Thriving In Unpredictable Times

Despite economic threats, the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100have found inventive ways to boost revenues and market share

IT firm. Wright says one key contract signed was worth $325 million from the Army Field Support Command for its global property management support services. With six months remaining on the 2007 calendar, Wright anticipates Dimensions International’s revenues will increase an additional 20% to 30%.

Like Dimensions International, Fairfield, California-based MV Transportation Inc. (No. 10 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $430.5 million in sales) achieved success by securing contracts with government agencies. As a result, its revenues increased by 15.5% last year, landing, among other business, an eight-year contract valued at $55 million with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to transport persons with disabilities. CEO Jon Monson says the company’s single-largest contract “propelled most of our growth in 2006.” The fixed-route mass transit and paratransit services provider, which also landed a $13 million annual contract with Montgomery County, Maryland, has contracts with about 185 cities and government districts in the United States.

BE 100S companies tied closely to the U.S. automotive market had perhaps the most difficult year. Shifts in consumer demand away from the bread-and-butter sport utility vehicles sent U.S. automakers reeling along with their contractors. Among those injured in the car wreck: Detroit-based The Bing Group (No. 32 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $135.3 million in sales), a manufacturer that provides parts to Tier I and II automotive suppliers. As a result of selling its seating and mirror division, whose main clients are Toyota, Ford, and GM, to Comer Holdings L.L.C. in December 2005, it realized a 74% drop in revenues. Although revenues had grown in 2005, the company wasn’t very profitable, according to Chairman Dave Bing. “If I couldn’t make money in that particular arena, there was no sense in staying in it. I had other divisions to run,” says Bing, who still operates metal processing, steel stamping, and assembly units.

Faring somewhat better than the automotive market are companies in the quick-service restaurant industry. While S&P’s fundamental outlook remained neutral as of the end of March, the firm expects consumers to continue dining out as a result of a higher percentage of Americans working, particularly women. This increased demand is good news for Warren Anderson, CEO of Solon, Ohio-based Anderson-DuBose Co. (No. 21 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $207.9 million in sales), which distributes food, paper, and beverage products. He says healthier menu choices offered by McDonald’s, its primary client, led to a 6.9% spike in revenues. However, continued economic uncertainty is expected to stifle growth, according to Anderson, who expects revenues to remain flat next year. Also benefiting from the increase in consumers who opt to dine out is Louisville, Kentucky-based Manna Inc. (No. 19 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $276 million in sales), a multiple fast-food restaurant franchisee. CEO Ulysses Bridgeman Jr. credits the company’s 36% revenue jump to the acquisition of additional eateries. In March 2006, the company purchased 10 Chili’s restaurants throughout Wisconsin and five more in St. Louis. It now has a total of

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