SmartCEO

SmartCEO Magazine

Each month, more than 100,000 growth-minded CEOs turn to SmartCEO magazine and SmartCEO.com to find ideas and inspiration to help them grow their businesses. Each issue includes behind-the-scenes looks at local success stories, columns written by key opinion leaders and educational articles about critical business topics, all designed to help CEOs conquer the daily challenges of running and growing a business. SmartCEO magazine is published on a bimonthly basis with editions in four major markets: Baltimore SmartCEO, New York SmartCEO, Philadelphia SmartCEO and Washington SmartCEO.

ARCHIVES: Baltimore | New York | Philadelphia | Washington | Boston | Charlotte

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016

New York SmartCEO

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POWER TO THE CONSUMER

Have you ever encountered one of those video ads that expand silently as you read an article online, then disappear as you keep scrolling? If you were grateful the ad wasn’t a pop-up you were forced to watch and didn’t blast you with unexpected sound, you have Teads to thank. The pioneering ad-tech company invented this minimally disruptive format about five years ago. Underlying all of Teads’ digital advertising solutions is the principle that ads must be respectful of user choice. At the same time, Teads’ strategy aims to make ad buys lucrative and sustainable for media companies so they can afford to keep publishing content. 

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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N3RD STREET

When it comes to innovative strategies in the Philadelphia region, N3rd Street is arguably the place to be. The bootstrappers who make their home there — including John Fazio of Jarvus Innovations, Alex Hillman of Indy Hall, Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive and Chris Cera of Arcweb Technologies — have built thriving companies that are not just contributing to the local economy, but are part of something unique. “Any time someone says the ‘Silicon Valley of X’ anywhere outside of Silicon Valley, they haven’t done their homework,” as Hillman puts it. “[N3rd Street] is not just business. Lots of other business districts empty out at 5 p.m. This one lives and breathes into the evening and weekends.” 

Baltimore SmartCEO

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BUILDING A MOVEMENT

The married couple heading up What Works Studio have given a small creative agency the power to do big things. Even if you’ve never heard of What Works Studio, you may have danced in the brightly lit parade on night one of the Light City festival. Perhaps you opened your wallet for the Bmore Gives More campaign or like to be inspired by the writing and photography in What Weekly. Or maybe you pass Mr. Trash Wheel, arguably the world’s most beloved trash interceptor, on your walk to work each morning. All of these game-changing projects have one thing in common: What Works Studio helped make them happen. 

Washington SmartCEO

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NOT YOUR PARENTS’ PBS

It all started with an auto-tuned YouTube video of a singing Mr. Rogers. Since that first release from the newly formed PBS Digital Studios, the venerable public broadcaster has firmly established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the digital space. Under the leadership of president and CEO Paula Kerger, PBS has doubled down on its embrace of quality, educational programming — think The Roosevelts or Downton Abbey — while also finding new ways to engage with its audience online and help member stations compete in an increasingly diverse media landscape. 

JULY/AUGUST 2016

Baltimore SmartCEO

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CHARM CITY CHEF

At her family of restaurants, chef Cindy Wolf prides herself on developing talent from within. Her biggest challenge in running Charleston, Pazo, Petit Louis and her other properties had nothing to do with being a woman in a male-dominated business or finding the best product to serve to guests — it was finding good cooks. In the absence of available talent, she did what any good chef would do — she made them. 

Washington SmartCEO

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AN OFFICER AND A LADY

When military retirement policies forced Louisa Jaffe to end her Army career shortly after 9/11, she was devastated and desperate to find some other way to serve. Her quest led her to found TAPE — a certified service-disabled veteran-owned, economically disadvantaged, woman-owned small business. TAPE, which started as two people operating out of Jaffe’s townhouse, has grown into a federal contractor conducting more than $25 million of business each year.

New York SmartCEO

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GREATER EXPECTATIONS

As CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC (SBSCO), Suzanne Shank has been one of the most prominent African-American women on Wall Street for many years, although she was not well known outside her playing field of municipal finance. Now that Shank is chairwoman and majority owner of the company, she’s raising her visibility while accelerating the firm’s growth.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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COME STAY AWHILE

As the president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia, Meryl Levitz’s job is to let the world know Philadelphia is much more than Rocky and cheesesteaks (not that there’s anything wrong with Rocky and cheesesteaks). She and her team are behind the development of Visit Philadelphia’s growing online presence, creating memorable and effective marketing campaigns, and launching myriad mutually beneficial partnerships.

MAY/JUNE 2016

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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YOU GOTTA BELIEVE

As the author of a self-help guide titled Do It Rhino Style, serial entrepreneur Dave Magrogan is his own best coach. From an early age, if Magrogan said he was going to do it, he committed and it got done. His first ambition was to be a chiropractor. With $3,000 from the sale of his car and a loan from his aunt, he launched a practice, and soon had a burgeoning business and a reality TV show to his name. But it wasn’t enough. Always hungry for a challenge, Magrogan launched himself into the notoriously tricky restaurant business, opening a fast-growing chain of Irish pubs. Today, he has found his signature brand, Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar, and is getting ready to launch new locations up and down the I-95 corridor.

Baltimore & Washington SmartCEO

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MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER

One of the first lessons Tim Chi learned as CEO of WeddingWire is that you do not tangle with Martha Stewart over table etiquette. At a meeting with $5 million in early-stage investment on the line, the company served food on the wrong kind of plate — but Chi got the investment anyway. Today, WeddingWire connects frazzled couples and wedding vendors eager for new business, not just in the U.S. but in 14 countries around the world. With weddings netting $57 billion in business and some 40 million weddings taking place globally each year, the sky’s the limit for WeddingWire, and there’s never a dull moment. 

New York SmartCEO

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ON-DEMAND FITNESS

At first, John Foley had trouble convincing investors that Peloton Cycle, the consumer brand he was planning to launch, could be “bigger than Apple.” In the early days, the concept just seemed too complicated: It included in-home stationary exercise bike, along with a 22-inch tablet that would stream live exercise classes — all of it produced and sold by the same company. But Foley proved the doubters wrong: Peloton posted $50 million in revenue in 2015. As of early 2016, the company had sold 20,000 bikes and claimed 200,000 riders around the world. Next up: street-level retail.

MARCH/APRIL 2016

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF

Brand building isn’t just a consideration for purveyors of consumer goods anymore. Even airports have become brands, jockeying for the attention of travellers. Mark Gale had worked on building Philadelphia International Airport into an attractive brand for nearly 28 years when he ended his run as CEO last year. “[Travellers] look for the finest in food and amenities, they look for arts, entertainment and culture, they look for a space where they can get some work done,” he says. Gale’s legacy includes a major, ongoing capital improvement project that will reshape the airport and its surroundings.

Washington SmartCEO

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TECH TRIAGE

Protecting your brand also means knowing when it needs a renewal. Cybersecurity company EmeSec, for one, needed to both refresh its image and illustrate an emerging focus on cloud and mobile strategies. Under the auspices of founder and CEO Maria Horton, a team of company insiders and outside experts crafted a new identity for the company that should leave it well-positioned for the future of cyber. At the same time, Horton has remained true to her roots, with solutions such as “Cure” and “Get Well” harking back to her previous career as a nurse. 

Baltimore SmartCEO

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FAMILY, FUN & PIZZA

Sometimes, you have to spend an extra $100,000 on blue cheese. It’s just one of the many ways Ledo Pizza works to stand out from the plethora of family pizza restaurants lining America’s highways. CEO Rob Beall and his brother, president and COO Jamie Beall, have taken the reins of the longstanding family brand and expanded its franchise empire, adding several locations a year. Along the way, Ledo has stood firm on its brand promise: “We Don’t Cut Corners.” It’s a promise that has literal meaning for Ledo, where pies have been square since its inception in the 1950s.

New York SmartCEO

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UGLY IS IN

Drew Matilsky has been a fierce guardian of the Uglydoll brand, crafting a plan to help the plush characters become a worldwide phenomenon while staying true to their offbeat roots. Matilsky, a veteran of the retail industry, met Uglydoll co-creator David Horvath at the recommendation of a mutual friend. The two hit it off and ignited a grand licensing and distribution plan that will first take Uglydoll to Hollywood for its big-screen debut, and then into every major retailer around the globe. Exclusive distribution and “protecting, protecting, protecting the brand,” according to Matilsky, has helped the cuddly plush characters become coveted collectibles rather than just another stuffed toy and sell more than $150 million worth of Uglydolls worldwide.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016

Future 50: Featuring the region's fastest-growing companies

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Future 50

Future 50 is not only the largest and most highly anticipated SmartCEO awards program, but a telescope pointed firmly at the future stars of our region’s economy. This year’s class of winners was recognized based on exceptional employee and revenue growth, but also because we believe they have the potential to be the backbone of our region’s economy for decades to come.

Read the 2015 Future 50 winners’ inspiring stories:
Baltimore New York | Philadelphia | Washington

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015

New York SmartCEO

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TECH TITAN

Few would argue with the fact that Kevin Ryan is the founding father of the New York City tech scene. With a resume that lists him as a founder and/or chairman of DoubleClick (ultimately sold to Google for $3 billion), Gilt Groupe, MongoDB (both valued at more than $1 billion), Business Insider (acquired by Axel Springer for $343 million), startups Zola and Kontor, and a few new companies still in early phases of development, it’s easy to comprehend the impact Ryan has had on not only the technology industry, but the New York startup market as a whole. The simplest explanation is that Ryan has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop, search, design, manage and consume information via the internet, and he’s done it time and again. His focus on and successes with disrupting industries and growing companies into market leaders is unrivaled. And his empire can be attributed to one guiding light: He focuses intently on the “impact of digital on various industries and consumers and life in general.”

 

Baltimore SmartCEO

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BUILT WITH INTENTION

In 1985, John Martindale joined a small residential roofing crew after relocating from Austin, TX. What seemed foreign to local roofers was a natural step for Martindale: When an owner would show up to the job, he would get off the roof, greet them and let them know he was there to serve them. That’s when Martindale identified a need in the market and knew Brothers could be much more than a roofing crew. He took over general management of the firm within a year, and within six years, he purchased the company outright. Under Martindale’s leadership, the company has grown into a nationally acclaimed remodeler. Using the core values of constant pursuit of excellence, an intense focus on the customer and providing a great place to work, Martindale has taken a small band of roofers and built it into Maryland’s most-loved remodeling company.

Washington SmartCEO

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EDUCATION ANYWHERE

Passion is why Chip Paucek, despite the varying success of his first two ventures, continues to build companies focused on educating the masses. In his third venture, 2U, Paucek is intensely focused on transforming the online graduate education industry by providing a technology platform that puts online classrooms on the same playing field as traditional classrooms. 2U’s “No Back Row” philosophy serves as the guiding light for its teaching methodology — focusing on immersive course content, live classes, real-world learning experiences, social engagement, and dedicated support services. When Paucek isn’t disrupting the online graduate education industry, he’s using it to better himself as a leader and a business person — as a student in UNC’s online MBA program — and furthering 2U’s mission as a leader in education to help the nonprofit Pencils of Promise.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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EXCELLENCE COMES STANDARD

When Dr. Alex Vaccaro, Ph.D., MBA, was elected president of the Rothman Institute and chairman of orthopedics at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College in August 2014, he joined a journey started by Richard H. Rothman, M.D., Ph.D., to lead and grow an organization known for innovation and excellence. His agenda, marked with bold growth goals and a comprehensive telemedicine program, is crafted to take the nearly $400 million practice to even greater heights. An internationally renowned surgeon specializing in complex spine surgery, Vaccaro remains one of the institute’s best and busiest surgeons, splitting his days, which often start before 5 a.m., between surgery and a grueling administrative schedule. When he’s not in the surgical suite, the boardroom or the classroom, he’s improving the lives of those in need in the Delaware Valley through his work at the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015

Baltimore SmartCEO

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MISSION: CONSERVATION

Always a point of pride for Baltimore and the State of Maryland, the National Aquarium has now become a leading advocate for the health of the Chesapeake Bay. That’s the work of president and CEO John Racanelli, who has also introduced two new flagship exhibits — the stunning Blacktip Reef and the interactive Living Seashore — and reformed the way visitors interact with dolphins. But the lifelong conservationist is far from done building his vision of a 21st-century aquarium. His comprehensive BLUEprint plan, parts of which will be released to the public later this year, will allow the aquarium to “open its wings” to the Inner Harbor, integrating the visitor experience more thoroughly with the surrounding, constantly changing landscape.

New York SmartCEO

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THE GOOD SEARCH

Battalia Winston chairwoman and CEO Dale Winston steered the respected executive search firm through the turmoil that gripped the staffing industry during the recession. In a landscape dominated by giants such as Korn Ferry and Egon Zehnder, Winston has allowed her firm to thrive by keeping it emphatically mid-sized. That strategy assures partner attention for clients and helps Battalia Winston steer clear of ethical issues, such as using knowledge or talent from a previous placement in a future one. But don’t let Winston’s moderate growth strategy fool you into thinking she lacks competitive spirit. Among her employees, she’s known as the “Queen of Shootouts” — the phase in the search process where multiple firms compete for a client’s business.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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TOY STORY

A bold decision helped K’NEX president and CEO Michael Araten steer his company through the recession, avoid layoffs and even score a site visit from President Barack Obama. After a previous CEO had decided to follow other toy makers in outsourcing manufacturing to China, the economic crisis hit. Rather than cutting costs and jobs, Araten decided it was time to bring the work back home — to an existing manufacturing facility outside Philadelphia used by The Rodon Group, K’NEX’s parent company. That strategy not only saved jobs, but made the company more nimble, allowing it to create and ship products more quickly in response to new market trends. It also allowed K’NEX to brand its products with a new, valuable statement: “Made in America.”

Washington SmartCEO

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EXCLUSIVE: SURVIVAL STORY

In late 2013, MicroTech founder, president and CEO Tony Jimenez found himself the subject of a 13-part investigative series by The Washington Post. For months, the articles kept coming, implying that MicroTech had become too large to claim the government contract set-asides it had been receiving. Worse, Jimenez’s private life and contacts became the subject of intense scrutiny. Several audits and investigations, including one by the Small Business Administration, eventually cleared MicroTech and Jimenez of any wrongdoing. A little more than a year after the Washington Post series ended, MicroTech is once again poised for growth.

JULY/AUGUST 2015

Washington SmartCEO

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BUILT TO SERVE

When CEO Gail McGovern joined the American Red Cross, the iconic nonprofit was facing an operating deficit of $200 million a year, plus resulting debt of $600 million. It took a leader with tremendous business savvy to make the organization’s model work again, and the Red Cross found it in McGovern, a former AT&T executive. McGovern embarked on a comprehensive listening tour, soliciting input from volunteers and chapter executives around the country. She empowered the chapters to bring forward ideas and created a new realm of 21st-century volunteer opportunities, such as scanning Google maps for areas where help might be needed in the wake of disasters. Less than two years after joining the Red Cross, McGovern became the first CEO in its 134-year history to be invited to join the board.

New York SmartCEO

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HIGHER EXPECTAIONS

Following a roller-coaster career in the world of restaurants and night clubs, OTG Management founder and CEO Rick Blatstein had his epiphany after he reluctantly accepted a position managing the restaurants and food vendors at Philadelphia International Airport during a mid-90s blizzard. When the blizzard hit, he became inspired to disrupt the airport hospitality industry after experiencing the misery of stranded travelers. Today OTG Management is the second-largest privately held airport food operator in the U.S., operating at airports including Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International. To accomplish its vision of a better, more customer-centric terminal, OTG has partnered with airlines JetBlue and Delta. Early on, Blatstein recognized the potential of iPads for his industry, installing them at departure gates for convenient internet access and food orders.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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MAKING IT HAPPEN

Nutrisystem, Inc. CEO Dawn Zier inspired a downtrodden workforce to stage a complete company turnaround. When Zier joined Nutrisystem, the company was struggling with a stagnating portfolio of weight-loss products, a misguided focus on discounts and a corporate culture that was adrift, engendering disillusionment in team members. But Zier’s hard work and strategic thinking has put Nutrisystem back on track. The company has made its products more accessible at retail outlets, developed more meals for diabetics and vegetarians and offered its snacks as standalone products, rather than as part of a meal package. Zier also has implemented a new culture focused on accountability, customer service and solutions.

Baltimore SmartCEO

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CHANGE AGENT

Lion Brothers Company, Inc. is an icon of Baltimore manufacturing, having produced textiles and emblems for the Girl Scouts, NASA, the NHL, and even the very first Super Bowl, in its 115-year history. CEO Susan J. “Suzy” Ganz came to the company almost by accident when her father purchased it in the 1970s, then died unexpectedly while she was still attending business school. At the time, Lion Brothers was saddled with debt, but Ganz fell in love with the textile giant and resolved to turn it around. She led an emphasis on lean manufacturing and forward-looking technologies that enabled quicker product turnarounds. Her leadership has helped the company innovate new products and plan an expansion strategy across multiple continents.

MAY/JUNE 2015

New York SmartCEO

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CLICK AND SHIP

Borderfree, Inc. and CEO Michael DeSimone have broken down the barriers of global ecommerce. When DeSimone joined the company in 2005, Borderfree focused on currency conversion for online retailers. However, he soon realized that sales weren’t being closed because retailers had so many other legal, logistical and financial issues to work out before getting to the point of converting currency. DeSimone repositioned the company into a comprehensive ecommerce solution that helps clients navigate the maze of international shipping from click to delivery. This innovative concept has been rewarded with explosive growth, from $13 million in revenue in 2010 to $110 million in 2013, followed by a successful 2014 IPO.

Washington SmartCEO

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WELL ALIGNED

Leesburg, VA-based K2M has revolutionized spine surgery with its minimally invasive products. Following a 2014 IPO that netted the company $147 million, K2M is poised to take on major, entrenched competitors such as Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic. Already, K2M is growing in scope as it moves into new headquarters that could see the company to revenues of $400 or $500 million. But for president and CEO Eric Major, it’s all about the outcomes for happy patients — whether it’s children in Ghana with severe spinal deformities or a K2M staff member whose life-long problems with scoliosis were resolved using products she helped engineer.

Baltimore SmartCEO

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NURTURE, EDUCATE, INNOVATE

Freeman A. Hrabowski III is president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), but he is also so much more — a gentleman, a scholar and an academic superstar who has for many years been at the vanguard of recruiting minority students into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Under his guidance, UMBC has thrived as a hub for academic opportunity, but also for entrepreneurship, as graduates have returned to the university’s technology and research park to further grow their startups and established companies, embracing Hrabowski’s infectious, enthusiastic motto: Never stop learning.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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ONE MAN’S TRASH

The old saying that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never felt more spot-on than in the case of TerraCycle Inc. The story begins with founder and CEO Tom Szaky’s ailing pot plant named Marley, miraculously revived by a diet of worm poop, and ends with a million-dollar company producing recycled and upcycled goods from tents, mail bags and more. (It still makes worm-poop fertilizer too.) What’s more, TerraCycle’s collection and recycling programs have attracted scores of big-name corporations, including Colgate, Kraft Foods and Nestle, as well as schools and hospitals across the country.

MARCH/APRIL 2015

Washington SmartCEO

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BETTER WITH AGE

Most companies work hard to establish their brand in the public mind, but it can be just as daunting to redefine a brand that is already firmly lodged there. That’s the task confronting Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP. While many still consider AARP an association for retired people, nearly half of its current members are still part of the active workforce. Consequently, Jenkins is working to reposition AARP as a lifestyle brand that fulfills every need for those 50 and older, including those looking to switch careers rather than end them. The end goal: to redefine the concept of aging itself.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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BREWING STREAK

Victory Brewing Company co-founders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski met on a school bus in 1973 and kept their friendship alive over the decades through a shared love of brewing. They found a market ripe for the plucking when they opened the Philadelphia area’s first craft brewery in the 1990s. Today, Victory proudly brands itself as an American company rooted in European tradition, a testament to both the founders’ background in German brewing and their reliance on natural, unprocessed flower hops. It’s a winning concept that resulted in a major expansion as recently as 2014.

New York SmartCEO

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KING OF MUD

Tough Mudder co-founder and CEO Will Dean propelled the company from a startup to a $100 million mud-run event juggernaut. The Tough Mudder brand is synonymous with daunting obstacles, such as the signature Electroshock Therapy, which sends mud runners through dangling wires live with as much as 10,000 volts of electricity. Now, Dean is looking to downplay the brand’s emphasis on tough challenges and play up the fun. At the same time, Tough Mudder is scaling a new obstacle of its own: breaking into the urban racing market.

Baltimore SmartCEO

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LEADING THE FLOCK

They say there are limits to the things you can brand, but someone forgot to tell Frank Perdue. In the 1960s, he set out to brand America’s most common and in-demand protein — chicken. And he succeeded. Today, Perdue Farms is the number-one premium chicken products brand in the U.S., with annual sales topping $4.6 billion. But the innovation didn’t stop there — Perdue’s son Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms Inc., took the baton and ran with it, generating unheard-of levels of interest in the Perdue brand through an emphasis on sustainable farming.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015

Future 50: Featuring the region's fastest-growing companies

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Future 50

Growing a company isn’t easy, and it’s fraught with obstacles. And yet, this year’s Future 50 winners still fight the good fight in the name of growth, never satisfied with maintaining what they’ve already achieved — and that’s the will and the passion of the entrepreneur.

Read the 2015 Future 50 winners’ inspiring stories:
Baltimore New York | Philadelphia | Washington

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014

Baltimore SmartCEO: CEO of the Year

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WORLD DREDGER

Since arriving in the early 1980s, Ellicott Dredges president and CEO Peter Bowe has patiently and steadily led the company through tough business cycles, ownership transition, foreign political unrest, crashing capital markets, and changing trends in manufacturing and dredge usage. Not only did he revive Ellicott when it was on the brink of extinction, he rebuilt it into one of the oldest, largest and most successful dredge manufacturers that proudly delivers a “Made in America” product to the world.

New York SmartCEO

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THE NEW BUSINESS OF HEALTHCARE

In an era when the healthcare discussion is apocalyptic in tone, Robert C. Garrett, president and CEO of Hackensack University Health Network, is leading the $5.35 billion, 11,400 employee organization headlong into the new world order of healthcare in the U.S. by fostering impactful partnerships, creating innovative preventative and wellness programs, and executing strategic acquisitions and growth opportunities — all while keeping the mission clear: Provide more people with the highest quality of patient-centered care.

Philadelphia SmartCEO: CEO of the Year

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BELIEVE TO ACHIEVE

When iPipeline CEO Tim Wallace took the helm in 2006, the company was a small technology solutions provider that was standing at the head of the fragmented, trillion-dollar insurance industry. Over the past 8 years, Wallace embarked on a vision quest to “no less than revolutionize the industry,” spearheaded strategic acquisitions, fueled national and global growth, cultivated a customer-centric corporate culture, and boosted the company from $7 million in revenue and 35 employees, to nearly $100 million in revenue and 500 employees.

Washington SmartCEO

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BUILT ON CHARACTER

Dr. Jack London, CACI’s executive chairman and chairman of the board, started at CACI in 1972 as a program manager and its 35th employee. Through a leadership philosophy founded on character, an aggressive policy of mergers and acquisitions and an inherent understanding that computer applications were shifting toward networks, he grew the company from a small consulting business into a multinational information solutions and services firm with more than $3.5 billion in revenue and 15,000 employees in 120 offices worldwide.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014

Baltimore SmartCEO

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COMING ABOUT

When market demand for Heavy Seas beer began to outstrip the brewery’s production capacity, Hugh Sisson, founder and managing partner of Clipper City Brewing Co., LP – Brewers of Heavy Seas Beer, launched a multi-year, multimillion-dollar production facility project to boost Heavy Seas’ capacity. With new brews on the horizon, a restaurant brand licensing deal and a scallywag attitude, Sisson is leading Heavy Seas into new waters and positioning his brewery to snag a larger share in the ultra-competitive craft brewing market.

New York SmartCEO

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BURNISHING GILT

With her strong reputation in the online retail world, Michelle Peluso, CEO of Gilt Groupe Inc., took on the position after serving more than three years on the fast-growing, flash-sale e-retail market leader’s board of directors. Now, as the e-retail first mover makes strategic decisions on business lines, ramps up its mobile presence and solidifies its existence at the intersection of fashion and technology, Peluso is leading the march toward Gilt Groupe’s eventual IPO.

Philadelphia SmartCEO

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SECURING SUCCESS

In less than seven years, Jeff Shanahan, president and CEO of CardConnect, managed to re-brand the company, move its headquarters from Cleveland, OH, to King of Prussia, PA, make nine strategic acquisitions, onboard a new technology and grow the company to 125 employees and $349 million in revenue. It was all part of a grand plan to solidify CardConnect’s foothold in the data and transactions security market, tap into the global financial marketplace and gain access to world-class talent.

Washington SmartCEO

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BOOM, BUST, REBUILD

When the dot-com bust and 9/11 attacks left his company nearly bankrupt, Reggie Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Cvent, had a choice to make: shutter the doors, or come back better than ever. After thirteen years of “fighting hand in hand” with his management team, Cvent is back up and running, and continuing its mission of transforming the meetings and events industry. After a successful IPO in 2013, Cvent now boasts a market capitalization of more than $1 billion. But Aggarwal is just getting started.