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Columbia Business Monthly

South Carolina 50 Fastest Growing

Nov 08, 2023 01:04PM ● By Donna Isbell Walker

Fifty South Carolina companies whose economic impact can be measured in billions of dollars and thousands of jobs were honored last month for their contributions to the Palmetto State’s business landscape. The 50 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina recognition was held Oct. 9 at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

This year’s list featured more than 20 companies that were not on last year’s list.

The top three companies were Gigpro, Floyd Lee Locums, and Merge Transportation, and you can read profiles of those companies on Pages 30-34.

The competition, now in its 22nd year, annually ranks South Carolina’s Top 50 most dynamic and successful companies. Sponsors for this year’s competition included Integrated Media Publishing, The Capital Corporation, Wells Fargo, Prisma Health, and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

The 2023 group of honorees collectively accounted for more than $3 billion in annual revenue and nearly 5,200 South Carolina jobs in fiscal year 2022.

To be eligible for the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina recognition, a company must be headquartered in South Carolina and in business for at least three years, and show revenues of more than $3 million in the last fiscal year.

The companies are selected using a calculation based on year-over-year growth of revenue and employee headcount over the last three years.

“Some of the most innovative and transformative companies in the country call South Carolina home and we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate that fact annually with this awards program,” said Dan Adams, founder and CEO of The Capital Corporation.  

The percentage growth statistics in each listing show a weighted average of full-time employees and income growth over three years.

The No. 1 company, Gigpro, saw a staggering 14,424 percent growth, while No. 2 Floyd Lee Locums recorded a growth of 239.8 percent growth, and No. 3 Merge Transportation’s growth measured 230.8 percent.


#1 Gigpro Finds Success in Aftermath of Covid Pandemic

By Donna Isbell Walker

In three years, Gigpro has evolved from a scrappy startup that aimed to match hospitality businesses with temporary employees into a multimillion-dollar business.

That’s quite a feat for a company that got its start during a pandemic that brought the temporary closure of restaurants around the country.

Gigpro, which was founded in Charleston by a group of entrepreneurs with a “trail mix bag of backgrounds,” in the words of CEO Sam Mylrea, is an app that helps restaurants and other hospitality businesses find servers, cooks, and dishwashers to help out for a shift, and sometimes longer.

The company is No. 1 on the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina rankings, in the company’s third year of operation.

Since its founding in 2020, Gigpro has moved into 20 markets, and Mylrea expects it to expand to 100 markets by the end of 2025.

The founders included a chef, an engineer, and a product strategist, some of whom have since moved on to other businesses, but their collective experience helped the company to flourish in the early days, said Mylrea, an entrepreneur who has co-founded two other startup companies.

“I’ve learned that it comes down to having the right team,” he said.

The app was developed in the early days of Covid, and when the country began to reopen and restaurants could begin serving patrons again, many found that they were short-staffed. Some servers and cooks left the hospitality industry and didn’t return, Mylrea said.

“The problem of staff shortages has plagued the restaurant industry for the past decade,” but the pandemic exacerbated an already-challenging trend, he said.

He estimates that one-third of restaurant industry employees didn’t return to the hospitality business after Covid, which caused huge problems for businesses trying to regain their footing after being closed for weeks or months.

“There was a significant gap between labor supply and demand,” Mylrea said.

It wasn’t always easy in Gigpro’s early days, but “every challenge and dark day presented the biggest opportunity. When the country opened up again, it took off from there,” he added.

The app has two distinct customer bases – professional hospitality workers and restaurants. Over the past three years, thousands of Gigpro workers have turned one-off restaurant shifts into permanent positions, he said.

Gigpro doesn’t charge restaurants a placement fee if a worker accepts a permanent job after working a shift or two through the app.

“If you use a traditional staffing agency, they’ll charge a fee,” Mylrea said. “We never want to stand in the way of someone growing in their career.”


#2 Charleston’s Floyd Lee Locums Finds its Niche in ‘Travel Doctor’ Industry

By David Caraviello

Translated from Latin, it means “to hold the place of,” or “to substitute for.” But locum tenens isn’t just a catchphrase to Natasha Lee — it’s the mission behind a thriving Charleston business that’s grown to 92 employees and has a roster of around 500 physicians and medical professionals ready to be deployed around the country.

Founded in 2017, Floyd Lee Locums helps place physicians and advanced practice providers — nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse anesthetists — in healthcare facilities nationwide. “Most people know about travel nurses, but they haven’t heard about travel doctors, or don’t think about them the same way,” said Lee, the company’s CEO. “We’re putting doctors into situations where they’re able to travel and provide services on loan to facilities that need them.”

Lee founded the company along with chairman Matt Floyd, who started as a critical care travel nurse before founding Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group in 1999. Lee was chief operating officer of that company, which grew into one of the country’s top nurse staffing operations before it was sold in 2017. That same year they founded Floyd Lee Locums with five employees, and a belief that they could build concierge-style service into the travel physician industry.

“I think where we shine is that we want to put doctors into the right positions, and really serve them and their career in a way that makes them feel super prioritized,” Lee said. “And what you get back from physicians is the feeling that their careers have been reinvigorated.”

Floyd Lee Locums comes in at No. 2 in the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina rankings, up from No. 6 last year.

Three years after the company’s founding, the pandemic hit, and “overnight, half of our assignments were canceled,” Lee said. Floyd Lee Locums survived by shifting into respiratory care, in which it had not been involved previously. One hospital in New Jersey asked for 25 acute level respiratory therapists within two weeks. “And we did it,” Lee said. “The whole company showed up to get it done. Things like that were big for us.”

More recently, Floyd Lee Locums sent 150 doctors to military bases around the country to care for Afghan refugees. Through it all, the company has seen its employee base, roster of physicians and top-line revenue all growing at an ascending rate.

“We have a nice foundation for growth based on where we are today,” Lee said. “We’ve worked really hard to create a name for ourselves, and we’re proud of the fact that we’re a relevant player in our space.”


#3 Merge Transportation Helps Keep products Moving Around the Country

By John C. Stevenson

Ask CEO Jamie Cioe about the recipe for success that has propelled his Merge Transportation to No. 3 on the list of SC 50 Fastest Growing Companies in 2023, and you won’t get a lesson in logistics. Rather, Cioe will likely talk about building successful relationships.

“Our people have really done a fantastic job of making sure these relationships with both our customers and our carriers are our primary focus over revenue, and I think revenue has tended to follow because of it,” Cioe (pronounced Kay-oh) said in a recent interview. “If you look at what we’ve been able to do and the reviews and the praise we’ve seen from both our customer base and our carrier base … everyone’s been very pleased with how we’ve treated them and what we’ve been able to do for them.”

Founded in 2019, the Charleston-based company’s mission can sound deceptively easy: With a staff of 14, Merge acts as a matchmaker of sorts, connecting businesses that have truckloads of product to ship with trucking firms that can get those products to their destinations. Cioe oversees two sales teams, one that works to find acceptable terms for the shippers, and another team dedicated to working with truckers to solve the transportation logistics for each shipment.

“We’re essentially building relationships with larger customers who are shipping full truckloads of product, and establishing relationships on the other side with trucking companies or carriers that are (carrying) the product,” Cioe explained.

Cioe said there are roughly 600,000 trucking companies across the nation; 90 percent of those operate 10 or fewer trucks, while 95 percent of the remainder operate five or fewer. That degree of “market fragmentation” creates the opportunities on which Merge thrives. Cioe said that good communications are critical to the company’s model for success.

“We’re treating our truckers as fairly as possible and as respectfully as possible – finding out what their needs are and making sure those are met,” he said, “and on the flipside, doing the same thing with our shipping customers. If we’re quoting something and taking a shipment, just because a trucking company we’ve hired may have a breakdown or isn’t able to pick up the shipment for one reason or another, the vast majority of the time we’re able to find same-day, last-minute (transportation) that can pick up that shipment and deliver it on time, and we’re communicating that with the customer.

“At the end of the day, it’s trucking,” he continued, “and there’s going to be problems and it’s how you communicate those problems to the customers that really goes a long way, rather than just not showing up for a delivery and not saying anything about it. Communication is definitely key, and that all stems from our people doing the right things.”


4. Sands Investment Group

Headquartered in Mount Pleasant

Chris and Liz Sands, founders

211.6 percent growth

Sands Investment Group is a commercial real estate company specializing in the buying and selling of investment properties for private investors and institutions. Sands’ properties range from educational to retail to industrial. The company has offices in seven cities, including Austin, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Santa Monica, California. 


5. Robbins Construction Group

Headquartered in North Charleston

Derek Robbins, president and CEO

109.6 percent growth

Robbins Construction Group is a commercial general contractor and full-service construction firm that specializes in design-build. The company, now in its fifth year of operation, has a roster of projects that has included flooring stores, automobile dealerships, and marketing offices.


6. Bintelli LLC

Headquartered in Ladson

Justin Jackrel, president and founder

106.6 percent growth

Bintelli manufactures low-speed electric vehicles, including street-legal golf carts, gas mopeds, and electric bikes. The company, which has been in business for more than 20 years, manufactures its products in Charleston. 


7. Red Lab Logistics Inc.

Headquartered in Charleston

Nick Macuch, Toby Skarke, and Addison Miles, owners

106.5 percent growth

Red Lab Logistics is a provider of third-party logistics and consulting services. The company specializes in moving products from ports and rail hubs to their ultimate destinations. Red Lab Logistics also provides short- and long-term warehouse storage. 


8. Sunny Days Entertainment LLC

Headquartered in Simpsonville

Melvin Wells, CEO

104.07 percent growth

Sunny Days Entertainment is a supplier, distributor, and manufacturer of branded and licensed toys. Its brands include Poptopia, Honey Bee Acres, Toymendous, and Cocomelon Baby.


9. Sage Capital Wealth

Management of Raymond James

Headquartered in Greenville

Trey Martin, managing director

87.6 percent growth

Sage Capital Wealth Management provides financial planning services to individuals and investors. Services include investment management, asset preservation, and retirement and estate planning.


10. iTrust Wellness Group

Headquartered in Greenville

Steven Krozer, CEO

83.4 percent growth

Psychiatric services are the primary focus of iTrust Wellness Group, which provides medication management and therapy to individuals ages 15-75. The group specializes in treatment of anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and other mental health conditions.


11. Thorne Ambulance Service

Headquartered in Greenville

Ryan Thorne, founder and CEO

82.35 percent growth

Thorne Ambulance Service, founded in 2010, provides wheelchair, Basic, and Advanced Life Support services. The company works with communities, health systems, and event venues in the Upstate and Grand Strand.


12. Capital Waste Services

Headquartered in Columbia

Matt Parker, president and CEO

66.9 percent growth

Capital Waste Services provides trash collection services for residences, businesses, and municipalities in the Midlands, Lowcountry, North Georgia, and Tennessee. 


13. Jordon Construction Group

Headquartered in Greenville

James Jordon, president

66.37 percent growth

Firm that specializes in construction and facility support services for private, public, and government clients. The company’s projects have included Grand Strand Medical Center, Fort Jackson, and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. 



Headquartered in Charleston

Todd Jessup, president

63.6 percent growth

FLEXSPACE provides advanced cold storage warehouses and industrial spaces. The company works with clients on design and pre-construction to build the most efficient space for each client’s needs.


15. Preferred Home Services

Headquartered in North Charleston

Chris DiCampli and Kyle Geiger, co-owners

63.55 percent growth

Preferred Home Services

Preferred Home Services provides plumbing, electrical, and HVAC repair and replacement services in Charleston, Summerville, and the surrounding areas. The company’s work includes maintenance and safety inspections.


16. The Hiring Group LLC

Headquartered in Greenville

Chris Yarrow and Brooks Israel, co-founders and managing partners

60.45 percent growth

The Hiring Group is a technical staffing firm with clients located around the United States. The company’s main focus is in the IT and engineering fields.


17. Star EV

Headquartered in Simpsonville

Jane Zhang, CEO

57.6 percent growth

Founded in 2003, Star EV manufactures low-speed electric vehicles such as street-legal golf carts, police vehicles, and transit vehicles.


18. Air Compressor Services

Headquartered in Greenville

Neal Shade, founder

56.4 percent growth

Air Compressor Services manufactures and supplies parts and services for air compressors, including filters, thermal valves, maintenance and repair kits, and motors.


19. Bachner Electro USA Inc.

Headquartered in Greer

Denis Pospischil, CEO

52.9 percent growth

Founded in 1920, Bachner Electro USA provides electrical installations, IT and communication systems, security systems, and automation and switchgear systems.


20. Daedalus Industrial

Headquartered in Easley

Matt Beale, president

48.2 percent growth

Daedalus Industrial is a company that designs, builds, installs, and supports data centers for manufacturing facilities and government and defense entities.


21. Flare Media Agency

Headquartered in Greenville

Ally Cutter, Anne Young, and Dianne Zukowsky, partners

43.45 percent growth

Flare Media is a digital marketing and media agency that works with companies ranging from health care to higher education to real estate.


22. Chronic Care Staffing

Headquartered in Mount Pleasant

Cas Danielowski, CEO

43 percent growth

Chronic Care Staffing is a nationwide provider of outsourced virtual care management services. The company works with a range of clients, from small physician practices to large health care systems.


23. GenX Security Solutions

Headquartered in Piedmont

Adam Heiks, CEO

40 percent growth

The company provides commercial security systems, residential and commercial fire protection, smart home automation, biometric security systems, video surveillance, and more. 



Headquartered in Columbia

Mark Wesley, CEO

36.5 percent growth

This company provides electric fencing and perimeter security systems for a variety of companies, including construction sites, warehouses, self-storage facilities, and data centers.


25. N L J Ventures, LLC

Headquartered in Greenville

Lee Johnson, president and founder 

32.99 percent growth

NLJ Ventures owns and operates hundreds of Take Five Oil Change locations around the region.


26. Elite Home Care, Day Centers, and Transportation

Headquartered in Spartanburg

Chris Russo, co-founder

31.1 percent growth

Elite Home Care provides day centers, home care services, and transportation for senior adults and adults with disabilities.


27. Equip Studio

Headquartered in Greenville

Sandy Gibbes, partner

30.29 percent growth

Equip Studio is an architecture firm specializing in commercial, industrial, and institutional spaces. Its clients include churches, universities, and health care providers.


28. Soteria LLC

Headquartered in North Charleston

Glenn Starkman, managing principal

29.7 percent growth

Soteria provides security advisory and consulting services to protect companies from cybercrime.


29. Blue Haven Pools & Spas

Headquartered in North Charleston

Brian Peppin and Robert Peppin, owners

29.2 percent growth

Blue Haven is a company that designs, builds, renovates, and maintains custom pools and spas.


30. SEJ Services

Headquartered in Mount Pleasant

Brandon Schneider, CEO

28.25 percent growth

SEJ Services provides commercial janitorial and facility services, including general labor, forklift operation, and security services.


31. AssistPro Inc.

Headquartered in Greenville

Jenna Spencer, founder  

27.4 percent growth

AssistPro is a company that matches clients with virtual executive assistants who can help with everything from inventory management to administrative logistics.


32. Plus-Plus USA

Headquartered in Greenville

Ryan Hamilton, CEO

27.3 percent growth

Plus-Plus USA manufactures and distributes toys including puzzles, 3D buildable toys, Advent calendars, and activity sets.


33. Clear Touch Interactive

Headquartered in Greenville

Keone Trask, CEO

26.7 percent growth

Clear Touch Interactive manufactures interactive touch panels, as well as accessories and software solutions, for educational institutions and businesses. 


34. Proactive MD

Headquartered in Simpsonville

John Collier, CEO

24.59 percent growth

Proactive MD provides employer-sponsored wellness centers and guides patients through the continuum of care.


35. SC Steel, LLC

Headquartered in Taylors

Charles Wall, president

24.2 percent growth

SC Steel is a steel fabricator serving commercial and industrial clients with preconstruction planning, BIM modeling, and project management services.


36. H&W Electrical Corp.

Headquartered in Greenville

Alan Holcombe, president and COO

23.7 percent growth

H&W Electrical Corp. is a commercial industrial electrical contractor with projects ranging from industrial to retail to military.


37. Tri-County Mechanical Inc.

Headquartered in Little River

Brett Rathbone, owner

23.1 percent growth

Tri-County Mechanical Inc. is a provider of residential and commercial heating and air conditioning services, including installation and repair.


38. ANC Group

Headquartered in Greenville

Brian Daughhetee, CEO

22.4 percent growth

ANC Group provides managed IT solutions, IT security, hardware services, and data backup for clients around the Southeast.


39. Bela Family Dentistry

Headquartered in Lexington

Matthew Cook, CEO

21.4 percent growth

Bela Family Dentistry is a full-service dental practice with locations in South Carolina and Georgia.


40. Accountfully

Headquartered in Charleston

Brad Ebenhoeh, partner and CEO

20.5 percent growth

Accountfully is a full-service outsourced accounting firm whose services include tax preparation, inventory management, and bookkeeping and controller services.  


41. Chancel Construction Inc.

Headquartered in Conway

McKenzie Jordan, president

20.49 percent growth

Chancel Construction is a full-service general contractor providing project planning, preconstruction services, value engineering, and design-build services.


42. Stokes & Company CPAs, PC

Headquartered in Greenville

Stephen Stokes, managing partner

19.89 percent growth

Stokes & Company is an accounting firm offering a variety of accounting, payroll, and tax services to companies and individuals.


43. Global Lending Services

Headquartered in Greenville

Steve Thibodeau, CEO

19.37 percent growth

Global Lending Services provides affordable auto loans to individuals, many of them with credit scores that present a challenge to acquiring a loan.


44. Docugraphics LLC

Headquartered in Charleston

Thomas Fimian, founder and CEO

18.49 percent growth

Docugraphics is an office equipment supplier and provider of managed IT and cyber security services.


45. Broad River Retail LLC

Headquartered in Fort Mill

Charlie Malouf, president and CEO

18.3 percent growth

Broad River Retail is a company that owns and operates Ashley Furniture Stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.


46. CF Evans Construction LLC

Headquartered in Greenville

Johnny Evans, executive chairman

15.4 percent growth

CF Evans Construction is a firm that specializes in the construction of multifamily projects in communities in North Carolina and South Carolina.


47. Clayton Construction Company Inc.

Headquartered in Spartanburg

Harry Clayton, CEO

15.3 percent growth

Clayton Construction Company is a general contractor providing services in six states in the Southeast.


48. MedTrust Holdings

Headquartered in Hanahan

Lenna MacDonald, CEO

11.04 percent growth

MedTrust Holdings is a mobile health care provider that serves hospital systems around the Southeast.


49. Integrated Biometrics

Headquartered in Spartanburg

Shawn O’Rourke, CEO

10.7 percent growth

Integrated Biometrics is a technology company that provides fingerprint sensors to database providers, companies, and contractors.


50. Rymedi

Headquartered in Greenville

David Stefanich, CEO

10.5 percent growth

Rymedi is a company that connects patients with personalized health care solutions.