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TOP 100 2015: Building near the top

Leading construction firms say the project pipeline is strong and see room for workforce expansion

After reaching the pinnacle of the construction boom in 2008, many midstate contractors slid back down with the economy during the last recession.

Some got stuck mid-mountain on the way back up. Revenue dipped as companies worked to maintain their customer base and add or redesign items in their backpacks to attract new clients.

With the construction industry on the upswing and growth projected in the near term, midstate companies could soon get back to the peaks.

East Lampeter Township-based High Companies approached $600 million last year, up 15 percent from 2013. York Township-based Kinsley Construction Inc. saw revenue drop 9 percent last year, finishing at $415 million, after a big move up in 2013.

“Total company revenue is up double digits year-to-date, with most businesses contributing to that growth,” said Mike Shirk, High’s CEO.

High has a steady pipeline of projects across its real estate and industrial businesses, he said. The company also has been increasing its investment in talent development to prepare for further growth.

Kinsley also is in good shape, said Jon Kinsley, Kinsley’s president and COO.

He expects growth across all property types, but especially multifamily and industrial projects. Office also is coming back, Kinsley added.

Top construction companies

Kinsley Construction Inc., $414.97 million

Quandel Enterprises Inc., $332.33 million

Stewart and Tate Inc., $135 million

Conewago Enterprises Inc., $119.73 million

Warfel Construction Co., $109.57 million

Eichelberger Construction Inc., $101.33 million

Benchmark Construction Co. Inc., $92.3 million

R.S. Mowery & Sons Inc., $72.17 million

Edwin L. Heim Co., $69.95 million

H.B. McClure Co., $65.4 million

Kinsley Construction Inc.

Jon Kinsley, president and COO

York County

What strategies have made your trek successful?

Sticking to our core values. When family-owned companies grow past a certain size, it can become easy to stray from those basic precepts that got you where you are. We place an emphasis on and reinforce our guiding principles so that these keys to the early success of our company are ingrained in our culture and brand.

We have our standard practices, but there’s no such thing as a standard job, so we focus on being responsive to our client’s specific needs and each project’s unique requirements.

How does your team handle unexpected conditions?

Sometimes construction is nothing but unexpected conditions. Our approach to handling them is to eliminate as many of them as possible through early planning and coordination. Thankfully, after over 50 years in this business, we’ve seen almost everything, and many of our team members have been with us for most of their careers, which is pretty rare these days.

We can draw on all of that experience to look at a project, identify potential challenges and mitigate them before they become something that adds time or expense to a project.

What is your favorite outdoors activity? Why?

My favorite is fly fishing. It’s a skill you have to develop. It’s challenging and the only thing I’ve ever done where I just lose track of time.

High Companies

Mike Shirk, CEO

Lancaster County

What strategies have made your trek successful?

We’re making very purposeful decisions about where and how to allocate resources based on a deep outside-in understanding of our market and customer needs. Within that context, for every business we develop a very realistic view of current state, desired future state and the path from A to B — preferably in a way that’s tough to replicate. Then continue to develop and strengthen the teams around you, focusing all your energy on making them successful.

How does your team handle unexpected conditions?

It starts with the mindset that the unexpected is to be expected. We joke about that often. Big picture, we’re focused on strengthening High for the long term, so most of what we do is through the lens of a marathon, not a sprint.

We have and are developing seasoned leaders who can overcome obstacles and keep their eye on the end game, allowing the path to curve a bit along the way. Occasionally there is a U-turn, and we learn from that.

What is your favorite outdoors activity? Why?

That’s a really tough one, there are so many. My family stays very active and spends most weekends on some outdoor adventure.

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