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Why some dropped or dropped off Mississippi 100

The biggest challenge of the Mississippi 100 is finding out who the prospects are.

“We have a lot of suspects and we have to find out the prospects,” Mississippi 100 researcher Wally Northway said.

Almost every year there are new companies added and old companies removed based on their earnings or corporate changes.

“One of the criteria for the list is that the companies’ corporate headquarters must be domiciled here in Mississippi. It is in keeping with the true spirit and aim of the Mississippi 100 — a ranking of local companies that are privately held,” Northway said.

Trustmark, for instance, is a publicly traded financial institution and one of the state’s leading employers but because it isn’t privately-owned it wouldn’t qualify for the Mississippi 100. Neither would Nissan or Toyota since their corporate operations are headquartered overseas.

Companies that are founded in Mississippi but acquired by out-of-state interests are also not included on the Mississippi 100.

The Stuart C. Irby Co. in Jackson spent many years on the Mississippi 100 and was ranked fifth on the list in 2011. While the electric distributor reported $688 million in sales last year, it wasn’t included on this year’s list because it has been a subsidiary of Sonepar USA since 2005.

Gulfport construction company Roy Anderson Corp. was sold to global contractor Tutor Perini in 2011 for a reported $64 million and was also removed from the list.

One of Roy Anderson’s smaller competitors Century Construction didn’t make the Mississippi 100 this year simply because of a decline in sales revenue, the most common reason companies are not included.

The Tupelo-based firm was ranked 64th on the list in 2009, during one of the worst financial years in construction history in the United States. Century’s gradual slide continued from 69th place in 2010 to 75th in 2011. With $10 million in sales this year, the company didn’t make the list.

Other construction companies have not fared much better as a cycle of little to no bids continues to cripple the industry nationwide.

While still leading in its sector, construction giant Yates Companies Inc. of Philadelphia (#2) reported a $100 million loss this year. Federal stimulus money has helped some primary road builders stay on their feet with limited work while other companies have fallen as much as 10 spots on the list based on lower earnings. Retail developments all over the state lie dormant while homeowners choose renovation over resettling.

Buddy Edens, CEO of the Mississippi Associated Builders and Contractors, says investors are unwilling to put up private money on projects because they don’t know where the economy is going.

“Margins are slim and it’s difficult to get a job,” he said. “You have to be competitive.”

Edens added that struggling construction companies have resorted to reducing their overhead by cutting staff, reducing extra expenses, and renegotiating contracts for insurance and phone services.

“I don’t think anything is going to happen until this election is over in November,” Edens said.

Others that didn’t make it

David Smith Construction

Founded: 1982

Reported Sales: $10 million


The Mattiace Company

Founded: 1975

Reported Sales: $9.5 million


Glass Inc.

Founded: 1999

Reported Sales: $8.8 million

About Stephen McDill

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