James John Cutillo
Founder and CEO
Stonegate Mortgage Corporation
Founded in 2005, Stonegate Mortgage Corporation began at a time when the mortgage industry was crowded with lenders willing to provide anyone, qualified or not, with the money to buy a home. So James John Cutillo, CEO and founder of Stonegate, differentiated his new company by sticking to traditional, sound underwriting principles — only loaning money to qualified applicants and avoiding subprime lending.
Stonegate also invested in technology and put an emphasis on the customer experience to stand out among larger, more impersonal financial institutions. The company’s internal culture would be defined by honesty, accountability and reliability.
With its principles established, Cutillo was able to orchestrate a strategy during the 2008 economic crisis that would establish the company’s leadership in the new mortgage industry and lead to its successful IPO.
Recognizing that access to capital was key, Cutillo acquired a Kansas-based bank that would enable the company to more effectively tap into financial resources to fund mortgages. He acquired Swain Servicing in Mansfield, Ohio, to provide the company with expertise and resources in mortgage servicing that would add a critical component of personal customer service to the company.
Cutillo also actively reinvested in the business, developing a technology system that enabled Stonegate to more effectively review, process and close loans for customers.
Finally, Cutillo began hiring, creating hundreds of jobs at a time when most financial companies were shedding employees. He sought people from the financial industry who understood the mistakes of subprime lending, valued customer service and shared and believed in Stonegate’s core values.
Further acquisitions have helped the company grow. Cutillo recently announced the company would create additional jobs in Indiana by 2017 and continue its national expansion. Stonegate, now licensed in 42 states and Washington, D.C., plans to expand its services across 48 states this year.
President and CEO
Morales Group, Inc.
Tomas Morales was the first member of his family to earn a college degree. The son of seasonal migrant workers who picked tomatoes on an Indiana farm, Morales is now a successful engineer with some impressive corporate names on his resume.
But for all his accomplishments, Morales didn’t ignore his father’s dying wish that he do more than donate money to causes related to his Mexican ethnicity. Rather, he needed to embrace his heritage and make substantial contributions to the Hispanic culture.
So Morales took a leap of faith and started Morales Group, Inc., a staffing firm that initially focused on placing Hispanic immigrants in jobs.
The workforce was once 75 percent Hispanic, but now includes Burmese, Nigerians, Iraqis and other immigrants from across the globe. Morales’s belief is that if he can give an individual a job, he isn’t just helping them; he’s multiplying the effect by helping families. Morales is a disciple of the school of servant leadership and his faith in God leads him in every decision that he makes.
That faith was tested when Morales launched his business. There were nights when he and his wife would lie awake wondering how they were going to make payroll the next day. There were plenty of times when supporters would seemingly come out of nowhere to loan money and help them get by.
The company began to take off, but was tested again in 2008 when the recession hit. Salaries were cut by 20 percent and creative cash flow ideas were enacted. But the company stayed afloat as local business supporters who saw the potential in what Morales was doing came to lend a helping hand.
Morales has lived up to the promise he made to his father, lecturing around the U.S. on immigration issues as he continues to advocate on behalf of the Hispanic community.
President and CEO
Transportation Solutions Enterprises
Todd Berger began as a dispatcher at Transportation Solutions Enterprises with little knowledge of the transportation and logistics industry. But his intelligence and strong work ethic would soon have him seated atop the company as president and CEO.
Four years into his career, Berger recognized the need to diversify the business. He proposed opening a trucking company to ensure Transportation Solutions could stay competitive.
Though those at the top opposed the idea, Berger persevered and convinced them to open Freight Exchange, a full truckload carrier. It turned a profit in the first year and helped Berger gain upward momentum in the company.
Berger has since launched 3PLogic, a contract logistics management provider, and fought successfully to gain investors. He structured Transportation Solutions to be the holding company for the two companies he created, strategically aligning them to be each other’s solutions but not each other’s problem.
This past year Berger facilitated the acquisition of three companies, further diversifying his company’s service offerings. He has also opened new offices for the parent company in Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois, which has helped the company realize one of its highest number of loads transported to date.
Berger believes that continued innovation is necessary for growth, so he hires creative employees who challenge themselves and the business.
He has recently invested heavily in recruitment, with an emphasis on developers and integration engineers to continue to push innovation and cutting-edge technology.
The company has also invested significant capital in building enterprise technology products. For example, 3PLogic has built extensive proprietary middleware that integrates and communicates with any system, and allows a few employees to facilitate hundreds of millions of dollars in freight.
In the next five years, the company plans to continue to create solutions and in the process triple its value.
President and CEO
TransTech IT Staffing
Mary Davenport, a stay-at-home mom, and her husband bought TransTech IT Solutions, a staffing firm dedicated to IT service professionals, in 2002. Davenport handled back-office operations until her husband spun off a company and was pulled in another direction.
Davenport took the lead as president and CEO amid skepticism. She was forced to learn the sales and recruitment functions quickly, sacrificing her personal time to study the business.
Her employees learned not long into her tenure that Davenport was great at making tough decisions. She learned quickly and took over all client-facing activities. When it became clear that Davenport was both capable and truly cared about those she worked with, the staff at TransTech rallied behind her.
Davenport acts with integrity and stays true to her word. She is excellent at generating consensus with her team then enforcing the expectations and performance of the established goals to achieve the desired results. This has led to considerable growth in each of the past eight years.
Davenport makes it a strategic initiative to create innovative efficiencies that improve employee and corporate performance. TechServe’s client satisfaction system enables the firm to deliver a high-level of service with a high-touch approach.
Davenport celebrates its culture and clients by throwing a joint holiday party with clients and consultants together. It’s become an annual event many look forward to attending and helps keep staffers and clients highly engaged with the company.
Today, the company is more profitable than ever. Davenport is a national board member for TechServe Alliance and is considered a leader in the industry. By taking advantage of its robust social recruiting platform and mobile readiness strategy, the company plans to triple its revenue over the next seven years.