation and stormwater retention products. “Parson’s portfolio and commitment to customer satisfaction complement what we do, making them an excellent fit to our expanding lineup of trenchless product solutions,” says Vortex CEO Mike Vellano.

Parson Environmental was founded in 1985, aimed at developing and delivering quality products and service to the sewer rehab market. “Our first product, the Parson Manhole Insert, was very well received by municipalities, engineers and contractors,” recalls President and Principal Craig Gaul, who transitions to Vortex senior product manager and remains focused on research and development. “I can’t think of a better fit than Vortex as we look to the future, where we can combine our line of products and find new ways to better serve customers.”

Separately, the company has launched Vortex Technology Group to support its recent acquisition of a proprietary Cured-In-Place-Pipe sensor verifying the relining system curing process. “This technology will continue to significantly improve installation quality control and offer peace-of-mind to project owners and contractors alike, knowing that their CIPP liner is properly cured and installed,” notes Vellano.

Vortex acquired the Curing Monitoring System intellectual property and assets from Osscad GmbH & Co. KG, a developer of optical sensor technology based in Germany. “The CMS software is designed to capture and record a thermal temperature reading, incrementally, along the entire length of the liner,” observes Osscad Managing Director Dr. Ulrich Glombitza. “With such data, contractors may adjust and control the curing temperature to lower power consumption, reduce cold spots and prevent curing irregularity.”

Even as trenchless rehabilitation methods continue to evolve and expand, Vortex cites a lag in accurate inspection data verifying project quality and completeness. “The CMS technology and its powerful reporting software is a game changer in the industry and a natural fit for our customers,” Vellano contends. “It benefits both the contractor and project owner and will improve quality while mitigating cost.”

The CMS technology, which is currently sold and marketed under the names VeriCure and Zia Systems, remains available through existing channels. However, it will be rebranded early this year to protect CMS patents and stave off copycat specifications and technology development.

New York-based Soil Connect, an institutionally backed digital platform focused on soil and aggregates ordering and load dispatch, has named Jonathan Alvarado as chief growth officer. He joins the app developer from construction trucking services peer Trux, where he served as vice president, and is tasked with overseeing Soil Connect’s customer acquisition and retention strategies, plus raising brand awareness among professionals in the construction, building and excavation industries.

“Jonathan has a proven track record of advancing the role disruptive technologies are playing in solving inefficiencies in the construction industry, and his insights will be invaluable as Soil Connect seeks to transform the transportation and management of soil and aggregates,” says Founder and CEO Cliff Fetner. “What’s more, he has established relationships with a strong network of construction professionals and understands what it takes for a startup to become profitable quickly.”

Continental has shipped the first tires from its greenfield plant in Clinton, Miss., less than four years after groundbreaking. The plant is equipped to produce 750,000 large truck and bus tires annually for the North American market, and will employ 500 people by year end. It becomes Continental’s second location producing truck tires in the United States, alongside a Mount Vernon, Ill. operation.

Badger Meter Inc., Milwaukee, has acquired s::can GmbH, a privately-held provider of water quality monitoring systems for $30 million cash. Founded in 1999 with headquarters in Vienna, Austria, s::can specializes in optical water quality sensing solutions that provide real-time measurement of a variety of parameters in water and wastewater utilizing in-line monitoring systems. s::can solutions are deployed across the globe and meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory guidelines; unlike traditional water quality testing, they capture real-time data through sensors and systems that do not rely on reagents and other consumables—resulting in lower capital and operating costs.

s::can solutions was recently awarded the Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Award for Growth, Innovation & Leadership in the Global Smart Online Water Sensor Solutions Market. The addition of real-time water quality parameters to Badger Meter’s core flow measurement, pressure and temperature sensing capabilities enhances the scope of actionable data for municipalities to improve operational security, awareness and efficiency. In addition, the combined offering can provide industrial customers with both process and discharge water quality monitoring capabilities.