Clouse Construction of New Riegel is ranked 37th in the nation and first in Ohio in the metal construction building industry.
In this month's issue, Metal Construction News, a trade journal devoted to news in the field, published its annual ranking.
"It means we've just kind of dominated the metal construction building industry in our local area here," said Lenny Clouse, who owns the company with his wife, Lynn.
In the past year, Clouse said the company has started quite a few large projects.
The largest is the 100,000-square-foot Tiffin University Recreation Center, a two-year project from start to finish. An addition to TU's Gillmor Student Center also is going up right now.
Other recent projects have been additions to Seneca Medical's Tiffin and Kalamazoo, Mich., buildings; Sunrise Grain's Crestline facility; Deshler Farmers, Custar; and D.S. Brown Co., North Baltimore.
"We're starting a job for Laminate Technologies," he said.
The company employs 50 people full time after 36 years in business.
Clouse founded his company in 1975 after working with Paul Kramer for a few years after he graduated from high school.
"This is actually 40 years for me," he said. "But I didn't form my own company until a few years later. It was just a one-man operation."
"In 1975, we were building garage buildings and a lot of new homes, and then we spread out into agricultural buildings, grain bins and commercial buildings and industrial building," he said.
Back then, he never thought of it becoming a large company.
"No, I never really dreamed it," he said. "I always just had a lot of good ideas and kept pursuing them. I got up early, started early, worked as hard as I could and tried to get as much done every day as I could. I kept my word and got the most done for the least amount of money.
"We've had very steady, slow growth," Clouse said. "I never wanted to grow real fast and get things out of our control so we couldn't control the quality and workmanship."
A few years after he started, he started working with Butler buildings.
"Butler was the No. 1 in the industry," he said. "I thought I'd have the best chance of being successful with them and it all worked out.
The nation's economic troubles haven't affected Clouse Construction too much.
"Actually, we've just been so lucky," he said. "The last few have been some of our better years. I can only pray and hope we can keep that up.
"Every year it keeps getting better," he said. "I think a lot of it is because a lot of our sales have been from previous customers who want new buildings."
Today, the company has several crews working on various stages of projects.
"We have crews in a dozen different places at any one time," Clouse said. "Everybody's got a little niche."
Clouse said he believes in buying enough equipment to keep employees busy.
"We probably have more equipment for pre-engineered buildings than anybody in the state of Ohio," he said. "We had to have the equipment to become the most efficient at it."
Lenny and Lynn are a team.
Lenny's job is to oversee projects and keep new ones coming in.
Lynn manages the office, finances, investments, their building leasing company and real estate investments.
"I started with the bookwork," she said. "I had no experience. Just what I had in high school."
She said their accountant taught her how to use a computer.
Now she has two secretaries making sure bills get paid, invoices are sent and payroll is completed.
"I want people to know that we're big enough to do the big jobs, but I don't want all the publicity," Lenny said. "I want people to know we're doing well, but it's because of all the great employees and great customers and all the fun relationships we've had with them over the years."