Something Familiar, Something New …


By Joe Sweeney


The 2019 Ingram’s 100 has something of a fresh look this year—which is both a good thing and a bit of a discouragement for those of us cheering in the stands as the game of growth unfolds.

The part that truly excited us in compiling this year’s list was the upward movement—the top-line revenues for company No. 100 this year surged $8 million from last year’s No. 100. And it was great to see some companies we’ve been tracking through the annual Corporate Report 100 fast-growth ranking as they’ve roared past nine-figure revenues to claim spots on this list of the Kansas City region’s pillars of commerce.

Chief among them is Technology Group Solutions. When this company first jumped onto our radar in 2011, it was through CR100, and founder Lenora Payne had a pretty nice IT enterprise going—2010 revenues of $13.8 million. In the years since, she and her team have simply knocked it out of the park. TGS claims the No. 85 slot this year by tacking an enormous $60 million onto its 2018 top line, good for an increase of 42.28 percent since 2017, and the biggest percentage jump among the 100.

But not by much. MIQ Logistics has kicked things into high gear, and its 40.11 percent year over year increase helped it crack the top half of the list, at No. 49.

They were among 16 companies that registered growth of at least 20 percent over their 2017 revenues, including three others that topped 30 percent. This is almost unheard of with companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues. We salute all of them for a job well done.

TGS and MIQ were among 10 companies making first appearances on this list, including the very impressive Custom Truck One Source with its first appearance, and return engagements from LMH Health and the parent of Herzog contracting—all of them flirting with billion-dollar status.

If my recollection of transitive properties in math still holds up, that means that we lost 10 from last year’s list. And that was the reason for some of the distress—not because they shrank to fall off, but because in most cases, the ownership changed through acquisition and rendered some huge companies ineligible for consideration this year.

That included two of the perennial Top 5—National Beef Packing and Lansing Trade Group. National was acquired by Brazilian conglomerate Marfrig, and the public company that had a minority stake in Lansing Trade, The Andersons, bought up the rest. Toss in the bankruptcy of Top 20 regular Payless ShoeSource, and the previous year’s sale of Ash Grove Cement Co. and Bartlett Grain, and you have a sparkling new quintile at the head of the Ingram’s 100.

Developments like those always call to mind the wisdom of our friend Peter Brown, former CEO at AMC Entertainment now heading up Grassmere Partners. At an economic-development assembly a few years ago, Brown passionately made the case for growth among locally based companies, arguing that more of them should be positioned as acquirers than as targets for acquisition. We couldn’t agree more.

Elsewhere in this year’s field, you might be able to identify companies that are conspicuous by their absence. The best example of that might be Adknowledge/V2
Ventures, the digital marketing firm that has shaken up that space over the past 15 years. Or American Century, a crown jewel of regional wealth-management services. Or companies that we’re pretty sure are in the $1 billion-dollar range of revenues as regional grocers, Ball’s Food Stores and Cosentino Food Stores.

They, and perhaps a few others, have their reasons for shielding their revenues, but we’d like to restate now that they are always invited into this dance: We think a comprehensive declaration of big companies that make their homes here says a lot to the outside world about KC’s spectacular business fundamentals. Each year we report more larger corporations that belong on Ingram’s 100 and we’re committed to reporting accurately and with the entire universe of companies in this space.

We’ll keep trying and hope you enjoy studying this year’s Ingram’s 100. 

About the author

joesweeneysig

Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher

JSweeney@Ingrams.com

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