Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Helping these agencies achieve medical breakthroughs has proven healthy to SSS’s bottom line. Ranked No. 81 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100, the concern grossed $28 million in sales in 1996, an impressive revenue growth of 55% from the previous year. “SSS will continue to grow as the government and the private sector continue to push these efforts in health care research,” says company Chairman Herbert J. Miller.
But the 62-year-old Camden, South Carolina, native has always been plugged into numbers. He holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) and a master’s degree in mathematics from Howard University. In 1963, he was hired as a programmer for the Lambda Corp., a high-tech information services firm, where he developed database management systems and simulation software models used for war games and nuclear attack damage estimates. In 1969, he co-founded the Hendrickson Co., a statistical analysis firm that he says “shifted computerized applications from the military to the civilian side of government.” Hendrickson analyzed federal, civilian and income-transfer programs.
After a dispute with some of the principals at Hendrickson, Miller and two other employees, Denis Ables and Mary leMat, left to form SSS in 1978. (Miller owns 51% of the company, while Ables, the company’s senior vice president and treasurer, and leMat, the concern’s senior vice president and corporate secretary, each own 24.5%.)
Of the firm’s 18 clients, roughly 93% represent government agencies In the health care field. SSS’s biomedical research support division, which employs 90 of the company’s 215-member workforce, handles the technical s
upport and administrative management for three of the federal government’s clinical trials programs for AIDS treatment. The effort, which includes 90 current clinical studies and 60 that are being developed, involves the treatment of the virus in adults and children, prevention of transmission of the disease from infected mothers to infants and outbreaks within communities. SSS also distributes funds for various research laboratories and management of Internet sites for communication with researchers and clinics. “In the immediate future, we will see if these applications are transferable to the local and state arena,” maintains the soft-spoken Miller. “The next frontier will be with pharmaceutical companies in the commercial area.”
For now, SSS will deal with government initiatives. And the next time the executive branch debates health care reform, SSS will likely figure prominently in reams or computer printouts.
SHOPPING FOR DEALS
Leslie M. Corley is the master of the deal. He demonstrated his skills when he structured the transaction that created Convenience Corp. of America Inc. (CCA), the nation’s second largest licensee of 7-Eleven convenience stores. With gross sales of $137.1 million, the West Palm Beach, Florida-based business is ranked No. 8 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 in its first showing. “This transaction is indicative of the type of deals that we look at,” says the 50-year-old financier. “We seek companies with potential for long-term growth and a strong fundamental outlook.”
Corley has always been one to try to reach for the cosmos. His