Cascade Capital Corp.’s 20th Annual Business Growth Awards

Greg Cordray helps Keystone Technology Consultants rebound from business changes in 2013

akr_bga_GregCordrayGreg Cordray
President and founder
Keystone Technology Consultants
(330) 666-6200
www.keystonecorp.com

 

Winner: Technology, Sales Growth

Keystone Technology Consultants, an information technology firm specializing in all facets of business technology management, makes its return to the Cascade Capital Business Growth Award list.

This year, the company is recognized for its sales growth, which has doubled since 2009. Founded in 1996 by company President Greg Cordray, the company has shown resilience after spinning off its marketing and finance business units in early 2013, which cost the company a portion of its reported sales revenue as well as five employees. But the company was able to reclaim the amount lost in the next business year and add back two employees. These efforts brought its overall sales revenue at the end of 2013 on par with 2012.

Despite the generally sluggish economy, Keystone has reported sales growth during the past five years and employee growth each year leading up to 2012.

As it looks to continue this trend of upward mobility, Keystone announced in March that it had purchased property east of its Wye Road location to accommodate its physical expansion, more than doubling the company’s footprint in Akron. The company says that it needs the additional space to support new building structures as it continues to expand its staff and services.

This growth has allowed the company to give back to the community it calls home through work with the Positive Education Program, Old Trail School, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, among other organizations.


Employment increases as Bruce Lehrman’s Involta expands

akr_bga_BruceLehrmanBruce Lehrman
Founder and CEO
Involta
(330) 752-7163
www.involta.com

 

Winner: Technology, Employee Growth

Though its headquarters was established in 2007 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Involta’s commitment to the Akron market has not waned since Founder and CEO Bruce Lehrman opened its purpose-built, $17 million colocation data center in 2012.

Involta, which builds, owns and operates multitenant data centers and provides related cloud, technical and managed technical services to its clients, opened the 26,000-square-foot Akron location on a brownfield redevelopment that was the former site of the Brown Graves Lumberyard.

Since it opened, the company has been growing both in terms of its workforce and capacity for its customers. Earlier this year, Involta completed a $4 million expansion in Akron that doubled the amount of data center space for customers. The Akron site includes an on-site substation and a local metro fiber ring throughout the Akron area. The construction of the fiber ring is an asset leveraged by many businesses in the Akron area to connect to the data center at a significant cost savings.

Countrywide, Involta is operating seven facilities with an eighth slated to open in December.

In addition to the increase in its physical footprint, the company has experienced significant growth in both revenue and employees. Regarding the former, Involta has seen its revenues more than triple from 2009 to today. It has also grown its workforce, adding 59 employees in the past five years, settling at 96 in 2013. This trend of steady revenue and employee growth has persisted since 2009.


For Suranjan Shome’s Epiphany Management Group, growth happens organically

akr_bga_SuranjanShomeSuranjan Shome
President & CEO
Epiphany Management Group
(888) 364-4512
www.epiphanymgmt.com

 

Winner: Technology, Best Story

When Suranjan Shome founded Epiphany Management Group in Akron, he did it alone and without existing customers. His goal was to provide direction, planning, leadership and support to K-12 schools in technology, professional development and communications.

Despite an economic slump shortly after the company was established in 2007, EMG managed to add 11 employees by 2009 and grew its staff to 73 employees by 2013, spreading across four states. The company’s revenue shot into the millions during that time and achieved gross profit percentages of more than 30 percent.

Helping guide EMG’s growth is a copyrighted strategic planning process that flows into all sections of the organization. This has provided the organization with a clear direction, message and purpose for itself and its employees, creating an alignment throughout the organization between employee and organizational goals and direction. It has also contributed to inspiring EMG employees to help realize stellar customer satisfaction and customer retention outcomes.

At EMG, the power does not primarily reside with Shome. Rather, he has implemented an executive and general management structure that delegates decision-making autonomy and accountability throughout the company.

In 2011, EMG made investments in senior management personnel, processes and systems automation, which directly correlates to revenues doubling by 2013. Financing for this growth came without outside venture funding.

On a local level, EMG offered paid internships to Akron Public School students and worked with local nonprofit data centers to develop shared services for schools.