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VOL. 127 | NO. 176 | Monday, September 10, 2012

Growth Streak

13 Memphis companies land on Inc. Magazine list

By Andy Meek

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Andrew Holliday and Daniel Brown, the founding partners of Memphis-based branding and marketing firm Harvest Creative, used to joke about one day making the Inc. 500|5000, the list published each year by Inc. Magazine that honors the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

TOP LEFT: Harvest Creative staff includes Andrew Holliday, from left, Michael Hildebrand, Anthoney Carter, Hunter Mitchell, Daniel Brown and Jenna Kaufman. 

ABOVE: Jay Myers is founder and CEO of Interactive Solutions.

LEFT: Matt Rowan, left, and Mark Anderson of Memphis Invest.

(Memphis News File Photos: Lance Murphey)

This year, they did it. Harvest came in at No. 727 in the ranking – a big entry point, considering the company ranked that high out of 5,000 businesses across the nation on the list.

Harvest, whose clients include Walmart, Wendy’s and Tractor Supply Co., was excited enough about the honor that it issued a press release. And in that release, the company promised it will be “probably the only press release you’ll ever see from Harvest.”

“I guess we’ll have to shift our sights toward our other joke – owning a helicopter,” Holliday said of his and Brown’s more humorous goal.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by Inc. Magazine. Making the list is a testament to a fantastic client list, an insanely talented staff and a lot of hard work over the last several years.”

Given the growth that landed it on this year’s list – in the midst of an economy that has yet to regain its mojo – the partners are liable to be hearing rotor blades soon. And they’re not the only ones.

A total of 13 Memphis-based firms made it onto this year’s Inc. list, which ranks companies based on the percentage growth in revenue over the preceding three years. According to Harvest, the median growth rate of companies on this year’s list was a whopping 97 percent. The companies on this year’s list also reported creating more than 400,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached almost

$300 billion.

Another of the Memphis companies on this year’s list is Monogram Food Solutions, a food products manufacturing company. Mark Olivito, the company’s chief marketing officer, said this year marks Monogram’s fourth on the list.

Shavkat Sultanbekov monitors the fixed income trading for Duncan-Williams, the investment banking firm, in the trading floor at their Memphis headquarters. The firm ranked No. 2,607 on the Inc. Magazine list.

“We’ve gone from back in 2009 from maybe a $40 million company to we’ll finish this year over $200 million,” Olivito said. “We’ve grown both from acquisitions as well as organically. From 2009 to today, we went from one manufacturing facility to three manufacturing facilities.”

And that number is probably going to get bigger soon. Not only that, Monogram ranked 914 out of 5,000 companies on the Inc. list – but it ranked number 23 among food companies.

According to Inc. Magazine, the Inc. 5000 companies have grown from $196 billion in sales in 2008 to $299 billion in 2011.

Being included among such company is part of what makes these area firms worth spotlighting. The Memphis companies on this year’s Inc. list are, in order of ranking:

NO. 727

Harvest Creative is a branding and point-of-purchase marketing firm, and the company provides brand strategy and development, advertising campaign design, Web development and point-of-purchase marketing solutions to companies across the country. Its clients include Wendy’s, Tractor Supply Co. and several other local, regional and national companies. Harvest likes to stress it’s not a traditional PR firm.

NO. 914

Monogram manufactures meat products and features brands like King Cotton and Circle B. It was founded seven years ago when a group of Memphis investors bought the King Cotton and Circle B food brands from Sara Lee Corp. The company went on to grow via several acquisitions, including in 2006 when it got the Trail’s Best Meat Snacks brand from Sara Lee. The following year, it started cranking out Circle B smoked sausages at a facility in Chandler, Minn.

NO. 1,320

MemphisInvest.com provides single-family rental real estate investment services. Other services include property management and tenant relations.

NO. 1,881

Wunderlich Securities is another Memphis-based investment firm and was founded in 1996. It has a few hundred employees, more than two dozen offices across the country and provides services that include equity capital market research, investment banking and fixed-income broker services.

It’s been opening offices at a rapid clip. Wunderlich opened the doors to new offices for its private client group in Little Rock and Dallas in 2011. Also in 2011, its fixed-income capital markets division opened an office in Los Angeles.

NO. 2,485

Founded in 2003, directFX Solutions offers production and mailing services like digital printing and data management. The company also has a team of consultants that can perform graphic design services.

NO. 2,512

Interactive Solutions Inc. is a videoconferencing technology company that’s been in business since 1996. The company provides custom integration of video conference and audiovisual equipment to be used in places like hospitals, classrooms and conference rooms. Company founder Jay Myers won a 2010 Ethan Award for his book “Keep Swinging.”

NO. 2,607

Investment firm Duncan-Williams Inc. was founded by A. Duncan Williams in 1969 and has grown to become one of the premier broker-dealer firms in the Southeast. Williams’ son Duncan is the firm’s president today, and the late Williams’ wife Carolyn is the firm’s co-chairwoman.

These days, the younger Williams is thinking a lot about his company’s future. It recently hired about two dozen recent college graduates from around the country for a newly launched Financial Adviser Training Program.

When he’s not racking up the frequent flyer miles visiting his firm’s offices around the country, Williams is a ubiquitous cheerleader for Memphis and a public face of Duncan-Williams’ many civic endeavors, which include everything from the firm signing up to be a title sponsor of the “Live at the Garden” concert series at Memphis Botanic Garden to underwriting The Soundtrack Project, a venture between the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Memphis Chamber.

NO. 2,841

EnSafe was founded in 1980. The company serves both private- and public-sector clients and provides such services as environmental, health and safety, engineering and technology solutions.

NO. 3,271

StatLink is a health-focused tech company founded in 2007. Its signature software product is Med DataLink, a medical data management platform. The company offers support for doctors via such services as medical billing support, diagnostic interpretation and more.

NO. 3,623

Founded in 1998, Treadmilldoctor.com specializes in the repair and maintenance of fitness equipment.

The company humorously tells the story of how it got started on its website: “In 1998 Clark & Jon Stevenson faced a dilemma. You see, both Clark and Jon were in graduate school. Jon was studying to become the next great economist and Clark was trying to decide the meaning of his navel. Being industrious, however, Clark came up with an idea that Jon quickly embraced. Let’s fix broken exercise equipment!”

NO. 4,311

International Sourcing was founded in 1994. It imports and distributes safety products to distributors and retailers across the country.

The Memphis-Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine board granted a five-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) benefit to the company earlier this year for its plans to acquire and renovate a larger facility. In the process, the company plans to create 20 jobs and invest $1.9 million to expand and consolidate its warehouse facilities.

NO. 4,422

Baker Donelson has been around for more than 120 years, and it’s one of the largest law firms in the U.S. today. It has more than 600 attorneys and public policy advisers representing more than 30 practice areas.

Its recent distinctions include having 77 attorneys across 26 practices recognized by “Chambers USA” as leaders in their field in 2012; 25 practice areas recognized by “Chambers USA” as leading practices in individual states in 2012 and 229 attorneys in “Best Lawyers in America” in the 2013 edition.

NO. 4,945

ServiceMaster was founded in the early 20th century as a moth-proofing company by a former minor league baseball player. In 2007, the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice Inc. acquired ServiceMaster, and today the firm has a broad slate of services that include lawn care, termite and pest control, house cleaning and more.

PROPERTY SALES 71 233 2,852
MORTGAGES 74 171 1,954
BUILDING PERMITS 125 894 6,595
BANKRUPTCIES 34 206 1,183