BUILT FOR GROWTH: An improving economy and steady migration of newcomers are fueling a building boom.

Author:Martin, Cathy
Position:NC 100: Grant Thornton

Construction, always a boom-and-bust business, is experiencing the upside of that formula, this year's ranking of the state's 100 largest private companies shows. Of the 10 companies recording the biggest gains in rankings compared with a year ago, eight are in building-related industries. Among the companies benefiting from a robust market is Charlotte-based general contractor Edifice Inc., with projects including a university dorm in Boone, a FedEx Ground distribution center in Durham and an autoparts supplier's headquarters near Charlotte. Edifice leaped 15 spots, while Precision Walls Inc. jumped 11 spots and Clancy & Theys Construction Co., 10.

While public companies grab most headlines, private companies pack a powerful economic punch. Collectively, the 100 companies employ nearly 105,000 people in industries running the gamut from logistics to software. A large number of family-owned companies, passed down through generations, hold spots on the list.

"Companies on the North Carolina 100 list are the backbone of our local economy," says Dave Wedding, Charlotte-based managing partner for the Southeast region at Grant Thornton LLP. "They are North Carolina's top builders, innovators and creators--hardworking people who keep our state running on a smooth track."

The Chicago-based accounting firm assembled the Grant Thornton North Carolina 100 based on information reported by the companies. Participation is voluntary, and the largest company in 2016, Huntersville-based American Tire Distributors Inc., chose not to participate this year. Asheville-based solar-farm developer FLS Energy, the biggest mover on last year's list, dropped off after being acquired by California-based Cypress Creek Renewables in December.

"We congratulate this year's NC100 recipients and are proud to recognize the substantial impact of private companies in North Carolina," Wedding says.

NORTH CAROLINA'S TOP 100 PRIVATE COMPANIES '17 '16 COMPANY $1 BILLION OR MORE IN REVENUE (LATEST FISCAL YEAR) 1 2 SAS Institute Inc. 2 4 Transportation Insight LLC 3 3 National Gypsum Co. (1) $500 MILLION TO $900 MILLION 4 6 Pike Corp. 5 7 AmWINS Group Inc. 6 5 Lord Corp. 7 9 Carolina Tractor & Equipment Co. 8 DYNACAST INTERNATIONAL Tracing its roots to a small machine shop in New York in 1912, Dynacast operates 25 plants in 16 countries making metal components for the auto and health care industries and for consumer electronics. In 2015, Zug, Switzerland-based Partners Group acquired a controlling stake in the company. CEO Simon Newman picked Charlotte for its headquarters that same year. 8 new Dynacast International Inc. 9 10 Gregory Poole Equipment Co. 10 12 Waste Industries Inc. 11 13 Southco Distributing Co. 12 16 SteelFab Inc. 13 11 Barnhill Contracting Co. 14 14 Ennis-Flint 15 19 Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. 16 17 Atlantic Corp. 17 RENFRO In June, the sock-maker named former VF executive Stan Jewell president and chief executive officer, succeeding longtime CEO Bud Kilby. Founded in 1921, Renfro is a licensee for brands including Polo/Ralph Lauren, Carhartt, New Balance and Fruit of the Loom. 17 15 Renfro Corp. 18 23 Strata Solar LLC $300 MILLION TO $499 MILLION 19 29 Clancy & Theys Construction Co. 20 18 Sampson-Bladen Oil Co. 21 NEW National Coatings & Supplies Inc. 22 30 Rodgers Builders Inc. 23 JAMES R. VANNOY & SONS CONSTRUCTION Started by Jim Vannoy as a roofing company in 1952, the business...

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