While other Southwest subcontractors have struggled during these challenging economic times, Corbins Electric has prospered. The Phoenix-based company saw revenue rise 22% in 2010 to $42.8 million, one of the best performances by any regional subcontractor. The total includes $37.2 million from Arizona projects.
Corbins, which also has an office in Albuquerque, N.M., anticipates an increase of 28.5% in 2011 to $55 million, says Mark Fleming, president and CEO. In those roles since 2001 and a 25-year company veteran, Fleming estimates 2012 revenue of about $50 million.
Despite the industry doldrums, the 268-employee company has thrived by effectively partnering with major contractors on key projects. These include Baker Concrete Construction Inc., Monroe, Ohio, for the multi-phase $2-billion Nuclear Enrichment Facility in Eunice, N.M., the first major nuclear facility licensed in the U.S. in three decades, and Hensel Phelps Construction Co., Greeley, Colo., on the $400-million first phase of the PHX Sky Train project.
“I think the biggest reason for our success is that we have worked at creating and maintaining relationships with respected clients and becoming involved with industries of the future,” Fleming says. “Our team has learned to coordinate with general contractors and to reach out to new clients in areas such as solar energy, high-tech data centers, health care and federal work.”
Corbins Electric opened a sustainable division in 2005 just as the solar industry was beginning its rapid expansion throughout the Southwest. Under Greg Poulsen, director of sustainable energy, the company has delivered such green projects as the $1.6-million WalMart distribution center in Casa Grande for San Mateo, Calif.-based Solar City Inc., completed in April. Included in Corbins Electric's scope for the 2.15-MW photovoltaic system were installations of home runs, conduit and the inverter. “Solar is going to be a great asset to Arizona, and fortunately, we got involved when we did,” Fleming says.
General contractors have turned to Corbins Electric not only because of its partnering skills but also because of the company's wide range of preconstruction capabilities, Fleming says. These include design assistance and expertise in building information modeling (BIM) provided by six virtual-reality specialists on staff.
Another key resource is the company's 23,000-sq-ft prefabrication shop in Phoenix. “Almost anything can be prefabbed,” says John Larrabee, director of field operations, who joined the company in 2007. “By completing as much work as possible off site, we have worked more efficiently on site.”
The company's ability to prefabricate conduit has helped with construction of the PHX Sky Train system at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which will move passengers throughout the airport and connect to the existing Phoenix light rail line.
Begun in late 2009, the project's first phase will be complete in December. Under an $11.8-million electrical contract, Corbins Electric is installing utilities from the Arizona Public Service substation to a new dedicated yard. The project's scope also includes the 12kV medium-voltage propulsion power for the rail cars, communications conduits to the propulsion buildings and work in electrical yards at various stations and facilities. At peak, the job site and prefab crew have included 35 Corbins Electric staff.
“This project has unique constraints that limit the amount of time our installers can be on site,” says Larrabee, who served as project manager. “Because of the airport site, we only have a small window of opportunity to set our material in place. Our prefabrication facility has helped us use this time efficiently.”