“This is one of the best businesses to be in,” says Derek Hennecke, 42, CEO of drug development services company Xcelience. Drug companies hire Xcelience to take their discoveries and turn the compounds into formulations and manufacture them for use in clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies increasingly outsource such work. The business was part of Ontario-based healthcare multinational MDS Pharma Services until 2006. Hennecke, a Canada native who had worked as a manager in Egypt, Canada, Holland and Mexico for a Dutch conglomerate, and his managers bought it.
“Oh, there’s been a learning curve,” he says of being on his own after a career in multinationals. Xcelience’s staff now numbers 80, up from 45 at the buyout. Its seven Ph.D.s, along with master’s degree holders, chemists and other scientists, handle 40 to 50 compounds a year for clients. “We want to keep growing but grow at a rate that doesn’t affect the most important things for our clients, which are quality and speed.”
Bobra Bush, 44, owner of telecom consulting and contingency-based bill auditing firm Telcom and customer retention company Telcare in Boca Raton, was honored as a “small business champion” by the National Federation of Independent Business for her activism in Tallahassee on behalf of entrepreneurs.
Florida natives Chad Perce, 37, and Clint Drawdy, 36, co-founded Hire Methods in Jacksonville in 2004. Hire Methods is the parent company of healthcare staffing company Medical Methods, which is focused primarily on physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists, and technical staffing company iMethods Technical Recruiting, which is focused primarily on healthcare technologists. They expect $4 million to $4.5 million in revenue this year.