Enphase Energy: Designer and Manufacturer of Solar Micro-inverters

North America is the main market of Enphase Energy, a manufacturer and designer of solar micro-inverters. The business is known as the first company and the market leader to successfully sell micro-inverter on a wide scale.

It was Martin Fornage together with Raghu Belur who formed the business in 2006 as a result of Fornage’s observation of the low performance of the string inverter for the solar array on his ranch. The M175 is their first marketed product that was the result of their $100 million private equity. Their product converts direct current power from the solar panel directly into the grid-compatible alternating current. Though their products have changed in appearance through years of innovation, it has the same internal system minus the difference in the maximum amount of power.

The products of Enphase include a simplified means of installation and design, a platform for intelligent energy management and reduced fire safety risk. These products also increase energy production in the solar industry.


Flagstar Bancorp, Inc.: Flagstar Bank’s Holding Company

Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. is one of the thousands of holding companies in the United States. The company serves as the consortium of Flagstar Bank and other acquired businesses. The latter is considered as a national leader in the mortgage business and is a leading mortgage lender.

Chartered as First Security Savings Bank in 1987, the company adopted its current branding in 1996 after the latter merged with Security Savings Bank. As of, the business has more than 100 branches in communities across the state of Michigan. The company is now considered as part of the top 10 largest savings bank in the United States and is the largest banking company headquartered in Michigan with assets of more than $9.4 billion. As a full service bank, they offer a wide range of products and services to both businesses and individuals. From credit cards to consumer loans, from merchant services to cash management, Flagstar offers the full resources of a commercial bank to their clients.

Although the business has already started its expansion to other states, in 2011, they decided to sell their branches in Georgia and Indiana to solely focus in Michigan. 22 branches in Indiana were sold to First Financial Bank and all of their 27 offices in Georgia were purchased by PNC Financial Services. Although a substantial amount of their assets was released, the company still maintains a presence in other states through their 27 home loan centers in 13 states. Through their internet banking, they also originate a number of mortgages across the United States.

Publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the company made its initial public offering on the NASDAQ in 1997 until it moved its stocks on the NYSE in 2001. Headquarters of the business is located in Troy, Michigan with regional offices located in Georgia and in Washington.

Flagstar Bank is also known as a principal co-sponsor of several national events. Among of which is the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank International Marathon.

Equity One: Developing Real Estate in Urban Areas

With a market capitalization of more than $4.4 billion, real estate investment trust Equity One is in the business of acquiring, developing, redeveloping and managing quality retail properties with strong focus in the areas of Boston, Florida, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco and in New York.

“Improving retail real estate in urban communities” has been the company’s mission since its inception in 1992. In the areas of Los Angeles, South Florida, San Francisco and New York alone, they have developed or acquired more than $2.0 billion in retail assets.  The company is known as the leading shopping center developer in the country and has a strong focus and presence in urban communities. Their consolidated portfolio includes 140 high end properties and is continuously growing in various urban markets across the country.

It was in 1996 that Equity One has gone public and has since then been traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol EQY.

Emergent Biosolutions: Protecting and Enhancing Life

The protection and enhancement of the quality of life have always been the focus of Emergent BioSolutions, an American multinational specialty biopharmaceutical company in Rockville, Maryland. Their products are mostly offered to healthcare providers and government agencies to address emerging health threats and medical needs.

Emergent is a business that has focused interest in oncology, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. The company traces its history in 1998 as BioPort Corporation. It was created to acquire assets of the Michigan Biologics Products Institute and an anthrax vaccine manufacturing facility in Lansing, Michigan. In 2003, it acquired another pharmaceutical research and development business in the entity of Antex Biologics, Inc. It was not until 2004 that the business changed its name to reflect its current branding after it has undergone corporate restructuring. At that time, the company already acquired the license to produce anthrax vaccine from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Department of Health and Human Services has selected Emergent together with two other companies as the three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing in 2012. This partnership allowed the company to assist in the development of various countermeasures for nuclear, health and radiological epidemics for eight years with a grant of $163 million.

As of late, Emergent has two major divisions: Biodefense and Biosciences. The former is involved in the development and production of counter-Anthrax products while the latter is engaged in the development of treatment for inflammatory and autoimmune disorders and cancers. In 2006 and 2007 they have also engaged in the development of vaccines for streptococcus, hepatitis B and typhoid but the project has been aborted.

BioThrax is one of the company’s marketed products and is considered as the flagship vaccine in their biodefense portfolio. Emergent’s manufacturing sites are located in Canada and in the United States while their product development sites are in Canada, Germany and in the United States.

CRA International: A Global Consulting Firm

In the industry of litigation and management consulting, CRA International has always been one of the trusted names in the market. The company offers financial, strategy, and economic expertise to major law firms, accounting firms, government sectors, and corporations around the world.

The company’s head office is located in Boston, Massachusetts and is manned by consultants who are recognized as experts in the field of their interests. These associates are known for having exceptional strength in analytics and astute skills in complex cases. With these qualities, they are able to champion in thousands of successful engagements for their clients around the world. Part of the success of the company is their close relationships with select groups who are experts in the academe and in the industry.

As proof of CRA International’s excellence, they have been ranked #6 in Economic Consulting, #11 in Energy Consulting, #26 in the Best Consulting Firms, and #13 in Vault Consulting. These rankings were provided by Vault in 2014.

Digi International, Inc.: The M2M Expert

Focused on embedded and external network (both wired and wireless) communication solutions, Digi International, Inc. started its operations in 1985 as DigiBoard and was initially incorporated in Minnesota. In 1989, it got reorganized as a Delaware corporation and is now best known as an M2M expert.

Prior to the company focusing on embedded and external network, they initially offered multi-port serial boards which are, until now, still made part of their product line-up. These serial boards are categorized as intelligent ISA/PCI boards with multiple asynchronous serial interfaces. As they shifted their focus, they have also started manufacturing and marketing enterprise-class USB products. Their full line of radio modems and modules are currently based on GSM communication platforms as well as CDMA.

The products they carry are considered top of the class and offer surefire means of increasing business efficiency. These products, coupled with the services they offer, are considered end-to-end solutions that help companies address market needs. Their products include microprocessors, satellite communications products, development kits and software, modules, wireless communication adapters, intelligent console servers, USB connected products, cameras, remote display products, and the world’s #1 serial card line.

The venture also has what they call vertical-specific offers which target mobile assets, energy, tank, and medical markets. Their range of wireless products offered is considered as the broadest in the industry. These products are capable of communicating with any application anywhere in the world. They also offer a cloud computing platform which they uniquely tailor to devices depending on the request of their customers.

Digi International, Inc. has expanded through various acquisitions since it went public in 1989 on the NASDAQ. It is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. They have regional sales offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, in addition to their engineering locations in Europe, India, and North America. Currently, the business employs more than 600 associates globally.

Churchill Downs Incorporated: A Racetrack and Gaming Business

When it comes to racetracks for both standardbred and thoroughbred horses, Churchill Downs Incorporated is the name in mind. The business is the parent company of Churchill Downs. It is known for its more than a century of spectacle and grand traditions.

Its first racetrack opened in 1875 and has since then expanded through various acquisitions and homegrown expansion. Its world famous venue in Central Kentucky has evolved to become the country’s premier racing, entertainment, and gaming company. Their assets now include six casinos, five racetracks, video poker business, a multi-state network of off-track betting facilities, an online wagering business, and a poker media and brand company that supports their sports and gaming operations. The continued diversification of the company has pushed its operations to expand.

There are more than 4,500 people that the company employs to help in their maintenance of their operations in the nine states that they have a presence over. Through decades of opening their business to various services, they have navigated to being the trusted name in the industry they thrive in.

Ciber, Inc. A Global IT Solutions Company

When it comes to IT initiatives, Ciber, Inc. is globally recognized as a leader in outsourcing, consulting, and other services. The business has both commercial and governmental sectors as its clients with nearly 97 percent of these customers saying they will recommend the company and use their services in their next IT projects.

The company, founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1974 has 40 years of expertise and credentials in a wide range of IT needs. It was Bobby Stevenson and two other associates who founded the company as Consultants in Business Engineering Research (Ciber). Powered by more than 7,000 professionals, the company has the capacity, technical expertise, and experience to address all your business needs and IT resources supplements. They take pride on their manpower that has the average tenure of 15 years in the business and is backed with intense industry knowledge and strong technical skills.

Ciber, Inc. offers services like business intelligence, quality assurance and testing, application development, and management, as well as IT strategies. Because of its global delivery model and its network of highly skilled employees, clients are assured that the company will be able to deliver their needs worthy of technology investment.  They also guarantee the delivery of the services needed at the right time. Ciber also has strong partnerships with other big names in the industry of mobility, cloud computing, and ERP and CRM solutions. To completely align the business’s perception of winning, they also measure their success based on how their customers see it, through results. This is one of the reasons why they always tailor their solutions to fit the unique needs of their clients.

Through various acquisitions, the company has found growth from a small business venture to a million dollar enterprise. Headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado, Ciber, Inc. is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

CACI International: The Ever Vigilant Company

In the information technology industry, CACI International, Inc. is one of the trusted names for national security missions and government transformation for federal civilian customers, defense, and intelligence.

The company is based in Arlington, Virginia and is registered as an information technology and multinational professional services business. It has earned various certifications including ISO 28000, ISO 20000, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, SEI CMMI-SVC Maturity Level 5, and SEI CMMI-DEV Maturity Level 3 and 5 appraisals. It primarily serves the federal civilian, homeland security, defense, and intelligence market. CACI is listed as a major component of the Russell 2000 Index and is part of the Fortune 1000 Largest Companies list. Its operations are mostly done around Europe and in the United States through their 120 offices, with the help of 15,800 employees.

Several acquisitions were made by the company since its founding in 1962. Together with their purchased businesses, they have found growth organically until it became a venture capable of generating an average annual revenue of $3.7 billion.

Casey’s General Stores: Midwestern Convenience Stores

In the Midwestern area of the United States, including the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraska there is one convenience store that virtually every American loves. Casey’s General Stores, Inc. has over 1,700 stores dotting the areas of these states.

It was Donald Lamberti who founded the business as a convenience store in 1959. He leased a service station from his father in Des Moines, Iowa and transformed the business. For nine years, he continued working on his business until his friend Kurvin C. (K.C.) Fish advised him to purchase the Square Deal Oil Company in Boone, Iowa. Donald changed the name of the business after purchasing it. In honor of his gasoline supplier friend, he renamed the business to “Casey’s.” The business became a success which eventually led to Donald replicating the same business strategy to put up another branch. His strategy is geared towards towns with a population of less than 5,000. When he opened his first warehouse in 1970s, he already had 118 stores running.

When he opened his 1000th shop in 1996, his business has already exceeded his target of $1 billion in annual sales. The business remained to be unstoppable in their quest for growth. It continuously eye for those smaller businesses which are conducive for development and rebranding. In 1990, together with its rapid growth, the company moved their headquarters to Ankeny, Iowa. Prior to this movement, the business has gone public in 1983 which proved to be a huge success story. To date, common stocks of the business are traded on the NASDAQ.

The success Casey’s is not just attributed to their founder’s business strategy, but also to their employees who offer world class customer service. They are also known for their clean restrooms and stores and for their signature pizza, which was introduced to their stores in 1984.

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