Stephan to Retire, Rupe Named Fifth CEO of Lerch Bates Inc.

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Press Release


DENVER, COLO. – After 19 years at Lerch Bates (LB), Bart Stephan announced last week at a companywide townhall that he will retire from his role as CEO effective Jan. 1, 2024. Stephan has led the company since 2004, when he was named CEO by his predecessor, Chuck Olsen. Since taking the helm, Stephan has navigated the technical consulting firm through a period of growth, including a significant increase in share price valuation, while maintaining a consistent focus on living the company’s core values of community, integrity, optimism, ownership and respect.

“Bart has been an integral part of Lerch Bates for nearly 20 years,” said Board of Directors spokesperson Don Evans. “His impact will endure for many years to come as he continues to serve LB, now as an Outside Director on the Board. On behalf of the LB Board of Directors, countless stakeholders, 400+ employee-owners and the many industry partners and peers who enjoyed working with Bart during his tenure, we thank him for his industry contributions, his leadership, his genuine focus on what was best for LB’s employee-owners and his friendship. Congratulations, Bart!”

After an extensive internal and external search, Lerch Bates’s Board of Directors announced Eric Rupe, current LB President, will succeed Stephan. Rupe’s appointment was a unanimous decision by the Board of Directors based on his knowledge of Lerch Bates’s company history, its employees and clients, and the current building industry marketplace. Rupe will serve as only the fifth CEO in the company’s 75-year legacy.

“For more than five years, Eric has worked in tandem with our current CEO, Bart, and our CFO, John Arther, in various roles within the organization,” said Evans. “Eric’s industry insights were invaluable as LB embarked on a major growth trajectory while he was President, which resulted in multiple strategic acquisitions, a 35 percent increase in global headcount and various internal improvements to better serve LB clients. Much like his predecessors Charles Lerch, V. Quentin Bates, Chuck Olsen and Bart Stephan, Eric’s name is already synonymous with the Lerch Bates legacy of unparalleled client service and trusted technical expertise.”

“Eric’s dedication and commitment to our employee-owners and the client-base we serve is extraordinary,” Stephan said. “I have no doubt he will lead Lerch Bates into the next chapter of industry leadership with continued success and have zero hesitation leaving the role of CEO knowing he’s stepping into place as my successor.”

Rupe joined Lerch Bates Inc. in 2010 after an extensive career in the elevator and escalator industry that began in 1990 at Montgomery Elevator Company, now KONE. At KONE, Rupe served in roles across sales, project management, operations, marketing, leadership, product management and product development. Rupe also led a family-owned construction equipment business serving commercial, residential, and institutional clients.

At Lerch Bates, Rupe’s various consulting and leadership roles included General Manager – Great Lakes Region, Area Vice President Central/Northeast and Executive Vice President of Operations – Elevator Consulting Group. Rupe was named President of the Elevator and Building Logistics Group in Jan. 2020, where he led the largest business segment of Lerch Bates’s global portfolio. In March 2022, Rupe was appointed President of Lerch Bates Inc. Rupe was subsequently named Internal Executive Director of the Lerch Bates Board of Directors in June 2022. Rupe holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The University of Iowa Tippie College of Business in Marketing & Finance and a Management Certificate from the London Business School in Business Administration & Management.

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