Big years gave contractors chance to pad their wallets

Construction companies in Northeast Ohio had a big 2019, judging by information submitted for our Commercial Contractors list.

The 24 companies on the list generated $2.16 billion in revenue from Northeast Ohio projects in 2019. That’s up 4.8% from 2018, if you exclude three companies that didn’t provide a 2018 figure.


Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is sure to make 2020 much more challenging. For instance, in early April, Dodge Data & Analytics projected that commercial construction starts would drop by 16% in 2020.

Fortunately, the companies on our list had at least a few good years in a row during which to pad their bank accounts.

Local revenue climbed 25.5% between 2016 and 2019 for the 20 companies that gave us revenue figures for both years. That equates to an 18% increase even after adjusting for inflation.

Local employment, however, actually declined by 2.7% from March 1, 2019, to March 1, 2020 (just eight days before the state of Ohio announced that three Ohio residents had tested positive for the new coronavirus), according to employment data in the full Excel version of the list.

The list got bigger this year: It includes six companies that didn’t submit last year. But Gilbane Building Co. of Providence, R.I., still tops the list, followed by Kokosing of Westerville — two of the four companies on the list based outside Northeast Ohio.

When you exclude those companies, it makes sense to analyze total revenue, which includes projects outside Northeast Ohio.

Total revenue actually fell 1.7% for the 18 locally based companies that gave us revenue figures for both 2018 and 2019, although that’s mainly because Donley’s (No. 5 on the list) had a particularly big 2018.

The picture looks better when you compare 2019 to 2017: Companywide revenue increased by nearly 10.3% for the 15 locally based companies that submitted revenue figures both years.


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