Baldwin & Shell Construction Co.
City: Little Rock
Category: Category III (76-300 Employees)
Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. has enjoyed a 65-year history of success, and 2010 proved to be another record-setter for the Little Rock general contracting firm.
“It was the best year in the history of the company in terms of volume,” said Bob Shell, company president and chief executive officer. “$211 million. I never thought we would do something like that, only working in Arkansas.”
The self-imposed Arkansas-only policy hasn’t hindered the company’s ability to grow and prosper. Powered by a strong book of education-related business, Baldwin & Shell is ranked among the largest contractors in the state (No. 3) and nation (No. 241), as well as largest private companies in Arkansas (No. 39).
Much of the company’s work is spread across school districts and college campuses around the state and includes recent high-profile projects such as the new Maumelle High School and renovation and expansion of Vol Walker Hall at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
The company originally was established as The Baldwin Co. in 1946 by P.W. Baldwin, a builder, Werner Knoop, an engineer, and Olen Cates, an accountant. Among the veteran workforce of 300 are 20 superintendents who have each worked for the company more than 20 years and many more employees with 10-plus years.
Baldwin & Shell became something of an Arkansas pioneer in construction management more than 20 years ago. A change in corporate philosophy marked a departure from the bid market to landing negotiated contracts, the only way it has done business since 1998.
The company’s retention rate for clientele is 78 percent compared with the national average of 13 to 18 percent. “We don’t take our customers for granted,” Shell said.