California Automation Firms Merge, Are Purchased by Michigan Company

9 August 2023

NuVescor Group is pleased to announce the successful merger of two California automation firms, DST Controls Inc. and CKC Engineering LLC, which in turn have been purchased by the Michigan-based Depatie Fluid Power Group.

DST Controls, based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, has provided a broad array of automation and industrial controls services to a diverse, global base of customers from multibillion-dollar manufacturers to entrepreneurial startups for nearly 50 years.

CKC Engineering, also with headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, provides innovative automated equipment solutions to a variety of clients, from small startups to large manufacturing companies, in and around Silicon Valley and the West Coast.

Depatie Fluid Power, with headquarters in the southwestern Michigan city of Portage, has served the hydraulic and pneumatic power needs of thousands of customers across western Michigan and northern Indiana for more than 60 years. Ryan Thomas, general manager of Depatie Fluid Power, said merging DST Controls and CKC Engineering is “an investment in the future” and it creates a combined company that “will perform well above its weight class.”

“The two companies have long histories of success and merging them will create more opportunities for growth and broaden relationships with customers,” he said. “This market is project-based and requires longer sales cycles. We believe this will provide greater balance to the overall business in the long term.”

Employees of DST Controls and CKC Engineering will gain “additional opportunities for personal growth through new projects, customers and technologies” because “the development of employee expertise is a cornerstone of our organization.”

Customers of the combined Company “will have a nimble and experienced partner that can support all their automation requirements.” Since the acquisition, and to highlight the next chapter in their automation journey, the two companies will merge and be rebranded as CKC Automation. Buying the California automation firms was a natural progression as Depatie Fluid Power continues to expand beyond its traditional fluid power offerings.

“This opportunity presented a way for us to balance our business in the fast-growing market for factory and infrastructure automation, controls and data,” Thomas said. “Combined, these companies offer the full suite of capabilities in automation. Strategically, they share many similarities with Depatie that will allow us to leverage engineering, business systems, sales and support across to build new ideas and create efficiency.”

Will Southard, former owner of DST Controls, said his Company had done business with CKC Engineering for many years, so he knew the owners and managers there. “They build machines. We automate machines and processes. So the fit was natural and very synergistic.”

He predicts that DST Controls will grow as a result of the merger. “With younger management and a wider audience, I expect DST to double in size within the next three years,” Southard said.

“While the fundamentals will not change, the renewed vigor of the integrated sales team will excite the employees,” he said. “They will see the advantages of a larger team once the dust settles on the details.”

DST Controls, CKC Engineering and Depatie Fluid Power were assisted in the transactions by the NuVescor Group, a West Michigan mergers and acquisitions company specializing in the manufacturing and automation industry.

“It was a pleasure to work with the parties from DST, CKC and Depatie throughout the process,” said Travis Ernst, operations manager at NuVescor Group. “The automation and controls industry remains very active and it is exciting to see the merger of these companies.”

About DST Controls Inc.

One of the first control system integrators in the U.S., DST Controls helps customers in industries such as life science, automotive, energy and food and beverage improve productivity and efficiency. The Company, founded in 1975, has installed more than 4,000 automation control systems on five continents.

For more information about DST Controls, visit

About CKC Automation LLC (formerly CKC Engineering LLC)

Founded in 2005 in San Francisco and now located in Oakland, Calif., CKC Automation specializes in the design and build of custom automated equipment. CKC has a team of mechanical engineers, controls engineers, and highly trained assembly technicians, all with backgrounds in machine building. The Company works with a variety of clients, from small startups to large manufacturing companies, in and around Silicon Valley and the West Coast. For more information about CKC Engineering,

About the Depatie Fluid Power Group

Founded in 1956, Depatie Fluid Power is a certified Parker Tri-Technology distributor across hydraulics,pneumatics, and fluid connectors. It has the inventory and expertise to provide its customers with the right parts and equipment fast and efficiently. Beyond providing parts, the Depatie engineering team scopes, sources and validates custom solutions for customers’ fluid power projects. For more information about Depatie, visit

About NuVescor Group

NuVescor Group, based in the Midwest, is a leading mergers & acquisitions service company that has been guiding the manufacturing and automation industry since 2007. Its proprietary process uniquely positions NuVescor to greatly increase success rates for business transactions, providing a standout customer experience. Marking a significant milestone with ten successful transactions in the rapidly evolving Automation Industry in recent years, NuVescor has affirmed its position as a trusted guide for strategic business transitions. Discover more at