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The Inner City 100

100 street-smart companies.
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71. Pinnacle Technical Resources

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 305%
Revenue for 2003 9.6 million
Full-time employees in 2003 150

Dallas

A lot of companies shed IT talent between 2000 and 2002, and Nina Vaca snapped it up to help solve her clients' IT and payroll headaches. Vaca, a native of Ecuador, is proud that her staff is diverse: About 85% of employees are women or people of color.

72. Colorlab Cosmetics

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 303%
Revenue for 2003 1.9 million
Full-time employees in 2003 30

Rockford, Ill.

As a makeup artist, Mary Swaab received lots of requests for custom-blended cosmetics. So in 1996 she started Colorlab. The company makes private-label cosmetics for salons, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons, and does contract manufacturing for beauty companies. This summer, it will open beauty counters in Paris's Galeries Lafayette and London's Selfridges, where staffers will mix personalized lipsticks, foundations, and other products in under ten minutes.

73. A&A Contracting

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 286%
Revenue for 2003 1.6 million
Full-time employees in 2003 25

St. Louis

This company renovates historic buildings, meticulously restoring plaster and woodwork and buffing up worn exteriors. Most projects deal with pre-1920s structures; A&A recently transformed an old convent into a 22-unit apartment building.

74. ScriptSave

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 277%
Revenue for 2003 23.4 million
Full-time employees in 2003 128

Tucson

ScriptSave connects customers of insurance companies, health care organizations, and HMOs in all 50 states with its network of 50,000 pharmacies to help them save up to 22% on the cost of their prescription medicines. Founder Charles Horn says 1.5 million ScriptSave subscribers saved about $175 million in out-of-pocket expenses last year and about 12 million subscribers have saved close to $1 billion since he started the company a decade ago.

75. Brightside Academy

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 270%
Revenue for 2003 28.6 million
Full-time employees in 2003 857

Pittsburgh

Brightside (formerly Allegheny Child Care Academy) runs 38 child care centers in inner city Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. A few years ago the company began encountering serious financial troubles. The private equity firm that bought the business in 2003 put the company into bankruptcy, installed a new CEO, brought the company out of bankruptcy, and, in 2005, renamed it. Today, Brightside is growing again.

76. Automated Teller Accessories

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 265%
Revenue for 2003 4.8 million
Full-time employees in 2003 50

Salt Lake City

Banks hire Michael Robson's company to give their ATMs cosmetic surgery. ATA repaints, cleans, or repairs the facades of more than 10,000 ATMs a year. In his spare time, Robson volunteers for a local microloan fund. He helps the bankers pick which entrepreneurs should receive up to $25,000 to open small businesses like a beauty shop or a carpet store.

77. HMB Contractors

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 262%
Revenue for 2003 3.5 million
Full-time employees in 2003 36

Milwaukee

A mentorship program with an established contractor helped CEO Heidi Brandt -- who taught grade school science for 11 years before founding her business -- break into the male-dominated demolition industry. Now she's branching out. Brandt recently set up a plant where she plans to recycle material from demolition sites, including concrete, grass, and asphalt. "I don't believe in sending everything to the landfill," she says.

78. Integrated Media Technologies

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 257%
Revenue for 2003 1.6 million
Full-time employees in 2003 12

Detroit

Besides designing security software that helps his customers keep an eye on their assets, Joe Reyes put his company's offices three blocks away from the house he grew up in so he could keep an eye on his old neighborhood. He is also advising local Hispanic community groups on business and development issues.

79. DKA

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 248%
Revenue for 2003 2.8 million
Full-time employees in 2003 23

Seattle

For as long as he can remember, Donald I. King wanted to be an architect. Today, he runs the largest African American-owned architecture firm in the Pacific Northwest, specializing in community and public works projects. He also mentors inner city youths and aspiring minority architects. "It's so crucial to capture the diversity of the cultures in these communities," he says, "and architecture is such a prominent way to do so."

80. El Taller Colaborativo

Revenue growth from 1999 to 2003 235%
Revenue for 2003 10.8 million
Full-time employees in 2003 50

Newark, N.J.

As his engineering and architecture firm enters its third decade, CEO Alex Garcia is extending its reach. El Taller Colaborativo has made its reputation designing municipal buildings, expressways, schools, and apartment complexes in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Now the company has added talent in landscape architecture, construction management, and U.S. Green Building Council certification.

Last updated: Jun 1, 2005




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