Lessons Learned

During the worst of the recession, the company found itself taking jobs just to keep its workers busy and to avoid layoffs. But it only went so far. SteelFab fell from a peak of 1,000 employees in the summer of 2008 to a low of 600 by fall 2009. Today, that number has rebounded to 750.

Now, the Sherrill family business is looking at new avenues for growth. In early 2012, SteelFab acquired fabricator Alpha Industries in McKinney, Texas.

"We had a great business relationship and similar cultures, and the owner was ready for an exit strategy," CEO Ronnie Sherrill says. Now called Alpha/SteelFab, the company hopes to leverage the acquisition to tap into growing metropolitan areas of the Lone Star State. Although it's a different name, the culture is the same.

"It's a special thing to be able to work with my immediate family," says Sherrill. "It creates stability in a business."