Playing To Win

These ventures are growing through innovation and dedication

and $9.5 million for 2001 and 2002, respectively.
The company also provides IT training and customized software to the public sector.

BUSINESS INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
This award honors companies that have set trends and broken new ground in a particular industry.

Decision Information Resources Inc.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Research and evaluation services
PRESIDENT Russell Jackson
LOCATION Houston, TX
Launched in 1984 by Russell Jackson, Decision Information Resources Inc. offers research and evaluation services to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. The company’s services include program and organizational assessment, survey research, data collection and analysis, and support services. Clients include the Department of Labor and the Department of Education. Decision Information Resources generated some $6.6 million in 2002.
Launched with “one contract and a lot of faith,” according to Jackson, 55, the Houston-based company now employs 25 full-time employees. “It’s an area of work that I’ve always done,” explains Jackson. “I’ve always worked in policy research–initially as a municipal government employee.”
Jackson, who has masters and a doctorate degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, has years of experience in research, including as a vice president and director of research for the Philadelphia correctional system and as Director of Research for Houston.
Jackson is laying a strategy for future growth by increasing the company’s penetration into the private sector. “It’s partially a focus of needing to diversify beyond the federal arena.”

Metro Therapy Providers Inc.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Therapy services for children
PRESIDENT Karen Bennett
LOCATION Tucker, GA
Realizing there was a gap in home-health services in the Atlanta area, Karen Bennett, a physical therapist, decided to fill the void. Launched in 1990, Metro Therapy Providers Inc. offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services to children and adolescents.
With a full-time staff of six and a cadre of 29 independent therapists, the firm provides services at the patient’s home or school. Patients are referred by private doctors, hospitals, or federal programs such as the Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. Revenues for 2002 totaled a little more than $2 million. “I found there was nobody willing to come into the community and handle these underserved children,” says Bennett, 47. “I was probably one of the lowest-paid therapists for the first couple of years since I didn’t pay myself; [I] just built up the payroll.”
The company plans to implement new technology to streamline the billing and documentation process. Bennett’s goal is to equip each therapist with a PDA or laptop so that all billing and documentation can be handled electronically. “By utilizing technology, we will have the opportunity to provide services to children across the state and will also be able to venture into untapped arenas,” she says.

Mobile Cardiac Imaging L.L.C.
TYPE OF BUSINESS Mobile medical imaging
CEO Colleen Payne-Nabors
LOCATION Tulsa, OK
Colleen Payne-Nabors knew her business was doing well when a competitor offered to buy her out. “I said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I’m not ready to retire yet.’”
Mobile Cardiac Imaging L.L.C. offers a slew of services, including mobile ultrasound and nuclear medicine, to rural and metropolitan hospitals, clinics, and private

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