Kenneth B. Canty, P.E.; President and CEO of Freeland Construction Company, Inc. and local Water Tower Demolition project at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina.
Kenneth Canty relocated to the Lowcountry from Boston to perform work as a civil engineer who helped in building the Ravenel Bridge. He fell in love with Charleston and never left.
After working locally for several years in the industry, Canty purchased Freeland Construction in 2008. His company has quickly become one of the most successful small construction companies in Charleston.
After certification as a minority-owned Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and 8(a) firm through the U.S. Small Business Administration, Freeland became a vital subcontractor to larger firms. Through the DBE program, Freeland Construction has successfully partnered with the “big” companies like Skanska and Turner on government projects of considerable size.
“A lot of DBEs get pigeon-holed as subcontractors, but we act as a general contractor that can self-perform,” Canty says.
Freeland Construction has now grown to 34 employees operating eight locations, including Washington, D.C., Boston and Orlando. The company handles work on commercial, governmental and industrial projects. Its work has included roads, bridges and storm drains; commercial renovations include repairing historic courthouses and railroad structures, and demolishing water towers at Charleston’s Air Force Base.
“We’re continuing to grow in federal government infrastructure work,” Canty says.
Freeland Construction recently diversified into construction management, currently assisting in managing a major project in Charleston, the renovation of the Galliard Auditorium.
With an eye on the horizon, especially in future road construction and improvement projects, Freeland Construction continues to expand its operations and geographic coverage.
The company won the Minority Business of the Year award in 2011 from the Small Business Administration and a Minority Business Award in 2012 from the Minority Business Development Agency, a subset of the Department of Commerce.
Canty says his goal is for Freeland Construction to graduate from the DBE program and become completely independent. Canty says Freeland Construction might reach that goal as early as 2018.
“The training wheels are off,” Canty says. “We’re positioning ourselves just like the big guys.”