When photographer Beth Perkins entered the salt mines at Redmond Minerals in central Utah, she had a problem. Other than the headlamps worn by miners, and headlights beaming off massive drilling machines, there wasn't any light. She would line up a shot, then wait until the flash went off to see if anything ended up in her frame. "I couldn't see anything," says Perkins. "I had to shout 'Freeze! Don't move!" Perkins, who lives in New York City, left Redmond touched by the pride workers have in their employer. She also photographs for Texas Monthly, Wired, and More.

Alison Stein Wellner contributes three articles to this month's issue. She writes a story about the importance of creativity for CEOs, then exercises her own creative faculties by composing an article in the form of a screenplay. She also contributes a travel piece about chilly summer destinations. Wellner, who is obviously a frequent contributor to Inc., also has written for New York, Fast Company, and The Washington Post. She lives in New York City.

Mike Hofman, an executive editor at Inc., guided reporters through a series of stories looking at provocative start-ups. For each of four portraits, Hofman arranged for a sage entrepreneurial veteran to offer comments and advice. (Our cover subject, Gauri Nanda, was paired with Gordon Segal of Crate and Barrel.) "The veterans have a nostalgia for those simple days when everyone could fit in one room," says Hofman.

Jennifer Gill spent three days at Redmond Minerals and had total freedom. Rhett Roberts, Redmond's CEO, told her to speak with anyone at any time. "He was totally comfortable with me walking around alone," says Gill. "He didn't want any employees to feel at all inhibited." That openness, Gill found, is part of what makes Redmond a unique workplace (see the story here). Gill, who lives in Rahway, New Jersey, writes frequently for Inc. and is a consulting editor at Working Mother magazine.

On his drive through Wisconsin to report this month's Case Study, Kermit Pattison saw signs of trouble in the dairy industry: abandoned farmhouses and crumbling barns. Then he reached Organic Valley's state-of-the-art headquarters. Pattison writes about Organic Valley's decision to cut off one of its biggest customers, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT). He also contributes to GQ, The New York Times, and Wondertime.