The University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the 100 fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the eighth annual Bulldog 100 Celebration on Feb. 4 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
The 2017 fastest-growing business was Chicken Salad Chick, helmed by president and CEO Scott Deviney, who received his degree in economics from the Terry College in 1995. The company is based in Auburn, Alabama, and was started by a stay-at-home mom and her software salesman husband after selling chicken salad at PTA meetings.
To date, the company operates 62 restaurants and has sold 146 franchises in eight states, selling chicken salad in 15 flavor profiles. In 2016, Chicken Salad Chick landed at No. 37 on Inc. Magazine's annual list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the U.S., raking in $9.8 million in 2015, with a growth rate of more than 6,000 percent in the past three years. The company has also been named one of FastCasual.com's top Movers and Shakers and one of Nation's Restaurant News' 2015 Breakout Brands.
The remainder of the Bulldog 100 top 10 was as follows:
2. Kabbage Inc., Atlanta
3. The Holly Purcell Group, Athens
4. Charlotte Lucas Interior Design, Charlotte, North Carolina
5. SMD LLC, Huntersville, North Carolina
6. Two Maids & A Mop, Birmingham, Alabama
7. Specialized Veterinary Services, Fort Myers, Florida
8. Lake Country Pharmacy & Compounding Center, Greensboro, Georgia
9. Cruise Planners, Decatur
10. Rev Coffee Roasters, Smyrna
The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors partnered with the UGA Alumni Association to review nominated businesses' financial records to determine the ranked list.
Nominations for the 2017 Bulldog 100 were accepted between February and May 2016. To be considered for the list, each organization must have been in business for at least five years, experienced revenues in excess of $100,000 for the calendar year 2013 and be owned or operated by a former UGA student who either owns at least 50 percent of the company or is the CEO, president or managing partner. The Bulldog 100 recognizes the fastest-growing businesses regardless of size by focusing on a three-year compounded annual growth rate.
Approximately 490 nominations were received for the 2017 Bulldog 100. The class includes companies of all sizes, providing services and products in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, law, IT, consulting, retail and pest control. Companies as far west as California and as far northeast as New York made the list this year. The average compounded annual growth rate for this year's Bulldog 100 businesses was 44 percent.
The 100 businesses and the 131 alumni who lead them were recognized by the UGA Alumni Association during the event on Feb. 4.
The evening began with an exclusive reception for honorees hosted by FirstData, a global leader in commerce-enabling technology and solutions. This year's keynote speaker was Debbie Storey (AB '80, MBA '06), retired executive vice president of AT&T Mobility Customer Service and author of the book "Don't Downsize Your Dreams." Storey spoke about the importance of strong leadership development for success in business.
"The UGA Alumni Association is excited to honor our graduates who are founding and leading these prosperous enterprises," Ruth Bartlett (BBA '76), president of the UGA Alumni Association, said. "It is inspiring to see the influence these businesses have on our students. Student participation in Bulldog 100 allows our scholars a unique opportunity to network with these accomplished business leaders, and also to observe the best examples of success from people who once were where they are now."
To view the complete list of 2017 Bulldog 100 businesses or nominate a business for the 2018 Bulldog 100, see www.alumni.uga.edu/b100. Nominations are being accepted through May 31.