With the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, international projects have “helped keep us afloat,” says Kenneth H. Nelson, senior vice president and director. He credits the firm’s mix of oil and gas clients, the long duration of its typical projects and the geographical area it serves with driving the company’s growth.
Due to the long-term nature of the company’s projects, slow permitting of new oil facilities in the Gulf has not yet adversely affected it, says Nelson. But he notes that could change if the government delays issuing permits. “These assets will not stay in the Gulf,” Nelson notes. Firm oil prices and a solid commodity market help the company, Nelson adds.
Family owned and operated, the firm has other markets that also are performing well. Strength in copper and gold mining and post-Katrina infrastructure repair in Louisiana, particularly for navigation locks and flood control structures, continues.
Most of the company’s business comes from repeat clients, with its longest-running client dating to 1947, two years after Nelson’s father established the firm. “Our technical strength is our best marketing tool,” Nelson says.
Orion Marine Group
Marine contractor enters 2011 with backlog and hopes acquisitions will drive revenue
Houston-based marine contractor Orion Marine Group continues to secure a variety of projects in both public and private-sector markets. “We think momentum in the end markets will continue to drive forward,” says Chris DeAlmeida, director of investor relations, citing the firm’s focus on work in intracoastal waterway construction, Louisiana coastal restoration, bridge building and port expansion.
Orion acts as a single source turnkey provider for customers. It operates 10 offices, including locations in Florida, Virginia and Louisiana. In 2010, Orion acquired a Port Lavaca, Texas, dredging firm and also expanded into the Pacific Northwest, buying a Tacoma, Wash., firm that also works in Alaska.
In the second half of 2010, Orion’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Misener Marine Construction, won a U.S. Navy contract to design and build a replacement facility at the Jacksonville, Fla., naval station. Another unit, F. Miller Construction in Lake Charles, La., received a contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve hurricane protection in Plaquemines Parish, La. Work on both projects will start in 2011.
Orion enters 2011 with a solid backlog. The company is tracking about $5 billion of future bid opportunities. But at the end of last year, it lowered its 2010 revenue projection to between $345 million and $355 million, from between $360 million and $370 million, and cut its margin outlook to about 14% to 16%, from about 18%. It also revised its full year projections for 2011, saying it expects revenue and margins to both remain flat.
University Health System
Hospital owner proceeds on major capital expansion to meet capacity needs
Texans will be watching as University Health System (UHS), the San Antonio health system owned by Bexar County, fulfills its $899.4-million capital improvement program targeted for 2012. UHS launched an expansion last year to meet the growing needs of the region’s population.
Initial planning for the capital improvement program began in 2002, when the hospital treated 70,000 patients annually in an emergency department that was designed for a capacity of only 35,000, says Leni Kirkman, a spokeswoman for UHS. “Looking toward the future, we wanted to do it right,” she says. “South Texas is a big growth area, and we do not see that changing.”
Groundbreaking for the largest component, a $778-million, 10-story replacement hospital with additional capacity, took place in late January. It is expected to be completed in 2014. A joint venture between Zachry Construction of San Antonio, Vaughn Construction of Houston and The Layton Cos. of Sandy, Utah, broke ground on a 3,000-car parking garage in 2010.
In December 2010, Bartlett Cocke of San Antonio began construction on a new $121-million, six-story clinical services building at the UHS downtown campus. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2012.
Commissioners approved certificates of obligation to fund 85% of the projects, with the balance financed by UHS cash reserves and interest earnings. The projects will seek LEED-gold certification.