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Posted on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Gold Star Mortgage leads 6 Ann Arbor companies on Inc. 5000 'Fastest Growing' list

By Ben Freed

Six Ann Arbor companies were ranked on the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing companies in America. Mortgage companies Gold Star Mortgage and Huron Valley Financial led the way, coming in at No. 1381 and No. 1500, respectively.

The Inc. rankings are based on companies' revenue growth between 2009 and 2012. Over the three-year period, Gold Star grew by 292 percent, increasing revenue from $15.3 million to $59.9 million and adding 235 jobs, making it the No. 19 fastest-growing company in Michigan.


Dan Milstein (pictured here on left with brother Alex Milshteyn) has led Gold Star Mortgage onto the Inc. 5000 list for the third time.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

Gold Star is in the midst of moving its headquarters into the former Borders headquarters on Pheonix Drive in Pittsfield Township just south of Ann Arbor.

Other Ann Arbor companies on the list are Leon Speakers, Helix Steel, Underground Printing and Logic Solutions.

“Not all the companies in the Inc. 500 | 5000 are in glamorous industries, but in their fields they are as famous as household name companies simply by virtue of being great at what they do,” Inc. editor Eric Schurenberg said in a statement.

“They are the hidden champions of job growth and innovation, the real muscle of the American economy.”

Huron Valley Financial cracked the Inc. list for the first time in 2013 after experiencing 266 percent growth over the past three years. In 2012, the company brought in $9.6 million in revenue and employed 62 people.

The Inc. list only includes companies that are privately held, for profit and independent — not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies.

Leon Speakers has appeared on the Inc. 500|5000 list every year since 2011, when it first appeared at No. 2717, and continued its steady rise in the rankings this year to No. 2099. The 46th fastest-growing company in Michigan specializes in custom-tailored sound systems.

Helix Steel was the only local manufacturer to make the list, coming in at No. 2601. The company makes rebar, used in concrete reinforcement for construction products. Founded in 2003, Helix accelerated its growth over the past three years, growing from seven to 29 employees.

Underground Printing is the longest tenured Ann Arbor company to make the list, having been on every year since 2008. The T-shirt maker grew revenue 86 percent over the past three years and brought in $12.2 million in 2012. The 2013 numbers will likely keep the company on the list following the University of Michigan basketball team’s run to the NCAA national championship game.

The final Ann Arbor company on the list represented the area’s growing software development sector. Logic Solutions designs custom web and mobile applications for companies from its offices in Ann Arbor. The company employs 234 people and grew from $4.7 million in revenue in 2009 to $8.5 million in 2012.

“These Michigan companies, from a wide range of industries, have all earned their place on this list through innovation and aggressive performance,” Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement.

“They exemplify the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit Michigan is known for, and we applaud them for this notable achievement.”

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

"The Inc. list only includes companies that are privately held, for profit and independent." Not really. Publicly held firms traditionally are those which are SEC registered and listed on one of the three major stock exchanges, NYSE, ASE or NASDAQ. There are other "non-public" rapidly growing firms in town not on this list. Firms such as University Bank's parent holding company, University Bancorp, Inc., one of the fastest growing in the area, are disqualified from this list even though its shares are not SEC registered because it has 790 shareholders (including many employee shareholders) and its stock is publicly tradeable on the OTCQB exchange (even though it doesn't trade much). Its revenue in 2012 was $39,991,125 and was $21,814,793 in 2009. (See: Despite Inc.'s out of date methodology, there are really three types of firms, public SEC registered firms, quasi public firms like the bank's whose shares trade infrequently, and privately owned firms. The Inc. list only recognizes two types and there is a need for them to update their methodology or for someone else to create a new ranking list of rapidly growing quasi public firms. Because of the recently passed JOBS Act, raising capital from the public using crowdsourcing without being SEC registered will be a lot easier and more cost effective, and therefore the number of quasi public firms will skyrocket in the future, and the number of pure private companies using Inc.'s narrow definition will decrease.


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

The list also only recognizes firms willing to take the time to fill out a long set of forms for the PR benefit of making this list. There are other local firms who decide to pass.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

Great news, Ben! Glad to see so many great companies coming from Ann Arbor! Just a minor point I wanted to mention- Daniel Milstein is on the left in the photo, Alex Milshteyn is on the right.

Ben Freed

Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

You are absolutely right. And here I was thinking I could tell my right from my left. Luckily I can still tell a Milstein from a Milshteyn. Thanks for the correction, it's been fixed.


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Well thanks for this informative article Ben. I have often wondered what exactly Logic Solutions does, and now I know


Fri, Aug 23, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

I don't understand how Logic can employ 234 people and only make $8.5 million in revenue in that industry. A significant number of those people must be overseas but it's still hard to make that P&L work.