The Power of Now

Canyon Contracting
Written by Pauline Müller

General contractors understand the complexities and resulting pain points of managing sub-contractors only too well. In contrast, those who prefer working with Canyon Contracting, Inc. do so for the pleasure of it.

With wholesome family values and outstanding concrete expertise at the heart of everything it does, Canyon Contracting, Inc. knows that strong foundations go a long way. As such, consistent growth for this respected industry stalwart is the result of its commitment to excellence over 20 years in commercial construction.

At home in a state-of-the-art facility of over 22,000 square feet in Mount Airy, Maryland, Canyon Contracting, Inc. is a dynamic subcontractor of note that, ultimately, specializes in giving general contractors service so outstanding that they cannot find it anywhere else. The company moved into its latest headquarters in February of 2019, enabling it to house its three divisions as a single, sleek operation. Leading with safety for all stakeholders and contributors on all its sites, this commercial construction leader knows that taking care of people means garnering their respect and loyalty.

As a result, the company has been honored by the National Associated Builders and Contractors Association (ABC) with a series of Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) awards for its outstanding commitment to maintaining and continuously improving its safety standards. It also won a Future 50 Award from SmartCEO in its time.

As a trusted local construction services supplier, Canyon Contracting is known for delivering outstanding resource management in the construction of a range of building types including residential multifamily developments, health care facilities, parking garages, institutional projects like schools and federal buildings, commercial offices, and more. Founded by J.D. Keller in 2003 and acquiring L. Barrett Contracting in 2005, the company is proud of its solid financial status following its total project values and revenue worth tens of millions of dollars annually. One could go as far as saying that Keller has concrete in his blood, as he started the company on the back of his extensive experience pouring concrete while working for his father’s general contracting company, Keller Brothers, Inc. That background also gave him a deep understanding of what customers want, having been one himself.

Famed for consistency and precision, Canyon Contracting is especially proud of the impressive length of its team members’ individual tenures. As such, the company is also home to a strong team of concrete experts leading the execution of top-class concrete placing and finishing, structural work, cast-in-place, and post-tension concrete applications. Involving its team on all projects from the outset has enriched the company’s overall depth of knowledge and efficiency, giving weight and substance to its vision and service.

As mentioned, Canyon Contracting is also home to two related industry divisions, namely Concrete Placement Services of Maryland (CPSM) and CCI Custom Metals. As a certified professional in concrete pumping, this fully bonded and insured operator’s customers benefit from more than just quality concrete work. They also enjoy its generous investment in modern technology that supports an ongoing drive for evolution—the recent purchase of a third pump truck being just one example illustrating this.

Canyon Contracting and CPSM find an ideal stable mate in CCI Custom Metals, which is responsible for fabricating custom metal railings, picket railing and metal pipe, beams, columns and plates, ramps, and more in a range of metals, from stainless steel to aluminum and beyond.

As part of its mandate to serve, the company is proud of the plethora of projects it has completed over two decades of hard work and its laser focus on the region it calls home. Canyon Contracting got its start primarily building schools with steel frame structures, and the impact of its work can be felt in numerous communities throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Recent school projects include Charles Woodward High School in Rockville, Maryland, a four-story, 363,000 square foot steel frame new high school, built in 2023; Gainesville, Virginia’s Gainesville High School, a 345,000 square foot new build completed in 2020; Crofton High School in Gambrills, Maryland, a two-phase high school totaling 276,000 square feet, built in 2019; and the renovation of Washington, DC’s Coolidge Senior High School, requiring abatement of the existing school building down to the bare structure, alongside numerous others.

Canyon Contracting has taken these skills into the higher education market as well, responsible for large concrete frame structures such as the University of Maryland’s Chemistry Lab Building 1—a six-story, 190,000 square foot concrete frame addition to the existing Chemistry Lab—and other large concrete frame structures, like St. Elizabeth’s East Men’s Shelter in Washington, DC, a new four-story, 85,600 square foot cast in place concrete podium structure with wood framing above the first floor. Sitting directly on top of the WMATA Green Line subway tunnel, this latter project included a complex structural system with extensive foundation and retaining walls.

The team has recently added stadiums to its portfolio as well, with projects such as the Hagerstown Multi-Use Sports & Events Facility, a new venue and home field for Atlantic League Pro Baseball club Hagerstown Boxcars, consisting of a 60,000 square foot stadium with 3,606 seats; and a new expansion at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens.

As we know, however, every state’s construction industry booms or struggles against the backdrop of the local economy—and here, Maryland is no exception. While news and federal reports point toward slow local economic indicators, Maryland’s Chamber of Commerce is positive that, if approached from a perspective of learning and continuous improvement, the state’s strengths can be leveraged to support economic revival. Some of these strengths include its position of sixth place in wages for the technology industry nationally alongside a seventh spot for productivity in manufacturing technology and fifteenth place in technology employment.

Furthermore, its $470 billion gross domestic product earnings for 2023 places the state seventeenth in the country in that department. Therefore, while some are using words like “stagnant” to describe the current economic climate, one could be forgiven for wondering whether its strongest construction potential does not perhaps reside in the technology industry moving forward.

While the challenges are many, economics experts appear geared to turn this proverbial ship toward renewal and, no doubt, establish further growth potential for the state’s construction leaders.

Forging ahead in such an interesting climate means adapting in ways that are sustainable as well as innovative. And, as innovation evidently comes naturally to the Canyon Contracting team, it will be exciting to watch the company’s growth develop further in a post-COVID era where lateral planning and development are becoming an increasing necessity. While the state revs up toward reinventing many of the ways in which it did things in the past, this company is set to remain a constant presence on the Maryland construction horizon, delivering its tried and tested excellence with pride.

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