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These are Hawaii’s 50 fastest-growing companies, based on percentage growth in revenue between 2007 and 2009. PBN asked the top executive of each company two questions about the past two years and the year ahead. Here are their answers.

#1 Makaha Studios

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Our survival and future growth of the company depended on securing a large multiyear contract, so we were able to secure a contract with a Mainland company to provide media support for their ongoing work at multiple sites in Hawaii and throughout the Mainland.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: To work on securing another large contract with another large corporation in addition to the current one. We are also attempting to enter the direct-to-consumer media market with original content for which we own all rights. While our realistic revenue expectations for direct-to-consumer media sales are low (for example, we do not think we will be able to generate significant profits selling DVDs of original content), we are hoping to leverage this into a profitable production partnership with a large content company like Disney. The earliest we expect revenue growth from these efforts would be mid-2011. - John Allen, Creative Director

#2 The Wedding Cafe

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Focusing on our target demographic, we created a women’s boutique to partner with our wedding resource concept and strived for superior customer service. We capitalized on the strong relationships we grew with our brides and enhanced our customer life cycle. Now we have brides become shoppers and shoppers become brides.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Space limitations within our current location and the ability to find and retain young talent among a rebounding economy are issues that could affect our continued growth. - Tanna Dang, Owner

#3 Hawaii Tech Support

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Hawaii Tech Support wasn’t immune to the recession. Particular areas of our business, including hardware repair, were affected by the recession. The downturn helped us to see opportunities in other business areas that were put on hold in the past, and it proved to be a good motivator.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Our ability to grow will be affected by the recovery of Hawaii’s small-business sector. When businesses are ready and confident to start investing in technology again we want to be their technology partner, which will help us both grow. Availability of short-term credit is another issue affecting growth. - Stanley Lau, President

#4 Cam Security Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We have a great team of employees who are compassionate about helping customers, and word of mouth from satisfied customers goes a long way.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Of course, with any business, competitors will be your obstacle to growing, but we have faith in the name we’ve built our company on. – Asa Ikeda, President

#5 ComCon Technologies Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We have maintained our commitment to quality and service, focusing on the needs of our customers and providing them with the best product possible. We have also expanded our business-development efforts to contact potential customers and show them what we can do for them.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: One of our biggest issues in the government services sector is increased competition. There are always new companies coming on the scene, so it’s critical that we continue to provide our customers with great performance at a fair price. - Rojelio Herrera, President and CEO

#6 Ventura Technology Enterprises Ltd.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We bid and proposed on much larger contracts and we were successful with several of them.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Continue to pursue new business in the commercial and government marketplace. The huge growth of the federal government provides more opportunities for business — especially small businesses. - Robert Ventura, President

#7 Pacific Defense Solutions

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We grew our company by hiring some of the best subject-matter experts in our field (space situational awareness and electo-optics) and using our small-business status to attach ourselves to high-profile programs that were synergistic to our skills. We also manage very competitive rates, and are often cheaper than many of our competitors on the Mainland.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The shifting priorities within the defense industry can be a challenge to keep up with. Maintaining our agility and adaptability along with some diversification should abate these concerns. - Wesley Freiwald, President and CEO

#8 Rising Sun Solar Electric

How our business was able to grow through the recession: The PV industry has experienced double-digit growth for many years. Rising Sun’s growth in 2009 of 36 percent was almost a perfect match to the overall U.S. growth in the PV sector of 38 percent. Hawaii ranked sixth in the nation for installed PV in 2009, and the forecast for the U.S. and Hawaii PV markets remain strong. While the PV market is growing, competition has increased. Rising Sun’s reputation for quality installations and customer service since 2003 made Rising Sun a standout among new companies trying to break into the market.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Grid access for distributed clean-energy systems, specifically PV systems, currently being debated in PUC dockets, and continued federal and state tax credits and grants will allow the Hawaii PV market to continue to grow. - Matias Besasso, Owner

#9 Leather Soul

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We were able to grow by looking for opportunities to expand during the “recession.” We were able to secure a larger, better location, while keeping construction costs low. Focusing on customer service and making sure we always have fresh, fashion-forward merchandise is a major part of our everyday business model, which was also a major factor in succeeding during this time.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: I don’t foresee any issues affecting our ability to continue our growth. We continue to offer great customer service and a world-class product. Waikiki store year-to-date sales are up over 30 percent and my first U.S. Mainland store opened for business in Beverly Hills on July 1. I am currently looking at opening more stores across the U.S. Mainland. I have no doubt that our growth will continue indefinitely. - Thomas Park, Owner

#10 Soul Construction Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Four words: How can we help? Our company’s culture is one of service. We believe this to be the cornerstone of long-term success.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Obviously, as with most businesses, we are dependent on the market, and its success dictates ours. - Joshua Copeland, President

#11 21st Century Technologies Hawaii

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Our company was able to grow simply because we have really good people who understand their roles in the company and work hard and work intelligently. We have managed to gather some real professionals who understand our industry and truly care that we do well.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: We have had to adjust to some situations that you only get tested on in a tough economic environment. And, as a result, we have some hard-won lessons learned. I believe we will continue to grow because of the challenges we have faced and victories we have won. - Myron Thompson, President and CEO

#12 Elite Pacific Construction

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We were able to continue our growth by exceeding our customers’ expectations in quality, professionalism and safety, no matter what size the project, before the recession hit. This generated a repeat customer base in our primary target market, the federal government, which was greatly ignored in the boom times.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Increased competition within the federal and Department of Defense project arena. The ability to find motivated personnel with strong work ethics and an interest in learning all facets of our profession. - Mathew Lee, President

#13 Big Island Power

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We believe our business was able to grow during the recession by working with our customers to give them what they need. We believe that good customer relations is the key to customer retention, and keeping existing customers gives us a strong foundation to operate from as we look for new opportunities to grow.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The biggest issue affecting our ability to grow is managing the opportunities and new projects without affecting our existing customer base. Also finding the right combination of how many employees to hire and their different qualifications relative to our projected workload. Striking the right balance between growth and revenue. - Todd Mardon, Owner

#14 Dunhill Professional Staffing of Hawaii

How our business was able to grow through the recession: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:56

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The upcoming elections along with the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act” to help reshape our nation, and Hawaii’s financial system for consumers, small businesses and working families. - Nadine Stollenmaier, President

#15 H Nu Photonics

How our business was able to grow through the recession: The focus of the company is renewable energy, defense photonics, specialized optics, and medical imaging technologies. H Nu has already introduced revolutionary advances in each of these areas. Its unique organization as a vertically integrated research, design, fabrication, testing and marketing facility enables it to nurture technological innovations from concept to final product.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The strength of the renewable-energy sector will impact our growth. New legislation, tax law and utilities rate structures (such as feed-in tariffs) will impact the market for renewable-energy technologies. The growth of Hawaii’s businesses and technology base will be affected by the potential reenactment of Act 221, investing in local companies, “buy-local” initiatives and restructuring the Superferry to name a few. - Dan O’Connell, CEO

#16 Aloha Technical Solutions

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Customer service and persistence. What Aloha Technical Solutions did was to continue to supply the same top level of customer service to our existing customers as well as offering advice and assistance to potential customers. We didn’t cut back on service, support or persistence in pursuing new customers. The slower things got, the harder we worked.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Staffing is our greatest challenge. Finding qualified, experienced and dedicated employees is harder than you would think in a down economy. Many experienced sales and support personnel either want too much money for their skill set or aren’t willing to leverage their pay. In order to grow we have to be able to add more sales and support services personnel that are able to contribute from the start. It’s always a challenge to find the right mix of skill and pay. - Ross Battaglia Sr., Executive Vice President

#17 Archinoetics

How our business was able to grow through the recession: I think we achieved that by staying intensely focused on expanding the core part of our business, which is securing government contracts in developing human-systems technology. We’ve recently added some incredible new talent to our team, whose skill sets and deep expertise will help us continue to grow in the months and years ahead. Diversification is especially important for small businesses like Archinoetics, so to ensure that not all our revenue comes from government contracts we’ve recently added a line of commercial products.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: One major issue that could impact our ability to keep growing is the possible cessation of the research tax credit. Act 221/215 has helped diversify Hawaii’s economy and has enabled businesses like ours to create more high-tech jobs, allowing Hawaii’s well-educated workers to stay in the state. - Traci Downs, President and COO

#18 Prototype Ops

How our business was able to grow through the recession: The recession has made it more difficult to expand because of lower sales numbers and difficulty to acquire credit, but it also brings opportunity. We believe that there is opportunity to lock in long leases at lower rent than we have been seeing in the recent past. To offset lower sales during the recession we have refocused our attention as owners to being actively working on the front lines in our stores and have put a strong emphasis on customer service and building personal relationships with our customers.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: As always, consumer spending is a key issue for us as a retail store. Also, competition is a factor, as old competitors shut down and new ones open, our productivity will fluctuate. - Gavin Cook, Member

#19 Jennings Pacific

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Good old-fashioned hard work. We saw harder times coming at us and we grouped together to bid as much work as possible. We were fortunate enough to continue to win work.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: We continue to see opportunity — our challenge is in winning profitable work. The work we are winning is going for considerably less profit than in recent years. - Scott Jennings, President and CEO

#20 Pacific Instruments Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Pacific Instruments, a global orthopedic surgical instrument company, is in a highly competitive niche market. It grew based upon three fundamental principles: having 20 years of technical expertise and experience in the market, adeptly resolving our customers’ needs by providing custom-made instruments tailored for the surgeons’ needs, and creating strong relationships with its customers and suppliers by always going the extra mile.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The issues concerning growth may be mired in the bureaucracy of paperwork affecting hospitals, doctors, and health-care providers. As such, payments may be stretched and/or budgets slashed and that will essentially trickle down to manufacturers being paid or a demand for instruments. Thus, it is a broad problem that we face. - Holger Gruenert, President

#21 S. Reeve Designs Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: After 15 years, we have a pretty good idea of the products that sell best in our store — 20 percent of my merchandise sells 80 percent of the time. By applying the 20/80 rule, we are assured stable sales and best use of our dollar. Our customers are No. 1 and they know it. We believe in building lasting relationships. We reach out with monthly e-mails and pride ourselves on going the extra mile in the smallest of ways. Our customers’ loyalty is the reason we thrive year after year, even during challenging economic times.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The only issues that could affect us would be the ones that we allow to affect us. We don’t believe we have to be at the effect of a struggling economy and people who share this belief usually find their way to our doors. - Sherri Reeve, Owner/Artist

#22 Bubble Shack Hawaiian Soap Co.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Buyers have been more willing to give our products a chance. Due to the downturn in the economy, many store buyers have been more open to trying new things in order to jumpstart sales. The Bubble Shack team has been very proactive with the stores, constantly analyzing sales and improving products based on sales reporting and customer feedback. We also actively pursue new accounts every week. With the number of businesses that have closed or scaled back, we believe that diversifying our customer portfolio is the key way to building a strong business.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Shipping costs to and from the Mainland and abroad as well as the high rates of taxation are continuous challenges. As a company that has been in business less than five years, cash flow and lack of bank support is our biggest challenge. - Ashley Harding, Co-owner

#23 PRTech

How our business was able to grow through the recession: PRTech has grown by focusing on providing superior results in an area that has a big impact on our clients’ success — increasing the Asian traveler portion of their customer base. Japan and Asian travel markets have been stronger than the U.S. market during this economic downturn. Successful companies that rely on tourists are eager to grow in new ways. Many desire to attract and capture the growing Asian traveler.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Increasing focus on the growing opportunities and trends in emerging Korea and China traveler markets. Keeping current with technology enhancements and continuously studying how potential travelers in Japan, Korea and China consume media and information and make purchasing decisions for travel, travel-related services and merchandise in the destination. – Dave Erdman, President and CEO

#24 Mac Made Easy Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: My employees, who are wonderful, watching our bottom line, excellent customer service and a lot of hard work.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: So far, so good. i think we are in a good nitch with Apple, computer repair, sales and training. – Betty Markowski, President

#25 Surfing Goat Dairy

How our business was able to grow through the recession: By adding new products, offering the best quality possible, developing new marketing strategies, and intensifying the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with our customers.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Consumer spending — increasing the number of tourists. We need rain so that our pastures can recover from the four-year drought we have in Upcountry, to have enough feed for an increased goat herd. New equipment — bigger pasteurizers, more refrigerators. - Thomas Kafsack, Owner

#26 Allana Buick & Bers Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We’ve had our share of ups and downs like all firms. However, having a presence in multiple market sectors has definitely helped us avoid a major decline.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Economic confidence needs to return to both Wall Street and Main Street in order for capital to begin flowing again. Until confidence returns, tight capital markets are constraining many businesses, which is in turn grounding many projects. – Dana Bergeman, Principal

#27 Corner Pharmacy Corp.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Corner Pharmacy has been able to grow through the recession because we provide personal attention, fast service and competitive prices. We are able to resolve insurance issues with the doctors in our building much faster than other pharmacies. We really want your business and our customers can tell.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Our ability to grow in the next year will be affected by how well we can continue to find new and better ways to help insurance companies provide more customers with more necessary and sometimes more expensive treatments — faster and with more personal attention than other pharmacies. - Carl Mudrick, President

#28 Kina Ole Estate Ltd.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We have grown through building new facilities, using real estate loans from local financial institutions. Keeping them full has been much more challenging in 2009 and 2010.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The soft economy is definitely up there. In the senior-care industry other issues stem from the many companies also pushing for growth, including many in the care-facility business continuing their expansion; the staffing companies, which take more of the work force off the market; the in-home-care companies, which encourage seniors to stay in an independent living situation and use their services; recent legislation allowing foster homes to have one more resident; and in general, the many people and entities in our industry involved in unscrupulous, cut-throat and often unethical business practices. The last one is perhaps the most serious issue facing our industry. - Elizabeth Slavens, President

#29 Richard Matsunaga & Associates Architects Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We were fortunate and lucky that some of our government and private clients went forward with their projects. These are clients that we got to know and earn their trust from years past. Business networking is also important, and helped get the word out that we are looking for work.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Our potential for growth is based on how well we do with keeping a competitive edge. We expect to increase our productivity and efficiency through operational and technological improvements, and through staff training. We expect to be a better firm and primed for more work; however, the economy also needs to pick up to create a stronger and broader market base. We continue to market and seek work. - Glenn Murata, President

#30 Yogi Kwong Engineers

How our business was able to grow through the recession: The focus of our company is unchanged — build strong relationships with our clients and with new clients, and provide excellent service in a timely manner. An example of our excellent service was the emergency tunnel and intake repairs of the Hamakua irrigation system for the state Department of Agriculture. This project won three state awards and one national award for engineering excellence from our engineering peers and professional organizations this past year.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Finding highly qualified geotechnical engineers and geologists. We endeavor to hire the best and brightest college graduates who share the same core values of team-building, strong work ethic, and dedication to producing quality work on time. – David Yogi Jr. and James Kwong, Principals

#31 Pukoa Scientific

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We focused on providing excellence to our customers. We also took a number of measures to reduce our costs to allow us to provide a better price to our customers while maintaining a profitable organization.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The cost of doing business. For the last few years, the state has provided a tax credit for research and development. Unfortunately, this tax credit sunsets at the end of 2010. Unless the new Legislature and administration address this issue early next year, companies like Pukoa will find it difficult to compete with Mainland firms. – James Karins, President and CEO

#32 Prudential Advantage Realty

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Even in a slow real estate market, we recognize that there are still buyers who need to buy and sellers who need to sell properties. At Prudential Advantage Realty, we focus on ensuring that our agents are well-trained and that quality client service is their highest priority.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: At Prudential Advantage Realty, it is our firm belief that maintaining our commitment to training and keeping a client-first approach to our business will enable us to continue to grow in the years to come. – Myron Kiriu, President/Owner

#33 Big Island Electric Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We have built our business over the last six years by developing our relationships with contractors, vendors and employees. We feel we have been blessed and are grateful to those relationships who have supported us through this challenging time.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The inability of businesses and homeowners to obtain construction financing and the additional burdens placed by government through taxes and extensions of unemployment insurance are a major concern. – Kristy McKellen, President

#34 The KNG Group

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Quick, responsive and reliable customer service. Tightened expense budget and continually seeking out business growth opportunities.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Higher taxes and tighter scrutiny from lending institutions.– Kristian Gourlay, President/Owner

#35 Matsumoto & Clapperton Advertising

How our business was able to grow through the recession: By staying lean, results-oriented and focused on our mission to provide effective and creative advertising and marketing solutions for our clients. The experience and versatility of our team members was a tremendous advantage that helped us find opportunities for our clients and ourselves, despite the downturn.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Obviously, the economy. Also technology. We need to continue to stay ahead of the latest developments as the opportunities for marketing communications continue to expand and evolve. Education is another factor as we prefer to hire locally and want to continue to tap into a smart, motivated and well-educated Hawaii talent pool. – Ed Clapperton, President

#36 Starcom Builders Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We were very fortunate. We anticipated having to go through this challenge so we focused on obtaining a backlog of work early on to see us through this recession.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Whether this recession “bottomed out” — or not? – Ted Taketa, President and CEO

#37 Aloha Habilitation Services Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: I think being able to continue to provide quality care and services to our clients, despite the cuts in our budget and human resources, played an important role in the increase of referrals to our company.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The two main issues that may hinder growth in our company include the state budget for human services as well as national health-care reform. Currently, Aloha provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities; however, we have recently sought other contracts and developed new programs and services as a way to generate revenue. – Jay Raymundo, CEO

#38 Bump Networks Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We broadened our service list to allow us to compete in different markets. We focused our marketing efforts on out-of-state companies and successfully built a larger client book. We’ve also spent a great deal of time and effort promoting our own products. Overall, this approach has allowed us to stabilize our overhead, maintain our current position and create the backing needed to facilitate expansion.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The current economic climate is a very important factor in the growth of our business. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen an increase in clients who are concentrating — like we did — on revamping their image, expanding their marketing efforts, and improving their online presence. If this trend continues, and we can offer our clients growth amidst this recession, we will continue our growth as well. – Arben Kryeziu, CEO

#39 101 Financial Group

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We used this time to expand and add more services. For example, we now have a 99 Financial class that helps our clients with cash-flow and credit needs, and at the same time we added an upper-level class called 201 Financial to help our clients protect what they have.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: We just know that there will always be issues that could hinder our growth; we choose not to focus on them. – Alan Akina, President

#40 K & J Tire Center Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: As an independent tire dealer we are able to purchase our products at competitive prices through various vendors. Our primary supplier offers us aggressive marketing programs that have been an asset for our company. It is not unusual, also, that my son and I are working 50-plus hours a week.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Having the inventory at the time of sale is most important in our retail business. Because of the recession, many tire producers cut back on production, thereby causing a void in filling orders. Because of shipping logistics, we have to anticipate and stock at least two months of inventory. The back orders plus shipping time equates to a wait period of one to two months. – Kenneth Tanouye, President

#41 Hawaii Holiday Vacation Rentals

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We merged with our best and oldest competitor, giving us the premier set of properties and best name recognition in the area, we developed new Internet distribution channels, and we employed advanced pricing formulas to optimize revenue.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Our growth is primarily dependent on the condition of Hawaii tourism and the real estate economy. – Harrison Klein, Member

#42 Drs. Lee & Leong

How our business was able to grow through the recession: By developing a loyal patient base, providing exceptional eye care, and by being accessible. Our focus is to always put the patient’s needs first. We are blessed with an awesome staff, and we always do what is right for the patient all the time.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Our ability to sustain growth will be determined by our ability to increase operational efficiencies, remain accessible, and raise the standard of care. We need to stay focused on our primary foundation goals, and can’t let the distractions of growing rapidly elude us from those goals. – Karsten Lee and Michael Leong, Co-owners

#43 Tropical Dreams Ice Cream

How our business was able to grow through the recession: When it appeared that the economy was beginning to slow down, we intensified our sales effort statewide. Our sales on other islands increased from 5 percent to 20 percent of gross sales. In 2008, we started selling pints in markets and other outlets. Prior to this we were only supplying 1.5- and 3-gallon tubs of ice cream to hotels, restaurants and ice cream shops.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: None really. We recently acquired another ice cream company. As a result, our sales will increase 40 to 50 percent over the next 12 months. – John Edney, President

#44 Wilson Homecare

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Wilson Homecare is in an industry that realizes growth primarily out of necessity. Unfortunately, the growth is from a higher demand of sick, disabled, or aging individuals in need of care. The growing need for senior care and services has already begun and not just from the baby boomer generation.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: As with all businesses, the cost of doing business is always top of mind. The basic formula of success for any business is essentially the balance of income and expense to produce a viable business model. In years past, I have had much less fear of what the future holds because it seemed to be more stable and the budgets didn’t have much movement with the anticipated expenses. In recent months, I have felt like a bad-weather forecaster trying to gauge how big of an umbrella I’ll need. The national health reform may have a tremendous impact on our businesses. – Shelley Wilson, President and CEO

#45 Lehua Physical Therapy & Rehab

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Our company is fairly new in Hilo and in the rehab community (less than 10 years). Each member of our small staff is encouraged to get involved in various community organizations (sports, nonprofits, etc.) and make personal connections with the people who live in East Hawaii. It’s the combination of consistent quality one-on-one care and getting involved in the community that paid off for us.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Health care is rapidly changing and the new health-care initiative and the cost for that initiative will affect all health-care providers over the next several years. Reimbursement to health-care providers is challenging every year and 2011 will be no different. – Patti Taira-Tokuuke, President

#46 Integration Technologies Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We try to create “wow” moments to keep our current customers impressed with our service. We find that happy customers give us referrals, which is how we get most of our new customers. We’ve also recently added our own sales and marketing department to bring in new business.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Our staff has been amazing at keeping up with the increased workload as we’ve grown. We put a lot of energy into hiring the right people and developing our existing staff. For us, the key to keeping up with growth is to develop our people and keep our turnover low. –– Sam Gridley, President

#47 Flagship Fastlube Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Flagship Fastlube was able to grow the business through the recession by listening to our customers and employees. The customers are the vital part of our business and we are dedicated to maintaining the quality of our repairs and services by providing professional service at their convenience.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: By continuing to provide the highest level of customer service, the demand for our services will continue to grow, thereby allowing us to continue our growth in the coming years. –– Ricky Price, President

#48 Big Island Mechanical & Construction

How our business was able to grow through the recession: By working with our customers to give them what they need. We believe that good customer relations is the key to customer retention and keeping existing customers gives us a strong foundation to operate from as we look for new opportunities to grow.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Managing the opportunities and new projects without affecting our existing customer base. Also finding the right combination of how many employees to hire and their different qualifications relative to our projected workload. Striking the right balance between growth and revenue. – Todd Mardon, Managing Member

#49 Tropical Air Conditioning Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: Excellent customer service and quick response time. Low or no debt and watching the accounts receivables.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: Rising energy/shipping costs, inflation, and an increase in taxes/regulations. – Doug Thatcher, President and CEO

#50 Divine Planet Inc.

How our business was able to grow through the recession: We realized around the middle of last year that things would probably start to turn around soon. The indications were there, if not the actual facts on the ground. It was scary for us, but we had an opportunity fall into our lap to open a third retail store with minimal buildout and no upfront costs other than inventory. We jumped at the chance and in our first nine months have paid off the cost of all our inventory and have started turning a profit.

Issues affecting our ability to continue to grow in the next year: The rebound of tourism on Kauai. Moreover, we need to see consumers loosen their purse strings. This has already started to happen, but we don’t see many of the $200+ customers yet like we did before the recession started. – Michael McGinnis, President

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