Global Affiliates (known to its customers as GlobalFit) works with a network of health clubs across the country to provide discounted membership fees to the employees of client companies as part of the companies' benefits packages. Global Affiliates' corporate client base tops 1,200 businesses in 49 cities.
The downfall of most creative advertising firms is that they fail to diversify their client list, says founder Steve Rosa. So even though Advertising Ventures made a name for itself in high tech, Rosa has aggressively pursued accounts in pharmaceuticals and personal finance.
Music fans may recognize Bill Barbot for his indie-rock past before they recognize him as a co-founder of one of D.C.'s most successful marketing and design firms. Before starting Threespot, Barbot played guitar for Jawbox, a band that toured with the likes of Stone Temple Pilots.
Selrico provides food services, waste removal, and recycling for large organizations, with a focus on the military. In Amman, Jordan, for example, Selrico workers dish out 12,000 meals a day to international coalition forces and the Iraqi police cadets they are training.
Perhaps being born in the Coonawarra region -- wine country Down Under -- sealed Jon Egan's fate. He is now a major importer of Australian wine, which he warehouses and sells to distributors throughout the U.S. Egan's offices are in the French Quarter; he also runs a storefront gallery that sells jazz- and wine-themed art to a steady stream of tourists.
Kansas City, Mo.
CEO Steve Doerr left a corporate career in food development to purchase Nextaff in 2003 with money from his retirement account. The company fills both temporary and permanent staff positions. Kansas City is a great place to do business, Doerr says -- so much so that he doesn't mind the nearly 150-mile daily roundtrip commute from his home in Topeka, Kansas.
Getintegrated provides customized HR outsourcing services for small to midsize companies via online software. From his desk, 35-year-old CEO Brian McComas has a view of Baltimore's bustling Inner Harbor, which has lately been revitalized by a slew of young start-up companies.
This PR and marketing firm manages its clients' brands through services that include advertising and crisis management. The company also does pro bono work for nonprofits, and encourages employees to volunteer in the community, by offering days off for and tying bonuses to these extracurricular activities.
Alejandro Silva sells pork rinds. Lots of pork rinds. His company, which he moved to the U.S. from Mexico in 1982 after the peso crashed, has eight manufacturing facilities that process 16 million hog skins a year. Evans sells snacks under its own labels and for companies including Utz and Wal-Mart.
Rudy Garcia and Wendy Lopez merged their respective Fort Worth and Dallas engineering firms in 2002 to form the LopezGarcia Group. The postmerger firm recently secured a $2 million contract from the Texas Department of Transportation to provide on-call engineering services.