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Biggest jumps on Mississippi 100

While some Mississippi 100 industries continue to weather the so-called “Great Recession,” several mid-sized companies on the list enjoyed significant revenue gains in 2012.

As reflected by its reported annual earnings, Ridgeland accounting and business advising firm HORNE LLP, moved up on the Mississippi 100 from 54th to 42nd place. It’s a crowning achievement to go along with the company’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

Newly-minted executive partner Joey Havens Jr. said a company-wide continued focus on clients large and small amid a down economy has helped them reach their goals. “We experienced eight-percent growth through the first nine months,” he said.

HORNE continues to be one of the leaders in its industry in the Southeastern U.S. with a reported $56 million in revenue last year. Only two other companies in Horne’s size category grew in excess of five percent this past year.

“Our Texas operations kicked off and that certainly contributed,” Havens added. Continued work for clients recovering from hurricanes Ike, Gustav and Katrina and other natural disasters have also helped bring the company business.

Havens said HORNE will continue to add new clients and expand services with existing ones in the coming years. Its major focus areas include construction, healthcare, disaster recovery, financial institutions, franchise companies, wealth advising and SEC/private equity companies. The recent Affordable Care Act federal legislation will also pose new advisory opportunities.

“We’re certainly proud to continue to be a member of the Mississippi 100,” Havens said. “Obviously Mississippi is key to our firm. We’ve grown from one office in 1962 to 12 offices in five states with 450 team members.”

Potential new health care regulations for companies will also bring business to another Mississippi company.

K. Lewis

L. Lewis

“Obamacare can be a revenue stream if you’re willing to do the legwork and get out in front of it,” said Ken Lewis, operations director for Ridgeland-based payroll and human resources firm People Lease.

Despite the country’s high unemployment numbers and Mississippi’s slow reaction to any impending recovery, the leadership at People Lease is not participating in the recession. “I don’t know why we don’t call it a depression,” Lewis said. “We’re able to continue down the path to prosperity. We don’t have conversations about what we can cut.”

Founded by Lewis’ father Larry Lewis in 1984, the 17-member team at People Lease produced a healthy $63 million of reported revenue in 2011 moving their 17-member team from 52nd place to 36th on the Mississippi 100. People Lease also grew its business in more than 12 states, including new markets in Illinois and Kansas.

Even if there is an executive change in Washington, D.C., in January and some health care legislation is subsequently repealed, Lewis said his company is operating under the assumption that everything will still be in place.

Lewis said smart Mississippi businesses can not only find ways to control their spending but also find new revenue, “focusing more on growing their top side instead of panicking and trimming their budgets.”

“We went into this recession with ample revenue and a debt-free environment,” Lewis said. “As our clients grow, we grow with them. We do run a very tight ship.”

Others that made gains

Structural Steel Services (31st to 26th)

Year Founded: 1975

Reported Sales: $104 million


Jackson Paper Companies (46th to 37th)

Year Founded: 1921

Reported Sales: $63 million


Venture Technologies (52nd to 45th)

Year Founded: 1986

Reported Sales: $54 million

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