Picking a top contractor as the ENR Southwest General Contractor of the Year is no easy task. Nearly every firm in the ENR Southwest Top General Contractors Ranking — which will be featured in next month’s print edition — had a year of which to be proud.

Teasing the Top General Contractors Ranking a little bit, 30 of the top 50 firms showed revenue increases in 2012 from 2011. But selecting a ENR Southwest General Contractor of the Year is not just about fiscal success. It also has to do with sustainability, social responsibility, a firm’s safety record, workplace satisfaction and the caliber of upcoming projects.

In the Southwest, though, even those considerations make it difficult. But after hours of poring over data, two finalists emerged: Kitchell Corp., of Phoenix, Ariz., and The PENTA Building Group of Las Vegas, Nev.

Kitchell saw a revenue increase of $90 million in 2012, with University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center, Rio Rancho, N.M. as one of its most high profile Southwestern projects.

The PENTA Building Group’s 2012 record is a sign that the Las Vegas construction blitz might just be close to becoming a regional juggernaut once again. The firm posted a $47 million boost in 2012 from 2011, taking on a myriad of job types including hospitality/entertainment, gaming, education, healthcare, Native American, retail/tenant improvements, commercial, industrial, public works, and parking structures. In 2012, PENTA also had the largest concrete pour in Las Vegas since 2008 on its Grandview Timeshare Tower 5 project. That same project received an AGC Safe Site Award for excellent safety practices. The firm is also leading the $400 million renovation of the former Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas into the SLS Hotel/Casino.

But after our judges took the time to review the two finalists, Kitchell emerged as the recipient of the ENR Southwest General Contractor of the Year.

The decision was a difficult one and some of the things that brought Kitchell to the top was their impressive project list including the aforementioned UNM Health Center in Rio Rancho, N.M., as well as $200 million of projects in process including Chandler Regional Medical Center, Chandler, Ariz., and St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Siena Campus project outside Las Vegas.

Kitchell also is an innovator in construction and building technology, embracing interactive virtual tours, laser scanning, off-site fabrication and computational fluid dynamics.

Read more about Kitchell in the July issue of ENR Southwest, which will also include rankings of the 80 or so general contractors who are participating in the survey.

You can also see last year’s selection for the Southwest's GC of the Year here or review last year’s list here. Okland Construction won the award in 2012, but the firm was not eligible for nomination again this year.

Congratulations to Kitchell and The PENTA Building Group.