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Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022
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Orange County’s Fastest Growers: $31.5B in Sales

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Orange County’s fastest-growing private companies defied the onset of the recession to post another strong year of expansion, albeit not as fast as a year ago.

This year’s list of the 87 fastest-growing companies in OC show their combined revenue climbed to $31.5 billion as of June 30, a 36% rise from two years ago. On last year’s list, which included 100 companies, firms reported a combined 48% rise in revenue.

The city with the fastest growers was again Irvine, which claimed 17 of the top spots, down from 28 a year ago.

That compares with nine in Santa Ana, eight in Costa Mesa, and seven in Newport Beach.

Twenty-one of Orange County’s 34 cities had at least one fast-growing company on the list.

Their sales grew at a faster pace than their base of OC employees, which increased 14% to nearly 17,500.

The list of fastest-growing companies is diverse, ranging from golf cart servicer Apex Golf Carts of Laguna Hills to marine contractor Ahtna Design-Build Inc. of Irvine to West Coast Prime Meats LLC of Brea.

The Business Journal divides the list into three categories: large companies reporting more than $100 million in annual sales; midsize companies with sales of $10 million to $99.9 million; and small companies with sales under $10 million.

Rankings are based on revenue growth reported between June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2020. Companies needed to post two-year growth of 15% or more to qualify for the list.

Notable Names

What follows are just some of the highlights seen in the trio of lists in this week’s Special Report:

• The stock market’s cratering in March showed the importance of wealth managers performing their best when the market is at its worst.

Your Wealth Effect, a money management firm based in Irvine, reported the highest percentage growth on the list, 769% to $9.1 million.

LongTail Alpha LLC, a Newport Beach fund designed to perform when the market crashes, reported a 142% increase in revenue to $8.9 million, helping it nail No. 3 on the small companies list.

Its OneTail Hedgehog Fund II returned a startling 400% during February and March, a time when the S&P 500 Index dropped 20%. LongTail’s other fund, TwoTail Alpha Offshore Fund, returned 45% in the first quarter.

“We are ensuring against declines in the stock market,” founder Vineer Bhansali told the Business Journal in a June 1 article. “It’s a protection strategy—I hate to use to the word insurance.”

Assets at the Newport Center-area firm quadrupled in the first quarter to $381 million.

Spinnaker Investment Group of Newport Beach reported a 31% rise to $2.7 million in sales, good for No. 19 on the small companies list.

• Americor Funding Inc. of Irvine led the mid-range companies list, increasing sales 492% to $87.5 million (see story, page 16).

• Salas O’Brien of Santa Ana topped the large companies list, reporting 87% sales growth to $137.5 million. The engineering firm has been on an acquisition streak.

• Santa Ana-based Allied Universal continued its tremendous growth streak by organic sales and acquisitions. It reported sales climbed 56% to $8.5 billion, ranking No. 5 on the largest companies list.

• When Alliant Insurance Services Inc. of Newport Beach surpassed $1 billion in annual sales in 2017, longtime CEO Tom Corbett told the Business Journal that “it feels fantastic. It’s been quite a ride.”

The Business Journal named Corbett its 2018 Businessperson of the Year in the finance category.

Corbett hasn’t been sitting on his laurels. It ranked No. 7 on the big companies list by posting two-year sales growth of 38% to $1.7 billion.

If Corbett can reach $2 billion in sales, Alliant might become the fifth-biggest insurance broker in the world, according to AM Best.

• Kingston Technology Co. of Fountain Valley is not only the biggest private company in the county, it also grew 22% to $12.8 billion in the past two years, coming at No. 13 on the big companies list.

• The company that boosted its headcount the most was Anaheim’s Fresh n’ Lean, where OC employment went from 95 two years ago to 410 as of June 30. Revenue at the organic prepared meal service has soared 336% to $62.8 million.

Laureen Asseo started the business in 2010 cooking meals in her one-bedroom apartment with her first clients comprised of friends and family. To date, Fresh n’ Lean remains family owned having taken no outside capital since its inception.

• W+R Studios of Huntington Beach reported a 23% increase in sales to $8.6 million. It’s a subscription software company serving the residential real estate industry. It ranked No. 22 on the small companies list.

• Continental Industries Inc. said sales climbed 20% by $7.1 million by providing precision sheet metal fabrication. Anaheim’s Continental ranked No. 23 on the small companies list.

Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.

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