Four Evanston businesses were among the fastest growing in the state this year, according to an Inc. 5000 list released this week.
All told, the Inc. 5000 list of 2013's fastest growing companies includes 261 Illinois businesses employing more than 93,000 people. An eclectic array of industries made the list, from a media company for photographer moms and a suburban restaurant and winery chain to traditional insurance companies and construction firms.
The Evanston companies include the following:
No. 923: L2T Media, which provides digital marketing services to automotive dealerships. Founded in 2007, the company grew 475% over the last three years and made $16.3 million in revenue in 2012. It has 37 employees, according to Inc.
No. 1561: Acquirent hires, trains and manages sales teams for other companies with a staff of 77 people. The 10-year-old company grew 255% in the last three years and made $4.7 million in 2012, according to Inc.
No. 2125: Converged Communication Systems was founded in 2003 and provides telecommunications support to businesses around the country, according to Inc. The 46-employee company grew 175% over the last three years and made $7 million in revenue in 2012, Inc. reports.
No. 2259: Evanston Group is a 14-year-old company with 24 employees that supplies IT support professionals on an interim basis. The business grew 162% over the last three years and had $14.3 million in revenue in 2012, according to Inc.
One might think that Chicago-based firms would dominate the list — and 91 of the businesses call the city of broad shoulders home — but more than half are in the suburbs, with 19 in towns far downstate or well outside the metro area. The suburb with the most firms on the Inc. 5000 list is Schaumburg, with 13, followed by Oak Brook with 10 and Naperville with eight.
In the last three years, 22 of the companies experienced a growth rate over 1,000 percent.
Management author Hermann Simon calls companies like these hidden champions, because they deliver outstanding performance while operating "in the 'hinterland' of the value chain, supplying machinery, components, or processes that are no longer discernible in the final product or service." As such, they are the sinews of our economic physiology. But jobs are also created by the thousands of organizations that constitute the Inc. 5000's customers. ...
The National Center for the Middle Market describes companies such as those on the Inc. 5000 as "model links" in corporate supply chains. ... These businesses make and keep American companies competitive: Within their niches, they are as innovative and service oriented as the most beloved household names. But rather than strategize to build brands, they earn reputations simply by virtue of how well they do what they do. They grow reference by reference until every customer in their markets knows whom to call."