Vice President, Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins Inc.
2015 Economic Outlook: Cameron Collins
As contractors enter a new era of building, Cameron Collins helps a 31-year-old engineering firm stake its claim. 2015 Projection The engineering firm’s annual revenue will grow roughly 10 percent. SBJ: What are your expectations for 2015? Cameron Collins: We’re looking at 9 to 10 percent growth based on the projects we have in the pipeline. We know about a couple of months out before we get projects started. A lot of that has to do with the architects – they want to get their buildings conceptually started with the owner before we get too terribly involved. We know what we are working on in January and February. And we pretty much know where we are through March, right now.
SBJ: How many projects did Malone Finkle work on in 2014? Collins: About 80 to 90 companywide. Probably 60 of those have been out of our Springfield office. … 2013 was a positive year, and 2014 just expanded on that. Now, will we stay at the 12-percent-growth pace? I can’t predict that. But the first part of the year looks good, and we are estimated 9 to 10 percent on the year.
SBJ: How many projects are typically in the pipeline? Collins: We probably have 30 projects that we are working on at any one time. We have an office in Kansas City, also. Springfield is a little larger. We have 15 to 17 people here and about 12 up there.
SBJ: On the heels of 200 area projects coming to fruition in the past year, contractors have forecasted 115 projects worth nearly $390 million in 2015. To what do you attribute the activity? Collins: I think it’s an improving economy. The banks and developers are being a little more aggressive about starting new projects. That seems to be why things have improved in the last year or so. And it still looks like things are moving forward. We do a lot of corporate work around the country, also. And in the area, things seem to be going pretty well. There’s been a lot of office buildings going up, and we have a lot of school work, too.
SBJ: What are a couple of the projects on the board for next year? Collins: We have Golden Valley Memorial Hospital. That’s one of our larger projects going on. It’s in Clinton. Here in town, we also have Fremont Elementary School. We are doing Kickapoo Phase I and Phase II, which is going on now. And we’re working on Sherwood Elementary. … One of the office expansions is a 33,000-square-foot expansion at Prime trucking.
SBJ: Many construction firms hit high points in the mid-2000s. Has your firm returned to precession levels? Collins: We’re still catching up a little bit. … Business had probably dropped by 25 percent fairly rapidly [during the recession] because of lack of financing. … Some of the school work had been continuous because a lot of the school districts in the area were passing bonds. … The construction industry can go up and down pretty quickly. That’s what happened in 2007 and 2008; it went down quickly.[[In-content Ad]]