Looking for a foolproof business plan? Try getting Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin to sell Buicks and 2x4s.
If this year's list of the top private companies in Pittsburgh is any indication, it'd be a potent combination.
Three industries -- those involving cars, construction and coaches -- seemed uniformly recession-proof in 2012, a year where the economy was once again the topic of discussion in congressional hearings and at kitchen tables.
But in Pittsburgh, the top privately owned companies had a banner year, with a majority of firms posting year-over-year increases in annual revenue.
Major car dealers in the area, such as #1 Cochran and Day Automotive, revved their revenue, with Kenny Ross posting an increase of nearly $86 million from last year to hit $449.5 million.
And construction firm DCK Worldwide saw the largest jump of any company included on the charts, with a 93 percent gain over last year's number for a 2012 revenue of $608 million. The company made two acquisitions in the past year.
Other construction firms also fared well. Rycon Construction added about $37 million to its revenue from last year, and 84 Lumber took third place across all sectors thanks to a jump in revenue of nearly $200 million.
The city's sports franchises all posted gains -- despite abbreviated playoff seasons, disappointing records and one league-wide lockout.
According to estimates calculated by Forbes, the Pittsburgh Steelers added $11 million to their annual revenue for a 2012 total of $266 million. The Pirates hit a home run on the balance sheet that wasn't reflected on the score sheet, adding $8 million to last year's $160 million. And the Penguins, whose season started after a months-long National Hockey League lockout, saw their revenue increase about 10 percent to $120 million.
The private company chart didn't see much fluctuation at the very top.
Giant Eagle easily retained its perch on top, with a year-over-year increase of about $600 million.
Second place again went to the Westinghouse Electric Co., which kept its spot despite a revenue drop of approximately $200 million. Over the past year, nuclear energy firms like Westinghouse have seen development slow as countries consider the energy source after a massive meltdown at General Electric-designed plants in Fukushima, Japan, in early 2011.
Last year, only six companies crossed the billion-dollar threshold. But Reed Smith just made it this year -- with a revenue of $1.01 billion going up from last year's $993.1 million -- bringing the billionaire's club its seventh member.
-- Erich Schwartzel: email@example.com or 412-263-1455 First Published May 3, 2013 4:00 AM