The contractor is well-rounded, though, with Walker saying "no job is too big or too small." Indeed, D.H. Griffin is well-positioned throughout the Southeast to vie for a wide range of jobs, with 16 offices across seven Southeast states and 600 employees overall. That size and scope put it among the nation's five largest demolition contractors, Griffin says.

A Focus on People

Many firms espouse the notion that employees come first. But at D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co., the dictum resonates because many of those employees are engaged in dangerous, highly specialized work.

"We're in one of the most dangerous businesses you can be in," says Griffin. "In construction, every piece you add, you're strengthening the structure. In our case, every piece we take out is weakening the structure. You have to be on your game 24/7. A demolition site has dangers at every move."

To that end, the contractor has been increasing its commitment to safety in recent years. For starters, over the last two years, D.H. Griffin has doubled the size of its safety department, which now includes 10 full-time staffers. Additionally, says Walker, all site safety managers are certified as OSHA outreach trainers.

More importantly, the contractor makes its emphasis on safety clear at the jobsite, says Tysinger, the Port Everglades project manager.

"We conduct a site-wide safety meeting every morning," he says, adding that all company employees are required to attend. "We emphasize the activities that are going on that day and the hazards associated with that work so that everyone—not just the crew doing the work—is hearing the same thing at the same time."

Additionally, the company has empowered all employees with the authority to halt work at any time if they detect a jobsite hazard, Walker says. "That's been a huge positive throughout the company. You have to change the culture."

Industry Reputation

Over the years, D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. has earned national respect, says Michael Taylor, executive director of the National Demolition Association (NDA), where the company is a charter member.

"They have built themselves a marvelous organization," Taylor says. "They are one of [NDA's] best contractors, plain and simple. They are a well-managed and forward-thinking demolition company."

The company earned kudos after Sept. 11, 2001, Taylor adds, when Griffin drove himself to New York and ended up leading World Trade Center site-clearing operations.