ENR’s editors have selected Southern Air Inc. as the 2018 ENR MidAtlantic Specialty Contractor of the Year.

The Lynchburgh, Va.-based firm credits its design-build capabilities for its 13.5% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017. The mechanical, electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor has a design staff with more than 100 years of combined experience. Across its 11 offices, the firm has 762 employees in Virginia, West Virginia and North Caroline.

Aside form its impressive revenue growth, the firm joined forces with two school districts in its area to create the School to Work Program. The program offers students the chance to intern with Southern Air during the summers of their junior and senior years in high school. After graduating, the students are hired as full-time apprentices who can enroll in the firm’s Wheels of Learning program for two years before they can become fully licensed tradespeople. The students typically reach that milestone before they even turn 21, the firm says.

Southern Air also contributes to communities it works in and communities far beyond its reach. In the past year, the firm’s employees provided more than 10,000 pounds of food, water, hygiene supplies and children’s toys to victims of the last hurricane season. Employees also used their Labor Day weekend to rent trucks and physically drive to Houston to drop off supplies. Southern Air annually partners with United Way during their Day of Caring to work with the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Virginia. This year, they completed a variety of projects to include drywall repairs, outside lighting, replacement of electrical outlets and switches, the removal of HVAC wall heaters, and installed LED light fixtures. All time and materials were donated and free of charge to the ARC of Virginia, the firm says. 

Southern Air will be honored at ENR MidAtlantic’s Nov. 7 Best Project’s event in Baltimore and featured in the December issue of ENR MidAtlantic.

The December issue will also feature the entire list of the top-ranked specialty contractors based on 2017 revenue. Southern Air ranked No. 8 on last year’s survey with $110.61 million in regional revenue. To learn where the firm ranks in this year’s survey check out the December issue of ENR MidAtlantic.