CLEVELAND, December 9, 2004 - At a black tie gala, Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management and the Council of Small Enterprises (COSE), the small business arm of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, announced the winners of the 2004 Weatherhead 100, which recognizes the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. This year's winners represent a wide range of industries, including technology, health care, insurance, manufacturing, human resources and retail.
"The Weathearhead 100 is a testament that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Northeast Ohio," said Dr. Myron Roomkin, dean of The Weatherhead School of Management. "It's clear to me that people are this region's greatest asset and that our best days are still to come. Our task is to continue doing all we can to empower residents to take risks and create wealth."
The top 2004 Weatherhead 100 winner is S.M.I.L.E., a privately held company based in Bedford Heights, which has a strong background in emerging technologies, information systems and system integration. The company was founded in 1998, and experienced sales growth of 1,680 percent in 2003.
Using a ranking system, The Weatherhead 100 identified the 100 fastest growing companies based on sales from 1999 through 2003. Also honored were the Weatherhead 100 top 10 Centurions - the fastest growing companies in the larger, $100 million-plus sales category that have seen at least the sales growth of the #100 Weatherhead award winner, as well as the Weatherhead 100 top 25 Upstarts, growth companies in the smaller, under $1 million sales category that have seen at least the sales growth of the #100 Weatherhead award winner. Centurion companies have a minimum of 16 full-time employees, and Upstarts have 15 or fewer employees.
The top winner of the 2004 Weatherhead 100 Centurion category is National Interstate Insurance Company, a provider of innovative and customized insurance products and services to specialty markets. The company employs a team of professionals who command the technical aspects of the business and share a common passion to consistently delivery superior customer service. Established in Cleveland in 1989, National Interstate Insurance Company experienced sales growth of more than 248 percent in 2003.
The top winner of the Weatherhead 100 Upstart category is Sorbent Technologies Corporation, a leader in low-cost utility and industrial mercury pollution control. The company was established in Twinsburg in 1983 and experienced sales growth of more than 923% in 2003.
'These winners are special," said Jeanne Coughlin, chairman of COSE. "In a challenging economic climate for the last several years, these companies have forged ahead successfully for five consecutive years. They have grown their businesses and exceeded their own expectations and those of others. We applaud them."
Founded in 1987 by The Weatherhead School of Management, The Weatherhead 100 has been a leading honor bestowed on Northeast Ohio businesses. Earlier this year, COSE, which has nurtured the region's entrepreneurs for more than three decades, became a partner with the Weatherhead School of Management in this effort. Since its inception, more than 2,000 entrepreneurs have achieved the extraordinary business growth required for winning.
About the Weatherhead School of Management
The Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management is an international center of management scholarship, committed to preparing and enhancing organizational leadership. The Weatherhead School is dedicated to making discoveries of enduring consequence, to developing innovative educational programs, to fostering strategic partnerships with students and organizations, and to providing services to multiple communities.
COSE, the small business arm of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, serves as a one-stop resource for its members by providing: group-purchasing programs that reduce the cost of doing business; education and development programs for small- and mid-sized businesses; advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues affecting the business community; a wide range of resources focused on helping firms grow; and economic development partners that can address business concerns.