Contractors See Flat Market in 2003

Dec. 20, 2002
Some of the largest electrical contractors in the United States offered their forecasts for the electrical construction market in this month's issue of

Some of the largest electrical contractors in the United States offered their forecasts for the electrical construction market in this month's issue of Electrical Construction & Maintenance magazine, Electrical Marketing newsletter's sister publication. Following are a few of those comments.

“Construction is like it was in the 1970s and 1980s. It's a slippery slope. We have been in business for 25 years and have been through two recessions. You need to use old skills of resilience such as hard work, client relationships, and integrity to make it through.” — Wayne Griffin, president of Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Holliston, Mass.

“The construction market is still rather depressed in Atlanta. It's probably down 30 percent to 40 percent from 2001 because Atlanta was overbuilt pre-recession. Our absorption is taking longer than it did in other places in the country. Investors got overanxious in what they thought the market could bear.” — Jeff Giglio, president of Inglett and Stubbs, Atlanta.

“While the dot-coms are all in a death spiral, the telecommunications market is still with us, and the technological advances are still coming. People still need voice and data networks, and the applications are continuing to grow whether it's for office networks or just Internet access.” — Ron Autrey, senior vice president of Miller Electric, Jacksonville, Fla.

“2003 from a revenue standpoint will look very similar to 2002. Margins are tighter because there is less work out there, and there are more people competing for it.” — Christine Resler, senior vice president of business development for Integrated Electrical Services, Houston

“The amount of building has slowed down in Chicago. Some of the big general contractors are looking really hard at everything now to make sure they have a steady flow of work for 2003 and even into 2004.” — Tom McLinden, vice president of business development for Aldridge Electric, Libertyville, Ill.

“The St. Louis construction market has tightened up in the last few months, but there are some significant projects on the horizon. A lot of them seem to be focused on a couple of key markets such as health care, research laboratories and education.” — Kevin Lasater, vice president with Sachs Electric, St. Louis

“We are heavily engaged in the high-tech market, and we are still seeing that as a relatively flat market. We have seen a small amount of work starting to come out, but I am hesitant to say that it is a trend for the next couple of quarters.” — Gene Ryley, chief operating officer for Cupertino Electric, San Jose, Calif.

“Three years ago, we were doing about 80 percent private and 20 percent public work, and we are doing about 50/50 now. You just have to shift markets and follow the work. Private work is going to start coming back in 2003.” — Steven Moore, chairman of Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Engineers, West Sacramento, Calif.

“The economy and the construction industry are not as healthy here as they are in other parts of the country. There's more high-tech in this particular area, and that has had one of the steepest declines in its history. That's really affected us quite a bit. Last year, it represented about 30 percent of our work and this year, it's about 15 percent.” — Todd Grasle, executive vice president and CFO of Oregon Electric Group, Portland, Ore.