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Higher speed: Nearly 75 percent of Top 100 private midstate companies saw revenue grow

Many of Central Pennsylvania’s largest private companies increased their bandwidth last year and picked up more work in a rising economy, resulting in faster revenue growth.

In fact, a bigger group of Top 100 companies this year saw year-over-year growth compared with last year’s list. There were 72 companies that finished up in 2017 over 2016, a jump from 60 companies on last year’s Top 100.

Many private firms also posted bigger breakthroughs this year, including construction companies, which accounted for some of the largest gains on the list.

A growing number of companies also are investing in new technologies, like drones and smart glasses, to improve and better showcase their work for clients. Companies are hoping those tech investments will help drive future revenue increases.

Top tier

There were 38 companies that finished last year with more than $100 million in revenue. That was up from 35 last year and 33 the previous year.

Within the Top 100, 17 companies saw growth of 20 percent or more. Conewago Township-based general contractor Conewago Enterprises Inc. was among that group, finishing up nearly 30 percent last year with $171.3 million in revenue.

Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of the companies ranked between No. 101 and No. 250 ended 2017 with double-digit growth over 2016.

The Top 250 list also features 108 companies that crossed the $20 million revenue mark, slightly down from 109 last year.

Steady atop the list

The top 10 companies on this year’s list are the same as last year, though a few have switched positions.

Harrisburg-based D&H Distributing Co. Inc. remains the top company in the midstate. The 100-year-old consumer electronics and IT wholesaler posted 2017 revenue of $3.6 billion.

Co-presidents Michael and Dan Schwab are big on diversification and making bets on new areas.

The Schwabs said they believe D&H can grow through opportunities in augmented-reality and virtual-reality products, digital signage and video conferencing, as well as hosted IT services. Smart-home automation has been another priority for the company.

D&H has been adding new smart-home manufacturers and products, including door-monitoring systems that can be integrated with smart-speaker devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

In addition, gaming-device sales have been a growth area for D&H, especially as online gaming grows and gamers splurge on high-end computer monitors and video cards. D&H also is moving into device-as-a-service programs, or device subscriptions.

Following D&H on the list once again is Vibra Healthcare LLC, Stewart Group Inc. and Utz Quality Foods LLC.

Rutter’s Holdings Inc. moved into the No. 5 spot, ahead of High Companies, which is now No. 6. Kinsley Construction Inc. remains at No. 7, while Shipley Group and Gannett Fleming Inc. switched spots at No. 8 and No. 9.

Post Acute Medical LLC continues to round at the top 10.

Moving in the middle

The tail end of the top 100 list includes mechanical services company Enginuity LLC, whose revenue was up more than 42 percent, enough to nab the No. 97 spot.

Trucking company Lester R. Summers Inc. cracked the top 100 this year at No. 98, followed by Davis Landscape Ltd. at No. 99.

Rounding out the Top 100 is Engle-Hambright & Davies Inc.

The top 100 cutoff this year was $23.3 million. Last year it was $24.3 million.

This year’s Top 250 list ranges from nearly $4 billion at the top to $2 million at the bottom. There are 142 companies that posted revenue of more than $10 million.

Missing from the list

While many companies on the list, especially those ranked in the top tier, appear nearly every year, some fail to check in occasionally. Others move off the list after being acquired.

Once in a while, large companies go out of business. That was the case recently with Lancaster County energy company Worley & Obetz. The company closed in June and filed for bankruptcy amid news that it was being investigated for an alleged fraud related to a former executive. 

Worley & Obetz was one of the largest private companies in Central Pennsylvania and regularly found itself near the peak of the Top 250 list, though it was not on the list in 2017.

Another name missing this year is Chartwell Staffing Solutions. It was No. 11 on the 2017 list with $345 million in 2016 revenue. Chartwell did not report 2017 revenue.

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