VCC, CDI, Nabholz Dominate Contractors List

Largest Commercial Contractors

Click here for the list of the state's largest commercial contractors. (Lists require Adobe Acrobat viewer. Click here for a free copy.)

The largest commercial contractors based in Arkansas enjoyed revenue growth that averaged more than 30 percent in 2004 as compared with 2003.

The 23 companies reported total revenue of almost $1.85 billion last year, compared with $1.41 billion in 2003.

Anticipated increases in material and labor costs following Hurricane Katrina mean even higher revenue figures are expected this year and next. But, as contractors are eager to point out, revenue and profit are two different things.

Vratsinas Construction Co. of Little Rock remains at the top of the list, with $425 million in revenue last year. And founder Gus Vratsinas says he is looking for that number to be $475 million in 2005. (See story here.)

Crosstown competitors CDI Contractors gained on VCC last year, also topping the $400 million mark for the first time — an increase of more than 50 percent over 2003.

Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway held onto its No. 3 spot with $282.2 million in revenue — $32.2 million more than in '03. Consider the source of most of that growth: Nabholz's Rogers office generated $111.6 million in revenue last year, up from $89 million in 2003.

A distant fourth in terms of revenue is Latco Inc. of Lincoln, the builder that specializes in building poultry houses. Ranked No. 6 last year based on estimated revenue of $80 million, Latco jumped ahead of Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. and May Construction Co., both of Little Rock, by volunteering that its 2004 sales reached $109 million.

Baldwin & Shell reported a virtually unchanged figure of $102.2 million. CEO Bob Shell said his company would continue to decline any work outside Arkansas and would not even reconsider its in-state-only policy in the face of unprecedented demand along the Gulf Coast.

May's 2004 revenue was $96 million, down slightly from $98 million in 2003, but CEO Lewis May says his 2005 number should bump up near $120 million.

Mike Hill, owner of MDH Builders Inc. of Little Rock, said he expects demand for construction services to remain healthy in the next year, but the industry sectors may start to shift. MDH tied for No. 13 with James H. Cone Inc. (see story here) and L.R. Mourning Co., both of Little Rock.

"The housing market is saturated, and office buildings, but the public sector should continue pretty strong," he said, mentioning specifically educational construction as a reliable customer. (See story here.)


B.B. Vance & Sons Inc. of Jonesboro makes its last appearance on the Arkansas Business list of commercial contractors. It was acquired by Nabholz Construction at the end of 2004 and is now a division of Nabholz.

Howard Vance, who co-founded B.B. Vance with his father, died last week at age 89. He was remembered as the president of the Hoxie School Board when it became the first Southern school board to vote to desegregate following the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision.