100 Rising Giants 2020

Business has been strong for these Rising Giants—in 2019 and the years leading up to it. Total fees for the year came in at $604 million, a sizeable 21 percent jump from the previous year’s $500 million take. That’s stellar, but the Rising Giants’s forecast of $640 million for 2020—less than 6 percent growth and the lowest forecast in five years—is about as tangible as a puff of smoke. We just don’t know.

What we do know: Hospitality has overtaken corporate work as the biggest moneymaker for the group. The former brought in $195 million, 32 percent of all fees in the group (up from 28 percent in 2018), while the latter fell to $173 million, or 29 percent (from 33 percent in 2018; the two sectors have essentially traded places).

Healthcare (11 percent) was the only other area to reach double digits as a percentage of the overall pie. Other sectors—education, government, retail—racked up single-digit percentages of total fees, though one area in particular, residential, has trended downward from 13 percent in 2016 to 8 this year.

Work volume was a big reason for the bump in overall fees. The Rising Giants finished just
over 70,000 projects last year, totaling 332 million square feet. The second figure is massive compared to the 221 million square feet logged in 2018. That may be an outlier, but these Giants still made a pre-pandemic prediction of 361 million square feet in 2020.

Volume was up as well for furniture-fixtures and construction product installation in 2019, with $19.8 billion, up from $18.7 billion the previous year (construction takes 69 percent of the total). That may sound impressive, but the new total falls well short of the original forecast of $22 billion. Still, for some perspective, consider that the furniture-fixtures/construction total back in 2015 was $9 billion.