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The St: Louis Regional Technology Fast 50 Awards recognize the fastest growing technology firms in greater St. Louis. Inaugurated in 1996 with Deloitte & Touche, the annual Fast 50 program is part of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association's (RCGA) ongoing efforts to retain and expand existing businesses and position greater St. Louis as America's Center for Technology.
These awards are presented to the region's fastest growing high-tech companies that develop and/or provide technology-based products and services. This includes technology production, manufacturing a technology-related product or using unique technology in a problem solving manner.
St. Louis Regional Technology Fast 50 Award recipients submitted entry forms documenting strong revenue growth over the past five years. To qualify, a company must have 1995 revenue of at least $50,000 and must have been in continuous business for at least five years.
The Sprint Award is also presented to fast growing high-tech companies that are too young to be considered for the Fast 50 Award.
Other regional Fast 50 programs, sponsored by Deloitte & Touche, are held in other metro areas around the country. Winners of regional Fast 50 programs are submitted for consideration in the national Fast 500, a program sponsored by Deloitte & Touche and launched in 1995 to recognize the fastest growing technology firms in the U.S.
1. Rose International
Software development and consulting Himanshu "Sue" Bhatia
16401 Swingley Road, Suite 300
Chesterfield, Mo. 63017
Ranked as the second fastest growing company on the 1999 Fast 50 list, Rose International hasn't slowed down in 2000. The company now has six branch offices, five satellite offices and 300 employees. The founders, Himanshu "Sue" and Gulab Bhatia, have moved to Irvine, Calif., to grow the West Coast business, with St. Louis remaining as its headquarters.
"We expect to have 450 employees by next summer," notes Eric Token, corporate vice president. The company's three divisions -- federal, state and commercial -- are growing quickly, with the commercial side of the business remaining the fastest growing segment. Rose International expects to open several branches within the next 12 months in the Boulder/Denver area, Albuquerque and Washington, D.C.
The company uses technology to manage the growth by providing network accessibility to all employees and keeps a thin layer of management.
"High technology doesn't replace personal relationships, but you can contact people in a timely manner," Token notes.
2. Interlock Resources Inc.
Wayne B. Haar
222 S. Meramec, Suite 202
Clayton, Mo. 63105
A Fast 50 newcomer, Interlock Resources provides information technology consulting and staffing services for clients such as Anheuser-Busch, BJC Health System, MasterCard, Maritz, Monsanto, Navisys and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Interlock has been in business since 1989, but the company remained a small sideline business for its owners until 1997, when it opened its current headquarters. Since then, it has grown from a handful of computer support technicians to a staff of 60 people-offering software development, support and project management services.
Management attributes Interlock's exceptional growth in a very competitive industry to its dedication to serving its clients and consultants. "We have two masters -- our clients and our consultants," says company president Wayne Haar. "So, our name, logo and tag line 'providing the missing pieces' were designed to communicate our commitment to finding a good fit between our clients' needs and consultants' needs and career goals."
Aside from offering competitive salaries and benefits, the management team focuses on attracting and retaining top-notch IT professionals through training, career development, growth opportunities and personal attention. Employee activities help the consultants and managers connect on a personal level and maintain a corporate culture, which can be a challenge since the consultants spend most of their time at client sites.
3. Maryville Technologies
Joseph M. Blomker
540 Maryville Centre, Suite 300
St. Louis, Mo. 63141
Starting out with 800 square feet in its building at Maryville Centre, Maryville Technologies now occupies 18,000 square feet. The company's growth isn't limited to St. Louis; it recently opened offices in Omaha and Des Moines. It already has facilities in five other central U.S. cities.
Its capabilities have grown since it ranked No: 4 on the Fast 50 and No. 40 nationally on the Fast 500 in 1999. "We've built upon our enterprise infrastructure integration and management strengths to engineer application solutions with an operations bias. Our applications portfolio now includes customer relationship management, enterprise-applications integration and business intelligence solutions," says Joe Blomker, president. The company is working with business-critical environments-at clients such as Sprint PCS, Ameritrade, Land's End, Rockwell and A.G. Edwards.
Opening its doors in 1994, the company now has 150 employees. Maryville Technologies expects to double its size to 300 people by next summer. Blomker, was named the Entrepreneur of-the Year in the software development category in 1999.
4. Bridge Information Systems Inc.
Stock trading, network systems and market data
Chairman and CEO
717 Office Parkway
St. Louis, Mo. 63141
Ranked 13th last year in the Fast. 50, Bridge, together with its principal operating units, Bridge Information Systems, BridgeNews, Bridge Trading, Savvis and Telerate, is the largest provider of financial information and related services in North America, and the second-largest, fastest-growing provider in the world. Bridge's three main business lines include financial information and news products, trading and transaction services and network services.
Bridge's information products include a wide range of workstations, Web-based applications and digital data feeds that provide comprehensive market data, in-depth news and powerful analytic tools. Headquartered in New York City, with its technology and trading activities centered in St. Louis, Bridge's more than 5,000 employees serve customers from offices in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Every day more than a quarter of a million investment professionals at more than 10,000 customer firms, including investment and commercial banks, money managers, investment advisors, broker/dealers, traders, exchanges, corporations and governmental agencies, rely on Bridge products and services.
5. TTI Newgen
James A. Whitt
President and CEO
449 Sovereign Court
St. Louis, Mo. 63011
A systems integrator of audio/Video teleconferencing systems, wireless mobile data communications and computer systems since 1991, TTI Newgen was founded by Jim Whitt after he spent 20 years with General Electric. The company's product line includes teleconference phones and bridges; wireless modems and aircards; videoconferencing systems; ruggedized laptops and printers; wireless modems and aircards; and personal computers.
The fastest-growing segment of the three-time Fast 50 company is video conferencing systems. Clients include AmerenUE, Energizer, Ralston and Clayco Construction. Audio conferencing is another growth area, experiencing a 30 percent to 40 percent increase.
"Smaller companies are now able to afford purchasing 24- and 48-port audio conferencing bridges that allow them to significantly reduce telecom cost vs. using traditional conference bureau services," says Whitt, who is president and CEO.
The company's 30 employees are located in its St. Louis, Kansas City and Toronto offices. TTI Newgen is also starting to work on client sites in the United Kingdom.
6. Sonacom IT Partners
IT consulting and integration
5555 West Park
St. Louis, Mo. 63110
Change management lies at the core of Sonacom's history. When Rick Oertli purchased the company more than 10 years ago from the family business -- Guarantee Electric -- Sonacom was a voice communications company heavily involved with traditional systems and passive infrastructure. Pulling wire for telephone and security systems led to building and supporting data networks. In the mid-'90s,Sonacom expanded its services again to include IT consulting and systems integration.
"We offered three to four unique services that were construction oriented and transaction based," Oertli states. "Now we're a consulting-based business that designs and builds the converging highway that supports the new economy, carrying voice, video and data on one unified platform."
Sonacom revamped its identity and its core business two, years ago, divesting itself of the sound, cabling and security parts of the company. Today, Sonacom IT Partners employs more than 40 people and sees its revenue growing to more than $8 million this year. The company focuses its expertise on voice and data convergence, high-tech project management and Web-enabled customer contact technologies in the educational and mid-sized business markets.
7. Gateway EDI Inc.
Electronic data interchange specialists
President and CEO
9200 Watson Road, Suite 201
St. Louis, Mo. 63126
A Fast 50 newcomer, Gateway EDI was founded in 1984 and first developed software packages that allowed physicians to bill insurance companies from their offices. In 1987 the company interfaced its product with an electronic Medicare processing product developed by General American. Finally in 1995 the company decided to focus only on the electronic claims side of its business and sold the software portion.
With 41 employees, Gateway EDI processes 1.5 million claims a month. "We're the largest clearinghouse in Missouri and the largest privately held in the Midwest," says Tim Fogerty, president and CEO.
The company handles everything electronically: processing medical claims, checking claim status, determining patient eligibility, payment and producing patient statements for its clients.
Almost 90-percent of all Medicare claims are handled electronically. Fogerty says Gateway EDI will continue to flourish because private insurance companies such as GHP and United Healthcare are currently at the 30 percent to 40 percent mark and …