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January 26, 2023

Commercial Fire Protection Platform Better Protection Formed with Majority Investment From Abry Partners

Better Protection (the “Company”), a commercial fire protection provider servicing fire detection, alarm and suppression systems, today announced its launch as a new company formed by the combination of Chicago-based Assurant Fire Protection, Complete Fire Pump Service, and Xtreme Fire Protection. Combining these three companies establishes Better Protection as a leading fire and life safety business in the Chicagoland area with a full range of installation, inspection, and maintenance capabilities. Better Protection will leverage the combined scale, resources, and technology of the three businesses to grow into the convenient single source of service for our clients.

In connection with today’s announcement, Abry Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, announced it has completed a strategic growth investment in Better Protection. Abry is partnering with management to support the Company’s organic growth initiatives, and to execute its targeted acquisition strategy.

Matt Palas founded Assurant Fire Protection (AFP) in 2017, and acquired Complete Fire Pump Services (CFPS) in 2020. Matt will continue to be a part of the management team of Better Protection. Xtreme Fire Protection was started in 2008 by Jim O’Malley, who will continue to be a part of the Better Protection management team.

Matt Palas, President of AFP and CFPS, said, “This strategic alliance allows us to increase opportunities for our employees and forms a partnership with a private equity firm that embraces our core values and culture. I commend our employees for their devotion to great teamwork and for delivering a premium service to our customers. This is the perfect time to utilize the additional resources and significant synergies of the combined platform. I am confident that, with our executive team and the support of Abry Partners, we are building an elite organization for high quality partners and team members for years to come.”

Jim O’Malley, President of Xtreme Fire Protection said, “With the brilliant help from my wife Mandy and the hard work from my son John, I was able to build Xtreme Fire Protection into the successful company it has become today. All of us at Xtreme Fire Protection are extremely excited about joining the Better Protection team. We feel that by merging with strategic companies in the fire protection industry we will be able to service our wonderful customers even better and have the ability to scale faster into other geographic areas of the country.”

Better Protection will be led by Chief Executive Officer, Don Mershon. Don has over 30 years of fire protection and life safety industry experience. Don previously founded, owned, and operated Nexus Engineering. Nexus was highly successful and grew robustly over 27 years before merging with other companies to help form Jensen Hughes, the world’s largest fire protection engineering company.

Don Mershon, CEO of Better Protection, commented, “We are excited to bring together three terrific companies that are complementary in so many ways. The exciting part about this is that our clients now have a single point of service for all of their fire protection and life safety needs. Our employees have more opportunities to grow, cross-train and further develop their careers and professional acumen. Our highly driven management team is already supporting accelerated growth and enhancing customer relationships. I am confident that as we build this platform, each company will continue to thrive, grow and build upon its stellar reputation as a leader in the fire protection market. Partnering with Abry Partners makes the deal even better because Abry is a premier private equity firm that has closed over $90 billion in transactions and has successfully grown strategic industry leading companies.”

About Better Protection

Better Protection is a new market entrant in fire protection and life safety services focused on the Midwest and Southeastern markets. The team is led by Don Mershon and a management team dedicated to building a company focused on customers and employees, creating a deliberately better company to work for and with. Visit

About Abry Partners

Abry Partners is one of the most experienced and successful sector-focused private equity investment firms in North America. Since its founding in 1989, the firm has completed over $90 billion of leveraged transactions and other private equity or preferred equity placements. Currently, the firm manages over $5.0 billion of capital across its active funds.

Contact: Chris Tofalli
Chris Tofalli Public Relations, LLC