Electrical distributors who have seen their industry turned upside-down by consolidation will notice some familiar trends in the electrical contracting side of the business.

In its recently published second annual “Top 50” listing of the largest electrical contractors in the United States, CEE News magazine, a sister publication of Electrical Wholesaling magazine in the Intertec Electrical Group, found that the biggest companies are getting much bigger. Much like in the electrical wholesaling industry, several national players are buying smaller family-owned firms to expand into new markets.

At least five companies from last year's listing in CEE News were acquired, including Capital Electric Construction Co., Leavenworth, Kan.; Continental Electrical Construction Co., Skokie, Ill.; Fisk Electric, Houston; and Inglett & Stubbs Inc., Mableton, Ga. Two other contractors on last year's listing merged into one. Building One Services Corp., Dulles, Va., and Group Maintenance America Corp. (GroupMAC), Houston, became Encompass Services Corp., Houston, which is now the largest electrical contractor in the United States, with $1.8 billion in electrical sales.

It wasn't only consolidators like Encompass; Integrated Electrical Services Inc., Houston; Quanta, Houston; or Bracknell Corp., Minneapolis; that acquired companies in 2000. Capital Electric was acquired by MDU Resources Inc., a utility based in Bismark, N.D., and Tyco International, Hamilton, Bermuda, purchased Houston's Fisk Electric.

It was actually a comparatively quiet year on the acquisition front for the consolidators, who on the whole spent much of the past year integrating the dozens of electrical contractors that they had acquired over the past few years into their operations. An interesting side note is that with the exception of Integrated Electrical Services, which is 100 percent electrical, for other consolidators such as Quanta and Bracknell, electrical services is just one market segment.

Hot markets and a robust economy characterized 2000 for these consolidators, as well as many of the nation's largest electrical contractors. But the economic picture is not quite as bright this year — a labor shortage and the down economy are a major concern for many electrical contractors, too.

1Bracknell Corp. acquired Inglett and Stubbs.

2e = estimate. Quanta focuses on large-scale installations of high-voltage power lines, fiber-optic networks and cable television installations. About 29 percent of its $1.7 billion in total annual sales is in electric utility work, and an additional 43 percent is in telecom construction projects.

3Fisk Electric was acquired by Tyco International in 2000.

4Exelon Infrastructure Services, Morton, Pa., is the parent company of M.J. Electric Inc., as well as other electrical contractors, such as Fischbach & Moore Electric Inc., New Providence, N.J.

5MDU Resources Inc., Bismarck, N.D., acquired Capital Electric Construction Co. Inc., Leavenworth, Kan.

THE TOP 50 ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
Rank Company Headquarters 2000 sales Increase or decrease Principal Executive
1 Encompass Houston 1,856,000,000 61% Joseph Ivey
2 Integrated Electrical Services Inc. Houston 1,672,000,000 70% Jim P. Wise
3 EMCOR Group Norwalk, Conn. 1,374,000,000 20% Sarah Barnes
4 Cupertino Electric Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. 746,000,000 128% James Ryley
5 Bracknell Corp.1 Minneapolis 632,775,000 21% Paul Melnuk
6 MYR Group Inc. Rolling Meadows, Ill. 600,000,000 27% Charles M. Brennan III
7 Quanta Services Inc.2 Houston $500,000,000-$600,000,000e* NA John Colson
8 SASCO Group Cerritos, Calif. 450,000,000 NA Tom Johnston
9 Rosendin Electric Inc. San Jose, Calif. 302,000,000 29% Raymond J. Rosendin
10 Mass. Electric Construction Co. Boston 300,936,078 -4% Francis G. Angino
11 Motor City Electric Co. Detroit 251,216,000 35% Dale M. Wieczorek
12 Fisk Electric Co.3 Houston NA NA Larry C. Brookshire
13 M.J. Electric Inc.4 Iron Mountain, Mich. 220,500,000 41% David J. Brule
14 Sachs Electric Co. St. Louis 220,000,000 56% Clayton M. Scharff
15 Bergelectric Corp. Los Angeles 180,018,000 20% Robert W. Drinkward
16 Red Simpson Inc. Alexandria, La. NA NA John C. Simpson
17 RailWorks Corp. Baltimore 169,607,000 21% Michael R. Azarela
18 Morrow-Meadows Corp. Walnut, Calif. 159,000,000 16% Karen V. Price
19 Amelco Corp. Gardenia, Calif. 147,000,000 20% Samuel M. Angelich
20 Helix Electric Inc. San Diego 140,000,000 -17% Gary Shekhter
21 The Newtron Group Inc. Baton Rouge, La. NA NA Newton B. Thomas
22 Oregon Electric Group Portland, Ore. 127,017,000 101% Glenn W. Patterson
23 Constar International Inc. Norwood, Mass NA NA Eli Florence
24 Sargent Electric Co. Pittsburgh 123,000,000 27% John D. Sargent
25 Henkels & McCoy Inc. Blue Bell, Pa. NA NA Kenneth Rose
26 Aldridge Electric Inc. Libertyville, Ill. 119,000,000 13% Kenneth W. Aldridge
27 Guarantee Electrical Co. St Louis NA NA Richard L. Ledbetter
28 Inglett & Stubbs Inc. Mableton, Ga. 113,000,000 -22% Jeff Giglio
29 MMR Group Inc. Baton Rouge, La. 110,000,000 5% James R. Rutland
30 Petrocelli Electric Co. Inc. Long Island City, N.Y. NA NA Santo Petrocelli Jr.
31 Ludvik Electric Co. Englewood, Colo. 104,000,000 65% James Ludvik
32 E-J Electric Installation Co. Long Island City, N.Y. 103,000,000 37% Anthony Mann
33 Wayne J. Griffin Electric Inc. Holliston, Mass. 100,774,654 37% Wayne J. Griffin
34 EEI Holding Corp. Springfield, Mo. 98,403,000 38% Robert Egizii
35 Miller Electric Co. Jacksonville, Fla. 96,036,000 15% Henry E. Autrey
36 Comfort Systems USA Inc. Houston NA NA Gary Hess
37 Kelso-Burnett Co. Rolling Meadows, Ill. 85,000,000 9% James R. Kostek
38 Cache Valley Electric Co. Logan, Utah 82,150,419 18% Boyd A. Lewis
39 Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Eng. West Sacramento, Calif. 82,000,000 15% Steven R. Moore
40 Lake Erie Electrical Constructors Cleveland 76,940,000 17% Peter Corogin
41 Truland Systems Corp. Arlington, Va. 76,775,000 34% Robert Truland
42 Setzer Corp. Dayton, Ohio NA NA Fred C. Setzer Jr.
43 Industrial Specialty Contractors Inc. Baton Rouge, La. 74,200,000 26% Jerry Rispone
44 Commonwealth Electric Co. Lincoln, Neb. NA NA Thomas M. Price
45 Cleveland Electric Co. Atlanta 72,000,000 6% James R. Cleveland Jr.
46 Patrick Power Corp. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 72,000,000 Even Jim Driscoll
47 ERMCO Inc. Indianapolis, Ind. 71,000,000 18% Darrell Gossett
48 Capital Electric Construction Co. Inc.5 Leavenworth, Kan. 66,000,000 12% Robert E. Doran III
49 O'Connell Electric Co. Victor, N.Y. 65,975,507 21% Walter T. Parkes
50 MONA Energy and Technology Clinton, Md. . 61,600,000 16% Mark A. Mona