Photo:Lee High School's new cafeteria building, designed by G.M. Hill
Gina Hill founded G.M. Hill Engineering, a structural engineering firm, in 2004 following a stint at design-build firm Haskell. “I had one employee to start — me,” she says. Right away she landed jobs designing residential homes during the height of the housing boom. “I probably designed anywhere from 600 to 700 residential projects my first year,” she says. “It was crazy.” But after the real estate bubble burst, her revenue declined 50%. She bounced back by returning to her roots as a designer of commercial and educational buildings. One recent project was the $35-million renovation of Jacksonville’s Lee High School. She now employs nine and has annual revenue of just under $1 million and revenue growth of 22% from 2010 to 2011.