Plainly, 2009 was not a good year for Southeast contractors and designers. And judging from the data collected from Southeast Construction’s annual Top Specialty Contractors survey, for the ranking published here, specialty firms took a severe hit last year.

Top Specialty Contractors

The number of responses to this most recent annual survey was down considerably. In itself, that’s a telling indicator.

While each of the previous two Top Specialty Contractor rankings had reached a depth of 200, this latest “Top” survey generated only enough responses for a ranking of 150.

Last year’s ranking of Top Specialty Contractors—again, with 200 firms listed—represented approximately $8.5 billion in cumulative revenue. That was an all-time revenue high for the magazine’s Top Specialty ranking.

In contrast, the revenue represented by this year’s ranking—which is based upon 2009 revenues—is down significantly, to just over $5.1 billion. That collective total equates to a roughly 40% drop from a year ago, well more than the 25% decline in the number of participating firms.

Further Analysis

At the top of the list—and throughout—revenues are mostly down. Only one of the Southeast’s ten largest specialty contractors—the #1-ranked firm—experienced a discernable uptick during 2009, compared to 2008.

Also, several firms from last year’s top 10 fell to lower positions in the ranking. Even so, this year’s top 10 includes at least some of the usual suspects. Coral Gables, Fla.-based telecommunications contractor MasTec takes the top spot yet again.

The firm reported slightly increased revenues: nearly $588.1 million in ‘09 revenue, up from the $557.8 million of a year ago.

Second-ranked Top Specialty stalwart EMCOR Group reported roughly flat revenues. The Connecticut-based specialty contracting giant reported $253.9 million in Southeast revenue, compared to the $253.4 million of a year ago.

The rest of the top 10 experienced declining fortunes.

Charlotte, N.C.-based SteelFab, fell from second to third place in this year’s ranking. The company’s revenue dropped from the $326.7 million included in last year’s ranking to this year’s total of $194 million.

Miller Electric Co. of Jacksonville, Fla., returned in the fourth position, but also with significantly reduced revenue: $165.6 million, versus its total of a year ago of $238.5 million.