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COVER STORY

ON THE FRONTIER OF TECHNOLOGY

t. Louis Regional FAST 50 Technology Awards

1999 FAST 50 Winners
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Randy Schilling, president and chief executive officer, Solutech.

Above: Randy Schilling, president and chief executive officer, Solutech.

Solutech

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Internet professional services
Randy Schilling
President and CEO
117 S. Main
St. Charles, MO 63301
314/947-9393
www.solutechinc.com

A FAST 50 Sprint in 1997, number six locally and 226 nationally in 1998, Solutech continues its growth by opening new facilities around the country. The seven-year-old company currently has 11 offices and 240 employees. Randy Schilling says the organization is right on target for its 2002 goals—1,000 employees, 20 locations and $100 million in revenues. The company will open three new offices this year alone and will divide into three districts: east, west and central.

The company’s business is in four main areas: e-commerce, knowledge management, business operations and technology training. Solutech just opened a digital graphics group that revamped the Saint Louis Zoo site, allowing visitors to shop at the zoo store, sign on as a Zoo Friend or adopt an animal. “Everything we do now is through the Internet, whereas a year ago I wouldn’t have said that,” Schilling remarks.

Later this year, Solutech will launch Webbizapps, a separate corporation that will provide small and mid-size companies the ability to outsource their IT departments.


Solution Consultants, Inc. (SCI)

RCGA Member

Information systems consulting and training
Michael K. Schmid
President
1350 Elbridge Payne Dr.
Chesterfield, MO 63107
314/530-4515
www.solutionconsultants.com

Ten years ago, Michael K. Schmid, with partners Eric Huber and Dave FitzGibbon, started Solution Consultants, Inc. (SCI). Since then SCI has grown to be one of the largest St. Louis-owned consulting firms with clients such as Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones and BJC Health System. SCI is a four-time FAST 50 winner.

SCI provides skilled consultants for information technology projects. Typically, SCI helps a company extend the life of the current computer system or identify new systems to meet changes in the client’s business. SCI can manage an entire project or just a select function or stage; SCI can lead a project or work alongside a client’s own staff of technicians and software engineers.

SCI has a staff of 170 consultants, and has opportunities for many more. “St. Louis is a great technical market. We have built an excellent reputation in the industry by performing quality work in a timely manner. This is accomplished by finding and hiring the best people in information systems. In this market, we always need good people,” Schmid notes.


Stockell Information Systems, Inc.

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Computer consulting
Charles “Chip” Stockell
Chairman
15400 S. Outer 40
St. Louis, MO 63017
314/537-9100
www.stockell.com

Stockell Information Systems doubled its client base in St. Louis in the last year. The company provides IT consultants to clients to render systems support (for Windows NT, UNIX and VAX) implementation (of programs such as SAP) and development (of client/servers).

Number 24 on the FAST 50 list last year, Stockell employs 100 people in St. Louis and is looking to expand, possibly to Phoenix and Cleveland. The company’s large growth rate is attributed to hiring more sales staff and adding a layer of managers—called operation managers—to better support the consultants in the field. Chip Stockell, chairman, hired Jerry Supp as president recently and beginning next year will add a board to help guide the company. He says his job has changed from day-to-day management to focusing on strategic planning and paying attention to what’s going on in the industry.

Stockell’s clients include Monsanto, MEMC, Emerson, Ralston Purina, Express Scripts, Unigraphics and AG Edwards. The company was founded in 1980.



Greg Sullivan, chief executive officer, G.A. Sullivan.

Above: Greg Sullivan, chief executive officer, G.A. Sullivan.

G.A. Sullivan

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Custom software developer
Greg Sullivan
CEO
55 West Port Plaza, Ste. 100
St. Louis, MO 63146
314/213-5600
www.gasullivan.com

A four-time FAST 50 winner and in the top seven the last three years, G.A. Sullivan reached number 344 on the FAST 500 in 1998. “We’re growing faster than we’ve every grown,” notes Greg Sullivan, CEO of G.A. Sullivan, and chair of the Technology Gateway Alliance. The company employs 230 people and has offices in Kansas City, Cincinnati, Nashville, Atlanta and San Antonio.

G.A. Sullivan recently built a software development center in Fairview Heights, Ill. This regional center supports the organization’s other offices. “People grow the business,” Sullivan says. That’s why the company opened the facility at a location convenient to the talent located at Scott Air Force Base.

Sullivan says the IT industry is expected to grow 50 percent a year for the next five years. “The challenge is to figure out how to maintain that rate of growth,” he maintains. Sullivan was honored in Washington, D.C., recently as the national Small Business Association’s Small Business Person of the Year for 1999. He founded the company in 1982 in his Dogtown apartment.



Tom Smith, chief executive officer, SyllogisTeks.

Above: Tom Smith, chief executive officer, SyllogisTeks.

SyllogisTeks

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Software and information technology services provider
Tom Smith
CEO
130 S. Bemiston Ave.
Clayton, MO 63105
314/726-0800
www.syllogisteks.com

A FAST 50 Sprint in 1997, number four locally and number 88 nationally in 1998, SyllogisTeks was founded in 1992 by Tom Smith, CEO. His wife, Maurie, joined the company in 1995. The company provides computer consulting primarily to St. Louis clients with plans to expand to other cities in the next couple of years. “We wanted to have the classic mom and pop shop,” Tom notes. “But we always thought we’d have a candy or hardware store!” Instead the duo oversees 65 employees who work with customers client/servers and mainframes.

The company put its money where its expertise lies by purchasing an IBM System 390. This allows the organization to run major applications on a system that would typically be found in Fortune 1000 companies. SyllogisTeks also developed its own software information management program and has licensees throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The company is exploring acquisitions to continue its growth. Clients include Union Pacific, EDS and AG Edwards.


Synergetics, Inc.

Microsurgical and neurosurgical instrument maker
Gregg D. Scheller
President and CEO
88 Hubble
St. Charles, MO 63304
314/939-5100

Working in the health-care field his entire career, and having founded and sold a surgical company, Gregg Scheller could have rested on his success (and his 40 patents). Instead, along with partner Kurt Gampp, Scheller started Synergetics in his garage in 1992. Today the company has 75 employees working in R&D, sales and the manufacturing of products.

Synergetics typically partners with surgeons looking for specialized instruments. For instance, Dr. Matt Thomas, a surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, wanted a device for specialized eye surgeries. Synergetics designed the instrument, and the procedure Thomas developed caught on worldwide. “Ninety percent of our growth comes out of our R&D labs,” Scheller says. The company boasts having developed the world’s smallest forceps and scissors and is the only U.S. company that manufactures these types of instruments.

After the success of its microsurgical line, Synergetics expanded to intracranial surgical instruments. The company is planning on expanding its product line through acquisitions and co-development with surgeons. Customers include hospitals and surgical centers throughout the United States and in 85 countries.


Systems Consultants, Inc. (SCI)

Software developer and IT consultant
John A. Sharp, Ph.D.
President and CEO
121 Hunter Ave., Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63124
314/863-0262
www.sci-gateway.com

New to the FAST 50, John Sharp started SCI in 1983. He worked part time as a computer consultant while he taught at SIU—Edwardsville. He left the university’s business school in 1985 when he decided that a software program he developed for a client would be useful to others. His financial and administrative software is web based and is marketed to schools and government entities. It handles payroll, human resources functions, utility management, geographic databases and business licenses. Local clients include the cities of Clayton and St. Peters. The software is updated annually and SCI maintains the system for its customers.

SCI employs a staff of 100 permanent people and 30 subcontractors who do business in 40 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. To help manage the growth, Sharp added Scott Clark as COO last year and it plans to expand product offerings through acquisitions. “We’re looking at a 60 percent growth rate in the next two to three years,” Sharp predicts.



Susan Elliott, chairman & chief executive officer, Systems Service Enterprises, Inc.

Above: Susan Elliott, chairman & chief executive officer, Systems Service Enterprises, Inc.

Systems Service Enterprises (SSE)

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Information technology services
Susan S. Elliott
Chairman and CEO
77 West Port
St. Louis, MO 63146
314/439-4700
www.sseinc.com

A four-time winner ranked 37th last year, SSE offers clients services in three areas: solution consulting, education and staffing. “Our objective is to pull a team of people together with the appropriate skill sets to solve a client’s business problem,” says Susan Elliott, chair and CEO. The company partners with Microsoft, Compaq and Influence. “We deliver web-focused services to help our clients achieve their objectives, and we have that opportunity because of our three business areas and our partnerships.”

With almost 200 employees, SSE recently moved to West Port, but has no plans to expand geographically. “Our model is to grow through technology, virtual partnerships and the Internet, not through bricks and mortar,” she says.

Elliott is the chair of the Workforce Enhancement Committee of the Technology Gateway Alliance and was recently named one of the 25 most influential women in business in St. Louis by the St. Louis Business Journal. Earlier this year, she was appointed chair of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She founded the company officially in 1983 after working as a free-lance programmer for many years.


Tapestry Integration Specialists, Inc.

Interactive voice response developer
John Madelker
President
3751 Pennridge Dr., Ste. 128
Bridgeton, MO 63044
314/344-0066
www.tapestry.com

Tapestry started in 1993 as a consulting firm; the company divided in three and Tapestry Integration Specialists formed in 1997. Tapestry designs and develops interactive voice response (IVR) systems for customer service departments. It recently branched into computer telephony integration (CTI), which gathers information from the phone and routes it to the right agent, who can then view the appropriate data on the computer screen. The company develops the software to allow this convergence of data and voice networks.

With 18 employees and serving clients such as TWA, Alliance Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Anheuser-Busch.

The company also worked with the Secret Service on a project for the White House. Tapestry’s specially designed IVR product, Minuteman, allows numerous outbound calls to be made at the same time. The Secret Service needed a system that would allow it to contact 150 agents in five minutes. In addition, Minuteman is used by hospitals to remind patients of appointments and by public libraries to remind borrowers to return books.

Tapestry also developed a CTI program that was just released this March and named Best of Show at the CTI expo. “The CTI business is exploding for us,” Madelker notes. The company, new to the FAST 50, plans on doubling its business this year.


Tech Electronics, Inc.

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Single-source information integrator
Jim Canova
President
6437 Manchester
St. Louis, MO 63139
314/645-6200
www.techelectronics.com

One of the oldest companies that made the FAST 50, Tech Electronics was founded in 1963 by Jim Canova. After he graduated from Rolla and served in the U.S. Air Force, Canova worked for JC Gordon for just one year before going out on his own. “I wanted the challenge of starting my own company and communication was an interesting career path,” Canova remembers. Fifteen years later, he bought JC Gordon.

The company is a specialty contractor that designs, installs, services and trains clients on electrical communication systems such as computer telephone integration, card access, teleconferencing, voice paging, intercoms, entry control, auto attendant and fire alarms. Located in five buildings on a sprawling campus on Manchester Road and in Columbia, Mo., the company employs 175 people. “This award goes to the employees,” he says. Canova notes that the management team has an average tenure of 20 years and the technicians of 12 years.

The company’s strength, Canova says, is integrating all the different systems, so it can be operated from one personal computer. Tech Electronics is one of 20 newcomers to the FAST 50 this year.


The Trinity Companies, LLC

RCGA Member

Total information systems solutions
Frank Foster
Russell Bryan
Patricia Beseda
Partners
707 Spirit 40 Park Dr., Suite 100
Chesterfield, MO 63005
314/453-9881
www.trinitystl.com

Trinity is run by three partners, and is comprised of three business units: Global Applications (systems support via client/server, Internet and intranet), Trinity Infrastructure Services Group (designs and implements mainly Microsoft networks) and Trinity Core Services Group (outsourcing support). Founded in 1994 and a FAST 50 newcomer, Trinity employs 22 people.

The company serves as an IT department for small and mid-size businesses and provides services to clients such as Paric Corp., Solutia, Sterling Chemical and Chemir/Polytech. To better serve its customers, train employees and showcase its capabilities, the company created a resource room in its new headquarters in Chesterfield Valley. In addition to consulting work, Trinity recently developed a software package, DC Glue, that manages and organizes data. It also opened an office in Houston.

The trio plan on doubling the firm’s revenues in the next year.


Tri-Tek Information Systems, Inc.

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Network support and outsourcing
David D. Fuchs
CEO/managing partner
14323 S. Outer 40 Rd., Suite 201 South
St. Louis, MO 63017
314/275-7900
www.tri-tek.com

Tri-Tek (voice, data and video technologies) actively manages and supports networks for Fortune 2000 companies. Founded in 1989, Tri-Tek’s services enable clients to integrate and maintain networking technology throughout the clients’ entire system, both nationally and internationally. With 10 sales office locations and technicians supporting clients’ network needs in 49 states, Tri-Tek employs 295 people and will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month.

“We’re a one-stop solution for business,” says Dave Fuchs, CEO and managing partner. “Businesses outsource their networks to us. We currently manage 300 networks throughout the U.S. and will roll out in Canada next spring.” In addition to network outsourcing and support, the company offers comprehensive data storage, design, integration and maintenance services for the archival of large volumes of information generated by clients’ networks.

Even though industry trends are in Tri-Tek’s favor, Fuchs says the company faces several challenges: making sure the company parallels the market needs as it changes, staying current and anticipating the market.


Ungerboeck Systems, Inc.

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Event business management system
Dieter K. Ungerboeck
President
1350 Elbridge Payne Rd.
Chesterfield, MO 63017
314/537-0350
www.ungerboeck.com

Ungerboeck Systems started as an IT consulting firm but over a three-year period in the early 90s, it developed its own software product that allows organizations to completely manage a mass assembly event. Clients include the Sydney (Australia) Opera House, Duke University, Penn State and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) as well as convention centers in Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, and Detroit. The company employs 50 people in its Chesterfield, Sydney, London and Vancouver offices and affiliates, and has clients on five continents. Their software, EBMS, is the software market leader in events business management.

The software was developed after the St. Louis CVC commissioned Ungerboeck to design a system to manage the convention center. It took 180,000 man-hours to design and the company now focuses exclusively on EBMS, selling off parts of its consulting practice. “We now have three revenue sources from the software—licensing fees, maintenance fees and training/consulting fees,” Dieter Ungerboeck says. More than 50 percent of the company’s revenues come from outside the United States. Ungerboeck, a FAST 50 newcomer, is currently building a new office further west on Hwy. 40.


Unigraphics Solutions

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Computer software developer and reseller
John Mazzola
President and CEO
13736 Riverport Drive
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
314/344-8760
www.ugsolutions.com

One of the few publicly held companies on the FAST 50 list and ranked 48th in 1998, Unigraphics Solutions is a leading global provider of scaleable, integrated, product development solutions that are used for virtual product development in industries requiring complex design manufacturing and assembly. The company, founded in 1974, employs 2,200 people and operates on a global scale.

John Mazzola, president & CEO, attributes the company’s success to five key areas: providing leading edge product development software; having a strong knowledge of automotive, aerospace and machinery product development; offering a scaleable set of product development software for the largest global corporations to the smallest mold-making company; having a track record of software customization, implementation and integration success; and hiring and retaining highly skilled and motivated engineers, software developers and sales/marketing professionals.

The company has 250 value-added resellers of its products and is stepping up its Internet presence. It recently donated $1.5 million worth of CAD/CAM systems, equipment and on-site support to Cornerstone Partnership.


U.S. Paint Corp.

Custom paints and coatings developer
Christian von der Heyde
President and CEO
831 S. 21st St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
314/621-0525
www.uspaint.com

U.S. Paint has the distinction of being the oldest company on the FAST 50, and it’s a newcomer to the list! Founded in 1932, the company has changed significantly over the last 60 years and Chris von der Heyde, president & CEO, thinks of it as a new company. He joined the organization seven years ago and has transformed this paint manufacturer into an industry leader—creating paints and coatings that stand up to airline specifications, marine industry needs and automotive buyers’ demands.

The company was the first in this country to use polyurethane products for the aviation market. Its products are used by Northwest Airlines, US Air and military aircraft. U.S. Paint employs 165 people in St. Louis and Belgium. It has spent a considerable amount on its R&D facilities and works with various partners to develop the leading edge paints and coatings. “We have the capability of making a paint that changes with the light,” von der Heyde notes.

The company is the industry leader in providing paint to the luxury marine market worldwide—it owns 70 percent of the market with its Awlgrip product. Thirty percent of U.S. Paint’s sales are international, even though it supplies most of the coatings for motorcycles manufactured in the United States.



Tim Johnson, president, WAN Technologies

Above: Tim Johnson, president, WAN Technologies

WAN Technologies

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Network integration
Tim Johnson
President
2316 Millpark Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63043
314/432-4355
www.wantec.com

Four partners (Tim Johnson, Mike Notel, Dennis Clark and Christian Larson) started WAN Technologies in 1994 after working at a reseller and realizing they could do things more efficiently and on a much larger scale using the latest technology at their own company. WAN specializes in integrating voice, data and video technology and is a reseller of Cisco, Lucent, Motorola and Adtran. St. Louis clients include Express Scripts, Mercantile and MasterCard.

The original four have now expanded to 40 employees in St. Louis, San Francisco and Houston. “We’re overwhelmed and ecstatic by the success we’ve had,” notes Tim Johnson, president. “Our growth is attributed to a realistic vision, a solid business plan and lots and lots of long hours, and throw in a handful of luck.” The company recently moved into its third facility in five years. “We have three times the square footage we need; we’re planning for growth.” WAN Technologies is new to the FAST 50 this year.


Wave Technologies International, Inc.

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Information technology training
Kenneth W. Kousky
President
10845 Olive Blvd., Ste. 250
St. Louis, MO 63141
314/995-5767
www.wavetech.com

The last of the four-time winners on the list, Wave Technologies ranked 18th in 1998. A global leader in sophisticated information technology training, Wave employs 220 people and owns 40 percent of the PC technology training market. If someone wants to fix computers for a living, chances are he or she will be trained at a Wave facility. The company operates 11 centers in the United States and two in the United Kingdom. Wave has trained more than 100,000 people worldwide and is moving to a virtual delivery model of its services.

A new approach to training is Wave’s boot camp. The company trains people like a university does in a consolidated fashion. It is offering its services through Webster University’s satellite centers and focuses the training program to make sure the students receive their diplomas.

Ken Kousky, president, notes that the company is looking to acquire other businesses to further its growth. He sees a lot of consolidation in the training field, but also sees a lot of opportunity when new products and programs come out next year after Y2K is over, such as Windows 2000. The company is publicly traded on NASDAQ: WAVT.



David Steward, chariman and chief executive officer, World Wide Technology, Inc.

Above: David Steward, chariman and chief executive officer, World Wide Technology, Inc.

World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT)

RCGA Member

Technology Gateway Member

Marketer of integrated technology solutions
David L. Steward
Chairman and CEO
127 Weldon Parkway
St. Louis, MO 63043
314/919-1400
www.wwt.com

WWT is like the Energizer Bunny—it keeps going and going and going. Dave Steward is at the helm of this nationally recognized technology firm, which was recently named by Black Enterprise magazine as company of the year. Founded in 1990, WWT has 265 employees and strategic alliances with Lucent and Cisco.

The company has five offices in St. Louis, San Diego, Dallas, Kansas City, Omaha and London. Its three main markets are: the federal government, telecommunication and commercial. Services includes e-business solutions; Oracle ERP applications and consulting; imaging and electronic document management; networking and telecommunications; conversion services; and value-added distribution of products. Steward feels the company provides services, “faster, better, more efficiently than anyone else in the market.” The Internet is WWT’s key to long-term growth. “We’ll double our revenues in the next year,” Steward predicts.

The company has expanded dramatically in the last year, acquiring four buildings to accommodate its growing workforce. WWT ranked number nine on the FAST 50 and number 351 on the FAST 500 in 1998.


1999 FAST 50 Winners
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This article was written by Liese L. Hutchison, APR, an assistant professor in the department of communication at Saint Louis University and a free-lance writer.

 

 

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Cover Story
St. Louis Regional FAST 50 Technology Awards
St. Louis Regional FAST 50 Technology Awards
Profile
Profile
Brent Benjamin
Director
Saint Louis Art Museum

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Starting a Business Before Graduation
Starting a Business Before Graduation
For Art's Sake
For Art's Sake

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