Curt Weltz, Flatiron Construction Corp. western region president, sees his company's growing success in California as a top-down process.

Weltz recalls that in 2007, “Tom Rademacher took over as CEO for Flatiron at the same time I was given the region that included all of California.” Weltz adds, “Tom was born and raised in California, and before he became CEO, he ran Flatiron's San Diego district and I ran the Northern California district. What that means is we have strong support in our initiatives from the CEO down—the kind of support that comes from being a manager here locally and carrying that on.”

Weltz cites that intimate knowledge of the Golden State market as a key factor in helping Flatiron move to 11th place on this year's ENR California's list of top contractors, up from 16th in 2010. As many other firms struggle through prolonged economic doldrums, Flatiron's annual revenue rose 15%, to $487 million.

That performance is one reason why ENR regional publications have chosen Flatiron as 2011 Contractor of the Year in California.

The award is based on several criteria, including revenue position in the annual Top Contractors ranking, major projects, excellence in sustainable construction, corporate citizenship and employee diversity.

Flatiron, whose corporate headquarters is located in Firestone, Colo., has California offices in Benicia, San Marcos (San Diego area) and Chino.

Weltz believes the award provides further evidence that the changes Rademacher and others put in place are having a positive impact.

“About three-and–a-half years ago, we began taking a more focused approach on different districts,” he says. “Where we had maybe two districts, we ended up creating four—it was just more of a focused approach on the individual district managers to reach out in their areas and create more volume. Adding the districts created a geographical emphasis that's more market-driven in those areas, increasing our competitiveness.”

Larger Projects

That geographical emphasis also has resulted in Flatiron's taking on significantly larger projects than it had before, particularly in Northern California, Weltz says.