Sixteen compaies that remain based in Gainesville were named to the Gator 100 list.
Construction completed under the management and design of Scorpio, a Gainesville construction company, can be seen around Gainesville.
Owner and founder Domenic Scorpio — yes, his company bears his Horoscope-esque name — founded the company in 2010.
Scorpio said the business began with his dream to own a company and now, it consistently draws million-dollar construction management contracts and is growing rapidly.
In fact, Scorpio was one of the companies named to UF’s 2019 Gator 100, a list of the fastest-growing UF-graduate owned or led businesses. The ranking was put together by comparing the companies’ compound annual growth rates, which is used to determine year-over-year growth over a specific period of time.
Domenic Scorpio is a two-time UF graduate, receiving his undergraduate degree in architecture in 1994 and his graduate degree in construction management in 1998.
His company landed at No. 32 on the list. Scorpio’s growth rate was around 50 percent over the past three years.
Fifteen other companies that remain based in Gainesville were named to the list. To qualify for a Gator 100 award, companies had to have been in business for five years or more with verifiable annual revenues of $250,000 or more every year since 2015.
Twinkle Toes Nanny Agency, owned and founded by UF graduate Kristy Bickmeyer, was ranked No. 26 on the 2019 Gator 100 list.
Twinkle Toes opened in Gainesville in 2011 and has since opened locations in Jacksonville, Tampa and at least four other cities.
Bickmeyer, a UF history graduate, founded the company after worrying that Craigslist would not produce a trustworthy nanny and finding that traditional nanny agencies were too pricey.
“I thought there had to be other moms out there with the same problem,” she said.
So she started a Twinkle Toes, where parents only have to pay the nanny per hour, instead of pricey nanny matching fees. Bickmeyer said she plans to continue to grow the number of Twinkle Toes offices.
PHOS Creative, a digital marketing advertising and marketing company, was ranked as the 39th fastest-growing Gator-led company. It was started in Gainesville by 2008 UF classical studies graduate Brandon West.
He started with one employee and has since grown to about 13, helping clients grow their companies in California, Ohio, Indiana, Florida and beyond.
West said he believes his and his employees’ passion for helping clients grow their companies helped theirs.
“Culture is key for growth and retaining and attracting employees that create great experiences for the clients that we work with,” West said, adding that his company was named The Greater Gainesville Chamber’s 2018 employer of the year. “When people love working for you, they love working for their clients.”
Coming in at No. 52 was Front Street Real Estate Group — now Avison Young after it was acquired by the mega-giant national real estate firm about a month ago. UF graduate Nick Banks founded the company in 2002 and started brokerage in Gainesville in 2010.
Banks attended UF from 1986 to 1990 and got degrees in real estate and finance.
At the time it was acquired by Avison Young, Front Street had grown from one person — Banks — to a 30-person team, who will all transition under the new name and company after being acquired. Front Street managed a million square feet of commercial properties before its square footage was added to Avison Young’s portfolio of 290 million square feet in managed property.
“So many technology companies begin their companies with exit strategies in mind. It was the opposite for me. I was not really interested in selling the company until about two years ago. It was flattering but I brushed it off.
“But I wanted to be able to provide more opportunities for our team and our clients will really benefit from being part of a larger platform,” he said.
Front Street, which has signs posted all over Gainesville, will soon replace its old signs with Avison Young signs, Banks said.
He said he named the company after the Front Street that runs through Wilmington, North Carolina.
“We have 350 signs we have to replace and we’ll start that process next week,” he said. “It’s definitely an emotional experience selling my company but we’ve found and sold it to a company that we think will do great things,” he said.
Other Gainesville companies named to the Gator 100 were No. 6, United Energy Services; No. 14, Power Production Management Inc.; No. 34, Captozyme; No. 42, Worth Advertising Group; No. 49, Sarah Cain Design; No. 54, Veteran Energy; No. 60, SkyFrog Landscape LLC; No. 61, Walker Architects; No. 63, Study Edge; No. 75, Rad Wear Inc.; No. 86, Kinetix Physical Therapy and No. 92, Parisleaf.
West, from PHOS Creative, said winning the award Feb. 22 and accepting it alongside all the other companies was special for him.
“Being an alumnus at the University of Florida, it’s very interesting to walk back into the Reitz Union and win this award as a completely different person from who I was when I first walked through those halls,” he said. “It was an honor.”
Revenues earned by the Gator 100 topped $6.7 billion and the companies employed more than 64,000 people. The Gator 100 is put together by the University of Florida Alumni Association and the UF Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.