The University of Florida celebrated alumni entrepreneurs from Colleges across campus in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom on Feb. 10 at the third annual Gator100.
Presented by the UF Alumni Association, the Warrington College of Business, and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the event celebrates the world’s 100 fastest-growing businesses led or owned by UF alumni. Ernst & Young vets the nominations and produces the final results. Companies are ranked by compound annual growth rate over the past three years.
Warrington alumni lead or own 40 businesses in the Gator100, making it the third straight year that the Warrington College of Business has the most representatives at the event. Eleven of the top 25 and three of the top five in the final rankings were companies led by Warrington alumni. In all, 12 different UF colleges were represented in the event, and those companies represented 13 different states and earned $3.4 billion of total revenue in 2015.
Nine companies topped a 100% compound annual growth rate this year after only five companies reached that mark at last year’s event. View the full rankings from the event.
AGTC, an Alachua-based company that uses gene therapy to develop treatments for patients with diseases caused by broken genes, earned the top spot at this year’s event. The company is led by President and CEO Sue Washer, who received her MBA from the Warrington College of Business in 1992. AGTC uses cutting-edge techniques to provide hope to patients with rare diseases and unmet medical needs.
“Several of my employees are UF alumni, and all five of our scientific founders passed through or are still at the University of Florida,” Washer said. “We continue to use our connections at UF.”
AGTC posted a compound annual growth rate of 547.68%.
The 2017 event wasn’t the first time AGTC has been honored. It finished at No. 25 last year with a compound annual growth rate of 58.08%. AGTC becomes the third-straight company to finish at the top of the Gator100 while being led by a Warrington graduate.
The Pinnacle Award recognizes an established business leader who has demonstrated success in his or her industry. The recipient is an entrepreneur who has shown sustained excellence in leadership from a role of company leader. The award embodies a lifetime of entrepreneurship in action.
This year, the award went to Neil Schopke (BCE ’62). He and two business partners founded LIFDEK in 2013 to develop and commercialize a more cost-efficient shipping system for lightweight logistics. The company has five pending patents and has negotiated contracts with IKEA.
Schopke is a serial entrepreneur with interest in over 13 business operations. He’s a managing partner of Schopke & Associates and is a majority partner of All Brevard Storage.
To nominate your company or one led by a University of Florida graduate, keep checking the Gator100 website. Nominations for the 2018 event will be accepted beginning in the spring of 2017.