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Published: Friday, 9/17/2010

Nine Toledo-area firms on fast-growth list

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Nine northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan companies have made Inc. magazine's 2010 "Inc. 5000" list of the fastest growing companies nationwide.

Burkett Restaurant Equipment, a Toledo business that supplies new and used food service equipment, is ranked No. 2,961, achieved by a 72 percent growth in annual revenue between 2006 and 2009. Its revenue last year was $9.2 million.

Much of the growth has come from supplying Marco's Pizza franchises and Toledo-area schools, said Vice President Jameel Burkett. The Inc. list, he said, shows local companies can succeed despite the economy.

The Inc. list is based on each company's revenue growth the last three years.

To make the list, companies were required to have at least $80,000 in revenue for 2006 and $2 million in 2009.

The fastest-growing company was Ambit Energy of Dallas, an electricity and natural gas firm that reported $325 million in 2009, up 20,369 percent from 2006.

The last company on the list was ARRC Technology in Bakersfield, Calif., a $6.2 million information-technology services company that grew 1 percent in the last three years.

In a recent statement, Inc. President Bob LaPointe said the list represents a "hardy group of entrepreneurs." He added: "The leaders of the companies in this year's Inc. 5000 have figured out how to grow their businesses during the longest recession since the Great Depression."

Toledo's Enterprise Software Deployment - No. 561 on Inc.'s list - was the highest ranked local business. The company, which assists health-care organizations with electronic health records, reported $10.9 million in revenue for 2009, up 547 percent from 2006. The company, which reported 215 employees for the Inc. list, declined comment.

Also on the list were Military Products Group, New London; CentraComm Communications, Findlay; Uckele Health & Nutrition, Blissfield, Mich.; NovaVision, Bowling Green; SSOE, Toledo; Marco's Franchising, Toledo, and Corporate Research International, Findlay.

Some of those companies have experienced additional growth since submitting information to the magazine. Uckele Health, which makes retail and wholesale dietary supplements, has 65 employees, up from 52 at the end of 2009. The company's revenue is on track to grow by more than 30 percent this year, President and CEO Mike Uckele said.

Burkett Restaurant Equipment has 37 employees, up from 25 last year, and expects 40 percent revenue for 2010.

CentraComm has 25 employees, up from 19 in 2009, and projects 10 to 15 percent revenue growth for 2010 and 2011. The company has added customers in the last few years by offering low-cost IT products and services for small to mid-sized businesses, CEO Dan Bemis said. Clients include Libbey Inc., ProMedica Health System, and The Blade.

The Inc. list shows that CentraComm's business strategies have been effective, Mr. Bemis said. "We view it as validation that we're doing the right things for our customers, and that we're continuing to offer value," he said.

Mr. Uckele said his company has expanded because many of its clients have grown in the last few years.

In spite of the recession, he said his company will continue to add business as word spreads about its products.

Contact Sheena Harrison at:

sharrison@theblade.com

or 419-724-6103.



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