Expansive growth in the chemical and industrial sectors, fueled by a wave of cheap natural gas, has carried Baton Rouge-based MMR Group Inc. along for the ride. That boom, along with the electrical and instrumentation contractor's ability to serve diverse clients across multiple sectors, boosted the firm's regional revenue by nearly 130% in 2012 to $302 million from $133 million the previous year. That year-to-year gain is the largest posted by any company in this year's ranking of the largest specialty contractors in Texas and Louisiana, pushing MMR up five spots to fifth place.

James "Pepper" Rutland, CEO of MMR Group, notes that low-cost natural gas as a feedstock for the industrial sector "is triggering major investment by just about every major manufacturer in the country. So that's been the real driver behind the expansion and the boom in the Southeast and Southwest."

For the firm's continued strong performance and continued expansion across the Gulf Coast region, ENR Texas & Louisiana has named MMR Group its 2013 Specialty Contractor of the Year.

Bounding Profits, Expansion

Perhaps even more notable is that MMR's massive jump in revenue was entirely a result of organic growth. The firm opened several new offices and now has 21 locations from coast to coast.

"We didn't make any acquisitions, we just expanded our reach from where we already were," Rutland says.

That growth also occurred in MMR's national marketplace, with the firm's revenue nearly doubling to $700 million from $360 million in 2011.

"A lot of that has to do with the fact that as a specialty contractor, we work across industry lines," Rutland says. "We're not specialists in any particular industry, but we work in all of them—onshore and offshore, in power generation, refining, chemical, all the industrial sectors. With oil at over $100 a barrel and gas very cheap, those markets continue expanding at the same time, playing right into our business sectors."

To help with its expanding workload, MMR broke ground on its newest office in Odessa, Texas, in July—a prime location to take advantage of shale gas-driven expansion in West Texas. The firm's Beaumont office will also be moving into expanded facilities as it prepares for more area projects over the next six to eight years. MMR's four offices in Texas and five in Louisiana "have helped us capitalize on the expansion and growth in the Gulf Coast area for certain," Rutland says.

Successful Projects