Contractor of the Year 2015: Employee-Owned Firm Grows Its Portfolio
With roughly 6,800 employee-owners, Austin Industries and the three operating companies it owns—Austin Commercial, Austin Bridge and Road and Austin Industrial—provide nearly every type of civil, commercial and industrial construction service. The firm reported $1.14 billion in regional revenue in 2014, up nearly $300 million over the previous year, lifting it three spots to sixth place in this year’s Top Contractors ranking.
“Timing and a construction economy that continues to improve is the short answer for what was behind our growth in 2014,” says David Walls, president and CEO of Austin Industries. “A sizable portion of Austin’s work in 2012 reached completion in the early part of 2013. Much of the work Austin was blessed to win in 2013 impacted our revenue more in 2014 than in 2013. The company also had some ongoing work in its industrial sector increase in scope last year.”
Some impressive projects lie ahead for Austin, but the firm’s focus goes beyond the jobsite, with solid dedication to both its employees and community. For those reasons, ENR Texas & Louisiana has named Austin Industries its 2015 Contractor of the Year.
Texas continues to be a strong market for most contractors. “This region has fared very well over the past year, and we are thankful to be located in an area with a thriving construction economy,” Walls says. “This is a unique time in our company’s history, where all three of our operating companies are collectively seeing tremendous opportunities and poised for growth across the entire organization.”
Austin Commercial reported a record year for company revenue and is more geographically diverse than ever, says William McAdoo, president of the unit.
Meanwhile, Austin Bridge and Road continues to diversify into the alternative delivery market. “In 2014, Austin partnered with Kiewit and won the $850-million Mid-Town Express project in Dallas,” says Ben Hewett, president of the division. “This project, along with the U.S. 77 design-build project in Kingsville and the Energy Sector design-build project in South Texas, has significantly moved a major portion of our backlog into alternative delivery.”
Barry Babyak, president of Austin Industrial, says the unit has expanded its services to include specialty work and turnarounds. “We have also diversified our targeted market and increased our geographic footprint to provide additional solutions for the needs our current customers.”
Walls admits it’s difficult to succinctly characterize a successful year, but says, “Austin Industries is 100% owned by its employee-owners. Our stock value experienced a 7.3% increase in 2014. Increasing shareholder value and well-serving customers is a recipe for success in any business—and Austin did that in 2014.”
Austin Commercial worked on 21 projects in North Texas and 33 projects throughout the state in 2014. So far in 2015, Austin Commercial has 27 projects in North Texas, plus another 40 projects statewide. Austin Bridge and Road had 136 projects on the books in 2014, and the company will handle about the same number in 2015.
One of the most notable projects under Austin’s belt is the $1.3-billion Parkland Hospital project, which “is the largest publicly funded health care project of its kind,” McAdoo says.
Austin Commercial and Austin Bridge and Road, along with partner Flintco, delivered Baylor University’s new $260-million McLane Stadium last August. Additionally, Austin Bridge and Road and its construction partner Angel Brothers are working on TxDOT’s $150-million Energy Sector Roadway Repair Project in South Texas, which includes 31 separate projects spread across 11 counties.
Moving forward, Austin has several new projects in the works, including the new headquarters for Toyota North America in Plano, Texas. The 100-acre campus will include about 2.2 million sq ft of enclosed/conditioned space and parking for 7,500 to 8,000 vehicles.
Southgate Mobility Partners recently selected Austin Bridge and Road and joint venture partner Kiewit as the best-value proposer for design-build work on TxDOT’s $850-million managed-lanes project on S.H. 183 in Dallas and Tarrant counties, Hewett says.
Austin also broke ground this year on Phase 2 of the State Farm headquarters in Richardson, an $86-million project.