Two Mercer County companies have been named to Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in America.
Maestro Technologies, an IT staffing and infrastructure management firm based at 707 Alexander Road, ranked 283rd on the list for its 1,148 percent growth in the past three years.
Most of Maestro’s 59 workers are based in India, but managing director Kamal Bathla is based here (U.S. 1, March 9). Bathla has developed Maestro to foster domestic IT work. “We need to create global markets. But when [U.S.] unemployment is 10 percent, why not use professionals here?” Bathla says. “We can’t avoid going global, but we have to help ourselves.”
The company has its roots in the 1990s when Bathla, then an IT consultant for JP Morgan Chase in Manhattan.
Until 1997 the company was a small consulting practice with few clients. In 2007 the company ramped up its efforts, culminating in the acquisition of Brahma Infotech earlier this year.
By the end of 2010 Maestro reported $3.9 million in revenues.
Central New Jersey’s other appearance on the Inc. list is Legacy Converting, which makes and distributes designer, specialty, and custom paper towel products from its 70,000-square-foot plant in Cranbury. The company has one other distribution center, in California, and employs 28 in Cranbury.
Legacy, which ranked 249th overall and fifth in the manufacturing industry, is the only manufacturer in New Jersey to make the list. Since its founding in 2007 Legacy has moved from Paterson to Carlstadt and, last year, to Cranbury. It has experienced 1,289 percent growth (posting $5.1 million in revenues in 2010) in the past three years, according to Inc.
Co-founder and president Jason Slosberg says the company is expecting 2011 revenues to hit $10 million and that he hopes to be back on the Inc. list next year.
A physician with an M.D. in reconstructive surgery from Brown, Slosberg owns the company with his brother, Darren. Slosberg graduated from Brandeis in 1992 with a bachelor’s in philosophy and almost immediately went into business for himself. He founded Solaire Enterprises, which made architectural skylights and venting units. Then he felt the call to do something more altruistic.
“I sold the business and then went through a circuitous route to medical school,” he says. He earned a post-baccalaureate pre-med degree from Columbia in 1998.
By the time he finished Brown he was 30 and married. Once he graduated, he spent a year as a surgical resident “making less than the guy who sweeps the floor” and practically living at the hospital, 120 hours a week.
Meanwhile, Darren had been working with his father in sales at NDI, a Paterson-based maker of disposable products for the cleaning, auto, and health industries. But there was much infighting among the partners, leading Darren to approached his brother with an idea to buy the business and turn it around.
After 12 years of college and a budding career as a doctor, Slosberg reacted like anyone — he asked if his brother was crazy.
But thinking about the life of a resident and the stress of being a doctor made Slosberg reconsider. So he and his brother bought the company and did turn it around. The only trouble with it was that it had no place to grow. The model was, essentially, door-to-door sales at gas stations, auto parts stores, and doctors’ offices.
The answer was to create a second business, Legacy, that would make the products for NDI. Once Legacy’s only customer, NDI is now one of 400. Some of the others include the janitorial and maintenance staffs at Newark International Airport, Giants Stadium, and Yankee Stadium.
What makes Slosberg laugh these days is thinking back to the reason he left medicine for business — he thought being a surgeon was a tough life.
His reward for taking the plunge into Legacy has been 100-hour work weeks and more stress than he experienced in the ER. “That’s OK, though,” he says. “We’re young, we can handle it. I’m hoping we’re good for another 20 years or so.”
Slosberg says he might someday feel the pull to do something medical again, maybe help to develop pharmaceuticals for nagging conditions. But for right now, his mind is squarely on the business at hand. “There’s always the fear that if you step off and take it easy, you’ll lose all that momentum,” he says.
Legacy Converting Inc., 3 Security Drive, Suite 301, Cranbury 08512-3263; 609-642-7020. Jason Slosberg, president. www.legacyconverting.com
Maestro Technologies, 707 Alexander Road, Suite 204, Princeton 08540; 609-520-9800; fax, 609-520-9801. Kamal Singh Bathla, managing director. www.maestro.com