After achieving large gains in last year’s ENR MidAtlantic Specialty Contractor survey, a similar set of firms ranked in this year’s survey returned to earth before the COVID-19 pandemic. The $3.6 billion in combined regional revenue reported by the 23 firms on this year’s list is a 14.3% decrease compared with results from firms ranked last year. But last year’s total was up 13.5% from 2018, when 25 companies reported total revenue of $3.7 billion.

Based on 2019 revenue data in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, the new survey tells a similar story at the top of the chart. The top 10 firms reported a combined $3.1 billion in revenue, a 14% drop from last year’s list leaders. But the $3.6 billion in revenue recorded by last year’s top 10 represented a 13.5% gain compared with the total for the 10 largest revenue generators in 2018. 

The top two firms ranked on the survey remain the same from last year. No. 1 MasTec Inc.’s $1.4 billion in revenue is down from last year when it reported more than $2 billion in revenue. MasTec reported $856 million in regional revenue on the 2018 survey. 

Comfort Systems USA finished second; its $357.45 million in regional revenue is down nearly 3% from the previous year. The firm’s $367.92 million in regional revenue reported last year was up 4.4% from $352.54 million the previous year.

Rosendin Electric climbed one slot on this year’s ranking to crack the top three. The firm reported $284.73 million in revenue this year, a 49.8% jump from the $190.13 million the firm reported last year. Rosendin was one spot ahead of the 2017 ENR MidAtlantic Specialty Contractor of the Year, Hatzel & Buehler Inc., whose $219.70 million in revenue represented a 8.2% increase from last year’s $202.50 million. 

Philadelphia D&M, this year’s Specialty Contractor of the Year, was No. 10 with $100.41 million in revenue. Last year, it ranked No. 11, with $90.35 million.

Executives from C3M Power Systems LLC, No. 12 with $66.76 million in revenue; INTREN LLC, No. 14 with $60.07 million in revenue; and Donley’s Concrete Group, No. 19 with $21.85 million in revenue, shared their market insights via email. Their responses have been edited for space and clarity.

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ENR MidAtlantic 2020 Top Specialty Contractors

How has COVID-19 affected your firm?

Chuck Hinton, Senior Vice President, C3M Power Systems LLC: We entered COVID-19 with a strong, diverse backlog, and the markets we work in (government, water, rail and mass transit, etc.) have continued to produce opportunities. As a result, our revenue is projected to grow by more than 10% this year. Also, at the pandemic’s outset, our organization took multiple key team members out of operations to focus on COVID-19. Given the high volume of quickly changing data during the early stages of COVID-19, although it was a sacrifice, we felt it was a necessity and their central effort benefited our entire team. They developed new processes, procedures, PPE and roles to keep our jobsites, offices and people working safely and efficiently.

Matthew Turk, President, INTREN LLC: We were blessed that our work was deemed essential and for the most part we were able to continue working. On the gas side, we had some work that was postponed in the spring due to COVID in the Pennsylvania area, since it required entering people’s homes. It did pick up again in the fall. Otherwise, we had very limited work slow-down due to COVID.

Steve Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer, Donley’s Concrete Group: The main impact has been keeping up with employees and subcontractors that test positive for COVID-19. Establishing a quarantine and return to work process early on has helped us manage the spread on jobsites, keeping projects moving forward with little delay. 

What sectors have offered your firm the greatest opportunity in the region?

Hinton: Government, highway and water markets remain strong. Rail and mass transit have also remained relatively strong, in large part due to significant federal funding via the CARES Act.

Turk: We have seen a great infrastructure rebuild in the MidAtlantic on both the electric and the gas side for the past several years.

Hamilton: The market is busy, particularly in private developer-led work. 

What key innovations helped your firm boost productivity or other metrics?

Hinton: We’re in the process of transitioning to a new enterprise resource planning system which will greatly enhance our ability to manage cost and productivity.

Turk: A key innovation in the time of COVID was also the ability to take our comprehensive safety training matrix virtual within our online education system. It allows us to assign modules to employees and tracks their completion while continuing to focus on safety from coast to coast.

Hamilton: The standardization of systems has helped us train a less-tenured workforce, which is in high demand due to market conditions.

Where do you see the industry in the region headed in the next year in terms of trends, innovations, etc.?

Hinton: We forecast another slow [year] but a rapid bounce back in 2022 to 2024. Virtual, enhanced safety and other recently implemented tools are here to stay as I believe that many of the innovative practices developed to collaborate and work efficiently in spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19 will be adopted as new industry standards.

Turk: Next year, we continue to see tremendous growth opportunity in the MidAtlantic region in terms of infrastructure rebuilds, smart technologies and 5G.

Hamilton: Technology is going to continue to play a key role in both preconstruction and construction; 3D modeling is no longer niche, it is the norm in working through value engineering and upfront logistics.