You always hear about the big American companies that dominate the global industry - but you hear far less about the small ones (if anything at all), even when it comes to the ones on the rise. It's always hard to predict who the giants of the future will be but facts and figures allow us to make some pretty reliable guesses. So which brands and enterprises have proven themselves? Which industry is producing the greatest number of modern day success stories? And who are the people guiding them to success?
This list is based on the Forbes ranking of the best performing small American public companies - 'small' is still pretty huge, of course, as it's defined as sales under $1 billion. The Forbes list ranks the companies according to return on equity, sales growth and earnings growth over the past year, as well as the past five years. Below, we've taken a look at the brains and the wealth behind these small powerhouses and burgeoning success stories.
10 Harry Herington - NIC
Harry Herington has been NIC company president since 2006, and CEO since 2008. NIC develops online services for electronic governance that are used by over 3500 federal, state, and local government agencies. Set up by a small group of entrepreneurs in Kansas 20 years ago, the company has expanded well beyond its creators' expectations. The business also develops e-Services and manage official Web sites for 29 states, and is ever-expanding. Currently, NIC employs more than 725 people in the country. Company sales stand at $238 million with a five-year sales growth of 20%, and a five-year EPS growth of 19%.
9 Ronald F Clarke - FleetCor Technologies
Ronald F Clarke is one of the longest-running CEOs on our list, having led FleetCor Technologies for fourteen years, since August of 2000. Fleetcor is a successful, leading independent global provider of specialised payment products. Sales currently stand at a rewarding $804 million. The business's services include fleet cards, food cards, corporate lodging discount cards, and other specialised payment services for businesses. FleetCor serves more than 500,000 commercial accounts all around the world. It also employs 5,100 people worldwide. The business's five-year sales growth is 20%, as is its five-year EPS growth.
8 Bryan A Shinn - US Silica Holdings
Company President since 2011 and CEO since 2012, Bryan A. Shinn is the man behind US Silica Holdings. The company produces industrial minerals such as sand proppants, calcined kaolin clay, aplite clay, whole grain silica, ground silica and fine ground silica. US Silica also functions as a research and development specialist for products and solutions that use the same raw materials. Sales are at $487 million and the company's five-year EPS growth is at 61%. Its five-year sales growth is of 14% - and has the potential for further development in years to come.
7 Jason P Rhode - Cirrus Logic
With sales at $866 million, over 1.000 patents, 600-plus products, and serving more than 2.500 customers globally, Cirrus Logic Inc. has truly taken off. Founded in 1981 by Dr. Suhas Patil, today Jason P Rhode leads the company. Cirrus Logic is a fabless semiconductor supplier specializing in analog, mixed-signal, and audio DSP integrated circuits. Cirrus Logic audio processors and converters are found in many professional audio and entertainment products for example smartphones, tablets, televisions, docking stations etc. With a five-year EPS growth rate of 144% and a five year sales growth of 31%, the future looks bright for the company.
6 Arkadiy Dobkin - EPAM Systems
Belarusian business man Arkadiy Dobkin has helped to develop EPAM Systems into one of the world's leading software development outsourcing services companies. With sales at $493 million and a five-year growth rate of 30%, EPAM Systems is one of America's most successful small businesses. Its influence, however, is not restricted to the US: the company has software development centers and branch offices all around the world in countries including Canada the UK, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Singapore.
5 Mike Fifer - Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Mike Fifer has been the Chief Executive Officer of Sturm, Ruger & Co since September of 2006. The Connecticut–based firearm manufacturing company is the fourth largest in the United States. Sales stand at $595 million and the five-year EPS growth is at 54%. However, earnings per share fell 31% from April until June of this year, and sales fell 14%. This decline has resulted from a slowdown in arm sales, follows a peak in arm stakes in 2012 when enthusiasts began stockpiling weapons after a series of disastrous civilian gun-related incidents took place and they feared broad federal curbs on arms sales.
4 Behrooz Abdi - InvenSense
Behrooz Abdi is taking the world of motion processing technologies by storm with InvenSense, a company whose five-year sales growth is of an impressive 86%, and whose five-year EPS rate is of an even more astounding 205%. Sales amount to $225 million. Founded in 2003, InvenSense came at just the right time of technological explosion: its Motion Tracking sensor system on a chip is fast becoming essential to electronic devices, providing an intuitive way for consumers to interact with their electronic devices by tracking their motions in free space and delivering them as input commands. CEO since 2012, Abdi is President and CEO of the company during a crucial phase of expansion.
3 Vicki Holt - Proto Labs
Vicki Holt, the only woman on our list, has brought about great change for Proto Labs since she was appointed CEO earlier this year. Proto Labs is an ultra-fast manufacturer of custom parts and product prototypes. Holt has been prioritising customer feedback and is determined to engage with customers on a new level. For example, she has decided to move away from grassroots marketing to engineers in the product-development field as well as introduce Web-first customer interaction. Things were already looking up for Proto Labs, and Holt is pushing the success even further: company sales are at $143 million, the five year sales growth is of 30%, and the five-year EPS growth is at 51%. Holt has set a goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue.
2 Brian Mueller - Grand Canyon University
A graduate and then professor at Concordia University, Brian Mueller then hopped institutions to became CEO of Grand Canyon Education in July of 2008. The 60 year old has upheld and developed the company's devotion to educate - indeed, Grand Canyon Education provides post-secondary education through graduate and undergraduate degree programs in education, healthcare, business and liberal arts either online or in Phoenix, Arizona. With 43,900 students enrolled in 2011, the company is ever growing. With sales at $558 million, and a five-year EPS growth of 104%, it seems that Grand Canyon Education is in for the long run.
1 Don Bailey - Questcor Pharmaceuticals
Don Bailey has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Questcor Pharmaceutical since November 2007. With sales at $629 million, and a five year annual sales growth at 51%, Bailey's company tops our list. Questcor Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing treatment for patients with serious autoimmune and inflammatory disorders that are difficult to treat. Questcor focuses on neurology, nephrology and rheumatology, which are medical areas whose needs remain somewhat neglected.