Men of steel: Niche industry flexes strength
September 04, 2012
Building industry executive Michael Lassner says even though Florida, “on paper,” is still stuck in a recession, things are getting better — especially in Central Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Lassner, CEO of Fort-Lauderdale-based Allied Steel Buildings, which does work in at least 20 states and Canada, backs up his confidence, too. He recently hired two salespeople for the firm’s Orlando office, and would soon like to add a sales force for the west side of the state, possibly in Tampa. “It has started to come back nicely,” says Lassner. “Florida has been a huge growth area for us.”
The comeback isn’t only good for Lassner and Allied Steel. It could also be a sign that the firm’s niche, designing and fabricating steel-built structures, from barns to airport hangars, is gaining popularity statewide. Lassner, who co-founded the business in 2003, tells Coffee Talk the prime hurdle to growth in hurricane-prone Florida has been to educate clients about the product’s safety.
Allied Steel does nearly everything for a steel building but build it. The company works with clients on design, pre-engineering and steel delivery. Recent Gulf Coast projects include an office business park in Naples and an equipment storage facility in Tampa.
Named one the world’s most innovative companies by BusinessWeek in 2006, Allied Steel has 42 employees. Lassner projects annual revenues will surpass $30 million in 2012, up 20% from last year and close to pre-recession levels.
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