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20. AVPOL International
20. AVPOL International
2010 Revenues: $13 million
5-year Annual Growth Rate: 55%

Sandra Walls
Location: Memphis, TN

About the business:
CEO Sandra Walls had 22 years of logistics experience with the Air Force when, in 1997, she saw an opportunity to make money as a competitor within the market, so she started her own company. In 2002, AVPOL acquired Flex Force, a staffing company that helped it land its first federal contract -- with the Department of the Interior -- in 2003. The acquisition also helped AVPOL snag contracts with NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin, among others. Walls has big plans for the company in the next five years, which include international growth, even more commercial contracts, and earning revenues in excess of $100 million.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) defines inner cities as core urban areas with higher unemployment and poverty rates and lower median incomes than their surrounding metropolitan statistical areas. For the 2012 list, ICIC received more than 2,000 solicited nominations using its database of small businesses and through the support of its nominating partners, including the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Staples, New York City Department of Small Business Services, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Companies were ranked by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) based on their revenue over the five-year period between 2006 and 2010, the last year for which complete data was available. This list was audited by the independent accounting firm of Rucci Bardaro and Barrett, PC.
@FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 11 2012: 10:59 AM ET
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