Berkeley Varitronics vs. Fluke (Danaher)
Berkeley Varitronics vs. Fluke (Danaher)
The challenge: Persuading mega-companies to do business with a small player.

What they did: It's not easy for a 32-employee company with sales of about $5 million to win business from clients ranging from Abbott Labs to NASA and the Secret Service. But Berkeley Varitronics -- which designs and makes equipment for testing wireless networks and detecting security breaches -- has done it for years. One secret: investing in top talent. During telecommunications industry turmoil, the tiny Metuchen, N.J., firm snapped up engineers from AT&T, Lucent, and other big players. And the family-run business relies on U.S.-based suppliers to maintain quality control. "If I need a bracket, I'm going to a local shop to get it," says president Scott Schober, 42, son of founder and CTO Gary William Schober, 67. The Schobers' passion for customizing products also sparks sales.

This article is from the February 6, 2012 issue of Fortune.
By Elaine Pofeldt, contributor @FortuneMagazine - Last updated February 07 2012: 6:13 AM ET
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