Ann Arbor SPARK has presented its annual FastTrack Awards to 18 area companies showing above-average growth, including software company Llamasoft, which has now received the award for 10 years in a row.
FastTrack Awards go to Washtenaw County companies that had certified revenue of at least $100,000 in one year followed by annual growth of 20 percent for the following three years.
Because the awards used to be part of a larger business event ("Deals of the Year") that has been discontinued, SPARK named 2016 and 2017 award winners at this year’s ceremony during SPARK's recent annual meeting.
SPARK president and CEO Paul Krutko says that while many of the awards went to high-tech companies, the winners span a variety of sectors, including real estate and property management, business consulting, and manufacturing.
"SPARK is oriented to a mission of supporting companies that are tech-based, particularly early-stage technologies, but our mandate from local government funders is that we also do traditional economic development with existing companies," Krutko says.
He adds that helping all kinds of businesses is important for growing the larger economy and making the region attractive in terms of personal and family life so that companies will want to locate here.
Krutko says Llamasoft's 10-year track record of success goes beyond revenue growth to include job growth, helping to concentrate IT talent in downtown Ann Arbor, and adding to the city’s tax base.
Other companies came close to matching Llamasoft's FastTrack winning streak. Ann Arbor’s Caelynx and Online Tech marked their ninth and eighth winning years, respectively. Krutko says Online Tech’s growth is due to the company's important role in supporting other tech companies with cloud servers, data management, disaster recovery, and offsite backup.
"Their growth is reflective of the larger growing economy here, the need for this kind of service," Krutko says. "Because they are approaching it in a way that is best in class, they have gained a lot of customers and market share."
Krutko says the companies that win these awards all have exemplary corporate culture, but their growth also shows that the Ann Arbor area is "a good environment for a company to thrive in."
"The fact that they can have this kind of growth in Ann Arbor means that the resources they need to be successful are available to them and they can maximize those resources," he says.
The complete list of FastTrack winners follows:
10-year award winner:
Nine-year award winner:
Eight-year award winner:
Five-year award winners:
Oxford Property Management
Four-year award winners:
Three-year award winner:
CEI Composite Materials
Two-year award winners:
J Keller Properties
One-year award winners:
Ability to Engage, Inc.
Akervall Technologies, Inc.
DNA Software, Inc.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Doug Coombe.