Sunday, November 10, 2002

Drees Co. grabs top ranking in the 100


`We're just ... blessed with the current demographic and economic situation'

By James Pilcher The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Drees Co. earned the top spot in this year's Greater Cincinnati 100, but company officials say that the Fort Mitchell-based home builder is even bigger now.

[photo] David Drees, president and chief executive officer of the Drees Co., ranked No. 1 in the Greater Cincinnati 100.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
"We're just in one of the few industries that has been pretty blessed with the current demographic and economic situation," company president and chief executive officer David Drees said.

Drees Co., founded in 1928 and about to celebrate its 75th anniversary, was ranked No. 1 in the annual survey of privately- or employee-owned companies in the Tristate by Deloitte & Touche with revenues of almost $605.9 million in 2001. The Greater Cincinnati 100 is in its 19th year.

Mr. Drees said those numbers are outdated, and that the company recorded $850 million in the fiscal year that ended in March, with much of that growth coming from the acquisition of some assets of another homebuilder The Zaring Co. He would not disclose profits at the company, which employs about 900.

"Let's just say we're happy with the profits," said Mr. Drees, whose company was ranked fourth last year.

Mr. Drees also credited the continued streak of low interest rates, which has made it much easier and cheaper for potential homeowners to buy a house.

"The secondary mortgage system is so much more efficient than it was, and we're reaping the benefits of that," Mr. Drees said, adding that the company has seen some benefit from the ongoing scandal involving another Northern Kentucky homebuilder, the Erpenbeck Co.

"People are starting to gravitate to the more established names," Mr. Drees said.

Companies were ranked on their total 2001 revenues. Rounding out the top 10 were: downtown-based Joseph Auto Group ($573 million in revenue); Union Township-based Jeff Wyler Automotive Family Inc. ($551.3 million); Fort Mitchell-based hotel operator Columbia Sussex Corp. and Affiliates ($531 million); West Chester-based marketing firm Cornerstone Brands Inc. ($485 million); Middletown-based pipe manufacturer Contech Construction Products Inc. ($461 million); Deerfield Township-based auto dealership owner Kenwood Dealer Group Inc. ($445.5 million); Norwood-based United Dairy Farmers (revenue not made public); Reading-based hospital/hotel linen manufacturer Standard Textile Co. Inc. (revenue not made public); and Monroe-based concrete contractor Baker Concrete Construction, Inc. ($384 million).

E-mail jpilcher@enquirer.com



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