In September, a record number of entrepreneurs gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 28th annual Inc. 500/5000 Conference. Between speeches, breakout sessions, and parties, we asked a random sampling of attendees to reveal some things about themselves -- including, for example, what their employees don't know about them. Here's a selection of the best answers.
If you never had to worry about making money, what would you do?
"Open up a jazz club." -- SHALONDA HUNTER, FOUNDER, THEKNOWIT.COM
"Start over and become a Christian recording artist." -- PAMELA NIELL, PRESIDENT, TIGER CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
"Work for the Clinton Foundation." -- NICHOLAS THOMLEY, FOUNDER AND CEO, PINNACLE SERVICES
How has your company responded to the recession?
"We lost 11 major clients, so we took on smaller projects and reduced our workweek." -- EVEROD SAMUEL, PRESIDENT, SAMUEL ENGINEERING
"By focusing on strategic partnerships." -- SHALONDA HUNTER
"We hired more people for less money." -- DANIEL TURNER, PRESIDENT, TCG
How do you inspire your employees?
"I always ask them for their ideas." -- MIKE MELO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ITA INTERNATIONAL
"I give them bonuses, verbal recognition, and promotions." -- DEVAIAH PAGIDIPATI, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FREEDOM HEALTH
"I tell them the truth." -- DANIEL TURNER
How do you make your customers happy?
"By adapting quickly to their needs." -- THERESA SMITH, CO-FOUNDER, SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
"I'm the only person in the company who is allowed to say no to a customer, and that rarely happens." -- MIKE MELO
Name one thing about you that would surprise your employees.
"I ride a motorcycle." -- THERESA SMITH
"I've been a recovering alcoholic for the past 16 years." -- MARK ROCKETT, FOUNDER AND CEO, ROCKETT INTERACTIVE
"I was a male cheerleader in high school." -- JEROME GONZALES, FOUNDER AND CEO, JEROME GONZALES MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
How would your employees describe you?
"Bald and fair." -- DANIEL TURNER
"Quiet and reserved, which is something I'm working on." -- MARK ROCKETT
What's your worst trait?
"I've been diagnosed with ADD. It can be valuable, but not always." -- NICHOLAS THOMLEY
"I'm a procrastinator." -- DEVAIAH PAGIDIPATI
What do you do to relax?
"Play golf. I just competed in the SAS Championships." -- MARK ROCKETT
"Go to Virginia Tech football games. I'm a fanatic." -- MIKE MELO
"Read. I'm a glossy magazine mama." -- SHALONDA HUNTER
When did you start your first business, and what was it?
"Age 10, a computer consulting and data entry company." -- DANIEL TURNER
"Age 14, a bicycle shop." -- EVEROD SAMUEL
Would you ever work for someone else?
"Yes, for the correct amount of money: $1,000 an hour." -- DANIEL TURNER
"I would. I honestly feel that my employees and customers are my bosses." -- JEROME GONZALES
For more on these and other Inc. 5000 companies, please visit www.inc.com.