Action Equipment Named Top Gator-Owned Business; 22 DCP Businesses Recognized

By: Kyle Niblett
April 21, 2023

Led by No. 1 Action Equipment, the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning placed 22 alumni-owned companies on the 2023 Gator100, the UF Alumni Association announced Friday. Those who made the list, which recognizes the 100 fastest-growing Gator-owned or Gator-led businesses in the world, were honored in a ceremony inside the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

“To take up nearly a quarter of the entire Gator100 is a testament to how our DCP alumni continue to shape the world we live in,” DCP Dean Chimay Anumba said. “We are extremely proud of the businesses born out of the education our faculty provide.”

Despite being the second-smallest college on campus, DCP’s total of 22 placed second behind the Warrington College of Business (27). Since 2018, DCP grads with successful businesses have made up more than 20 percent of the Gator100. Of the 22 DCP companies named to the prestigious list in 2023, half (11) were first-time honorees.

Year# of DCP Alumni-Owned Companies on Gator100

Action Equipment marks the third DCP-led company in the last six years to take the overall spot, joining ACY Contractors, LLC. (Michael Young, BSBC ’97) in 2018 and Onicx Group (Dhvanit Patel, BSBC ’98) last year.

YearDCP Businesses to be No. 1 in Gator100
2018ACY Contractors, LLC. – Owned by Michael Young (BSBC ’97)
2022Onicx Group – Owned by Dhvanit Patel (BSBC ’98)
2023Action Equipment – Owned by Bruno-Elias Ramos (BDES ‘82, MARCH ’85)

Below is a list of all DCP Alumni-led or owned companies that made the 2023 Gator100 list and where they ranked. Many of these companies joined Dean Anumba and college representatives prior to the event at The Social for a reception. Congratulations to all these great companies!

Business: Action Equipment

DCP Leader: Bruno-Elias Ramos, BDES ‘82, MARCH ‘85

Location: Miami, Fla.

Years Honored: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, the company established by Bruno-Elias Ramos opened its first location in Miami in 2007, followed by dozens of locations throughout Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. During those growing years, the company gained dedicated and motivated leaders that have pushed their values and their brand to the next level by maintaining the family values and integrity that sets them apart from other construction equipment dealers.

Business: Biggs Construction Company

DCP Leader: George A. Biggs, BBC ‘85

Location: Pensacola, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

Biggs Construction Company, Inc.(formerly known as Biggs Green Construction Services) was established in January of 2002. The company was created to address the needs of Northwest Florida and Gulf Coast property owners by providing in-depth consultation, project management, and general construction services while offering years of commercial construction knowledge ranging from every aspect of heavy commercial construction. Biggs Construction Company has an extensive background in the construction industry with a predominant focus on heavily managed, complex, non-typical project construction.

Business: Springer Construction

DCP Leader: Jeremy Voss, BSBC ’03 & Cole Springer, BSBC ‘14

Location: Lakeland, Fla.

Years Honored: 2021, 2022, 2023

Since 1987, Springer Construction has been building and maintaining quality industrial, retail and commercial construction for more than 30 years. As a third-generation, family-owned firm, they believe in building the community from the inside out through the successful completion of construction projects and their strong philanthropic ties to the community. The company works hard to deliver value to their employees and customers while upholding the following values: loyalty, honesty, integrity and respect.

Business: Bryan Builders

DCP Leaders: Scott Bryan, BSBC ‘00 & Martin Foster, BSBC ‘92

Location: Longwood, Fla.

Years Honored: 2021, 2022, 2023

Bryan Builders, LLC is a general contracting firm that was launched in 2010 by founding member, Scott A. Bryan. They primarily specialize in the commercial and industrial space, partnering with many well-known e-commerce and logistics clients on a national scale. Their team consists of the best and most qualified in the industry, including five additional M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management graduates. They pride themselves in their dedication to unmatched customer service and client experience.

Business: East Coast Construction Group, Inc.

DCP Leader: Anthony Virzi, MBC ‘14

Location: Boca Raton, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

East Coast Construction Group’s services include general contracting, specializing in new building construction and construction renovation projects of $30 million or less. Specific project experience includes office buildings, hotels, retail centers, houses of worship, community and public buildings, luxury condominiums, luxury residences, and senior housing projects.

Business: Carlton Construction, Inc.

DCP Leader: Matt Carlton, BSBC ‘02

Location: Fleming Island, Fla.

Years Honored: 2017, 2023

Matt Carlton founded the company in 2005 because he was ready to work toward more than just the next deadline or paycheck. He dreamed of collaborating with partners whose visions exceeded four walls and a roof. In the years since then, he has built Carlton Construction into a company that truly understands, anticipates, and exceeds the expectations of discerning commercial and luxury residential owners across the Southeast. Within the construction industry, their name stands for transparency, trust, and an impeccable attention to detail. Carlton Construction is more than a contractor; they are experienced construction managers who guide projects from pre-construction to completion, resulting in unique spaces that enrich life.

Business: Straughn Trout Architects

DCP Leader: Tim Hoeft, BDES ’04, MARCH ’06, Jonathan Kirk, BDES ’95, MARCH ‘97

Location: Lakeland, Fla.

Years Honored: 2019, 2020, 2023

Straughn Trout Architects creates spaces and places to live, work, play, learn and worship. Their studio features creative professionals that bring a global and sustainable perspective to each project. Their 63-year portfolio includes a diverse spectrum of work, including new designs for contemporary and highly complex structures; educational & institutional campuses; and historic building restorations and redevelopments. Primary markets include K-12, Higher Education, Government, and Commercial & Recreation.

Business: Construction Specialties & Design LLC

DCP Leader: Don VanDemark Sr., BBC ’70

Location: DeLand, Fla.

Years Honored: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023

Founded by Don and Phyllis VanDemark, Construction Specialties & Design started as a residential renovation company. It has since added to its management with Don VanDemark, Jr. and has grown to a service maintenance company that encompasses six states. Construction Specialties services over 40 major corporations and continues to add new corporations each month.

Business: KMF Architects

DCP Leader: Eric Kleinsteuber, BDES ’02, MARCH ‘04

Location: Orlando, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

With deep roots in the industry connecting all the way back to the mid-1950s, KMF Architects have been active in Orlando for almost 20 years, bringing quality vision and implementation to a diverse web of projects. With a vast array of experience and flexibility, KMF takes pride in delivering projects under all types of time-sensitive and urgent situations. Their empathetic view of the project’s goals and potential gives them a unique presence in the industry.

Business: eco Construction, Inc.

DCP Leader: Patrick Murray, MSBC ‘06

Location: Little Rock, Ark.

Years Honored: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023

Founded in 2010 by Patrick Murray, eco Construction, Inc. is a full-service general contracting and construction management firm. The business was built around the basic principle of being committed clients, employees, and communities. Their focus over the last five years has been in the healthcare and educational markets, following a core set of values: quality, value, service, honesty, and integrity.

Business: McLeod General Trades

DCP Leader: Erik Anderson, BSBC ’06, MSBC ‘07

Location: Gainesville, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

With more than twenty-five years working in the general trades business, McLeod General Trades has established a reputation and respect for the work we do for our clients. Over the years, we have seen our company grow by adding new team members each year as well as the amount of projects and clients we have had the opportunity to partner with. But we wouldn’t be who we are today without our founder, Ed McLeod.

Business: Strang Design

DCP Leader: Max Strang, BDES ‘94

Location: Miami, Fla.

Years Honored: 2018, 2023

The firm is underpinned by talented individuals who each have their lens focused on a common thread—the enduring intrigue of modernism. This, along with the relationships they nurture with their clientele, has propelled their success and served to expand the firm to two coastal design offices in Florida: Miami and Sarasota—the birthplace of Florida modernism. Along with their east and west coast presence, they serve clientele through the central regions of the state as well. Their distinguished body of work is deeply connected to Florida, yet also includes projects across the Caribbean Sea and beyond. The firm continues to reap awards and international acclaim under the dynamic leadership of its partners, associates, and directors.

Business: Stevens Construction, Inc.

DCP Leader: Mark Stevens, BSBC ‘90

Location: Fort Myers, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

Founded in 2003 by Mark Stevens, Stevens Construction grew into a company earning $30M within three years. This growth has been fueled by a reputation of ethical business practices, superior management and track record of delivering projects on budget, schedule and with unsurpassed quality which has remained the focus of the company to this day. The devotion to exceed the expectations of clients has allowed Stevens Construction to expand Fort Myers operations in 2008 with the opening of offices in Tampa and Orlando. In 2021, Stevens Construction further expanded with an office in Sarasota. The launch of these offices has enabled the company to better serve existing clients and pursue new opportunities. Since inception, Stevens Construction has specialized in construction management services of commercial and healthcare projects. Additionally, the team has proven to excel in projects occurring on occupied buildings keeping safety the highest priority. Stevens Construction has completed projects ranging from small tenant improvements to a free-standing hospital. In 2019, Stevens Construction launched a special projects division for projects $1M and under. Within this division, Stevens Construction provides self-performance with a team of skilled craftsmen allowing more flexibility with schedule, an ability to perform tasks on demand, quality and cost control. Special projects include tenant improvements, additions, renovations, repairs and specialty projects.

Business: Distinctive Kitchens and Baths, Inc

DCP Leader: Adam Canter, BSBC ‘98

Location: Boca Raton, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

Distinctive Kitchens & Baths was founded to follow the product from design to installation, ensuring both the quality of the product and offering infinite cabinet style and color combinations to choose from. In 2008, Distinctive Millwork was founded to handle the commercial and custom casework market. This separate division that caters to the needs of general contractors and commercial property owners at competitive prices dramatically expanded the customer base. With the success of Distinctive Kitchens & Baths’ ventures with Distinctive Millwork in mind, they reached out to an even wider market by acquiring Nye Portfolio in 2013. This allowed them to satisfy the demand for ultra-custom, high end kitchen furniture and millwork while ensuring an elite group of consumers and designers whose desire for quality, custom product in high-end materials and finishes are met with the care and precision necessary.

Business: Cotleur & Hearing

DCP Leader: Nicole Plunkett, 2010

Location: Jupiter, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

Cotleur & Hearing focuses their processional expertise and energy on Landscape Architecture, Land Planning and the rapidly growing field of Environmental Design. The firm services a multitude of high-profile clients including: the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Power & Light, The South Florida Water Management District, along with counties and municipalities statewide, land developers and many other private sector clients. Besides building an extensive portfolio within Florida, the firm has also added their signature to projects in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Managing complex Landscape Architecture, Land Planning and Environmental projects requires the kind of skill and talent that is developed through experience. This dedicated team utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving and has produced award-winning results.

Business: Capitol Steel Structures

DCP Leader: Ruben Diaz, BDES ‘97

Location: Miami, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

Capitol Steel Structures is a full-service, AISC Certified Steel Fabrication and Erection company committed to delivering the highest quality workmanship required in this competitive marketplace. Established in South Florida in 1973, CSS provides detailing, design, fabrication and erection of structural steel and other metals, delivered and installed on time. Their experienced specialists will visit the job site, assess the structural needs and together with their team of engineers, design a solution. They have the machinery and personnel to efficiently mass produce steel products, providing continuous access to materials for development projects. Capitol Steel Structures is a leader in the construction industry and in the community with more than four decades of experience.

Business: AspirEDU

Location: Fort Myers, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

AspirEDU was founded by educators who are creating solutions to the problems of educators. They saw that the edtech market did not include data-driven retention software that could automatically identify at-risk students before it was too late to save them. Thus, AspirEDU takes pride in building software bridges between new-age LMS’s and retention teams, helping schools help more students graduate. They analyze the data that schools already have, providing solutions to identify students that are most at risk of dropping out of or failing courses. The company also identifies the best practices that instructors use to maximize the performance of their students. Retaining more students is good for schools and even better for the students themselves.

Business: Cava Companies

DCP Leader: Frank Cava, BSBC ‘98

Location: Richmond, Va.

Years Honored: 2021, 2022, 2023

Cava Companies is the parent to several companies led by third-generation real estate entrepreneur Frank Cava and his team in Richmond, Virginia. At Cava Companies, clients work with a licensed team of real estate experts committed to excellence and customer service across each of Cava’s companies, from new construction to property management to our home buying process.

Business: Manhas Design

DCP Leader: Pam Manhas, BDES ‘91

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

Manhas Design is recognized as a leading interior design firm specializing in restaurant, hospitality and country club design. In contrast to design that subscribes to a signature style, their work reflects each individual project’s identity through design. From conceptual development through design documentation, the project’s uniqueness is developed and nurtured. This approach transcends stylistic trends and provides clients with designs that are timeless yet innovative.

Business: Richard & Rice Construction

DCP Leader: Murray Rice, BBC ‘90

Location: Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Years Honored: 2023

In December of 2004, Richard & Rice Construction Company, Inc. was founded by Presidents Gaetan Richard and Murray Rice. Their goal was to excel in the shell construction industry and grow from the ground up. With no fear of failing and trust within each other, this opened the door to their success story. Gaetan and Murray understood that to be the best, they needed to search for superior talent. Every day, they worked wholeheartedly to put all their knowledge, time, energy, and experience towards the company’s market growth. Gaetan and Murray share 75 years of combined experience in the construction industry. Today, R&R Construction stands as one of the largest leading, successfully managed, shell construction companies throughout Florida. Richard & Rice Construction Company has earned respect from their loyal customers and diligent employees over the years. Since 2004, their customers have increased and built true relationships to excel together in the industry. Their customers include well-known home builders in the market such as Lennar Homes, D.R. Horton, Pulte Group, Meritage Homes, Ryan Homes, Stellar Communities, New Urban Communities, Mattamy Homes, Affinity Construction Group, and many other top tier builders. R&R continues to ‘Build Excellence Every Day’ for single and multi-family homes, custom homes, light commercial, and industrial structures. From Miami to Jacksonville, Naples to Pensacola, and parts of Central Florida, R&R rises to be the best shell contractors state-wide. Gaetan Richard and Murray Rice continue to succeed in the industry and set high standards for themselves, each other, and their employees. R&R will continue to prosper and overcome any challenges that try and stand in their way.

Business: kasper architects + associates

DCP Leader: Erik Kasper, BDES ‘92, MARCH ’94 & Chris Densmore, BDES ’04, MARCH ‘06

Location: Jacksonville, Fla.

Years Honored: 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

kasper architects + associates creates design solutions that produce an efficient building plan, contributing to the success of its clients. The firm is the right size to give personal attention to each client, while the technology it uses gives results that are second to none.

Business: Southeast Concrete Systems

DCP Leader: Adam Pearlman, BSBC ‘91

Location: Alpharetta, Ga.

Years Honored: 2023

Southeast Concrete Systems, Inc. is a commercial concrete construction company licensed in eight states, with almost five million square feet of concrete on the ground. They specialize in turn-key commercial tilt-up construction, including tilt walls, slabs, decks, and foundations. Their projects range from smaller additions to new ground-up structures in various sectors of commercial, retail, and industrial markets throughout the southeastern United States. You can currently see their work throughout Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

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