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The Elite 49

Our annual ranking of Southwest Florida's top companies.



(page 4 of 10)

INN BUSINESS

Alan Jarrett and Jim Larkin concede that the local hospitality industry, despite its significant contribution to Southwest Florida’s economy, was not immune from the recent downturn.

What their jobs entailed, however, was making sure the customers arriving at the front desk were oblivious to any ongoing frazzle on the other side of the office door.

#26 Cooper Hotel's Alan Jarrett

“It really was a challenging time,” says Larkin, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fort Myers and president of the Lee County Hotel Association. “Time management was more at a premium for managers who had to fill in with a lot of the front-line work.

“They do a lot of that sort of work anyway, but instead of covering a four-hour shift, back then it was closer to seven or eight hours. We all picked up extra workload, but we tried our best not to let it impact the services that we offered.”

The Crowne Plaza is among the gems of the local Cooper Hotels enterprise, which operates four hotels in Lee County and one in Collier. Cooper reported $27.8 million in Lee/Collier revenue for the 2011 fiscal year, then jumped to $31.3 million in 2012. The company employs 464 locally. Jarrett, who’s the regional director of operations for the Memphis-based company and also works in Fort Myers, says the problems were in some respects similar to those encountered by the housing industry.

“It really wreaked a lot of havoc,” he says. “In 2007 and 2008, it was like the residential crisis because hotels were being built at full speed with no regard to what was about to be faced. The Fort Myers market alone saw 20 new inland hotels, and all of a sudden the business became all about survival.

“Our company has been in business for more than 50 years, so we tightened our belts and worked through it. We had to cut back hours at properties, but we continued on. No one was unharmed.”

That said, now that conditions have improved, the company is still managing to approach previous efficiency levels with fewer employees—a good thing for the bottom line.

“We’re still operating in a more frugal manner than we did prior to it all occurring,” Larkin says. “We have brought back staffing levels above what they may have been two years ago, but we have not brought back all the positions. We seem to have found a more happy medium, and if there are specific challenges, we have the flexibility to make adjustments.”

—Lyle Fitzsimmons

 

20 NEOGENOMICS LABORATORIES INC.

Clinical laboratory

Douglas M. VanOort

263

2001

neogenomics.com

$59.9 million

$43.5 million

NeoGenomics is a high-complexity certifi ed clinical laboratory that specializes in cancer genetics diagnostic testing, the fastest-growing segment of the laboratory industry. The company’s testing services include cytogenetics, fluorescence in-situ hybridization, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, anatomic pathology and molecular genetic testing.

 

21 B&I CONTRACTORS

Contractor

Gary Griffin

265

1960

bandicontractors.com

$48.8 million

$44 million

B & I Contractors is an award-winning full-service mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractor specializing in commercial, institutional and industrial construction, restoration and service for more than half a century. Corporate headquarters are located in Fort Myers, with satellite offi ces in Sarasota and Broward counties. It’s been recognized in 2013 with an ABC Excellence in Construction Eagle Award, an ABC Excellence in Construction Merit Award and was ranked 17th among the top 50 contractors by Business Observer.

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