Orange County’s largest women-ownedbusinesses are back in growth mode after shaking off residual impacts from the shutdown caused by the pandemic.
The 39 locally based companies comprising the largest businesses owned by women locally generated a collective $4.2 billion in 2021 revenue, up 7.4% from the year prior, according to this week’s Business Journal list.
Despite the ongoing labor challenges that have plagued virtually all industries, employment among this same group of companies grew 5% for the 12 months through June, with headcounts totaling 5,146.
“There is an extreme labor shortage across the board,” said Lisa Moss, president of Huntington Beach-based MSH Construction Co. “Supply chain shortages and employee retention are top of mind for us right now.”
MSH, up to No. 28 on the list from No. 40 last year, is one of seven construction companies featured on this year’s ranking, representing nearly 18% of the list. That’s notable, as women represent only 11% of total U.S. construction employees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
MSH has increased wages and benefits to attract and retain employees in the face of heightened competition.
“We’re also focusing on camaraderie, and hosting events to bring the team together in positive ways,” Moss said.
Irvine-based Casco Contractors is feeling the shortage as well.
“I just don’t know where all the people went,” founder and President Cheryl Osborn told the Business Journal. “Trade labor has always been an issue we have dealt with, but it is very exacerbated right now.”
The construction industry is facing a slew of challenges in addition to finding talent, specifically material delays and inflation.
“Costs are anywhere from 20% to 40% higher than they were a year ago, which is shocking to most landlords and tenants,” Osborn said. “As for the supply chain issues, the things we used to get in two weeks now can take 16 weeks to receive.”
Still, demand is strong for construction companies as the hard-hit sectors—like office and retail—are rebounding, while other burgeoning sectors represent new business along with consumer demand.
“We are very interested in the renewable energy space, specifically areas like solar and electric vehicle charging,” Osborn said.
The EV sector represented a fast-growing business line for Costa Mesa’s Slater Builders, which saw revenue jump 33% last year, earning it the No. 13 slot.
Restaurants, specifically fast-casual chains, “are on fire,” Osborn said.
“Many companies are looking at expanding or building additional facilities to keep up with demand.”
Irvine-based In-N-Out is one such firm, having maintained its No. 1 spot after unseating Foothill Ranch’s SeneGence last year.
Revenue for the burger chain jumped 12% last year to $1.7 billion, while local headcount rose 8% to 2,969.
The firm opened its newest location last week in Santa Ana; it will employ 80 people with a starting wage of $17 per hour. The company counts nearly 380 restaurants in total.
No. 17 Galardi Group, which franchises Newport Beach-based Wienerschnitzel, is also in growth mode. The company at the start of the year said it has inked a deal to build 20 Wienerschnitzel locations throughout Arkansas over the next 12 years.
This year’s list is diverse, with other industries including automotive, beauty, information technology, legal, communications and design.
Twenty-one companies reported revenue gains in the past year, nearly double the amount in 2020. Just six firms reported declines, less than half the 14 that saw business drop in 2020, and one firm was flat. The remaining 11 on the list declined to provide sales.
The list saw a few drop off the list because they didn’t report more than $10 million in revenue—the designated floor to make the ranking this year.
The list has three newcomers: Cypress-based Pacific Pioneer Insurance Group; Huntington Beach-based Cutting Edge Communications LLC; and Santa Ana-based Cal Pac Sheet Metal Inc./OC Metals Inc.