Reporting more than $388 million in 2021 Midwest regional revenue, and with a slate of interesting and complex projects, Helm Group Inc. has earned the designation of ENR’s Top Specialty Contractor for 2022. 

Helm Group was founded in 1946 in Freeport, Ill. as the Freeport Blacktop Construction Co. Eventually, it became Civil Constructors and evolved into the Helm Group in the 1960s. 

The company has focused on strategic diversification to spur its growth and has developed a range of technical skills across 18 divisions including Mechanical/HVAC, Asphalt & Aggregate Materials, Building Automation & Controls, Construction Services, Fabrication, Manufacturing & Assembly, and Foundations. 

One of its recent projects is the $450 million Rush University Medical Center-Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building in Chicago where Helm was the HVAC contractor for a 10-story, 480,000-sq-ft, $32 million outpatient care center and a six-story, 900-space parking facility. 

A smaller project is Grown Farms in Freeport, Ill. where Helm did HVAC and plumbing for a 3,000-sq-ft facility for cultivating medical cannabis, and helped select and design equipment to maximize the plants’ growth. 

Looking to the future, Helm will provide mechanical, plumbing and other specialty services for the 950,000-sq-ft DeKalb Data Center in DeKalb, Ill. which will have more than 120,000 feet of piping and 475,000 pounds of ductwork.

Helm Group’s Midwest revenue took a dip during the height of the pandemic, but has recovered well. It was $304.75 million in 2017, $302.91 million in 2018, $265.55 million in 2019 and nearly $342 million in 2020. 

Brian Helm, president and CEO, says the company has addressed recent challenges such as supply chain delays by focusing on planning and communication. 

“Supply chain issues are well-known and have been most successfully overcome by owners engaging the specialty contractors early. Early equipment procurement is one of the keys as is engaging contractors with bulk buying power,” he said.

The company also has been the largest supporter of United Way of Northwest Illinois for much of the past 15 years, and is engaged in teaching CAD at local high schools to promote engineering, construction and design as a career choice. 

“We’re trying to get kids interested in design and construction so that we can increase their career options and hopefully convince them that construction is an excellent career choice,” Helm said.