Elliott Davis, LLC and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Honor South Carolina's Most Successful Companies

November 15, 2007

GREENVILLE, SC. –  Nov. 15, 2007 – Elliott Davis, LLC, the largest accounting and business advisory firm headquartered in S.C., announced the winners of the South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 program today at the South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce Annual Summit event.

The sixth annual event was held at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 grand award winner, Tricor Construction Inc., headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., experienced impressive revenue growth of nearly 400% in 2006.

The company attributes much of its success to a partnership with the Department of Transportation to provide reinforced earth structures and geosupport systems to various construction projects across the state. Such growth is especially noteworthy considering the company was founded just five years ago.

Kelly Cheek, the president of Tricor Construction, believes success is due to the single-minded focus of a hardworking team.

“Without our employees Tricor Construction would not exist,” says Cheek. “Our crews and supervisors are at the top of their game and work harder, longer and stronger than any other team I’ve ever worked with.”

Last year’s winner, Force Protection Industries Inc. of Ladson, the world’s leading manufacturer of armored vehicles vital to the protection armed forces and security personnel around the globe, comes in second place in this year’s competition with a 300% increase in revenue.

Customer Effective Inc. of Greenville placed third in this year’s competition with a 216% growth in revenue. Customer Effective is a leading innovator in customer interaction solutions based on the Microsoft CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform.

The 2007 winners covered a wide array of industries, including financial services, construction, manufacturing, professional services, and technology. With the exception of technology, which experienced a bit of a dip nationally, the big winners this year, both nationally and statewide, experienced growth in unprecedented numbers, with the biggest growth coming out of the financial services sector.

South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 competition, co-sponsored by Elliott Davis and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, recognizes 25 companies statewide for exceptional performance in both revenue and employment growth. This year’s 25 top performers cover a broad spectrum in terms of size, industry sector and geographic locations. From the Upstate, which includes Duncan, Easley, Greenville, and Spartanburg, to the Midlands which includes Columbia and North Augusta, to the Coastal/Lowcountry region which includes Charleston, Conway, Hilton Head, Ladson, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach and Summerville, this year’s winners show a favorable spread across all regions.

Overall, there are 12 cities represented among this year’s entrants, with the highest number of entries clustered in the Coastal/Lowcountry areas. Among the top 25 winners, 16 companies reported revenues greater than $10 million annually with the largest having assets over $465 million.

This year’s winners are primarily private businesses who attribute their astonishing success to lean, strong labor, increased productivity, unparalleled customer service, and prudent long-term financial planning. The 2007 winners increased their gross revenues from 90% to an astounding 397%.

According to S. Hunter Howard Jr., president and chief executive office of program co-sponsor South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, “I am proud to be a part of a program that celebrates such an outstanding group of entrepreneurs and business owners. It is so important to the growth of our state that we continue to have companies that persevere through all kinds of economic weather and who continue to rise to the top. The continued growth of these middle market companies is vital to the continued prosperity and success of South Carolina.”

The 2007 annual list ranking clearly demonstrates the renewed prosperity being felt throughout the state and around the country.

“I’m thrilled to see that this year’s honorees come from all sectors of the business spectrum and that they have enjoyed such unparalleled prosperity,” said Todd Mitchell, chairman at Elliott Davis. “It says great things about our economy and our state that we are continuing to grow and succeed at such a remarkable rate.”

Submissions were compiled, evaluated, and ranked by a review panel from Elliott Davis. Recognizing exceptional growth and performance is the basis of the South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007, whose inaugural ranking was released in the fall of 2002. Details on prior year winners of the program can be found at www.ElliottDavis.com.

South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm recognition initiative focuses on the achievements of emerging privately and publicly-owned businesses and their contributions to the state’s economy.

The 2007 rankings were determined using a weighted equation tied to percentage of increase both gross revenues (or assets), and full-time employment.

To learn more about the South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companies initiative, visit www.ElliottDavis.com or contact Buster Kennedy at (864) 242-3370 or via email at [email protected] .

Winner Distribution by Industry Distribution 17 Financial Services 14 Technology 13 Construction 13 Manufacturing 12 Staffing 7 Professional Services 5 Real Estate 5 Retail 4 Other 10 Total 100 Leading Increases in Revenue Tricor Construction Inc. 397% Force Protection Industries Inc. 300% Customer Effective Inc. 216% Leading Increases in Employment North American Rescue Products Inc. 500% FGP International 189% M33 Integrated Solutions 167% Profiles of South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companies SM 2007 Top Three Winners Winner Tricor Construction Inc. Spartanburg, S.C. Construction Tricor Construction Inc. experienced an impressive growth of nearly 400 percent in 2006.

The company has capitalized on a relationship with the Department of Transportation, providing reinforced earth structures and geosupport systems to various construction projects across the state. Projects are also diversified to include a variety of commercial projects. Such growth is especially noteworthy considering the company was founded just five years ago. Kelly Cheek, the president of Tricor Construction, believes success is due to the single-minded focus of a hardworking team.

“Without our employees Tricor Construction would not exist,” says Cheek. “Our crews and supervisors are at the top of their game and work harder, longer and stronger than any other team I’ve ever worked with.”

Cheek’s goals for the future are to continue to grow with both commercial and government projects.

We are incredibly blessed with our business and starting this company was one of the best decisions of my life,” he adds.

First Runner-Up Force Protection Industries Inc. Ladson, S.C. Manufacturing With 10 years of consistent service to the United States military, Force Protection Industries Inc. has earned national recognition for the research and design of blast technology and counter improvised explosive devices (IED). The company also manufactures tests and delivers blast- and mine-proof vehicles for use throughout the world. The company’s products have helped protect U. S. soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo to name a few locales. In 2003, Force Protection Industries had outgrown its first South Carolina headquarters at the Charleston Naval Yard. A new 400,000 sq ft of administrative, manufacturing, research and development, test and integration space was built in nearby Ladson, S.C. to support recent years’ impressive growth. The company now includes a workforce of more than 850, and occupies a
260-acre campus on Highway 78 in Ladson.

Second Runner-Up Customer Effective Inc. Greenville, S.C. Software Consulting When companies in the service sector need to implement the newest customer management software, they turn to Customer Effective Inc. in Greenville. Customer Effective is a leading innovator in customer interaction solutions based on the Microsoft CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, the company holds certification as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Solution Implementer to serve Microsoft customers worldwide. Over 100 Microsoft CRM implementation and development projects have been made a reality thanks to Customer Effective personnel. With customizations that streamline and extend the capability of Microsoft CRM, Customer Effective makes it easier for users to be more effective in their work. Customer Effective has been developing solutions on the Microsoft CRM platform since 2002, when the product was first released.

Remaining Winners

4. North American Rescue Products Inc. Greenville, S.C. Military Medical North American Rescue Products Inc. is dedicated to serving those who serve their country. The company develops and manufactures products to decrease preventable deaths on the battlefield and other dangerous environments service men and women face. The company uses all of the best thinking in the industry to develop new projects: research of leading academic institutions, culturally like-minded companies and asymmetric warfare experts all provide fuel for innovative products. North American Rescue Products thinks of both the soldiers on the ground and the medical professional treating those soldiers, and providing solutions that work for both.

5. Dargan Construction Company Myrtle Beach, S.C. Construction Dargan Construction Company is a commercial general contractor. While the company’s projects are diversified to all aspects of commercial construction, high-rise condominium projects in Horry County are their specialty. Dargan Construction brings over 50 years of experience to projects, and takes pride in providing the most cost-effective solutions without compromising quality or safety. The company’s mission is to do things right, the first time, and with a well-developed quality control process and trained managers, they live up to that motto again and again.

6. Rescom Construction Greenville, S.C. Construction Rescom Construction specializes in commercial tenant upfit and renovation construction. With unprecedented growth in downtown Greenville, Rescom has found a wealth of projects with which to excel. More than half of Rescom Construction’s work annually is in the downtown area; most are in commercial office space. Suburban office buildings, retail and medical facilities across the county are also in Rescom’s portfolio.

7. Cynergi Systems, LLC Duncan, S.C. Service Founded in 2002, Cynergi Systems is a full service, award-winning progressive system integration and multimedia company that realized the importance of engaging a variety of effective tools to optimize learning in business and educational settings. Cynergi Systems is committed to providing outstanding operational processes in engineering, project management, comprehensive training and a continuous improvement in technology.

8. Hagler Systems Inc. North Augusta, S.C. Manufacturing In 1997, members of the Hagler family, former major shareholders of pump manufacturer, GIW Industries (now a subsidiary of KSB AG of Germany), established Hagler Systems Inc. (HSI) to provide dredging/mining equipment and technical services to the North American dredge/mining market. While building a reputation for their booster designs, cleanouts, automated control systems, and other products, HSI continues to represent GIW pumps, as well as other dredge and slurry suppliers and products.

9. SDI Networks Greenville, S.C. Technology SDI Networks is an innovative systems integration firm who provides its customers with one hand to shake for all of their technology needs. With a complete range of services that includes voice over IP, network infrastructure, IP storage, wireless communications, engineering support and more, SDI has become the most trusted value-added reseller in the Southeast. Along with an outstanding customer support rating, SDI Networks was named “The Cisco Partner of the Year” in 2006, and has been listed on the Inc. 500 for the past two years.

10. JH Global Services Inc. Greenville, S.C. Distribution Founded in 2003, JH Global Services Inc. has a wealth of knowledge with partners experienced in manufacturing, management, and customer service. JH Global Services’ partner company in China has a sound record, and has exported industrial products to the United States for more than 10 years. JH Global Services’ mission is to bridge the gaps in broad industry areas between the United States and China by providing local services, while reaching suppliers across the continents. Effective collaboration with Chinese suppliers can help clients reduce product cost, improve product quality, better manage the supply chain and increase global competitiveness. 

11. CommunitySouth Financial Corporation Easley, S.C. Financial CommunitySouth Financial Corporation is one of the fastest-growing and most profitable de novo banks in the country. Headquartered in Easley, the bank currently operates offices in Easley, Mauldin, Spartanburg, Anderson and Greer, and plans to expand in Greenville and Spartanburg in 2007. CommunitySouth Financial Corporation offers a complete line of banking products and services including commercial, consumer and mortgage loans, personal and business checking and savings accounts, free online banking and bill pay, nationwide free ATMs, free business courier service, remote deposit service and courtesy overdraft coverage.

12. FGP International Greenville, S.C. Human Resources With offices in Greenville and Columbia, FGP International connects highly qualified people to specialized positions. Internationally, the professional recruiting division focuses on IT, retail, manufacturing/engineering, health care/medical field, accounting and finance. In South Carolina, the professional staffing division works in IT, accounting/finance and office support. The career transition division focuses on all levels of displaced associates, from hourly to executive.

13. Chastain Construction Inc. Charleston, S.C. Commercial Construction Chastain Construction Inc. was founded in 1995 by a group who saw the need for a reliable, value-driven, and customer-centered construction company with a commitment to quality. They provide commercial construction services to a broad range of clients seeking medical, restaurant, office and retail upfits and renovations. Chastain Construction also completes commercial new construction. At Chastain Construction, attention to detail is everything. As a professional general contracting firm, they use a team approach to ensure projects are delivered on-time, on-budget and are of the highest quality.

14. York Constructors Inc. Greenville, S.C. General Contractor York Constructors Inc. was founded in February 2002 with the primary objective of providing the highest ideals of integrity, commitment, and value in the construction industry. Licensed in several states throughout the Southeast, York Constructors uses advanced technology, innovative thinking, and professional responsibility to execute projects with unparalleled quality and lasting value. York Constructors is 100 percent management team owned and operated. With a combined experience of more than 100 years in the construction industry, their owners are some of the most highly sought-after professionals in the field.

15. Metalworx Inc. Summerville, S.C. Manufacturing Metalworx Inc. is an Industrial Machine and Fabrication company located in Summerville, S.C. They provide full-service conventional and production machining and metal fabricating services to the medical, steel, military, automotive and other related industr
ies in the Southeast. Metalworx grew from one employee in 1995 and two principals in October 1997 to over 32 employees last year. The company expects to hire additional employees, bringing the total to 40 by the end of 2007. Metalworx’ attributes growth to experience, integrity and a network of business contacts who helped the company pick up major business accounts in the early years.

16. CoastalStates Bank Hilton Head Island, S.C. Financial CoastalStates Bank is a full-service community bank offering a full compliment of banking products and services for business clients and individuals in Hilton Head. As the largest local bank in Beaufort County, they are a financial institution with generations-deep roots anchored in the heart of the Lowcountry. CoastalStates Bank is owned by local shareholders and run by some of the area’s most successful banking professionals. It offers the personal care found only at a bank operated by friend and neighbors. Along with personal and business checking accounts, high-yielding investment products, mortgage and business loans and home equity lines, CoastalStates Bank’s services include 24-hour telephone account access and online banking.

17. M33 Integrated Greenville, S.C. Logistics M33 Integrated is a logistics solutions provider that has pioneered a cutting-edge, web-based transportation management system. The speed and efficiency of this system, combined with the staff’s co-management expertise, provides clients with valuable partnership tools and collaborative network cost reductions. At M33 Integrated, the focus is targeted toward achieving optimal efficiency in its clients’ supply chain operations. M33 Integrated is a leading provider of long-term 3PL solutions, and as specialists in transportation technology and co-management services, they are dedicated to finding the best solution for its individual requirements without the concern of covering asset-based costs.

18. Tidelands Bancshares Inc. Mount Pleasant, S.C. Commercial Banking Tidelands Bancshares Inc. is a local community bank focused on serving individuals, families, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the greater Mount Pleasant and Charleston communities. Envisioned in 2001 by its organizing directors, Tidelands Bancshares raised 10.3 million dollars in start-up capital, exceeding the 8.4 million dollar minimum required by state regulators. The outstanding success in raising capital demonstrated the community’s strong interest and enthusiasm for a new local bank in the South Carolina Lowcountry market. Opened in October 2003, their local management takes great pride in providing customers with local decisions for their banking needs.

19. VC3 Inc. Columbia, S.C. Information Technology Services VC3 Inc. is celebrating its 13th year of providing high quality information technology services throughout S.C., N.C. and Ga. Headquartered in Columbia, VC3 employs over 80 people whose skills include computer and advanced networking technology, voice over IP, security, disaster recovery, web design and custom application development. VC3 is a Cisco Premier Partner with specializations in IP communications, wireless, and security, a Microsoft ISV Gold Partner, and a VMware Enterprise Partner for infrastructure consolidation. VC3’s reputation for expertise and reliability is evident through the solid, long-term relationships they have developed over the years with both government and commercial clients.

20. Builders Wholesale Carpet Inc. Columbia, S.C. Floor Coverings Builders Wholesale Carpet Inc. is a full-service floor covering company that caters to new construction residential builders. From their selection of high quality materials, to skilled installation, to continued service and maintenance, they ensure that all aspects of their business help builders close on time, with flooring solutions customers enjoy for years to come. Builders Wholesale Carpet makes it easy to do business with five locations in South Carolina and Savannah, Ga. Solid performances since 1992, combined with extraordinary growth, has brought many opportunities and accolades. The company and each branch are led by an experienced leader in the flooring industry.

21. Joseph Walker and Co., Inc Columbia, S.C. Agriculture Since 1923, Joseph Walker and Co. Inc. has served U.S. cotton producers and spinning mills as a cotton merchandising firm. The company’s goal has always been to find partners in the cotton business, build those relationships, and then deliver cotton consistently and professionally. Joseph Walker & Co. acts as a vehicle for cotton mills around the globe, marketing and delivering the raw product to suppliers and end-users. Joseph Walker & Co. prides itself on service, timely delivery and quality in its contracted cotton.

22. First National Bancshares Inc. Spartanburg, S.C. Financial First National Bancshares Inc. was formed in July 1999 by 13 local business leaders in order to organize First National Bank of Spartanburg. Its directors are community leaders who have lived in Spartanburg for many years, and most have served on numerous charitable and service organizations throughout Spartanburg County. First National Bancshares’ future plans include a seventh full-service branch opening in summer 2007 in Greer. The bank plans to develop additional branches in strategic locations throughout the state, to continue to provide service and convenience for its customers. First National Bancshares is a community bank, and it is dedicated to the people and businesses it serves.

23. DeVita & Associates Inc. Greenville, S.C. Engineering Services DeVita & Associates Inc. was founded in 1984 to provide quality, professional engineering services for a variety of applications. The principals of the firm are registered professional engineers with experience in industrial, commercial and government agency projects. Their staff of registered professional engineers, designers, CAD operators and administrative personnel provides a full range of engineering services to companies across the state.

24. B2B Media Inc. Greenville, S.C. Media B2B Media Inc. is the premier provider of innovative, brand building media solutions in the United States. They utilize digitally printed vinyl graphics to transform vehicles and architectural venues into cutting-edge marketing tools. B2B’s media clients include AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon, Alltel and Clemson University.

25. Myrtle Beach Building Supply Conway, S.C. Wholesale Building Materials The mission at Myrtle Beach Building Supply is to serve as the leading provider of building opportunities for the independent builder. The company starts every job with a strong foundation of integrity and commitment to associates, clients and most importantly the community. Myrtle Beach Building Supply also provides creative and efficient planning, support, and technical assistance in the management and development of innovations and solutions. As a trusted partner, the company helps the independent builder compete in the marketplace.

Sidebar: Criteria for South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 program Nominations for South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 were accepted between March and May 2006. Participation was open to public and private non-governmental entities representing any business or industry sector provided they met the following criteria: (a) headquartered in South Carolina; (b) in operation for at least two full fiscal years; and (c) reported revenues of at least $3 million ($50 million in assets for financial institutions) in the most recent reported year.

Sidebar: Ranking Methodology South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 rankings were determined by using information submitted for the two most recently completed fiscal years at the time of nomination. Rankings were based on a weighted equation factoring in growth in revenues or assets and with increases in employment. Submittals were compiled, evaluated for completeness and ranked by a review panel from Elliott Davis in cooperation with t
he South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. Elliott Davis tabulated the South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companiessm 2007 list based solely on responses received.


ABOUT ELLIOTT DAVIS Since 1925, Elliott Davis, LLC, PLLC in North Carolina, has been the accounting and business advisory firm that improves the financial management of emerging and middle market clients by offering a comprehensive array of accounting and business advisory services. Today, Elliott Davis is one of the largest accounting and business advisory firms in the Southeast, and among the top five companies awarded as “2007 Best Places to Work in South Carolina.”

Elliott Davis’ affiliates include Elliott Davis Capital Partners, LLC, a regional investment banking firm; Elliott Davis Technology Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service network integration and security provider; Elliott Davis Wealth Management Services LLC, which helps individuals achieve personal financial goals by providing planning, investment, insurance and brokerage services; and Retirement Plan Advantage, LLC, providing a broad range of qualified retirement plan services. The firm is a member of The Leading Edge Alliance, an international professional association of independently-owned accounting and consulting firms based in the U.S., and is strategically aligned with LEA Europe and LEA Asia Pacific, a worldwide network of 280 offices in 50 countries around the globe.

For more information about Elliott Davis and its services, visit www.elliottdavis.com .