A Wild Year In Construction Locally

March 21, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — If you can say anything about the construction industry, it’s that it can be variable — really variable — from year to year.

The case in point appears on page B4, the Business Journal’s list of area general contractors ranked by revenue in 2001.

The revenue information, furnished by the contractors, shows several cases of very impressive growth and one that borders on the amazing.

The numbers quoted are strictly revenue and say nothing about the companies’ profitability.

Among the top revenue gainers, Pioneer General Contractors showed 2001 revenues of $170 million — a 51 percent increase over 2000’s $112 million. Showing a 28 percent increase, from $70 million to $90 million, was Etkin Skanska Inc. Also posting gains of 30 percent and 33 percent respectively were Alliance CG Construction Group and Pinnacle Construction Group Inc.

The Christman Co. (see story B1) reported revenues last year of $296 million, which is 32 percent above the firm’s revenues the year before.

Also posting a revenue increase in the 50 percent range was Houseman Construction Co., (see story B6) which climbed to more than $21 million in 2001 from $14 million the year before.

An even higher 64 percent was posted by Rohde Construction, raising its revenues from $37 million to $61.5 million.

But the biggest surprise on the page is DeYoung & Associates Construction.

The Chicago Drive firm’s 2001 revenues of $25 million were a 316 percent increase over 2000’s $6 million.

The firm’s owner, Thomas DeYoung, said laconically, “Well, you could say we had a flat year in 2000.”

“But then last year,” he added, “we got a big job.  It was a148-room Holiday Inn,” he said. “ That’s a long project,” he said, “and it is keeping a lot of people busy and helping the profit margin.”

“And that’s just the nature of the construction business,” he told the Business Journal.  “One year you’re looking for work and the next year you can be swamped.” And he said that right now, he believes the firm may well be swamped later this year, too.

He was among a number of construction company spokesmen, in fact, who seem to be looking forward to another high-revenue year.

DeYoung’s firm, originally named DeYoung-Bagin, dates back to 1949.

“This is the second generation,” DeYoung said.

The firm’s two family interests divided in 1989 and in 1991 the company officially became DeYoung & Associates.

Of the 29 firms shown on the list, 18 showed revenue increases. Seven of those companies — firms such as D&D Building and DeVos Construction — had relatively modest revenue increases in the range of 4 percent to 11 percent.

Another firm had the same revenue as last year, and seven companies showed declining revenue, while three others declined to furnish information for both years.

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