Last year produced a mixed bag of results for construction-related firms on the list of the state's largest private companies.
(Click here for a list of construction and real estate companies on the list of the state's largest private companies.)
Revenue was up 25 percent to $544 million at Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway, and 12.5 percent to $450 million at VCC of Little Rock.
While the two general contracting firms experienced gains, revenue declined 14 percent to $335.5 million at The Lindsey Co. of Fayetteville and 10.5 percent to $230.3 million at Lexicon Inc. of Little Rock
Bill Hannah, CEO of Nabholz, said work in the manufacturing and industrial sectors was gaining traction while the retail sector remained slow at best.
"The best markets that we're in are health care and education, K-12 and higher ed," he said. "They're holding their own and not going backwards."
Tom Schueck, chairman and CEO of Lexicon Inc., said his steel fabrication, engineering and construction company was encountering more opportunity these days.
"We've seen an increase," Schueck said. "We've seen a lot more private work, heavy industrial work. The petrochemical and power industries have picked up significantly during the past year."
The number of international concerns generating work around the nation is growing, and Lexicon is vying to get its share of business.
"It looks like the wave of the future is foreign corporations," Schueck said. "We've bid on pieces of several billion-dollar projects for the Chinese. I believe the Chinese are coming in here big-time."
Sales of construction equipment were up 18.6 percent to $219 million at J.A. Riggs Tractor Co. of Little Rock.
"A lot of our business is driven by the gas industry," said John Riggs, company president. "We are a player in every segment of that industry, and there was a lot of drilling last year. But things have slowed down this year, and our business will be down because of it."
Meanwhile, business was down 15.7 percent to $151.7 million at Little Rock's Baldwin & Shell Construction Co., which works exclusively in Arkansas.
"It's going to be a down year for us in 2012 unless something happens quickly," said Bob Shell, CEO of Baldwin & Shell.
"Central Arkansas is still pretty slow. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of activity. Northwest is fairly busy, and up in Jonesboro, it's picking up. But the private sector is still slow."