PHOTOGRAPHY

These Inc. 500 CEOs Prove That Not All Entrepreneurs Work Alone

Entrepreneurs are often celebrated as rugged individualists. But nearly a third of the companies on the Inc. 500 were founded by teams.
1
Blueline Security Services
Blueline Security Services

"If I had done it by myself, I know that Blueline wouldn't be where it is today."-Shawn Scarlata

How they met:

The foursome worked together as police officers in Prince George's County, Maryland, for about 20 years. Scarlata, Cordero, and Ordono are still on the force.

Why the partnership works:

It helps to have eight hands on deck, the partners say.

How they resolve conflict:

"Fighting it out," Scarlata jokes. "Being police officers, we have strong personalities. When there is conflict, we just sit down and hash it out. Or yell it out. Whatever it takes."

Shawn Scarlata, Felipe Ordono, Tim Cordero, and Troy Harding
A security services contractor in Landover, Maryland
No. 314
2
The FlexPro Group
The FlexPro Group

"Being twins breaks the ice and helps us stand out. Clients remember us." - Rose Cook

How they met:

They're identical twins born 47 years ago. They both studied engineering at Rutgers University and then pursued careers in the pharmaceutical industry. They started FlexPro in 2008.

Why the partnership works:

"Nothing between us is much of a surprise," says Cook. "We can finish each other's sentences. It's an unfair advantage."

How they resolve conflict:

Cook owns 51 percent of the business. When they disagree, she makes the final call. "We collaborate on everything, but it's also understood that I outrank her," she says.

Rose Cook and Lynn Faughey
A pharmaceutical consultancy in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
No. 290

3
uBreakiFix
uBreakiFix

How they met:

Wetherill and Reiff have been close friends since their teen years and founded several companies together before launching uBreakiFix in 2009. Trujillo, a childhood friend of both, joined later.

Why the partnership works:

"All of us approach problems in different ways," says Reiff. "That can cause some friction. But friction is beneficial."

How they resolve conflict:

When disagreements arise, the partners sit down and talk it out. If that does not work, Wetherill-who came up with the idea for the business and is CEO-makes the call.

Justin Wetherill, Edward Trujillo, and David Reiff
A chain of electronics-repair stores based in Orlando
NO. 14
4
Doc Popcorn
Doc Popcorn

"We're in this together. We share everything--except my toothbrush." - Renee Israel

How they met:

They met 10 years ago at a party. After a couple of months of dating, Renee began helping Rob on his idea for a natural-popcorn business. Two years later, they were married.

Why the partnership works:

No business talk is permitted from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. And absolutely no talk of work in their bedroom. "We literally leave the room," says Rob.

How they resolve conflict:

Rob is CEO, but he's willing to defer to Renee, the company's marketing chief. When they have a problem they can't fix alone, they get help from advisers and board members.

Renee Israel and Rob Israel
A Boulder Colorado-based franchiser of natural-popcorn stores
No. 60
5
GreenCupboards
GreenCupboards

How they met:

Neblett and Wollnick, a married couple, took Simpson's entrepreneurship course at Gonzaga University. The professor had purchased the domain name GreenCupboards.com to use in the classroom. "I went up to him after class and said Sarah and I would like to run with that domain," says Neblett.

Why the partnership works:

Simpson is chairman and stays out of day-to-day operations. Neblett handles culture and strategy, while Wollnick manages supplier relationships.

How they resolve conflict:

"I am the boss at work, and she's the boss at home," says Neblett. Simpson plays the role of mentor, offering his advice gleaned from years of working with start-ups.

Josh Neblett, Sarah Wollnick, and Tom Simpson
An online retailer of eco-friendly products in Spokane, Washington
NO. 128
From the September 2013 issue of Inc. magazine




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