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INC. 5000

Entrepreneurs Uncensored

Inc. 500|5000 conference goers get up-close and personal
CROWDSOURCING Mark Rockett, Devaiah Pagidipati, Theresa Smith, Everod Samuel, Kathy and Mike Melo, Jerome Gonzales, Shalonda Hunter, Daniel Turner, Pamela Niell, Nicholas Thomley
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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.




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