Linda Stone, president and CEO, APR Consulting Inc.

Finalist – Services

As she celebrates her company’s 32nd anniversary this year, Linda Stone is amazed at how far it has come. Starting as a small, independent contractor that provides IT consulting and staffing services for aerospace and utility companies, APR Consulting Inc. is now a national provider of recruiting and contingent work force solutions. And as the company’s president and CEO, Stone has been recognized for her spirit, vision and community contributions.

With the company’s success throughout the years — APR has an average year-over-year growth rate of 22 percent — it’s hard to imagine that the company once was struggling to sustain itself.

When Stone founded APR in 1976, she was inspired to pursue her passion for computers and the innovative frontier of information technology. But as the company’s track record of on-time, under-budget service delivery won more and more customers, Stone realized how desperate the company needed funding if it were to keep up with growth.

Since stagnation wasn’t an option, Stone needed to find a way to keep the company’s payroll covered so APR could meet customer demands. So with faith that her clients would pay their bills, she borrowed from the equity in her home and enlisted the help of her family to take out large loans. At one point, they even maxed out their personal credit cards. While challenges have abounded, from three recessions to a slowdown in market demand, Stone has stayed focused on APR’s growth — not just in size but also in opportunities. When the market for IT and consulting services dropped in the early 2000s, for example, she identified the demand for payroll services and staff augmentation with APR’s clients and was able to make up for lost revenues.

How to reach: APR Consulting Inc.,