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The Dallas 100

The Dallas 100 honors the fastest growing companies in Dallas. Presented by the SMU’s Caruth Institute, the award recognizes and encourages entrepreneurs who contribute to the economic growth of our region with their vision and their hard work, D Magazine proudly profiles the CEOs of the top ten of Dallas’ most exciting companies.
By D Magazine |

A Dallas 100 win not only signifies a company’s success in its industry. Il also means the company has made significant contributions to the Dallas community by generating thousands of new jobs, increasing the tax base, and fostering the Dallas region’s reputation as a premier economic development center.
According to one of its founders, SMU professor Jerry White, the Dallas 100 is a long overdue tribute to the vitality and entrepreneurial spirit of (he emerging business community in North Texas.
At the formal awards ceremony, held once again this October at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Dallas 100 award was bestowed upon 100 top area businesses. Winners met the following qualifications:
■ Independent, privately held corporation, proprietorship, or partnership (not a subsidiary of a parent company) as
ot August 15,1999
Looted in the Dallas area
Sales of more than $500.000 in fiscal 1996
Sales of not more than $30.000,000 in 1996
At least three years old with a sales increase in fiscal 1998
Credit report satisfactory to the Dallas 100. determinai at the sole discretion of the Dallas 100.
What sets the Dallas 100 apart from other business awards is that scores are based entirely on increased growth in sales, giving weight to percentage of growth and absolute dollar growth over the previous three years. A computer tabulates the results and ranks the companies from 1 to 100. Unlike many competitions. the Dallas 100 doesn’t use judges, testimonies, or other subjective judging methods. The companies’ scores speak for themselves.
Presented each year by the CEO Institute and The Caruth Institute of Owner-Manged Business at Southern Methodist University, the Dallas 100 gives winners recognition smaller companies are not often accorded. Not only do winners enjoy public recognition among business peers and clients, but the award also provides employees of companies an opportunity to celebrate their hard work together, not to mention invaluable media exposure. And long after the ceremony ends, Dallas 100 alumni informally network among each other – relationships that will be strengthened by the formation of the Dallas 100 Alumni Club in the new year under the sponsorship of D Magazine, Bank One. Ernst & Young, and Haynes and Boone.
“Employees and business owners don’t get a lot of pats on the back,” says Lane Kramer, president of The CEO Institute in Dallas. “The Dallas 100 presents a great opportunity for companies to celebrate what they have achieved as a team.’’
Cadence McShane Corp.
Neal Harper
Since its inception, Cadence McShane Corporation has taken pride in pro viding top quality construction services, but the company’s biggest source of pride is its satis fied customers. Whether providing full-service design-build, construction management, or general construction, professionalism and responsiveness are the cornerstones of the company’s impressive growth and success.
“While we are enjoying our growth, our main focus will always be to maintain a high quality level in the work we do. as well as in customer service.” says Neal Harper, présidera of Cadence McShane Corporation. “We put that above all else.”
Another key to the company’s success is its ability to analyze the challenges of a client’s program and present cost-based alternatives, allowing The client to determine where construction dollars are spent. Cadence McShane has learned that providing quality performance, competitive costing, and on-time deliveries encourages repeat business with knowledgeable clients.
Originally known as The Cadence Group. the company merged in 1996 under the direction of its owner, Jim McShane. Although headquartered in Dallas. Cadence McShane maintains a strong presence throughout Texas with offices in Houston and Austin. Having a presence in these major markets enables the company to balance its efforts in private sector industrial, office, hotel, and other commercial work. Cadence McShane also specializes in providing services to the public sector through educational and institutional work.
What sets Cadence McShane apart from its competitors is that the company has been guided from its inception by senior management who are veteran construction professionals with many years of experience in dealing with significant projects and sophisticated owners, developers. and architects. The capabilities of Cadence McShane’s senior management team, coupled with experienced office and field project personnel, form the basis of quality teams to meet the challenges of each project. To continue this inspiring tradition. Cadence McShane is contributing to its growth and success through an ongoing Management Training Program, professional development programs, and college recruiting efforts.
Some notable jobs thai have contributed to Cadence McShane’s recent growth include five projects totaling over 950,000 square feet for Hillwood Development Corporation, eight office/industrial properties totaling over 900.000 square feet for Trammell Crow Company. 600,000 square feet for Catellus Development Corporation, and a $30 million. 300,000 square fool condominium renovation project in Highland Park. In addition. Cadence McShane has constructed 56 education facilities for 18 public school districts throughout Texas. Current local work includes a $60 million bond program for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and a $40 million bond program for Highland Park ISD.
Hartex Property Group Inc.
Greg Smith. Rene Campos, Mam Weis
Partners and Co-Founders
In 1991. Rene Campos and Greg Smith identified and acquired their first appartment property in the Dallas area. Within a few months the two asked friend Adam Weis to join them in their ven- ture and the three partners started Hartex Property Group Inc.. specializing in the acquisition, renovation, and management of multifamily residential properties in Dallas and Houston. With little cash and credit, the trio found- ed the company on a shoe-string budget and just one property. Today, Hartex has grown to own and control 45 multifamily properties consisting of approximately 12.500 apartment units. And, the budget is no longer shoe-string. In 1998, annual revenues were about $90 million, and the company is valued at about $315 million.
Hartex focuses on identifying undervalued and under-managed quality apartment properties at below-market values and then skillfully purchasing and renovating the properties. The partners received early hands-on training in this business. They combined their personal savings, sweat equity, and a seller-financed loan to buy (heir first property, which they lived in for awhile to learn die business of renovation of and management.
Each partner agrees that company pride, systematic employee education and training, and team involvement have been key elements of the company’s growth and operating strategies.
“Each of us believes thai the company is al a goal size now,” says Smith. “We’re focusing on what we have right now as we steadily improve each property. We don’t have any major plans for tremendous growth in the future. We’re just thankful for the success we’ve achieved thus far.”
Some of this success has been proved with the many awards and recognition Hartex has received since its inception. The 350-employee company has been a Dallas 100 award-winner each year since 1994. Hartex received the “Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 1996. the Pacesetter award for the past three years, and it has been included in the “INC 500” list each year since 1996-one of only 13 companies in the U.S. to achieve this honor. In 1998. Hartex was features in a cover story in The Wall Street Journal for it unique development and outstanding performance.
MetaSolv Software Inc.
Jim Janicki
President and CEO
MetaSolv Software Inc. has established itself as an industry lender in providing innovative client/server software solutions and professional services for the telecommunications industry. The company recently went public, following in the footsteps of many previous Dallas 100 award-winners.
“All along we had the idea to grow into a company that would one day go public.” says Jim Janicki. CEO and president of Metasolv. “We took our time and built the infrastructure we needed to become a public company, and seven-and-a-half years later, we made it.”
Headquartered in Piano, MetaSolv employs more than 350 peopie and has regional offices in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, McLean. VA. Atlanta, and London. The company is undergoing construction on an additional 100,000-square-foot building adjacent to the Legacy Park facility to accommodate its rapid growth.
Hopefully, Janicki says the Dallas 100 win, combined with its public offering, will give MetaSolv the local exposure it needs since it is primarily known nationally and internationally among telecom software users.
Since the company’s inception in 1992, MetaSolv has been a leading provider of OSS service management solutions for next generation communications providers. MetaSolv’s Telecom Business Solution (TBS) software product suite integrates a communications provider’s business from network planning and engineering to operations and customer care.
MetaSolv’s ability to offer software solutions that enable com-numcations providers to quickly and efficiently respond to market demand, optimize their service fulfillment processes, and build stronger relationships with their customers has helped propel it to becoming a successful, award-winning company.

Worldwide Express
David Kiger, Roger MacDonell
Two spare bedrooms in two different states turned into makeshift offices, $5,000 in start-up capital, and a strong desire to succeed were the ingredients for success when David Kiger and co-founder Roger MacDonell slatted what is today the second largest overnight shipping reseller in the country. Worldwide Express is now ranked No. 4 among this year’s Dallas 100, up from No. 55 last year. This significant jump is indicative of the company’s tremendous growth and success.
Essentially, Worldwide Express is a “virtual” overnight express company utilizing Airborne Express to service small- to medium-sized businesses shipping one to 20 packages a day. Kiger and MacDonell started the franchise-based company in 1994 after stints with Trammell Crow Company where they observed first hand the tremendous expenditures on overnight express service. After securing a considerable discount for his real estate employer, Kiger sensed an opportunity. He figured there must be a way to aggregate die shipping volume of smaller companies so they could receive the same discount and service as the larger companies that shipped higher volumes.
After extensive research, Kiger recognized die incredible opportunity. He learned the overnight express business was a $35 billion industry. He realized the small- to medium-size market he wished to target, which was dominated by Federal Express, was the fastest-growing segment and was relatively underserved. Since Airborne Express markets its service without passing on high advertising expenditures to its customers, focuses primarily on Fortune 500 companies, and was willing to work with Worldwide Express, it was a perfect fit.
“We basically do the same job for far less money, and our franchisees offer a much higher level of service than the small- to medium-size company has ever experienced.” Kiger says.
Each year of Worldwide Express has doubled its business and expanded nationwide. Today, the company has 88 franchises thai own a total of 177 territories. It ranks second among non-asset based overnight express companies and reports current system-wide sales of nearly $50 million. Kiger hopes to continue the company’s aggressive growth profile with an eye on expanding into Canada and Europe.

Dieste & Parners
Tony Dieste. Warren Harmel
A vision and determination to create a new kind of Hispanic agency was the driving force behind Tony Dieste and Warren Harmel’s decision to found Dieste & Partners, a Dallas-based agency that fulfills marketing, advertising, and promotional needs for the Hispanic market in the United States. In 1995. the partners introduced Dieste & Partners to the U.S. with a central office in Dallas and branches in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
“We felt there was a significant opportunity to develop a resource that would help our clients build their brands in the Hispanic community,” Dieste says. “At the time, there was a great need for world class companies to reach Hispanic markets that were very under-served and under-developed.”
Today, Dieste & Partners, a certified minority owned business, has fulfilled its mission. It has experienced tremendous growth and is one of the top three Hispanic marketing agencies in the U.S. The $90 million company is die only Hispanic agency to win die prestigious Lion Award at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. In fact, the company now has more than 87 creative awards to its name including the Se Hable Espanol Awards’ Television Ad of the Year. Radio Ad of the Year, and Print Ad of the Year. Other awards include a gold and silver Effie award, the coveted David Ogilvy Research Award, and a Clio award.
Strategically focused, Dieste & Partners has developed proprietary tools that help its clients forge a competitive advantage in die Hispanic market. Some of the agency’s better-known clients include Pizza Hut. Pepsi, Mountain Dew. Frito Lay, Radio Shack, Proctor & Gamble. Southwest Airlines. HBO, 7-11, Visa, St. Paul Medical Center, and Presbyterian Healthcare System.
Not only are the employees of Dieste & Partners proud of being named a Dallas 100 winner, they are also honored to be included in the top five,
“Receiving an award from your peers is die best kind of award,” Dieste says. “It’s a special kind of recognition and a great feeling for everyone who played a part in earning it.”

Sebring Capital Corporation
Mike Brown, Lance Welch, Heal Meissner Co-Founders
In 1996. coworkers Mike Brown, Neal Meissner, and Lance Welch each left their jobs at a large mortgage banking company in the hopes that they could run one on their own much better. Their goal was to start a mortgage lending company that was different from the norm. They gathered the capital they needed to fund their first loan, and their business Sebring Capital, was born.
“At Sebring Capital, we focus on mortgage loans that banks and traditional lenders will typically not do-like financing 100 percent to homeowners with good credit or funding loans to homeowners with less than perfect credit,” says Sebring Capital president, Mike Brown. “We decided to take lending a step further.”
When Se bring Capital first opened for business, it had 12 employees and generated $3.2 million in revenues in its first fiscal year, netting a small profit after taxes, This fiscal year, the company generated $22.8 million in revenues with the help of its 220 employees, and netted $2.8 million after taxes. Because of this tremendous growth, the three partners have set even higher goals for the company, as they seek to expand the business even further nationally.
“I think we really have an outstanding group of people working here,” Brown says. “My partners and I are very experienced in risk management with a combined history 38 years in the mortgage banking business, and we follow a very disciplined approach to doing business. We’ve had the good fortune to hire some really great people who have fun, make good decisions, and give great service to our mortgage broker customers.”
Sebring’s rapid growth-and a Dallas 100 award-has brought much attention to the company. The company works with more than 4.000 approved mortgage brokers, and about 20 percent of that number do regular business with Sebring Capital. However, Brown says they win more brokers over every day. This, he says, is one of the best ways to measure the company’s success. Brown hopes the Dallas 100 win will bring even more positive attention to Sebring Capital and catch the eye of more qualified employees and mortgage brokers.
Canyon Creek Travel Inc.
Randal Limbacher
When the father and son team Jerry and Randal Limbacher founded Canyon Creek Travel Inc. in 1992. they wanted to set their company apart from the rest-they didn’t want their business to become “just another travel agency.” They realized that most every’ corporation has extensive travel needs for its employees, so what would make a company choose Canyon Creek Travel over another corporate travel agency? Their answer: A loyal team of employees who work together to serve their client’s needs.
“What has really made a difference is the depth of our employees,’’ .says Randal Limbacher. ’They have developed a long-term loyalty to the company and our clients. And in die end, 1 think that’s what our clients appreciate.”
Focusing on customer loyalty’ proved to be the success for Canyon Creek Travel. The company opened its doors with only four employees and with a mere five clients to its name. Today, it has a powerful working force of 55 employees serving more than 500 clients nationwide. Canyon Creek Travel has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years and is expected to produce over $75 million in sales this year alone. Randal Limbacher attributes this growth to the company’s sterling reputation that has been created by word of mouth. His business philosophy is this: A large company spending $2 to $3 million dollars a year on travel is looking for-and deserves -a corporate travel agency thai will work with its very specific needs, requests, and budget. Canyon Creek Travel does business with all airlines, unlike many larger corporate travel agencies that only offer clients travel packages on airlines with which they are affiliated. “Our job is to save our clients money.” Limbacher says. “We let them know that from the start.”
Even though excited about being named a Dallas 100 winner. Limbacher says Canyon Creek Travel won’t go public soon like many of the previous winners have. Limbacher prefers to enjoy the company’s current state of growth. His goal is to keep the Richardson-based business relatively small -but lucrative.

Digital Satellite Source Inc.
Michael Waters
Founder & CEO
Even though it seems most everything is available for purchase online these days, the idea was still a novel one only a few years ago. Meet a local e-commerce pioneer. Michael Waters, founder and CEO of Digital Satellite Source Inc. After an extensive and successful career in traditional retail management, he decided to venture into the world of cyberspace launching Digital Satellite Source Inc. in 1996. an online business that sells digital satellite systems over the Internet.
The company now has 25 employees and generated more than $7.7 million in sales last year. Figures are expected to be much higher at the end of 1999, waters attributes this tremendous success to the company s continual dedication to improvement in customer service, support, and fulfillment. The popular e-commerce web site has recently undergone a major redesign and is regularly updated using the latest in technology to give it a fresh look and to make it more user-friendly. The company is also expanding its product offering to include additional categories of consumer electronics.
The company’s goals are to continue its rapid growth, seek capital to sustain the momentum, and potentially go public, Winning the Dallas I OX) award has already made a positive impact on the company. The instant recognition Digital Satellite Source has received has attracted clients as well as business allies. Since the win. businesses have sought e-commerce advice from the staff at Digital Satellite Source, creating an even greater network for the company and making it a respected authority on e-commerce.
Tex SYS RD Corporation
Stanley D Strifler
President and CEO
Although a three-time top-ten Dallas 100 winner, the staff at TexSYS RD Corporation isn’t taking this third consecutive win for granted. Each win has brought added exposure and opportu-nily to this growing company. TexSys RD Corporation specializes in the integration of financial, e-commerce. manufacturing/distribution, customer care, human resources, demand planning, and sales automation for medium-sized companies, having experienced tremendous growth since its inception in 1992. In the past three years alone. Tex SYS RD Corporation has skyrocketed from a $5 million company to a $45 million company – a unique and impressive achievement for the middle market, says its president and CEO Stanley D. Strifler.
“Most companies in our market are $2 to S3 million companies.” he says. “We are successful because we aie a company with technology skills and a global reach, which is what our clients need and want. We have the human resources as well as the financial resources to get the job done. This makes us a safe choice for mid-sized companies, which is something that has been missing in our industry for some time.”
Strifler notes that the company’s ability to consolidate the middle market hack office and front office software and services is another factor that sets them apart from other companies in the industry. Founded in 1992 by graduate professor at the University of Dallas. Bob Dunikoski. the company was originally known as a value-added reseller. But through the vision and efforts of company leaders. TexSYS RD Corporation outgrew this label and has; gone on to perform software installations at more than 6.000 client companies throughout the U.S.and 45 foreign countries -an achievement that has been difficult to match by its competitors.
Today, TexSYS RD Corporation has offices in Birmingham. Boston. Chicago. Cincinnati. Cleveland. Houston. Kansas City. Los Angeles, Little Rock. Memphis. Newark. New York. Philadelphia. Phoenix, Tulsa, and Wichita with its company headquarters in Dallas. The company has grown from 57 employees in 1997 to more than 400 this year. The purpose of die company has always been to become the choice for world-class business application software for the middle market, in addition to consolidating the middle market’s highly-fragmented, value-added software reseller channel. Now, as a three-time Dallas 100 award-winner, company leaders have set yet another goal.
“Our future will revolve around e-eommerce and customer relation-ship management,” Strifler says. “I think our clients will see significant compétitive advantages in these areas over the next two to three years.”

Commercial Struct tires & Interiors Inc.
Rick lite
When Rick West founded Commercial Structures and Interiors Inc. in 1982, he never dreamed it would become one of the top 25 construction companies in the Dallas area. After all, lie started his Lewisville-based business in a spare bedroom of his home with the hopes to just break even. His dream was to apply his education in architecture to design beautiful commercial buildings.
Today. CS1 employs more than 130 people, turns an annual revenue of more than $50 million, and has designed and constructed more than 70 area churches and several large car dealerships. Some of the company’s most notable handiwork can be seen at Prestige Ford in Garland, the Covenant Church in Carroll ton. and a new dealership under construction for Grand Prairie Ford. West credits this tremendous success to the company’s strong Christian principles, his talented employees, and a commitment to never sacrifice integrity for growth, While West always dreamt of a small, community-oriented construction company, he is proud nonetheless of what CSI has become and where its headed. He attributes this success to his coworkers and affiliates.
-’] have been fortunate enough to work with Christian businesses and professionals and to attract employees with a strong Christian faith.” West says.’”I feel privileged to have been a part of the design of so many churches.”
West is hoping CSI will build upon his success in the new millennium and is currently working on getting his contractors licenses in every state so that CSI will have a national presence. CSI also plans to continue offering no-cost and no-obligation design services to clients-a feature, West says, that sets CSI apart from the competition. This service allows potential customers to see their ideas on paper before the budgeting process begins, and CSI guarantees that projects will not exceed the budgeted amount. West says practicing business this way reflects the Christian principles on which the business was built, and il is probably one of the reasons why CSI gets 100 percent of its business through referrals -one of CSI’s proudest achievements.