In a recent blog post previewing ENR Southeast's upcoming Top Specialty Contractors issue, I noted the mixed news for the region's subcontractors. A rise in specialty contractor failures, for instance, has been reported by firms in Atlanta, and across the country.

On the other hand, some firms are starting to find some significant success in the current economy, despite the overall market for construction and design business remaining considerably hit-and-miss.

You can definitely put Charlotte, N.C.-based SteelFab in the latter category. According to the information that the steel fabrication contractor submitted to ENR Southeast's recent Top Specialty Contractors survey, the company experienced a roughly 33% gain in Southeast revenue during 2011. That considerable business success in a market that continues to challenge was a major factor in ENR Southeast's selection of SteelFab as this year's "Specialty Contractor of the Year."

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SteelFab, Charlotte, N.C., experienced a roughly 30% gain in Southeast revenue during 2011.

SteelFab has been a regular near the top of our rankings of Southeast specialty firms for years now, but, like other contractors, took a hit when the economic downturn began in 2008. Glenn Sherrill, company president, said SteelFab had its largest "stockpile" of projects in 2008, but saw 26 jobs cancel almost simultaneously shortly after the financial crisis struck. After that, he said, even hospitals had trouble closing construction loans.

Sherrill said he was somewhat surprised at the strength of SteelFab's revenue rebound in 2011. He attributed the increase to an uptick in manufacturing-related projects, which have notably proliferated throughout the Southeast in recent years; Sherrill cited projects for Nissan and Clearwater Paper as examples.

ENR Southeast's September issue will contain more information about the reasons behind SteelFab's most recent success, along with considerable information about the company's revenue.

As always, I encourage readers to share their thoughts! And, also, don't forget to follow ENR Southeast on Twitter!