Top Private Companies: Local construction firms ride wave of pandemic-delayed projects to reach new heights
Editor’s note: The following story is part of the annual Top Private Companies report featured in the March 10 CityBusiness.
Stephen Maloney, Reporter//March 17, 2023
Photo courtesy DespositPhotos
Many consumers in 2022 were still dealing with the effects of global supply chain issues and lingering inflation that combined to delay shipments and send the cost of everyday items through the roof.
Local construction companies of all sizes had a different set of problems to deal with, but not all of them were bad. Projects that had been delayed for one or two years suddenly sprang back to life, kicking the construction sector into high gear.
Ryan Gootee General Contractors, LLC president and CEO Ryan Gootee said he looks at the 52 weeks of the year as 52 cards in a deck. When COVID-19 and supply chain issues stopped work in 2020 and 2021, that sent cards cascading over into the 2022 deck.
“It’s like playing battle with 52 cards, and the last couple of years we’re playing with 80 something cards,” Gootee said. “It’s not like all 52 went away or stopped in one year. We certainly put out a lot of work in 2020, but you just have to kind of move the cards around a little bit.”
Revenues at Gootee General Construction rose approximately 27 percent from ‘21 to ‘22, from $68 million to $86.2 million. That spike in revenue reflects the holdover work as well as the cards Gootee already had lined up for ‘22.
“2022 was our biggest year in the history of the company, and I think a lot of factors played into that,” Gootee said. “2021 was our second biggest year. One of the bigger contributing factors for us was a joint venture we had in Lake Charles with the Horseshoe Casino.”
That project, worth over $140 million, kicked into overdrive just before the company’s work converting Harrah’s Casino into Ceasar’s Casino in downtown New Orleans commenced. Gootee said the high churn rate of casino work kept his staff busy and caused him to have to rehire workers laid off during the COVID doldrums.
Impetus founder and CEO Wesley J. Palmisano said in an email that staffing issues impacted Impetus in 2022, and he expects those issues to continue through the end of this year.
Part of that problem is the ongoing backlog of work that stalled out over the last few years, Palmisano said.
“Our team moved into 2023 with a backlog of $290 million worth of work,” Palmisano wrote. “We anticipate even more work coming in as the hospitality market’s momentum continues to pick up in the New Orleans area.”
Impetus saw a 100 percent increase in revenue from ‘21 to ‘22, jumping from $100 million to $200 million in one year. Palmisano said his company plays the long game when it comes to planning for the future, and that really paid off in ‘22.
“2022 certainly held some economic uncertainty, here in New Orleans and globally,” Palmisano wrote. “Our team dug in to ride those waves and remained focused on our long-term vision. We never take a short-term viewpoint, so we opted not to pause on any growth plans and pressed on. This past year we executed 67 total projects, at a total of $200 million in revenue. This was a record year for us. We also reached our largest staff size yet, hitting 208 total staff members by year end.”
Other local construction companies – big and small – celebrated strong years in 2022 as well. Boh Bros. Construction Co. LLC saw revenues rise nearly 20 percent year over year, from $217 million in ‘21 to $260 million in ‘22.
Kent Design Build Inc. saw a 53 percent jump in revenue, from $64 million in ‘21 to $98 million a year later. Woodward Design+Build and LEMOINE both saw revenues decrease by 16 percent and 3 percent, respectively.