When Irish immigrant Timothy McCarthy started building farmhouses and barns in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1864, he had no idea that, 150 years later, his firm, McCarthy Holdings Inc. (No. 18), would be a multibillion-dollar national enterprise.
There have been numerous milestones in the company's history. For example, McCarthy self-performed the complex concrete work on the parabolic arches of the Priory Chapel in St. Louis in 1961, establishing its reputation for working on tough projects.
By 1985, the firm had topped $1 billion in revenue.
McCarthy remained a family-owned business for 138 years.
But in 1996, it started an employee stock ownership plan. In 2000, Mike Bolen became the first CEO who wasn't a McCarthy.
Then, in 2002, former CEO Mike McCarthy sold his stock to McCarthy employees, making the firm 100% employee-owned.
A lot has changed over the years for the firm. "The work is still the same, to make sure we work safely and efficiently," says Bolen. However, he notes one thing that has changed. "It is not enough to just be a great builder. You also have to be a smart business," he says.
McCarthy has a long history, but it continues to have its eye on the future. "We are 150 years old and just getting started," Bolen says.