If you want to meet a hard-driving entrepreneurial business partner, you should probably strap on some hiking boots -- or so the histories of two Inc. 500 companies suggest. Both PC Connection Inc. and Domation Inc. (#471 on last year's list) were founded by people who met through hiking the Appalachian Trail.

In PC Connection's case, future president Gallup met future CEO Hall in 1976 while they were both assisting a hiking group. Domation's cofounders, Randy Marshall and Rick Marshall (not related), first became friends after deciding they were the only two people in Columbus, Ga., to have completed the entire 2,100-mile-plus trail. Coincidence? Maybe not. "I think that hikers, and probably athletes in general, make good businesspeople because they know how to set goals," muses Gallup. Domation CEO Randy Marshall agrees. "There's something about people who walk the whole trail," he says. "They're not quitters." We can't disagree.

-- Martha E. Mangelsdorf

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