If one of the goals for women who choose to start their own business is to live to see the day when there is a woman-owned business across all sectors of our economy, then that day is here.
The 47 companies on the 2012 San Diego Business Journal Women-Owned Businesses list are as diverse as fitness for No. 1 ranked Jazzercise Inc. to engineering for No. 2 ranked Coffman Specialties Inc. to printing for No. 7 ranked Neyenesch Printers Inc. There are no two companies in the same industry in 75 percent of the list. The two industries that make up the remaining 25 percent are staffing and marketing/public relations.
The companies on the list represent 28 industries and employ 3,200 people across the company with combined revenues of $530.5 million. Revenue for the group grew 2.8 percent from 2010 to 2011 — precisely the growth of the overall economy as reported recently by the U.S. Commerce Department.
The criterion used to rank the list is gross revenue in 2011.
Among the most established is No. 1 ranked Jazzercise Inc. with $97 million in revenue for 2011. Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO, started the fitness dance company 40 years ago and transformed the business into a franchise operation in the early 1980s. Jazzercise has 250 employees companywide. Missett, now in her 60s, continues to teach classes and to innovate through new products and alliances. In the tradition of businesses that are passed down through the generations, daughter Shanna Missett Nelson now serves as president.
Two Sides of a Coin
“It was just a natural progression,” Nelson said. “I was attending college in Arizona and became certified as an instructor to earn money; it was a great job.”
She then traveled to Japan on behalf of the company and became more involved in the business side, Nelson added. As president she is part of a management team that sets the direction for the company. “It’s a very creative job; I love the business side and the creative side.”
Twenty-one-year-old Coffman Specialties Inc. is No. 2 on the list with just under $97 million in revenue. Colleen Coffman is the president of the company that employs 130 people.
“Coffman is a general engineering contractor that is focused on structural concrete, roads, airfields and canals,” said John Palmer, CFO. “Coffman has offices in San Diego and Phoenix and works on domestic and international projects.”
Another 40-year-old firm, Innovative Employee Solutions Inc., is No. 3 on the list with revenues of $73.9 million in 2012, up 16 percent from 2010. Karla Hertzog is the founder, but has passed the day-to-day leadership on to Elizabeth Rice, CEO, and Gaby Mergenthal, president.
“Our recruiter services division saw quite an increase in business last year,” said Megan VanderGeest, marketing manager. “The staffing and recruitment industry was on the rise in 2011.”
Employing 27 people companywide, IES is an outsourced payroll and human resources administration services provider.
G2 Software Systems Inc. is new to the list this year at No. 4 with $21.4 million in revenues. The company was founded in 1989 by president Georgia Griffiths and employs 113 people companywide.
“G2 Software is an application development and systems engineering firm,” said Bill Long, CFO. “G2 writes code for various software applications and systems for the U.S. government and other clients that might include a fighter system in a jet, a command system for troops, or a sensor management system that secures high profile boundaries.”
I.E. Pacific Inc., No. 5 on the list, had the largest percentage increase in revenue of 124 percent, growing from $8.65 in revenue in 2010 to $19.38 million in 2011. I.E. Pacific employs 21 people companywide.
Diane Koester-Dion, the company’s president, said in a statement that the increase was due to work issued out of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Twentynine Palms.
One of San Diego’s oldest family businesses is Neyenesch Printers Inc., ranked No. 7 on the list with $15.54 million in revenue, up 7 percent from 2010. Employing 69 people in San Diego, Neyenesch can trace its history back to 1899, when William Barrend Neyenesch moved his printing company to San Diego and started printing menus for the Hotel del Coronado. Today his granddaughter, Carol Bentley, is the CEO of the company, which is 67 percent women-owned.