Combining a booming construction market like that in Texas and Louisiana with a strategy to maximize opportunities in the right places is working out well for Baton Rouge, La.-based electrical contractor The Newtron Group.
The firm posted regional revenue of $282.25 million in 2013, a gain of nearly $100 million over 2012, placing it at No. 6 on ENR Texas & Louisiana's annual ranking of Top Specialty Contractors. That's up five spots from last year. The firm was ranked No. 2 in the electrical contractors category and No. 4 out of all Louisiana-based specialty contractors.
"The biggest driver to our current market is the abundance of cheap natural gas in the Gulf Coast," says Bruce Beard, president of The Newtron Group. "This natural resource is driving expansion of new facilities at a break-neck pace. We believe that our strong business relationships developed over the past 41-plus years and our reputation of meeting our commitments has been a key component of our growth in the area."
The firm has offices across Texas and Louisiana, from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles, Port Arthur, Houston and Corpus Christi. "We also have a few sub-specialty subsidiaries, which support our operations and owners directly," Beard says.
Newtron's revenue gains came partly from the firm's subsidiary offices, Newtron Beaumont and Triad Electric & Controls in Houston, Corpus Christi, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. Part of what makes the offices successful is accepting what the market offers, rather than approaching each year with a revenue goal, says David Funes, who is in charge of business development at The Newtron Group. "We aim to maximize resources to be as efficient as we can be," he says.
For its solid performance of the past year and its keen strategy on making the most of what the market offers, along with its strong commitment to safety, its people and the communities in which it operates, ENR Texas & Louisiana names The Newtron Group its 2014 Specialty Contractor of the Year.
"Our operations in Port Arthur and Baton Rouge have never been stronger," Beard says. "The market in Houston has taken off, and Lake Charles will see a construction boom with potential to surpass anything we have seen in this area in the history of our company."
Given the plentiful project starts, the next three to four years could be solid for electrical and instrumentation contractors like The Newtron Group and its subsidiaries, since E&I work is often the last to mobilize on a project, says Brian Bordelon, president of Triad Electric & Controls and general manager of Triad's Baton Rouge office. "The market has certainly improved over the past few years, which has contributed to our growth," he says. "In order to capitalize on that, we started planning for the influx years in advance by growing and training our work force."
The company has put more focus on supervisor training, since the shortage of skilled workers means supervision is increasingly important to ensure safety, quality and productivity, Bordelon says.
Also, the firm's core values and beliefs have helped it retain and attract the best employees, says Eric Coco, general manager of Triad's Houston office.
The core values of the firm's owner, Newton Thomas, "are certainly a differentiator for us," Beard explains. "Newton believes that those closest to the current issue should be responsible for making the decisions and that we cannot micromanage project details from a home office. His belief in sharing a substantial portion of net profit with employees creates an atmosphere of self-motivation and dedication that I have not seen with other similar companies."
The Newtron Group and its companies stay active in their local communities with charities such as The United Way, Junior Achievement, AMIkids, Buckner Children's Center, March of Dimes and Miracle Match for Life, among others.