30 Years of No. 1 Companies

Timothy Rice
8 of 29

1988: American Central Gas
Tulsa

1987 Revenue: $93.0 million
Three-Year Growth: 82,168%

The Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 was one of the first significant steps towards a deregulated natural gas industry; it also created an opening for savvy entrepreneurs looking to break into the space. Enter Kevin Sullivan, a co-founder of American Central Gas. "I think we can go to infinity," Sullivan told Inc. in 1988, "as long as we hire the right people and let them go and do it.” The company broke up in the early 90’s as the four founders became embroiled in breach-of-contract litigation.