This year’s Specialty Contractor of the Year, Rosendin Electric, is a relative newcomer to the Southeast region, but the firm has wasted no time in establishing itself as a go-to electrical contractor for complex and demanding projects. The contractor’s success to date is reflected in its revenue, which jumped roughly 55% in 2018 to $80.3 million as reported in this year’s Top Specialty Contractors survey.
Rosendin opened its first Southeast office in Charlotte in late 2016, and soon thereafter started earning accolades as the city’s No. 1 and No. 2 top electrical contractor in successive rankings published by the Charlotte Business Journal.
More important than any ranking to a specialty contractor is the opinion of its contractor clients, of course. So far, Rosendin has impressed on this front as well.
“We found them to be a really good partner, and we really like the culture of their company,” says Eric Reichard, chief operations officer with Charlotte-based Rodgers Builders. “They have a great safety program and are an active partner in managing safety with us, rather than needing to be managed by us.”
Rodgers first utilized Rosendin on a contract at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, but has since hired the electrical contractor for other work, including a commercial office project in Charlotte slated to be announced soon.
The electrical contractor’s approach to training its workers impressed Reichard, as did its attention to safety. “They have dedicated safety personnel that go from job to job just like a CM or a GC would,” he notes.
Reichard isn’t the first to recognize Rosendin’s exemplary approach to employee training and safety. Last year, Training Magazine named the California-based electrical contractor to its national Training Top 125 ranking, which is based upon factors such as total training budget, training hours per employee and business outcome measurements, among others.
Also in 2018, the Associated General Contractors of America honored Rosendin with a Grand Award in its Construction Safety Excellence Awards competition.
At Rosendin.com, the specialty contractor’s statement on safety, from Marty Rouse, Rosendin’s vice president of safety, is straightforward: “Our people are our most valuable asset and should not be exposed to injury or illness as a result of their employment. Rosendin Electric employees must be treated with respect, and we go to great lengths to listen to their suggestions, comments and concerns.”
Rosendin is taking a slow-and-steady approach to entering the Southeast construction market and has no plans for a rapid expansion into other states. Nevertheless, the company is making rapid progress in North Carolina, where it reported $71.54 million in 2018 revenue, for eighth overall among all specialty contractors working in that state, as ranked by ENR Southeast. Among North Carolina electrical contractors, only Adams Electric Co., with $94.9 million in state revenue, ranked ahead of Rosendin.
The company had identified the Charlotte area, in particular, as having a solid mix of the type of vertical markets that Rosendin specializes in, such as health care, mission-critical facilities, higher education and pharmaceutical, says Brian Brobst, Rosendin’s director of preconstruction.
Rosendin had been solicited to work in the region prior to opening an office, but didn’t want to “fly in and fly out without really making an impact to the local community,” says Brobst. Since opening the office three years ago, “We’ve taken significant market share and really broadened [our portfolio].”
Keith Douglas, vice president for the Southeast region, reiterates that Rosendin’s focus is not to be the biggest.
“It’s about quality of service to our clients and meeting or exceeding their expectations,” he says. “We’re very cautious about projects that we take on and making sure that we execute properly.”
Not that the robust Charlotte and surrounding Southeast construction market doesn’t provide tempting opportunities.
“There’s a lot of opportunities here,” Douglas says. “It’s easy to outgrow your capabilities.”
A focus on mission-critical projects such as data centers, which continue to proliferate, is indicative of the type of work Rosendin wants to pursue.
As far as further expansion into the Southeast, it will depend upon following the company’s clients, says Douglas.
“If we have a client that wants to go to a different location and that makes sense and we feel we can support them, then we will go there,” he says. At the same time, “We need to make sure that before we expand into different markets or different areas, that that is not going to sacrifice the product or the experience of our existing customers.”