Twenty years ago, Chris Traylor found himself rewiring the controls of a 225-ton, American 9310 crawler crane in his family’s equipment shop in Evansville, Ind. “It was important to my dad that all of us worked in the shop during the summers of our high-school years,” he says. Little did he know, he would be rewiring again one day, but on a much bigger scale: Now 37, the co-president of Traylor Bros. Inc. is helping to direct an ambitious fleet overhaul as the family-owned firm ramps up for a heavy workload of major U.S. infrastructure projects.
In an age when many large contractors are pushing away risk by buying less fleet, self-performing less work and leaning more on subcontractors to do the heavy lifting, well-equipped general contractors like Traylor are becoming scarcer—and thus more in demand. Traylor Bros., ranked No. 270 among ENR’s Top 400 Contractors with $272 million of revenue in 2008, also is moving into its third-generation of leadership. Chris and his brother, Mike, are taking the controls of the historic bridge, tunnel and water-infrastructure builder founded 63 years ago by their grandfather, William F. Traylor. His son, Tom, CEO, named them co-presidents in 2002.