Mission accomplished. After years of badgering the big engineering design firms in our industry to break down their annual revenue total and submit an electrical-only component to us, I’m happy to report we’ve finally gained enough traction on this front to present our first annual Top 30 Electrical Design Firms Listing.

As I mentioned in my column last year, it’s always been our goal to report and rank the firms in our annual design firm’s listing by electrical design revenue only. However, some of the bigger players in our market didn’t offer this type of breakdown in their accounting structure in past years. But 10 years after we issued our first Top 40 Report, our persistence has paid off — as we are now able to focus on just those elite electrical designers across North America.

Why did we reduce the number of firms in our annual design firm’s listing from 40 to 30? After reviewing the survey data, we decided that a good electrical design services revenue break point occurred at right around the $4 million mark. Below this threshold, a number of survey participants began to bunch up. In an effort to help these firms stand out from the crowd, we narrowed our focus a bit to report on 30 elite firms.

A quick peek at the results of this year’s survey showed big infrastructure projects helped drive revenue growth at many firms. Market segments showing strength included: education/institution, health care, power (utilities and T&D), manufacturing, and water/wastewater. It was no surprise to see that residential, retail, private office, and public building market segments have yet to rebound enough to make a difference to these big players in the industry.

In general, these electrical design powerhouses are somewhat optimistic in their outlook, which is a pleasant change from past surveys. More than two-thirds met or exceeded their revenue goal last year, and more than 75% project their revenue will rise this year. In addition, a majority of the firms project their backlogs to increase and expect to hire more employees this year. But I’ll stop here and direct you to page 18, where Staff Writer Beck Ireland gets into the real details of the Top 30 survey results.

Speaking of change, I have an important personnel note to share with you in regard to our editorial team. After many years of faithful service, Joe Tedesco has decided to set down his camera and video equipment and retire from his Code Violations duties at EC&M. Although we’re sad this day is upon us, we wish him the very best for many years to come. Joe’s passion for the Code — and his desire to teach others how to design and install electrical systems that are safe and NEC-compliant — helped make our What’s Wrong Here? and Illustrated Catastrophes departments the most popular sections in the magazine.

But don’t worry. His retirement doesn’t spell the end of these entertaining columns. With Joe’s help, we’ve already got a qualified replacement lined up to carry on these important duties. I’m excited to announce that Russ LeBlanc will be joining the EC&M team immediately as our new NEC Consultant focused on Code violations. Russ holds a master electrician license, is a certified electrical inspector, and has 25+ years of industry experience. He currently works for Massachusetts General Hospital and is also a Department Head/Instructor at the Peterson School of Engineering in Woburn, Mass. Russ is excited to carry on this wonderful tradition Joe started so many years ago.