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Cover Story - April 2009

Texas’ Top 130 Contractors

Collective tab tops $25 billion

By Eileen Schwartz

Texas Construction presents its 14th annual Top Contractors ranking, based on instate revenue earned in the previous fiscal year for general contractors and construction management firms working in Texas.

Top Contractors survey findings show that the state’s commercial construction market stayed strong despite the start of a nationwide recession.

Texas’ Top 130 Contractors
(Photo by Richard Cotton.)

The 130 Texas firms in our annual Top Contractor rankings collectively billed about $25.4 billion in the state, an increase of more than $2 billion reported from the previous year, which was also a robust one for growing Texas construction firms. Worldwide, the collective revenue generated by these firms increased by about $6 billion; $102.8 billion was reported from all revenue worldwide compared to the previous year’s $82.5 billion.

The ranking includes 97 firms that earned $50 million or more instate, a difference of only three fewer from the previous year. Sixty-eight firms reported earnings in excess of $100 million, six more than the previous year’s ranking.

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  • Chart toppers Austin Industries of Dallas, which more often than not ranks No.1 in these pages annually, dips to No. 2 in this year’s Top Contractors ranking with roughly $1.5 billion in Texas revenue. In the specialty breakout categories, Austin retains its previous year spots as No. 1 in general building and No. 2 in transportation and places No. 4 in power.

    Zachry Group of San Antonio moves into the No. 1 spot from last year’s No. 2, with approximately $1.6 billion reported from its Texas operations, an increase of nearly $500 million from last year’s total. The firm reported nearly $2.8 billion for all work worldwide. Zachry claims the No. 1 slot in the power subcategory, remains No. 2 in water and moves into No. 6 in transportation.

    Zachry, which took the No. 1 spot, is constructing a Nominal 540MW natural gas-fired, combined cycle power generation plant located at the NRG Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown. The project is nearing completion.
    Zachry, which took the No. 1 spot, is constructing a Nominal 540MW natural gas-fired, combined cycle power generation plant located at the NRG Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown. The project is nearing completion. (Photo by Milton Bourque.)

    Climbing into the No. 3 spot with $910 million is D.E. Harvey Builders of Houston, which ranked No. 4 last year. The majority of the firm’s revenue is in general building, where it takes the No. 2 slot this year. The firm is also No. 2 in the interiors break-out category.

    In the No. 4 spot and in these rankings for the first time is Kiewit Corp. of Fort Worth with $820 million. The firm is No. 2 in the power subcategory. Kiewit acquired TIC - The Industrial Co., the Steamboat Springs, Colo.-based industrial contractor, in late December 2008. TIC, which reported $288.7 in Texas work in these rankings, will continue to operate as a stand-alone company within the Kiewit organization.

    Moving up to No. 5 this year is Turner Construction Co. of Dallas with $597 million, nearly $100 million more than last year, when it placed No. 9.

    Rounding out the top 10 are: No. 6, Houston-based Williams Bros. Construction Co., with Texas revenue of $593.5 million, placing the firm in the No. 1 slot in transportation; No. 7, Gilbane Building Co. of Houston with $564.5 million in Texas, and ranking No. 3 in the general building breakout; No. 8, The Beck Group of Dallas with $559.1 million and ranking fourth in general building; No. 9, Manhattan Construction Co. of Houston with $527.5, ranking eighth in general building; and No. 10, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Austin with $518.8, and ranking sixth for the general building breakout.


    Firms leading the break-out categories that did not make the top ten were: Archer Western Contractors of Arlington, which tops the list in the sewage/ waste disposal and water categories. The firm came in at No. 15 overall. SpawMaxwell Co., while No. 21 out of 130, the Houston-based contractor claims the No. 1 spot for interiors. While No. 83 out of 130, Joe Bland Construction of Austin ranks No. 1 in the master-planned development/site infrastructure breakout category and Flynn Construction, No. 100 and also based in Austin, ranks No. 2 in the same subcategory.

    Conducting the survey Texas Construction’s top-list rankings are conducted much like those of Engineering News-Record, also a McGraw-Hill Construction publication. We attempt to list as many Texas offices as possible, and include the name and location of the largest project that broke ground instate in the previous calendar year for each firm we rank where available.

    The result is the information provided in the Top Contractors ranking and chart. It is derived from surveys completed by construction firms working in Texas, collected via an online questionnaire. The ranking results are based on the revenue reported by each company for work performed in the state. The rankings are also broken out into specialty categories, or subcategories, based on the percentage of revenue generated in various industry sectors and worldwide revenue figures.


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