Fortune Small Business Showcases Fastest Growing Public Firms

Fortune Small Business recently released its eighth annual list of the top 100 fastest-growing small public firms across the nation.

Astronics, a supplier of aeronautics lighting systems, topped the list. The East Aurora, N.Y.-based firm has 967 employees. The rankings were rounded out by Nortech Systems at No. 100. Nortech, based in Wayzata, Minn., has 878 employees.

Fortune compiled the list for its July/August issue with the help of financial research firm Zacks, which ranked public companies with revenues of less than $200 million and a stock price of more than $1.

Those criteria allowed Fortune to include firms with more than 500 employees. For comparison, the Small Business Administration defines a small business as having 500 of fewer employees if it's in the manufacturing or mining industries and 100 or fewer employees for wholesale trade industries.

The magazine excludes banks and real-estate firms from the list because they would otherwise dominate it. The editors also said they left out adult entertainment companies for ethical reasons.

In the Washington metro area, Maryland had one firm that made the list - weight management company Medifast of Owings Mills. Virginia had two companies on the list, including Versar of Springfield, a 455-employee firm that offers project-management services to the government and private sector, and Learning Tree of Reston, a 495-employee firm that provides training courses for managers and technology professionals. D.C. didn't have any firms that made the list.

Fortune Small Business does a nice job of parsing some of the data by offering readers the ability to search firms by state or CEO's name. They also profile the richest executives on the list.

I hope FSB is able to continue offering interesting features like this one. The New York Post reported late last month that FSB was axing 14 of its 17 editorial staffers, including its editor.

By Sharon McLoone |  August 11, 2008; 12:58 PM ET Data Points
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