Some of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs were recognized by the University of Florida during its 2018 Gator100 celebration on Feb. 2. The annual ceremony honors the world’s fastest-growing businesses that are owned or led by UF alumni.
Inclusion on the Gator100 list is competitive and considered one of the most prestigious recognitions for alumni who are business leaders. This year’s honorees include companies from 17 states and two businesses based in China and India. In all, 2018 Gator100 businesses generate more than $6.2 billion annually and employ almost 44,000 people.
Topping this year’s list is the Orlando construction firm ACY Contractors. President Michael Young’s company provides services for schools and colleges, entertainment, health care and other niche markets. Young earned his UF bachelor’s degree in building construction in 1997.
“The Gator100 honors UF alumni from across the university who are founding and growing amazing companies around the country,” said Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida. “It’s an incredible affirmation of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of The Gator Nation.”
Now in its fourth year, the university’s premier entrepreneurial awards program is sponsored by the UF Alumni Association in partnership with UF’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center. To be considered for the Gator100, companies must have been in business for at least five years and have annual revenues of $250,000 or more; an alumnus must be owner, CEO or founder. Companies’ annual growth rates over the past three years are calculated by the global accounting firm Ernst & Young to determine rankings. The entire 2018 Gator100 list is available online at gator100.ufl.edu.
The University of Florida has a long history of established programs in business and entrepreneurship, international education, research and service, and is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is currently ranked No. 9 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities.