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Fast 40 recognizes Mississippi’s leading companies

It’s hard to believe but another two years has rolled around since the Mississippi Business Journal last co-sponsored Fast 40, a celebration of the 40 fastest-growing companies in Mississippi. Hard to believe, but true nonetheless. The event is great, but the fleeting passage of time’s a bummer.

Every second year, we team with KPMG, LLP, and Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC, to recognize and salute the achievements of 40 fast growing companies that meet the following criteria:

• independent and privately-held

• revenues of at least $1 million in 2004 and have been in business for at least three full years

• have their home offices and principal place of business in Mississippi.

The challenge of growing a business

Here’s how the program works. A nomination form is completed and either mailed or faxed to KPMG. The CPAs and attorneys verify the data and determine the winning companies. They hold all financial information in the strictest confidence.

We’ll produce a publication highlighting each winner’s business and achievements. Additionally, the winners will be honored at an awards luncheon on October 20th here in Jackson.

The awards luncheon has always been a gala event and this year is sure to be a memorable occasion for everyone involved.
Growing a business is a real challenge — hard to achieve and harder still to sustain. Very few companies can stay on the fast track for long without falling by the wayside. The Fast 40 program honors those home grown companies that have found the secret to successful operations.

All of us are excited when a major company announces its decision to locate in Mississippi. Quite naturally, the prospect of thousands of new jobs gets our hearts pumping. With all the excitement over new, big companies coming to town, it’s easy to forget that it’s our own Mississippi-based businesses that provide most of the oomph to get the economy going and they provide the lion’s share of the new jobs. It is to these Mississippi companies that our Fast 40 celebration is dedicated.

The program began in 1997 and has been presented every second year since then. Companies can be nominated as often as their operations justify. In fact, many of the original 1996-97 winners have appeared several times since that first year.

The Merchants Company has been among the Fast 40 winners every year since the program began meaning they have enjoyed spectacular growth continuously since 1996. Cypress Pharmaceuticals has been in the winner’s circle for the past three contests — 1999, 2001 and 2003.

Another multi-year winner is AmFed Companies. They first appeared in 1999 and were winners in both 2001 and 2003.
Telling the success stories

We look forward to seeing these past winners continue their incredible growth spiral and welcoming new, first-time winners this year.

This program allows us to witness the growth of some of Mississippi’s most successful companies. It is our privilege to chronicle a few of these companies’ accomplishments.

We are anxiously awaiting the October 20th awards program where we hope to meet some new entrepreneurs and renew our acquaintance with some old friends.

Entering the competition is your ticket to all the fun, and I hope that every company fitting the criteria will participate this year.

The deadline for submitting nominations is upon us — entries must be faxed or post-marked by Friday, July 8th.

Thought for the Moment

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. — talk show guru Larry King

Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.


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