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Welcome to Walls & Ceilings’ second round-up of what the magazine views as a large collection of the best contractors in the country. This gathering brings together the industry’s most progressive and resourceful group.

For this “competition,” we asked contractors to provide us with standard company information and why they feel they are among the top contractors out there. It was great to read from all the different and varying voices. We learned a lot.

All of these Top 50 contractors have displayed numerous skill-sets that warrant them great. In fact, visit any of the company’s Web sites and you’ll find a portfolio that will display the level of finish these masters provide. Several of the companies have actively pursued software and technology—such as estimating programs and BIM—to market themselves and enhance their business. Others have embraced the sustainable and green building movement to offer niche services, such as installing ICFs and SIPs. All in all, their talents have sustained their business model and made them industry leaders. 

The turn-out of submissions was very strong and encouraging. It pleases the magazine to see all the companies that sent in their submissions to be a part of this annual feature. We anticipate that the number of entrants will only climb for next year and we look forward to reading and accepting all future submissions.

A Center for Creative (P)arts

Austin-based Structura show-and-tell why the subcontractor should be among the Top 50.  Project photos by Thomas McConnell

It may be a generalization but it would be no fallacy to say that Texas holds some of the most progressive and enterprising wall and ceiling contractors in North America. Countless times this magazine has profiled the state’s largest and most progressive contractors. While it could be construed the magazine is playing favorites, consider that Texas’ land mass dictates a large collective of subcontractors in this trade. That perhaps does give them the advantage but also consider that the state also had a slightly but definitely stronger economy than other parts of the country during the Great Recession. While its borders won’t grow, Texas’ population and need for new construction and renovation are a constant cycle (for now). But while this again would seem plentiful to contractors, the flip-side is a land that can be brimful of low bidding, fly-by-nighters and less-than average workmanship. Past W&Cpast cover stars, such as MK Marlow, Southwest Lath & Plaster, BakerTriangle, et al, have each shared their pains of the days blown; estimating projects only to be passed over. But what these companies have learned and what makes them great is the attention to detail, carving out niche services and above all excellent work.

For these same attributes, Structura Inc. has similarly displayed its mark on the state by providing high-profile jobs with strong end results. The Austin-based company is a general contractor with core markets being industrial, manufacturing, high technology centers, healthcare, retail and corporate office space. Its niche services are that it self-performs trades in drywall, acoustical ceilings and concrete.

“Kevin Jones, Structura Co-founder and COO, and I did not want to be a GC that subcontracted all of the work, like most are these days,” says Structura’s other Co-founder and CEO Russell “Rusty” Morgan, who both graduated in Construction Science from Texas A&M. “Rather, we wanted to self perform as much as possible and grow our crews in the carpentry trades. We provide metal stud framing, drywall, ceilings, rough/finish carpentry, doors and hardware installation, other specialty installation, as well as concrete foundation and site work.”

The employer of 90 is a member of the Associated General Contractors, American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute and the Real Estate Council of Austin.

A Healthy Outlook

From its inception seven years ago, which was started by Morgan and Jones, the company went straight into rapid growth. Yet, it wasn’t to last and suddenly Structura experienced a rapid decline during the recession. But it quickly bounced back and this year already the contractor reports having a record year.

“Thanks to Texas’ very robust economy, we are having a great year and working on some bigger projects with lots of work in backlog,” says Morgan. “We are poised for continued growth and continuously looking for good people in all major cities in Texas.”

What’s more optimistic is the outlook the company sees. By the company’s predictions, the economic boom will continue for the next five years throughout all of the major Texas markets.

“The oil and gas industry in Houston, San Antonio and south[ern part of the state] is projected to continue to grow over the next 10 to 20 years,” he says. “With approximately 150 people a day moving to Austin and Houston, both the population growth and corporate growth will drive a strong commercial construction development environment. Residential is at a peak growth period right now. Commercial, retail, and then infrastructure projects including roads, schools, churches, hospitals usually cycle right behind residential growth. So, we see five years of strong growth in our markets. Having said that, with the news of how great Texas is, a lot of competition has come to town. We also see manpower becoming a major issue with the heavy workload.”

A Fun Project

Recently, the company completed a project in its local Austin. Morgan and Jones refer to this project as a “dream” project with a “dream” client.

“The nature of this project is directly in our strike zone—high profile, downtown, high-rise building, with multiple project stakeholders providing input in the process,” he says, citing that at the company’s request, it remain anonymous. “In addition, the latest technology for numerous building materials, building systems, and several atypical materials, you would not normally use in the building finishes process make this project unlike any other. The final product is strikingly impressive, which we are proud to have been a part of.

“The client boasts about their new work environment as one of the most enjoyable work spaces, for the most creative and cutting-edge talent in their industry,” Morgan continues. “In many ways, this space and work environment exceeds the level of creativeness and inspiration of some of the facilities designed and built for Google and Apple Computer.”

STG Design served as the architect for this project, while Structura wore several hats as the general contractor, drywall and ceilings contractor.

A Radical Work Space

The scope of the project was 120,000 square feet of interior remodeling. In addition to all the specialty trades, drywall and ceiling systems were installed by Structura, as well as the fireproofing. The building was designed to have a lot of exciting features: On the fourth floor is a dining room with an exterior party/event deck that has a view of the State Capitol building. When exiting the elevators onto the client’s showcase sixth floor, there is a multi-color gigantic neon-like “bubble” wall. The most notable feature is the polished red, decorative 40-foot curved concrete reception counter. The bar even has matching red curved concrete under counter cabinet doors. On that same floor, employees can watch 46 HD monitors (also called a video wall) that spans two floors up with structure removed between floors for a mezzanine effect that allows twice the volume of  uninterrupted natural light.

“The walls and ceilings reflect the company—unique, fun and far from average,” says Morgan. “For example, two truck beds were recessed in the walls equipped with mini refrigerators stocked with beer to complete their ‘tailgating’ theme.”

Armstrong Woodworks Grille product line was used, as well as its ceiling tiles and aluminum edge trim. Hunter-Douglas Contract’s Techstyle ceiling grid and ceiling tile system with the company’s wall trim components were integrated flush with the oversized light fixtures. Allied Building Products served as the distributor for this project.

 “Allied Building Materials has continued to be an exceptional business partner for our drywall and acoustical team,” says Jones. “We can always rely on them to be our technical advisor and one-stop shop.”  

 Until then, W&C congratulates all the Top 50 winners. 


Company Name Location Total Revenue Peak Staff Residential % Commercial %
1. Ark and Dove Drywall Mechanicsville, Md. N/A 5 70 30
2. Baker Drywall and Triangle Plastering Mesquite, Texas 125,859,000 1540 2 98
3. Bayside Interiors Inc. Fremont, Calif. N/A 500 0 100
4. California Drywall Co. San Jose, Calif. 110,000,000 500 10 90
5. CC Tradesmen Gatesville, Texas 14,980,000 320 0 100
6. Central Ceilings Inc. South Easton, Mass. 43,700,000 150 0 100
7. Columbia Architectural Products Inc. Beltsville, Md. 2,000,000 6 0.1 99.9
8. DaFore LLC Fredericksburg, Va. 4,749,302 56 1 99
9. Duggan & Marcon Inc. Bethlehem, Pa. 50,000,000 300 0 100
10. E&K Companies Inc. Elmhurst, Ill. 180,000,000 1,200 0 100
11. Elite Wall Systems Deer Park, N.Y. 2,500,000 35 0 100
12. ESCO Services LLC Fern Park, Fla. 9,100,560 65 0 100
13. Expert Construction Inc. Cleveland, Ohio 2,168,672 25 0 100
14. F. Richard Wilton Jr. Inc. Ashland, Va. N/A 100 20 80
15. F.L. Crane & Sons Inc. Fulton, Miss. 79,119,425 500 1 99
16. Forks Lath & Plaster Inc. Mekinock, N.D. 2,500,000 20 5 95
17. Fred Shearer & Sons Inc Portland, Ore. 24,000,000 200 1 99
18. Gerritsen Drywall & Plastering Solvang, Calif. 900,000 30 90 10
19. Granite State Acoustics Inc. Bedford, N.H. 2,000,000 25 1 99
20. Heartland Acoustics & Interiors Englewood, Colo. 7,300,000 50 0 100
21. Heggem-Lundquist Denver, Colo. 23,000,000 250 5 95
22. Ironwood Commercial Builders Inc. Oakland, Calif. 10,000,000 100 0 100
23. Island Acoustics Bohemia, N.Y. 60,000,000 250 0 100
24. Ivester Drywall & Painting Inc. Charlotte, N.C. 5,000,000 80 90 10
25. Jacobson & Company Inc. Elizabeth, N.J. 59,761,260 350 0 100
26. James River Exteriors LLC Richmond, Va. 7,900,000 150 20 80
27. JD Traditional Industries New York, N.Y. 18,300,000 125 0 100
28. KHS&S West Las Vegas, Nev. 283,551,920 966 0 100
29. Leonardo Construction San Francisco, Calif. 1,000,000 5 95 5
30. Lone Sun Builders Albuquerque, N.M. 5,000,000 70 2 98
31. Martin Integrated Systems Orange, Calif. N/A 62 0 100
32. MKB Construction Chandler, Ariz. 11,600,000 180 1 99
33. Nevell Group Inc. Brea, Calif. 55,000,000 350 5 95
34. New Image Drywall LLC Pueblo, Colo. 6,532,653 80 2 98
35. OCP Contractors Inc. Holland, Ohio 56,430,000 470 0 100
36. Paul Johnson Drywall Inc. Phoenix, Ariz. 34,500,000 2,000 30 70
37. Prime Wall Systems LLC Georgetown, Texas 5,000,000 72 60 40
38. Professional Drywall Construction Inc. West Springfield, Mass. 22,000,000 160 0 100
39. Reitter Stucco & Supply Co. Inc. Columbus, Ohio 5,000,000 40 35 65
40. RG Building & Development Madison, Conn. Madison, Conn. 12 100 0
41. Ronsco Inc. New York, N.Y. 10,000,000 100 0 100
42. Shields Incorporated Winston-Salem, N.C. 31,757,707 60 0 100
43. Southeastern Group Charlotte, N.C. 7,800,000 36 85 15
44. Southwest Lath & Plaster Garland, Texas 2,800,000 45 0 100
45. Structura Inc. Austin, Texas Austin, Texas 125 0 100
46. Tarlton and Son Inc. Fresno, Calif. 38,000,000 340 1 99
47. The Raymond Group Orange, Calif. 132,000,000 800 0 100
48. Trisco Construction Services LLC Lima, Ohio 1,000,000 25 0 100
49. V&C Drywall Contractors Inc. Kapolei, Hawaii 20,000,000 100 10 90
50. Valley Acoustics Inc. Youngstown, Ohio 3,000,000 50 5 95