“Solar energy and health-care projects are the hot markets right now, and we happen to be playing in those markets,” says Larry Hollis, vice president of business development for Rosendin Electric Inc.

Rosendin Electric's record of spotting market opportunities and capitalizing on them is a key reason why ENR California has chosen the San Jose-based company as its Specialty Contractor of the Year.

As other contractors stalled in the economic doldrums, Rosendin's focus on alternative energy, data centers and health-care projects helped it achieve a 22% revenue increase in 2010. An additional 25% gain is expected this year. The company ranked third in this year's ENR California Top Specialty Contractors list (see p. CA 25).

Other criteria ENR considered in awarding the specialty contractor honor were Rosendin's impressive safety record, community involvement, philanthropy and commitment to green construction.

Rosendin was invested in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design practices earlier than many firms, Hollis says. “Our president, Larry Beltramo, made a push to have as many people in the company to be LEED-accredited professionals as possible—he saw the writing on the wall.”

Hollis says that Rosendin now has between 40 and 50 LEED APs. “Today, every building seems to have some LEED-certified category,” he adds. “We've been able to take advantage of that by having project managers with that kind of green-building experience.”

Rosendin's gains have helped it grow physically and financially. The 92-year-old company recently purchased a 23,000-sq-ft building next to its corporate offices that it plans to use as a prefabrication facility.

It has also extended its reach beyond the continental U.S., landing projects in Canada and Guam. Last year, it acquired KST Electric in Austin, Texas, bringing its total work force to 3,200.

Clearly, Rosendin is in an expansive mood—one largely fueled by alternative energy. Its portfolio includes enXco's Montezuma I and II wind farm in Rio Vista and the Vasco Wind project in Livermore, where Rosendin workers are replacing hundreds of wind turbines for NextEra Energy.

The company has struck green gold in solar energy, tackling large panel installation projects from Los Angeles to Sacramento.

As Hollis describes it, all of those projects benefit the communities they support and are lucrative for Rosendin. For example, a 5-MW, 25,000-panel Sunset Reservoir photovoltaic installation in San Francisco was a $30-million job.