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Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
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How Fast Is $18.7 Billion?

There’s no shortage of numbers available to put some punch into this week’s coverage of the fastest-growing private companies based in Orange County.

Start with three—the number of lists that appear in the special report that starts on page 21.

Consider 174—the number of companies spread over the lists. Or the combined $18.7 billion in revenue, a gain of $5.5 billion since 2012. Or the 16,399 local jobs they represent.

Then there’s the range of this year’s entries, which are ranked by increases in revenue for the 12 months through June 30 compared with the same period two years earlier. The largest company on any of the lists in terms of revenue posted $6.6 billion, while the smallest had sales of $814,000.

The biggest of the big managed an 18% increase over the two-year period used as a criterion for the lists—a measure that’s meant to reflect some staying power beyond one-year spikes.

The smallest of the small posted a 78% gain.

That brings up another way to took at the range of the data: The big company’s percentage increase looks relatively modest among this field, but 18% equates to $1 billion in extra sales in its case.

The smallest outfit’s 78% leap came to a little more than $350,000—approximately 1/3000th of the larger example’s gain.

Another example of range: The $6.6 billion company is Irvine-based Golden State Foods Corp., a behemoth that employs 5,500 and distributes meat, various condiments and other products to a client base that includes McDonalds, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell. The company has made a number of acquisitions around the U.S. and globe over the past two years (see related story, page 30).

The smallest of the small is Anaheim-based Ice Bulb LLC, which has 12 workers and specializes in the “luxury ice” niche, which includes “ice balls” for high-end restaurants, sculptures made of the frozen stuff, and traveling ice-carving shows staged by a company crew (see related story, page 49).

Contrast

The big-small contrast gets us back to three when it comes to the entire roster of fastest-growing companies—a distinction that comes with minimum thresholds of $300,000 in annual sales and a 15% rate of growth over the trailing two years (see related story, page 28). This is the first year the Business Journal has broken the data into three lists—small for companies with less than $10 million in annual sales; midsize for entries with $10 million or more but less than $100 million; and large for companies that top $100 million.

Range continues as a theme for the individual lists, each of which includes representation from a broad variety of industries.

The large companies list is topped by general contractor Driver URBAN (see related story, page 22), which reflects the rebound of the real estate and construction segments in recent years. It also reflects Orange County’s significant tech sector with IT specialist Trace 3 (see related story, page 8). And Wilson Automotive Group’s presence on the list reflects the homegrown business opportunities in a marketplace with a population of more than 3 million.

Midsize, Small

The lists get longer for the midsize and small categories—another reflection of the move to break the data into three groups based on revenue, since it takes less of a volume increase for smaller companies to post significant hikes on a percentage basis.

The spread of industries remains impressive on the midsize and small lists, which combine to reflect numerous other industries and segments that make up OC’s economy, with everything from medical device makers to marketing agencies and real estate developers to architects.

The lists also combine to show geographic range, with companies scattered over 23 of OC’s 34 cities and various other locales. The spread includes significant shares for the north, south, central and coastal areas of the county.

Irvine accounts for the lion’s share of the list members, with 63 within its boundaries, including five of the 13 on the roster of large companies.

Los Alamitos, the smallest city on the list and the second-smallest in OC with fewer than 12,000 residents, was among the leaders on a per capita basis, with three companies on the list, including one among the largest companies and two on the small-company list.

Ratios

Los Alamitos has one company for every 3,900 residents, just behind Irvine, which has one for about every 3,900.

Anaheim lagged compared with its position as OC’s most populous city, with nearly 350,000 residents. The city is home to nine of the fastest-growing companies, none on the large-company list, a rate of one for every 38,000 or so residents.

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