A metalworks' breakout year

A husband-and-wife team revive a struggling company, taking it past $1 million in sales.

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Kara Clayton, CEO and President, Central Texas Express Metalwork, San Antonio

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Seven months after offering service to customers who need welding jobs done quickly, Central Texas Express Metalwork had landed 12 new accounts. Revenue jumped from $670,000 in 2005 to $1.7 million in 2007.

You want it when?
At the time CEO Kara Clayton and husband Joe Kortsch bought Express Metalwork in 2005, it was struggling, with just one big client. The good news: A contractor soon ordered $100,000 worth of steel platforms for a Toyota (TM) plant. The scary news: He wanted it within three weeks.

Midnight Toil
Clayton, 33, and Kortsch, 42, scheduled their company's first night shift and hired 15 temporary welders. They met the deadline, and word spread. A subcontractor soon hired Express to produce a gate overnight for the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. Today Express - which doesn't charge extra for rush jobs - has completed $45,000 worth of work for the zoo and secured an additional $500,000 contract. The next challenge: finding a steady stream of jobs with longer lead times. To top of page

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