Our 59 Top Companies

By Hannah Wallace Photography by J.B. McCourtney July 31, 2010

In these days of recession and uncertainty, it’s heartening to see local businesses prosper. Our “Top Companies” lets us do just that, showcasing Sarasota and Manatee standouts that grossed more than $20 million this year.

But in a sign of the times, this year’s list features just 59 local companies with combined 2009 revenues of $14 billion, $700 million less than our 2008 totals. Five years ago, at the peak of the real estate market, we boasted 101 Top Companies totaling more than $19 billion in revenues.

Many of our perennial Top Companies reported decreased revenues this year—a recession trend that now reaches beyond construction and real estate into industries like manufacturing (down 15 percent from 2008) and retail (down 4 percent).

But one sector is growing briskly. The five healthcare companies on our list, led by powerhouses Sarasota Memorial, Doctors Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, collectively notched an 8 percent gain in revenues this year. Sarasota’s family-owned Mercedes Medical, which competes with multibillion-dollar national distribution companies, has continued its steady climb, reporting $21.5 million in 2009 revenues (6 percent higher than 2008) and predicting $25 million in 2010. (Read more about Mercedes Medical on page 24.) “Universal healthcare is going to bring millions of new patients into the marketplace,” says Mercedes CEO Alexandra Miller.

And even though construction companies now make up less than a fourth of our Top Companies list—a big change from a few years ago—we saw signs of recovery. Holland Construction and Zirkelbach Construction both showed more than respectable gains (up 5 percent and 26 percent, respectively), crediting diversification and increasing opportunities for construction projects across the state. (More on Holland Construction on page 21.) Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for local builders? Says Holland CEO Joe Holland, “We are in a growth mode in the Florida market.”


1 Vengroff Williams & Associates Inc. (VWA)

(Last year’s rank: 1)

(Sarasota) Global domain provider of order-to-cash business process outsourcing for optimizing working capital. Provides a full range of solutions and technologies that allow clients to achieve substantial financial and operational benefits, enabling operational efficiency.


Chief executive: Mark Vengroff

2009 revenues: $2.6 billion (actual revenue after collections of $37.2 billion)

2008 revenues: $2.4 billion (after collections of $34.5 billion)

Total employees: 1,100 worldwide;

306 locally

Founded: 1963



2 Roper

(Last year’s rank: 2)

(Sarasota) Manufactures energy systems and controls, scientific and industrial imaging products and software, industrial technology products, radio frequency products and others.


Chief executive: Brian D. Jellison

2009 revenues: Estimated, $2.05 billion

2008 revenues: Estimated, $2.1 billion

Total employees: Estimated, 7,900

Stock symbol: NYSE: ROP


3 Bealls

(Last year’s rank: 3)

(Manatee) Retailer of family apparel, footwear, gifts and home items.


Chief executive: Stephen M. Knopik

2009 revenues: $1.2 billion

2008 revenues: $1.2 billion

Total employees: 11,628; 2,196 local

Founded: 1915


Bealls operates department and outlet stores in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Tennessee, Missouri, New Mexico and Arkansas.



4 Boar’s Head

Provisions Co. Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 4)

(Sarasota) Manufactures premium delicatessen meats and cheeses.


Chief executive: Robert S. Martin

2009 revenues: Estimated, $789 million

2008 revenues: Estimated, $813 million

Total employees: 2,215 companywide; 129 locally

Founded: 1905


5 Manatee Memorial Hospital

(Last year’s rank: 7)

(Manatee) Licensed 319-bed

acute-care hospital.


Chief executive: Kevin DiLallo

2009 revenues: $694 million

2008 revenues: $672 million

Total employees: 1,400 companywide; 350 in Lakewood Ranch

Founded: 1953

Stock symbol: UHS


American Stroke Association Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award; United Way Board of Directors Award; received chest pain center accreditation; new da Vinci robotic surgical system.



6 Sysco West Coast

Florida, Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 14)

(Manatee) Global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and more. Includes equipment and supplies.


Chief executive: Edwin W. Solomon

2009 revenues: $616 million

2008 revenues: $596 million

Total employees: 524

Founded: 1995




7 Intertape Polymer Group

(Last year’s rank: 5)

(Manatee) Develops and manufactures specialized plastic and paper products and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use.


Chief executive: Gregory Yull

2009 revenues: $615.5 million

2008 revenues: $737.2 million

Total employees: 2,600; 80 locally

Founded: 1981

Stock symbol: NYSE and TSE: ITP


ISO 9002 certified, operations throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Portugal with 16 facilities, including 12 manufacturing locations.



8 Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

(Last year’s rank: 11)

(Sarasota) Hospital and outpatient services and affiliates.


Chief executive: Robert C. Meade

2009 revenues: $508 million

2008 revenues: $453 million

Total employees: 600

Founded: 1967


An HCA hospital; accredited by JCAHO, ranked No. 1 Modern Healthcare Best Places to Work in 2009, 2010 HealthGrades; top 5 percent in the nation for orthopedic services and spine surgery; No. 1 in Florida for overall orthopedic services; Joint Commision certification as a primary stroke center; Heart Association’s Gold Performance Award; accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers and Providers.



9 FCCI Insurance Group

(Last year’s rank: 9)

(Sarasota) Commercial property and casualty insurance throughout the Southeast and Midwest.


Chief executive: G.W. Jacobs

2009 revenues: $472 million

2008 revenues: $514 million

Total employees: 678

Founded: 1959

Corporate headquarters located in a state-of-the-art office complex in Lakewood Ranch.



10 Progressive

Employer Services

(Last year’s rank: 10)

(Sarasota) Professional employer organization providing outsourced solutions to other businesses for payroll administration, workers’ comp risk management, benefits and human resources.

Chief executive: Steve Herrig

2009 revenues: $355 million

2008 revenues: $483 million

Total employees: 90

Founded: 1999


Named Top 200 Private Companies by Florida Trend, Gulf Coast 500 by Gulf Coast Business Review and 5000 Fastest Growing Companies by Inc. 5000.



11 Administrative Concepts Corp.

(Last year’s rank: 15)

(Manatee) Professional employer organization.

Chief executive: Teresa Dick

2009 revenues: $274 million

2008 revenues: $284 million

Total client employees: 14,510

Founded: 1995



12 W.G. Mills Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 16)

(Manatee) Construction manager, general contract and design/build services.

Chief executive: Walter G. Mills

2009 revenues: $274 million

2008 revenues: $276 million

Total employees: 160

Founded: 1972


Seven regional offices throughout Florida; includes corporate headquarters in Sarasota and offices in Clearwater, Fort Myers, Jupiter, Orlando, Jacksonville and Gainesville, as well as an office in Cary, N.C., and Savannah, Ga.



13 Gettel Automotive

(Last year’s rank: 12)

(Manatee) New and used automobiles, retail and auto repair.


Chief executive: James Gettel

2009 revenues: $240.4 million

2008 revenues: $309 million

Total employees: 375

Founded: 1991


Supports area charities, including Easter Seals Southwest Florida, Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, All Faiths Food Bank and Take Stock in Children.



14 Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

(Sarasota) Part of parent company NRT, the No. 1 U.S. brokerage for both closed sales volume and transaction sides.

President: Clark Toole

2009 revenues: $235.5 million

(from $7.9 billion in sales volume)

2008 revenues: $251.3 million

(from $8.7 billion in sales volume)

Total employees: 4,800-plus sales associates, 650 employees; 470 sales associates, 140 employees locally

Founded: 1983


Highest in Overall Satisfaction among home sellers according to 2009 J.D. Power & Associates’ 2009 Survey; ranked as the top company potential customers would consider using in the future according to The Wall Street Journal’s 2009 Residential Real Estate Survey. Figures represent Florida division, headquartered in Sarasota.



15 Lakewood Ranch Medical Center

(Last year’s rank: 22)

(Manatee) Licensed 120-bed

acute-care hospital.


Chief executive: Jim Wilson

2009 revenues: $201 million

2008 revenues: $157 million

Total employees: 435

Founded: 2004

Stock symbol: UHS


American Stroke Association’s “Get with the Guidelines” performance achievement award; named one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work; received state licensure for Level I cardiac catheterization lab.



16 Clockwork Home Services (f.k.a. VenVest)

(Last year’s rank: 18)

(Sarasota) Dedicated to improving the operations, efficiency, customer service and profitability of contractors in the North America home services industry through group membership and nationally branded franchises.


Chief executive: James D. Abrams

2009 revenues: $194 million

2008 revenues: $215 million

Total employees: 1,000

Founded: 1998

Purchased in June by Direct Energy, a Toronto energy company, for $183 million. In its 2010 Franchise 500 list, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Clockwork’s One Hour Air Conditioning No. 171, Benjamin Franklin No. 143 and Mister Sparky No. 398. Clockwork Home Services was ranked No. 1,227 on the 2009 Inc. 500/5000 list. All three brands were a proud sponsor of the 2010 The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC.



17 PGT Industries

(Last year’s rank: 17)

(Sarasota) Manufactures custom windows and doors.


Chief executive: Rod Hershberger

2009 revenues: $166 million

2008 revenues: $218.6 million

Total employees: 1,200

Founded: 1980

Stock symbol: PGTI


PGT and its employees support numerous charity causes including Habitat for Humanity and Haiti relief efforts; recipient of the World Vision Humanitarian Award.



18 TriNet Group Inc.

(Manatee) Serves as an HR partner to small businesses to help contain costs, minimize employer-related risks, relieve administrative burden and keep focus on core business functions. Provides employee benefits service and payroll processing to high-level human capital consulting; solutions specialize in serving fast-moving companies.


Chief executive: Burton M. Goldfield

2009 revenues: $165 million

2008 revenues: $100 million

Total employees: 908 internally;

350 locally

Founded: 1988


TriNet purchased Gevity in June 2009.

Revenues do not include Gevity figures.



19 Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd.

(Last year’s rank: 23)

(Manatee) Grower, packer and shipper of fresh market fruits and vegetables.


Chief executive: Billy L. Heller Jr.

2009 revenues: $136 million

2008 revenues: $143 million

Total employees: 125

Founded: 1982



20 DooleyMack Constructors

(Last year’s rank: 21)

(Sarasota) Construction managers, general contractors, design/builders, master planning, program management, green building and sustainability consultants.


President: James J. Orlando

2009 revenues: $134 million

2008 revenues: $160 million

Total employees: 130

Founded: 1977


Privately owned company providing construction services to the hospitality, healthcare, multifamily, education, commercial, retail, building restoration and historical renovation markets.



21 Dental Care Alliance

(Last year’s rank: 24)

(Sarasota) Provides dental management and consulting services to 80 dental practices in seven states.


Chief executive: Dr. Steven R. Matzkin

2009 revenues: Estimated, $122 million

2008 revenues: $130 million

Total employees: 1,000; 80 locally

Founded: 1992



22 Ajax Paving

Industries Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 19)

(Sarasota) Hot-mix asphalt paving and manufacturing.


President: Michael A. Horan

2009 revenues: $120 million

2008 revenues: $180 million

Total employees: 230


Family owned, American.



23 Integraclick

(Last year’s rank: 27)

(Sarasota) Online advertising.


Chief executive: John Lemp

2009 revenues: $120 million

2008 revenues: $100 million

Total employees: 100-plus

Founded: 2002


Management company for Clickbooth LLC, Calculated Creativity and Authorise. Clients include Hoveround, PetCareRX, ADT, Kraft and Vistaprint. Ranked fifth fastest-growing private company by Inc. magazine in 2009; on JMP Securities’ list of 100 Best Privately Held

Internet Companies in 2010.



24 JCI Jones Chemicals Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 26)

(Sarasota) Manufactures and distributes water treatment and industrial chemicals.


Chief executive: Jeffrey W. Jones

2009 revenues: $100 million

2008 revenues: Estimated, $105 million

Total employees: 250; 20 locally

Founded: 1930


Eleven manufacturing facilities throughout the U.S.; has received numerous CI awards, including the Chairman’s Safety Excellence Award in two locations for no OSHA recordable injuries over the last three years. Moved from the Northern Trust building to City Center in 2008.



25 Sun Hydraulics

(Last year’s rank: 20)

(Sarasota) Designs and manufactures hydraulic cartridge valves.


Chief executive:Allen Carlson

2009 revenues: $97.4 million

2008 revenues: $178.3 million

Total employees: Worldwide, 770;

633 locally

Founded: 1970

Stock symbol: NASDAQ: SNHY


Operations in Sarasota and Manatee, Kansas, France, U.K., Germany, South Korea, China and India. Recognized by as one of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies. Included in Russell 2000.



26 Hoveround Corporation

(Last year’s rank: 33)

(Sarasota) Manufacturer, distributor and retailer of power wheelchairs

and scooters.

Chief executive: Thomas E. Kruse

2009 revenues: $89 million

2008 revenues: $80 million

Total employees: 450

Founded: 1992


Accredited member of the Joint Commission and ISO 9001:2008 certified.



27Gold Coast Eagle Distributing

(Last year’s rank: 30)

(Sarasota) Anheuser-Busch, Corona and 85 other import and craft beers distributor for Sarasota and Manatee counties.


Chief executive: John W. Saputo

2009 revenues: $85 million

2008 revenues: $85 million

Total employees: 150

Founded: 1996


Recently purchased the franchise rights to Stella Artois, Beck’s, Bass Ale, Boddington’s Ale, Hoegaarten, Lefe beer, Lowenbrau, St. Pauli Girl, Labatt, Seagram’s wine coolers, Toña beer, Estrella Damm beer, Strongbow and Woodchuck hard ciders, Magic Hat ales and Victory beers and ales; also Nesquik milks, and Icelandic, Mountain Valley, Perrier, Aqua Panna, San Pellegrino and Zephyrhills waters.



28 First Watch Restaurants

(Last year’s rank: 31)

(Sarasota) Daytime café specializing in traditional morning favorites and unique feature items.


Chief executive: Kenneth L. Pendery Jr.

2009 revenues: $85 million

2008 revenues: $82 million

Total employees: 2,000; 125 locally

Founded: 1983


Operates 80 restaurants in 11 states. Given the highest rating by Consumer Reports.



29 Protocol Global Solutions

(Sarasota) Provides contact center services, case management and monitoring services to Fortune 1,000 Companies.


Chief executive: Don Norsworthy

2009 revenues: Estimated, $70 million

Total employees: 2,200, 450 locally

Founded: 1998


Eight locations, including a call center in the Philippines and in Mauritius.



30 Kellogg & Kimsey Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 25)

(Sarasota) General contractors/construction management.

Chief executive: Philip A. Kellogg

2009 revenues: $70 million

2008 revenues: $115 million

Total employees: 45

Founded: 1986

Local projects have included the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club on Lido Key, the Ritz golf clubhouse and the spa for The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Concession clubhouse, Hotel Indigo, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Ringling Square, San Marco Plaza, Sarasota Baptist additions, Paradise Plaza renovation, numerous local multifamily projects. Kellogg & Kimsey travels the Southeast for hospitality clients and nationwide for retail clients. Active supporter of the YMCA and other area charities.



31 Sarasota Kennel Club

(Last year’s rank: 39)

(Sarasota) Dog racing, poker room.

Chief executive: Jack Collins Sr. and Jack Collins Jr.

2009 revenues: $67 million

2008 revenues: $61.8 million

Total employees: 219

Founded: 1944

Gives more than $50,000 to local charities annually; open year-round for racing and poker.



32 Neal Communities

(Last year’s rank: 37)

(Manatee) Land developer/

home builder.


Chief executive: Patrick K. Neal

2009 revenues: $62.5 million

2008 revenues: $65.9 million

Total employees: 120

Founded: 1970


Attained status as the largest builder in the tri-county area, surpassing even national builders in the local market.

33 L-3 Aviation Recorders

(Last year’s rank: 34)

(Sarasota) World’s leading supplier of transportation solid state recorders; specializing in accident survivable recording devices for the aerospace and maritime industries.


Chief executive: Bruce Coffey

2009 revenues: $60.2 million

2008 revenues: $77.2 million

Total employees: 174

Founded: 1958

Stock symbol: NSE: LLL



34 Willis A. Smith Construction Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 42)

(Sarasota) Construction management specializing in commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare facilities, green structures and museums.


President: David E. Sessions

2009 revenues: $50.8 million

2008 revenues: $52.3 million

Total employees: 48

Founded: 1972


2009 winner of the EDC Hall of

Fame Green to Gold Award; 2010 winner of a Small Business of the Year award from the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, the Think Green Small Business award from The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the Outstanding Achievement In Rehabilitation and Restoration awarded by The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.



35 C & D Fruit & Vegetable Co.

(Last year’s rank: 43)

(Manatee) Grower, packer, shipper of fresh fruits and vegetables.


Chief executive: Thomas O’Brien

2009 revenues: $50.5 million

2008 revenues: $48.1 million

Total employees: 75 to 150 seasonally

Founded: 1971

Member of Red Book, Blue Book and Gold Circle produce marketing.




(Last year’s rank: 38)

(Sarasota) A leader in medical simulation and education. METI’s human patient simulators mimic human medical scenarios including trauma, heart attack, drug overdose and bioterrorism. METI is privately owned by Lou Oberndorf and Baird Capital Parters (BCP) of Chicago.

Chief executive: Michael Bernstein

2009 revenues: $51 million

2008 revenues: $63 million

Total employees: 188

Founded: 1996,


Moved into a new 75,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at Bee Ridge Road and I-75 in January 2010. METI’s iStan simulator was featured in a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy. More than 6,000 METI simulators are currently in use by defense organizations, medical schools, nursing schools and other entities involved in healthcare education.



37 Southern Agricultural Insecticides

(Last year’s rank: 41)

(Manatee) Formulates and distributes lawn and garden and agricultural chemicals.


Chief executive: John R. Diem

2009 revenues: $49.2 million

2008 revenues: $52.7 million

Total employees: 90

Founded: 1947



38 Tervis Tumbler

(Last year’s rank: 60)

(Sarasota) Manufactures crystal-clear, insulated drinkware that is guaranteed for life. Sold in more than 6,000 retail outlets nationwide.


Chief executive: Laura Spencer

2009 revenues: $48 million

2008 revenues: $34 million

Total employees: 300

Founded: 1946



39 Charter One Hotels and Resorts Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 49)

(Sarasota) Hospitality management and marketing company.


President: Scott Busby

2009 revenues: $45 million

2008 revenues: $41 million

Total employees: 875

Founded: 1981


Named one of the Top 100 Management Companies by Hotel Business magazine, listed in The Gulf Coast 500 as one of the top companies in the Tampa Bay area.



40 McIntyre Elwell & Strammer General Contractors Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 28)

(Sarasota) Commercial building specialists.


Chief executive: John A. McIntyre

2009 revenues: Estimated, $45 million

2008 revenues: $89.6 million

Total employees: 59

Founded: 1987


Last year’s figures were supplied by the company; this year’s figures were estimated using outside sources.


41 Callaghan Tire

(Last year’s rank: 46)

(Manatee) Commercial, industrial, retail and wholesale tire sales;

retread tire sales and service.


Chief executive: Dan Callaghan

2009 revenues: Estimated, $44.5 million

2008 revenues: Estimated, $44.5 million

Total employees: 136

Founded: 1978


Annual sponsor of Callaghan Tire Pro-Am golf tournament for cancer research (Golfers Against Cancer). Ranked 31st largest commercial tire dealer and 45th largest retreader of truck tires by Tire Business.



42 LexJet Corporation

(Last year’s rank: 47)

(Sarasota) Extensive line of inkjet imaging products; 10 distribution centers across the U.S., online shopping, personally assigned account specialists, unlimited product support and educational resources; also carries OEM printers, RIP software, inks, materials, peripherals and other inkjet-related supplies.


Chief executives: Art Lambert and

Ron Simkins

2009 revenues: $44 million

2008 revenues: $47 million

Total employees: 80

Founded: 1994


Named Sarasota Technology Company of the year by Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, 2006; ranked top five best places to work in Tampa Bay; has experienced a 36 percent five-year average annual growth and 11 consecutive years of profitability. LexJet teams actively support community organizations.


43 Teltronics Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 57)

(Manatee) A leading global provider of innovative communications solutions and network management solutions; designs, develops and manufactures electronic equipment and applications software systems that enhance the performance of communications networks; develops VoIP and digital voice communications platforms and software, and contact center solutions for all size businesses and government facilities. All products manufactured in an ISO 9001:2008 certified factory.


Chief executive: Ewen R. Cameron

2009 revenues: $43.1 million

2008 revenues: $34.6 million

Total employees: 180

Founded: 1969

Stock symbol: OTCBB: TELT


Recognized as an industry leader by the Manatee Economic Development Council and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum; winner of awards from, Von Magazine and VARBusiness magazine. Teltronics contributes to various charitable and community organizations.



44 ITW Military GSE and Trilectron

(Last year’s rank: 45)

(Manatee) World-class designer and manufacturer of aircraft ground support equipment for commercial airlines and facilities worldwide, as well as specialized military aviation support equipment.


General manager: Richard Hansen

2009 revenues: $43 million

2008 revenues: $46 million

Total employees: 105

Founded: 1970

Stock symbol: ITW,

AS9100:2008 and

ISO9001:2008 certified



45 Gould & Lamb LLC

(Last year’s rank: 55)

(Manatee) Cost-containment services for the insurance industry, combining healthcare, insurance and financial information and analysis.


Chief executive: John Williams

2009 revenues: $41.8 million

2008 revenues: $35.7 million

Total employees: 280

Founded: 1999


Ranked 16th in the health business sector and 126th overall on Inc. 500’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Recently partnered with H.I.G. Capital, a private-equity firm, to expand operations and continue to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to clients. Gould & Lamb LLC plans to continue its aggressive growth to increase market share in the specialty niche of Medicare, set-aside arrangements and cost-containment services to the insurance industry. Clients include 23 of the top 25 workers compensation carriers in the nation, large self-insured corporations, third-party administrators, and defense and plaintiff attorneys.




46 Ned Davis Research Group

(Last year’s rank: 50)

(Sarasota) Provides global investment research commentary, charts, ranking systems and consulting services to institutional investors in more than 30 countries; provides asset management services for institutional clients.


Chief executive: Ned Davis

2009 revenues: $38 million

2008 revenues: $40 million

Total employees: 82

Founded: 1980

Company officers are frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and on CNBC, and have authored The Research Driven Investor, Being Right or Making Money, and The Triumph of Contrarian Investing published by McGraw-Hill.



47 Michael Saunders & Company

(Last year’s rank: 56)

(Sarasota) Full-service, licensed real estate brokerage offering residential, commercial, new homes, mortgage and title service.


Chief executive: Michael Saunders

2009 revenues: $36 million in gross revenue (from $1.19 billion in sales volume)

2008 revenues: $35.6 million (from $1.17 billion in sales volume)

Total employees: 117 employees; 569 agents

Founded: 1976


Ranked 75th in dollar volume according to the latest Real Trends 500 Survey of the 500 largest brokerage firms in the U.S.; included among the 35 most influential brokerages in luxury real estate. In the past year, Michael Saunders agents brought buyers to closed transactions nearly twice as often as the closest competitor. An affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio, Mayfair International Realty and the Realty Alliance.



48 RTI Insurance Services

(Last year’s rank: 59)

(Manatee) Insurance, risk management and employee benefits brokers.


President: John M. Goda

2009 revenues: $30 million

2008 revenues: $34 million

Total employees: 27

Founded: 1997

Acquired an agency in Apollo Beach, giving RTI direct exposure in seven Southwest Florida coastal counties.



49 Miles Media

(Last year’s rank: 63)

(Sarasota) Helps destinations and destination resorts attract visitors.


Chief executive: Roger Miles

2009 revenues: $30.2 million

2008 revenues: $30 million

Total employees: 150

Founded: 1954

Nationally recognized integrated content creator and distributor for travel industry clients in 19 states.



50 Zirkelbach Construction

(Last year’s rank: 65)

(Manatee) Design builders, construction managers, general contractors.


Chief executive: Alan Zirkelbach

2009 revenues: $29.8 million

2008 revenues: $24.5 million

Total employees: 15

Founded: 1996



51 Holland Construction

(Sarasota) In-depth construction management and design/build experience in the medical, office, industrial, retail and multifamily residential sectors.

Chief executive: Joe L. Holland

2009 revenues: $29 million

2008 revenues: $27.5 million

Total employees: 26

Founded: 1907



52 Woodruff & Sons Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 58)

(Manatee) Underground utility construction.

Chief executive: Roy J. Woodruff

2009 revenues: $29 million

2008 revenues: $34 million

Total employees: 170

Founded: 1925



53 John Cannon Homes Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 44)

(Sarasota) Custom home builder.

Chief executive: John K. Cannon

2009 revenues: $28 million

2008 revenues: $48 million

Total employees: 31

Founded: 1987

Reader’s Choice Award from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for 15 consecutive years. Currently ranked 15 in the nation’s “Best Companies to Work For” in the residential construction industry by Professional Builder magazine. Now building in The Concession, The Founders Club, The Forest at Hi-Hat Ranch, The Lake Club, La Cantera in The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch, Riviera Dunes, StoneLake Ranch, MiraBay, Rive Isle, Country Club East, Riverstrand and Sarasota National. Named a 2006 Excellence Award winner by Residential Design & Build magazine.




(Manatee) International package forwarding and international e-commerce facilitator.

Chief executive: Eric R. Baird

2009 revenues: $26.7 million

2008 revenues: $25.3 million

Total employees: 55

Founded: 1997


2009 Entrepreneur of the Year, Gulf Coast Business Review; 2009 Exporter of the Year, U.S . Commerce Dept.



55 Sutter Roofing Co. of Florida

(Sarasota) Commercial and high-end residential roofing, sheet metal and solar contractor; roof repairs and maintanence.


President: Stephen Sutter

2009 revenues: $24.1 million

2008 revenues: $31.2 million

Total employees: 201

Founded: 1902



56 PPi Technologies Group

(Last year’s rank: 71)

(Sarasota) Manufacturer of stand-up pouch machinery and end-of-line systems; also manufactures beverages, including liquor, wine and water, as well as their packaging.


Chief executive: R. Charles Murray

2009 revenues: $22 million

2008 revenues: $21 million

Total employees: 29

Founded: 1996

Beverage products in patented pouches include Shotpaq, Chilling Rocks, VinoPaq and Carbopouch.



57 Mercedes Medical

(Last year’s rank: 72)

(Manatee) Distribution of laboratory and physicians’ office supplies.


Chief executive: Alexandra Miller

2009 revenues: $21.5 million

2008 revenues: $20.3 million

Total employees: 49

Founded: 1993

58 Global Organic Specialty Source

(Last year’s rank: 68)

(Sarasota) Farmer-owned organic produce distribution company serving the Southeast.

Chief executive: Mitch Blumenthal

2009 revenues: $21 million

2008 revenues: $22 million

Total employees: 80

Founded: 1999


59 Pat Cook Construction Inc.

(Last year’s rank: 66)

(Manatee) Commercial general contractor specializing in fast-track retail, manufacturing, industrial, hotel and grocery.


Chief executive: Pat Cook

2009 revenues: $20.4 million

2008 revenues: $23 million

Total employees: 17

Founded: 1992

Added a high-end home division and is back into school projects around the state.



All of the businesses on this list earned at least $20 million in gross revenues in 2009. Each company is either headquartered in Sarasota or Manatee counties, or is a self-contained division of a larger company. Businesses are ranked by 2009 revenues.

We publish sales figures exactly as companies report them to us, including both 2009 and 2008 revenues for reference. If a company declines to report sales, we estimate, using a variety of sources. All estimated figures are marked as such.

To compile the list, we call on local, regional and national sources, including economic development councils and industry analysts. We hope you will bring any omissions to our attention so we can consider them for next year’s list.




Total companies




Total 2008


(73 companies)


Total 2009 revenues





Holland Construction(NO.51)

Joe Holland, CEO

While most construction companies on our Top Companies list show steep reductions in revenue (new construction revenue has fallen 90 percent in Sarasota alone since 2006) and many have fallen off the list and out of existence, Holland Construction has seen annual revenues rise in 2009 to $29 million from $27.5 million in 2008. The company oversaw 20 projects in the area in 2009 and currently is taking on new projects in new markets and hiring new employees.

“We are in a growth mode in the Florida market,” says CEO Joe Holland, whose 26-employee company also has offices in Hanover, Pa., and Columbia, Md. “Actually we’re seeing more growth [in Sarasota and Manatee] as a percentage of our business right now than any of the other markets that we’re in.”

Holland is a construction management and design/build firm in the medical, office, industrial, retail and multifamily sectors. Part of the company’s success is doing what it’s always done: taking on a wide variety of projects, such as the restaurants and mini-golf courses it’s building in Lakewood Ranch and its construction of Tom Bennett Park, Manatee County’s $2.5 million project that broke ground in May.

“Diversification was key for us, not getting tied to one particular market sector that could drag us down,” Joe Holland says. “There’s really not a market that we don’t touch.”

Holland also emphasizes top-notch customer service. “You can build an award-winning project, but at the end of the day if your customer’s not happy it’s not going to mean repeat business,” he says. That strategy extends to any size project in this economic climate. “If we have a client who says, ‘OK, we need to remodel the bathroom,’ we’ll do that for them, because that’s our client and we want to provide them with good service,” he says.

As the economy stagnated, Holland Construction also began to help with financing for its clients. “We’ve actually helped our customers get projects off the ground,” Holland says, by providing equity for clients or support in negotiations with banks.

The company is continuing to look for ways to expand this year. “We’re pretty aggressive in our plans for growth,” Holland says. “There’s always been tough real estate and tough building markets. We look at it as shaking out some of the weaker players.”

—Graham Clark




Mercedes medical(NO.57)

Alexandra Miller


The healthcare industry is “virtually recession-proof,” says Mercedes Medical CEO Alexandra Miller. In the last decade, the Sarasota-based medical supply distributor has averaged 7 percent annual growth. Gross revenues reached $21.5 million for 2009, and Miller projects $25 million for 2010.

At least part of her projection is due to the country’s new universal healthcare plan, which “is going to bring millions of new patients into the marketplace, providing the need for more medical supplies,” says Miller.

Up against massive national competition, the family-run Mercedes Medical (Miller’s mother founded the company on Long Island in 1991) has found a niche in the medical supply distribution specialty. Instead of relying on highly competitive “front of the [physician’s] office” supplies, like gloves and table paper, Mercedes Medical specializes in selling lab supplies to pathology departments. “If you get too broad, you’re just going to lose,” Miller explains.

But adaptation is still important. At weekly meetings, Mercedes Medical executives pore over figures—how many products, how many customers are actively ordering—in search of potential improvements. “We call ourselves data dorks,” Miller explains. “Every conceivable piece of data is analyzed.” As a result, just this year the company began selling through catalogues in addition to its established telesales operations, a move Miller believes will boost revenues even further.

Another new development: quarterly profit-sharing “games”, with teams of employees working toward a goal tied directly to the company’s earnings. At the end of the quarter, the financial gains are evenly distributed among employees. In the first quarter of 2010, everyone received $1,000 across the board. “Everyone’s playing the same significant role,” says Miller.

In fact, Miller, who was named one of Biz941’s “Best Bosses” in 2009, famously promotes employee satisfaction with an office where dogs are welcome and a massage therapist visits regularly. “We just got a chiropractor, too,” she says. “If you’re happy at work, you’re going to help the company.”

Despite Mercedes’ success, Miller admits that when it comes to the future of the healthcare industry, “you never know.” Further healthcare nationalization could affect the supply chain in unknown ways.

Whatever the future holds, Miller remains on the lookout for opportunities to improve. “My mom used to say, ‘Sales are for vanity; profits are for sanity,’” she says. “But I like to see the sales go up, too.” —Hannah Wallace



Changes in revenue by industry


Business services: up 1.2%

Manufacturing: down 8%

Construction: down 15%

Food/Beverage: Even

Healthcare: up 8%

Retail: down 4.4%

Real estate: down 5%

Agriculture: down 2%

Hospitality/Recreation: up 7%

Media: up 0.67%


Big gains

Tervis Tumbler


Lakewood Ranch

Medical Center




…and Losses

Sun Hydraulics


Kellogg & Kimsey


Ajax Paving Industries




Charter One Hotels & Resorts, Inc.(NO.39)

Scott Busby

President & COO

Slowing tourism and lack of capital have made this a difficult year for the hotel industry. Sarasota-based Charter One Hotels & Resorts, founded in 1981, managed to stay afloat. Even better, they turned last year’s $41 million profit into $45 million.

President and COO Scott Busby, who grew up in Boca Grande and has worked with regional companies in Tampa and Atlanta, attributes the good year to a smart business model and a solid company philosophy.

Charter One offers different levels of hotel management—including onsite service, and consulting and general evaluation—to more than 15 hotels of varied size and styles in Florida, New York and North Carolina.

The company’s management and consulting roles have benefited from the weak economy. When tourism numbers are slumping, Charter One markets itself as a resource for support, guidance or hands-on management for struggling hotels.

Busby says the company’s underlying business philosophy is “conservatively aggressive.” Staff is trained to take on new challenges and look for growth while remaining cautious. While the American economy is suffering because of “unfettered, poorly considered expansion,” he says, Charter One has never rushed to buy properties that might be inflated.

This year, Charter One is taking advantage of the slow economy to refine its practices and prepare for even more growth. They are discussing management options with hotels in need of support across the country and, in the wake of the drop in tourism, the staff at Charter One is stepping up its marketing, assuring tourists and other hotels—potential clients—that they will exit the weak economy “a stronger, more robust organization.”

Says Busby: “In a down cycle you can choose to curl up and hide, or you can sharpen the ax and prepare for the next level.”

— Beau Denton



Protocol Global Solutions(NO.29)

Don Norsworthy

President & CEO

If you’ve ever watched a commercial about a new drug and called the 1-800 number for more information, the person answering the phone may be from Sarasota’s Protocol Global Solutions. Or perhaps you called your power company because your electricity went out, or you’re interested in buying health insurance. The first person to take that call could also be a Protocol Global Solutions employee.

“We’re a contact center company that provides customer care to different industries,” says Don Norsworthy, president and CEO. “We serve energy and utilities, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, insurance, retail and financial. We have a government services division as well.”

Protocol Global, which grossed $70 million in 2009, has had a presence in Sarasota for 20 years, and Norsworthy says the company contributes $10 million annually to the local economy in salaries and direct expenses. About 450 of its 2,200 employees work out of Penn West, an office complex at the intersection of Tuttle Avenue and Fruitville Road. The company also has five other contact centers located in the United States and Canada, and two off-shore call centers, one in the Philippines and the other in Mauritius. Its employees handle 115 million interactions annually, which include inbound and outbound calls, e-chat and e-mail.

While a fairly small player in the $70 billion world of call centers (the largest companies in the industry employ between 10,000 to 25,000 people) Protocol Global nevertheless targets Fortune 1000 companies and is experiencing tremendous growth. Revenues are up 37 percent YTD, and the company is hiring. Its smaller size and focus on stable industries have been smart business strategies, especially during the recession.

“There’s been tremendous consolidation in our industry—the big companies are getting bigger—so clients are not getting the personalized level of service they want,” Norsworthy says. “They like the more nimble company. A lot of larger competitors say, ‘Here’s the playbook, take it or leave it.’ We sit down with our clients and say, ‘How should we structure this?’”

Protocol Global has also targeted energy, healthcare, insurance and government parole and probation services, staying away from financial services and broadband and telecom industries. “Energy and utilities have performed quite well for us,” Norsworthy says. “People are always going to have to pay energy bills, buy insurance and find healthcare.”—Susan Burns


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