Top 50

The Place to Be

by Patrick Flanagan

Acadiana's Top 50 Private Companies

If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere. That might be a bit of an exaggeration (but not by much).

Just about every key economic indicator points to continued vibrancy in the local economy, which means Acadiana is a great place for entrepreneurs.

Nowhere is that more evident than ABiz's annual Top 50 list, comprising long-established private companies like Doerle Foods and Fenstermaker, both founded in 1950, and much newer entities like Blue Victory Holdings and Apex Freight Services, established in 2010 and 2006, respectively, and Truston Technologies, which got its start in 2005. Truston, owned by local businessman Erick Knezek, is making its Top 50 debut.

This year 31 companies increased their revenues, 14 experienced declines and five were flat.

It's important to keep in mind that annual revenues don't tell the whole story about a company's success - not by a long shot. In fact, one of this year's biggest increases was experienced by general commercial contractor J.B. Mouton, which saw its revenues rise 55 percent largely due to bigger jobs like the $9.7 million Cameron International project in Berwick.

For 2014, however, company Controller David Prejean says revenues will be down from 2013. But that does not mean the company will be less profitable.

"This year's revenue will be down from last year, but we'll continue to meet our profit goals as we were able to pick and choose jobs that suited us," he says. "In addition, we've worked hard on cultivating a healthy backlog that will carry us through the rest of this year and much of next."

When Lafayette Economic Development Authority President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux delivered his third annual State of the Economy report to a packed house at the Cajundome Convention Center June 19, he was even more optimistic about the outlook for local companies than he has been in the past two years. And Gothreaux tells ABiz that optimism extends to the entire Acadiana region.

"There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that it's a special time in Acadiana," Gothreaux says. "Not only is business great for top 50 companies such as Schumacher Group, Acadian Companies and Stuller, but others companies like Louisiana Crane & Construction, Maritime International and Quality Equipment Co. are also seeing tremendous success," he continues. "The regional economy continues to strengthen and diversify, building consumer confidence that creates a beneficial economic cycle for the community. The economy is as strong as it's been any time in the past decade, and all of Acadiana stands to prosper."

Check out a full chart of this year's Top 50 companies here, and click here for a listing of Acadiana's top publicly traded companies.

And for a look at Baton Rouge's top 10, go here.