GR Company Cracks Top 100 of Inc 500 List

June 21, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — When you see the numbers relating to the growth of Technology Professionals Corp. (TPC), the image of a rocket roars to mind.

The 5-year-old firm has managed 2,568 percent revenue growth since it was founded in 1995. And that pace has won it the No. 88 position in Inc magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing companies.

Inc published the list in its Oct. 30 edition

The company’s founder and president, Steven C. Lassig, is — to put it mildly — pleased. "I couldn't ask for a better 5-year business performance evaluation,” Lassig said. “We've laid a very solid platform for the future."

TPC helps manufacturing and service organizations design, develop and support information technology. While it is headquartered on the fourth floor of One Iona Avenue SW, TPC has people operating out of offices in Chicago, Phoenix, St. Louis and New Jersey.

Lassig explained that the company offers a very broad range of IT services primarily to large firms here and — nowadays — all over the nation.

“We help companies with computer systems. Some of our clients are companies which know what they want to do, but may not have the resources internally to do the job.

“In some cases, it’s kind of like you and your wife,” he chuckled. “You both know how to clean house, but you’re also both employed in full-time jobs, so you need to get somebody to do the work for you.”

“And we help companies which know they need something but don’t quite know how to approach it,” he added.

As the firm’s name hints, TPC’s resources are entirely human talent and intellect, and the projects the company undertakes may range from modest six-month jobs to projects that go on for years.  

Lassig and his partner, Robert Hauch, incorporated TPC in May of 1996.

Being listed in the Inc 500 may not carry the firepower of being listed in, say, the Fortune 500, but it is a major distinction, and the current listing seems to have special significance.

Now, bearing in mind that depending on what expert is quoted, we’re either hovering near or slipping into a recession.

Yet on Oct. 30, Inc noted that the firms included in its 500 list this year set records both in collective sales and collective growth. Inc tabulated $12.5 billion in sales among the firms, and an average growth rate of almost 2000 percent.

Admittedly, those numbers are for 1996 through 2000, and do not include this year’s sales. But in the run-up to 2001, those 500 companies generated a total of 80,000 jobs.

"That national job figure is the one that impresses me the most," says Lassig, a self-pronounced entrepreneurial spirit whose leadership philosophy supports development of entrepreneurial traits in his own employees.

Lassig said TPC's focus on an employee ownership and team model that he said has led to extremely low employee turnover for a firm in the IT services industry.

"Our annual turnover is about 6 percent; the industry average is closer to 50 percent,” Lassig said.

“We are very grateful and flattered that our customers and employees believe in us to the degree that in this downturn economy, our business model has enabled us to grow and expand our reach into new markets ahead of schedule."

He explained that at TPC, all eligible employees have the option to own stock, providing everyone an ownership role. In 1996, when the partners offered ownership to the first 15 employees, all of them purchased shares.                                                                        

TPC’s business philosophy and employee management model was also highlighted in Inc’s Oct. 16 edition in an article entitled "Managing One to One."

The magazine highlighted TPC's employee rewards philosophy and efforts, and quoted Linda Connor, TPC's vice president of corporate culture: "Every time I meet an employee … I take mental notes. …"

According to the article: "She then takes that information, runs it through her imagination, and pulls out ingenious — occasionally audacious — ideas for customized employee rewards."

It quotes her as saying, “Dude ranches, golf outings, lawn mowing services or even hot meal delivery are some of the ways we reward our employees for staying centered on our client needs.”

"If we can simplify our employees' lives and empower them to stay balanced, our employees excel and our customers have the most efficient, productive support," Lassig adds.

"Our people are our only asset and source of revenue in the consulting and services world, so we designed a business model that puts people first. Our successful model positions TPC as a destination for careers—not a holding tank for jobs and contractors," Lassig says.

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