Tom Melaragno Compri Consulting (#124 on the 2000 Inc. 500)
"Rollin' up our sleeves/lettin' down our hair/We got our attitude/We got our nose in the air." No, those aren't the words from a track wafting out of your teenage son's boom box. They're lyrics to a song written and recorded by Orphan Boy, a classic rock band based in Denver, whose drummer, Tom Melaragno, 40, also heads $7.6 million Compri Consulting (#124), an IT consulting and staffing firm founded in 1992. Four of Orphan Boy's five members started playing music together when they were students at Colorado State University. The band, which rehearses every other Wednesday night in a member's garage, gets monthly gigs at private parties and occasionally at Josephina's, an Italian restaurant in downtown Denver. Once a year Orphan Boy holds a big benefit bash at Sunset Beach swimming pool. "My priorities are family, business, then the hobbies," says Melaragno. "My wife would like family to be even higher. But I think that taking care of myself makes me a better father and husband."
Although Melaragno put in 12-hour days when he started the business, he now works just 8 or 9 and makes sure that he's available to catch his two sons' baseball games in the summer and to coach the older one's football team in the fall. He also exercises three or four times a week at a nearby health club. "It's a great escape -- better than having martinis at lunch," he says. "I lift some weights, grunt, and come back with a fresh attitude."
It's Melaragno's ability to delegate that has enabled him to, well, rock and roll. "Over the past three years, I've been able to identify gradually what things I can give to my CPA, or to my bookkeeper, or to my office manager," he says. "I read about people who work 60 or 90 hours a week and build multimillion-dollar businesses at the expense of their health and family. Those aren't success stories in my book. Success is having a multimillion-dollar business and the other stuff, too."