No. 46 Theodore Williams Construction

Twitter: None
CEO: Shelby Johnson
Headquarters: Manhattan
Three-year growth rate: 189%
2013 revenue: $25.5 million
Profitable? Yes
Local employees: 30
Total employees: 30

What it does: Provides commercial contracting and construction services

How it grew: As an electrician’s daughter growing up during Staten Island’s 1960s building boom, Shelby Johnson was always fascinated by construction. Yet actually forging a career in this largely male-dominated profession didn’t come easily, as she quickly discovered while she was the only female construction-engineering student at Texas Tech University.

Nevertheless, she stuck with it. After graduating in 1986, she became a project manager in 1991 for Manhattan-based Theodore Williams Construction, a now 42-year-old Manhattan-based firm specializing in corporate interiors.

Less than a decade later, she became president and by 2001 was the principal owner. Today, her company is not only one of the city’s fastest-growing construction companies, it’s also one of the few owned and operated by a woman.

Ms. Johnson said that the company’s continued success has come primarily from repeat business, with more than 90% of its new projects being generated by such longstanding clients as Rudin Management, Estée Lauder, the Blackstone Group, SUNY, Reuters America and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“We do a great job, people refer us, and that’s what makes us stand out,” said Ms. Johnson. “Integrity is part of our logo, and in this business that makes a difference.”

—Tripp Whetsell

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