Projects keep Branch Group workforce growing
The Branch Group’s diverse portfolio of projects, from major roadway expansions to institutional construction, keeps the Roanoke-based company on an upward trajectory. “We have seen significant growth in terms of volume pretty much across the board,” says CEO J. William Karbach. The company’s workforce is projected to reach nearly 1,000 this year, up 50 percent from 2010.
The Branch Group is the holding company for Branch Highways, Branch and Associates (construction managers and general contractors), E.V. Williams (prime contractors for highways) and G.J. Hopkins (mechanical and electrical contractors).
Current ongoing projects include the expansion of Route 58 in Carroll County and Dominion Boulevard in Chesapeake as well as the construction of the 155,000-square-foot Cregger athletic center at Roanoke College.
Most of the company’s projects are in Virginia, but Karbach would like to see the company expand its footprint in the Southeast. “We have been multistate in the past. In the 1990s we worked in Mississippi, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. During the downturn, most, if not all, of our projects were in Virginia,” he says. “Now we have a few endeavors in North Carolina.”
The core market for Branch and Associates is institutional construction, mainly the K-12 and higher-education market. Recent projects include construction of Blacksburg and Auburn high schools and Auburn Middle School in Montgomery County. Branch also built the Jerry Falwell Library at Liberty University in Lynchburg. “It’s an iconic showpiece,” Karbach says.
The company also has worked on multifamily housing, health-care, commercial and industrial projects. “They are all primarily in Virginia, but we have also worked in West Virginia and North Carolina,” he says.
The company has completed a number of projects in recent years for the Carilion New River Valley Medical Center in Christiansburg. “We are back there again working on renovations,” Karbach says.
The Branch Group is unusual in its industry because it is entirely owned by its employees. Whenever the company hires employees, it tries to make sure they “can embrace the culture, which is deeply rooted in employee ownership,” Karbach says.