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Building the future

Delaney Group busier than ever since purchase by Tetra Tech

July 19, 2009
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

MAYFIELD - At the same time many companies are struggling with the effects of the recession, the Delaney Group continues to line up more work and expand its business.

At the construction company's offices on Route 30, a visitor can literally watch the expansion. Workers are busy on part of a project that will roughly double the size of the office building. That will mean new jobs for some people, who will join the 60 employees the company already has there.

Tim Delaney, the president and founder of the company, credited a number of factors for the business' success over the years. Good luck, prudent financial policies and the company's being acquired in April 2007 by a California-based corporation have all played a role.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

Construction equipment is shown July 13 working on the expansion at the Delaney Group offices in Mayfield.

Delaney said a key to the company's success has been employing good people. With the right people in place, he said, the company has been able to take advantage of the circumstances that have moved its way.

"We've had a good run," he said.

Considering where the Delaney Group started, that seems like an understatement. When the business began in 1982, it had one septic cleaning truck. Now it employs about 400 people during the construction season, doing work that ranges from constructing wind farms to building highways.

Having the right people in place, and adding more of them, has been part of the business from its early days. Delaney said the business has made strategic hires over the years, bringing in people that could help it expand its operations. From one truck, the company got involved in residential construction, installing driveways, doing leach field work, which allowed it to branch out into small commercial opportunities. After that, it hired people with municipal experience, which allowed it to start doing work with county and town governments.

A strategic move made by the business was to get into alternative energy work, specifically wind farms. Delaney said the company's work on the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, which began commercial operation in January 2006, helped open up a number of doors. It has since completed 8 to 10 other wind farm projects.

Who the company works for, as such projects illustrate, have helped it weather the recession.

Delaney said the collapse of some financial institutions this year did hurt the wind industry. But large energy companies are still going strong and need work done. Also, the company does work with municipalities and with divisions of the federal government, including the Department of Defense.

The federal government spends money in good times - and even more money in bad times, Delaney said.

Many projects, such as the work the Delaney Group is doing at Fort Benning near Columbus, Ga., might not have been possible without the company that owns it - Tetra Tech.

When the Pasadena, Calif.-based consulting, engineering and technical services company purchased the Delaney Group in 2007, Tim Delaney said he expected the business he started would grow its revenue 7 percent to 8 percent annually under Tetra Tech.

Delaney, who is also a senior vice president at Tetra Tech EC, said revenues at the Delaney?Group have grown about 200 percent since it was purchased by?Tetra Tech.

"It has worked out as well as we had hoped," Delaney said about the ownership change. "And we had high hopes going in."

While much of the day-to-day business for the Delaney Group stayed the same, what changed more than anything was the access and support available to do certain projects.

Delaney Group had reported revenues of $60 million in 2006. It became part of a corporation which generated about $1.4 billion in revenue during 2006, and had done work in 48 countries and employed almost 7,000 people.

Delaney said the connections the large corporation provide have been crucial. In addition to the work at Fort Benning, he said the Delaney?Group got wind farm projects in Oklahoma and Alaska that it would not have done without the Tetra Tech connection.

Tetra Tech also seems to be doing well. According to information filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tetra Tech reported $46 million in net profits generated by $1.5 billion in revenue for 2007. The corporation reported that for 2008, it had about $61 million in profits generated by $2.1 billion in revenue.

According to information from the Queeney Financial Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisers, the earnings per share of Tetra Tech stock in the second quarter of the 2007 fiscal year was $0.18. For the second quarter of 2009, the company generated $0.32 earnings per share.

Tetra Tech also was called " a great way for investors to diversify their energy exposure," in an article posted July 13 at the finance Web site TheStreet.com. The feature noted the corporation is involved in every major developed or developing energy market, including nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal.

While the feature said the corporation has particular expertise in waterways and wastewater treatment, it noted Tetra Tech " has its hands in anything and everything green, including retrofitting buildings, investing in wind farms and desalinating water."

The Delaney Group has approximately 30 projects underway, Delaney said, and more opportunities are being investigated. To that end, it is moving into solar and geothermal energy work, and looking to hire people who can help make that happen. The Delaney Group recently hired people in areas that have been hit particularly hard during the recession, including Chicago, Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas, Texas.

The business is also keeping an eye on expanding geographically. It has established offices in Syracuse, Onondaga County, and in a suburb of Atlanta, Ga. Delaney said he expects the company to be building wind farms in Ontario, Canada, in 2010, and it continues to bid on wind projects across the U.S.

All of this is being done with an eye toward the future, so the company can increase and diversify its revenue stream in case of any future problems caused by the recession.

"Our concern is not today," Delaney said. "Our concern is tomorrow."

 
 

 

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