Published in Economic Development

Tribes renew partnership with acquisition of two Holland transportation companies

BY Thursday, October 28, 2021 01:57pm

The investment arms of two West Michigan tribes have partnered to acquire a pair of transportation companies in Holland.

Waséyabek Development Co., the non-gaming arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and Gun Lake Investments, the economic development arm for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, or Gun Lake Tribe, today announced the acquisitions of Zip Xpress Inc. and Green Transportation Inc. 

Deidra Mitchell president and CEO of Waséyabek Development Co COURTESY PHOTO

The two previously partnered in early 2020 to buy the McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids.

The tribes bought Zip Xpress and Green Transportation from Dina McKnight-Dargis and Mike Dargis, a husband and wife team who started and built both companies. Dina McKnight-Dargis owned and managed Zip Xpress as CEO. Mike Dargis owned and operated Green Transportation.

DWH LLC, a tribally owned business consulting firm that specializes in tribal economic development, will manage the partnership. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

By investing in the two transportation companies, the tribes are further diversifying their business holdings, said Deidra Mitchell, president and CEO of Waséyabek Development.

“The way this rounds out our portfolio, both financially and from a diversification standpoint, aligns with our investment strategy,” Mitchell said in a news release announcing the deal.

Zip Xpress is a less-than-truckload company, and both serve clients in 38 states. While both companies are Michigan-based, they serve a national clientele. The companies employ about 90 people combined.

“For my husband and I, growing these businesses has been a labor of love, and each company has grown around the foundations and principles we believe in,” Dina Mcknight-Dargis said in a statement. “It is always a tough decision to sell a company that you have built yourself, but with DWH we know it is in good hands and will only help to contribute to continued growth for our team members and the companies themselves.”

Started in 2011, Zip Xpress is a woman-owned, general and specialty commodity carrier. Green Transportation, formed in 2007, provides long-distance trucking services to Zip and several other companies. Green Transportation also operates a training school.

“In addition to being a great investment, this acquisition also brings career development opportunities for Tribal Members in the form of truck driving instruction. This makes it an added benefit for both Tribes as Tribal Members plan for careers,” said Jamie Stuck, chairperson of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribal Council.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story had incorrect spellings of Zip Xpress Inc., and incorrectly identified Green Transportation as a less-than-truckload company.

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