Suburban companies comprise ‘Fastest Five’

The Council of Small Business Executives recently unveiled its list of the “Fastest Five” companies.

These firms reported the largest percentages of revenue growth over the past year among the companies that made the Future 50 list.

Aside from their rates of growth, it’s difficult to find a common link among this eclectic list of the “Fastest Five.” Perhaps the only common denominator is that all five are planning to grow in the suburbs of Milwaukee, amplifying the needs for an effective public transit system and a mobile workforce.

Stella & Chewy’s LLC is the fastest of the fast. The company produces food for dogs and cats. The dinners are made with raw meat and organic fruits and vegetables. Capitalizing on the whole organic movement, the company is growing so fast that it is building a new 164,000-square-foot production plant in Oak Creek. The firm’s top leaders are women: founder and chairwoman Marie Moody and chief executive officer Jen Guzman. “Our biggest challenge has been managing rapid growth supporting our capital requirements,” Moody said. “As consumers continue to proactively look for healthy choices for their pets, the market for raw pet food continues to thrive. The raw pet food market is growing at double-digit rates.”

Johnson Creek Enterprises LLC is another company serving an emerging niche. The Hartland-based company manufactures “Smoke Juice” for electronic cigarettes around the world. “Our growth strategy will continue to be providing our customers with what they want and, frankly, what they have grown to expect from us: only the highest-quality, best-tasting, American-made liquids,” said CEO Christian Berkey.

CTS Connected Technology Solutions produces interactive kiosks for the health care, retail and human resources markets. This Menomonee Falls-based firm plans to continue to expand its workforce. “The interactive and self-service industry is headed in a very positive direction,” said president Sandra Nix. “Businesses are all looking for ways to do more with less while still providing high levels of service to their clients. Our interactive kiosks allow them to do just that.”

EmbedTek LLC designs and manufactures embedded computers, integrated displays and custom electronics for original equipment manufacturers. The company is in the midst of a 50,000-square-foot expansion of its Hartland headquarters. “There are no obstacles in the foreseeable future. Our greatest difficulty is predicting the timing of the growth and ensuring that we have the necessary resources (people, facility, equipment, etc.) to support the growth,” said CEO Dan Aicher.

KS Energy Services LLC is a full-service contractor providing maintenance and construction services to the utility and natural gas pipeline industries throughout the United States. The company plans a multi-million dollar upgrade to its New Berlin headquarters. When asked to describe his firm’s outlook, CEO Dennis Klumb Jr. replied, “Very bullish. Our industry looks to be very busy over the next several years.” The nation’s aging natural gas and electric infrastructures will fuel that growth, Klumb said.

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.

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