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Four Polk Companies are the Fastest Growing in the Tampa Bay Region

August 29, 2023 News

Four Polk County companies have landed on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s FAST 50 list — the 50 fastest-growing companies in Florida, ranked by revenue growth. They are SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate, Springer Construction, Southern Milling & Lumber and AgAmerica Lending. 

Companies provided their information to the Tampa Bay Business Journal for consideration; all information was verified by an accounting firm. Criteria to be considered included being privately held with headquarters in the Tampa Bay region, which includes Polk, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties. Companies must have had revenue of at least $1 million in 2020 or $5 million in 2022. 

“The companies on this list showcase the best of Polk County,” said Sean Malott, President & CEO of the Central Florida Development Council. “They are home-grown businesses that have taken off, spurred by the influx of people and companies to our county. Overall, their growth and placement on this prestigious list highlight the fact that Polk County is The Place to do Business in Florida.” 

Learn more about the companies below. 

#26: SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate 

The Lakeland commercial real-estate firm saw revenue growth of 170%. Increasing from $8 million in 2020 to $22 million in 2022. Founded in 1996, it has 16 employees.  

“We live and work in the heart of Florida’s extraordinary growth. In 2022, Central Florida accounted for 20% of Florida’s population but was responsible for nearly 30% of the population growth. This red-hot market and our expansions into Georgia and Orlando have all contributed to our success,” said founder Dean Saunders. 

He said success is all about the people he works with. “We are blessed with the best agents in the business and tremendous staff. They embrace and help create a culture that encourages and emphasizes the pursuit of excellence in everything that we do.” 

Commercial real estate is critical to business growth.  

“I think our company is vital to economic development in our county. We are very well-versed in the real-estate products that are on the market or are coming on the market and by understanding the role that local government plays in economic development,” said Todd Dantzler, managing director and senior adviser. “We work hard to develop relationships with the professional staff and elected officials who make and interpret ordinances for development and the utilities that are vital to creating buildings to house our business and their workforce.  Also, we work with transportation officials, both state and local, to understand the transportation challenges and potential solutions for our client.” 

Todd Dantzler

Managing director and senior adviser Gary Ralston uses data to make Informed decisions.  

“Understanding who lives in your market, what they do for a living and who they work for, then evaluating the fluctuations in that data help us make better-informed decisions on which asset classes we should focus on,” he said. 

For others looking to start a similar business, Dantzler said he would tell them to “get educated, get involved and get proactive in the community. Learn the inventory. Finally, learn the others that make transactions happen and build relationships with them, as they will be critical to your success.” 

#40: Springer Construction

Springer Construction of Lakeland saw revenue growth of 100%, increasing from $11.9 million in 2020 to $24 million in 2022. The general contractor has 16 employees.  

Rob Peterson founded the company in 1987 and ran it until his son, Cole Springer, and Jeremy Voss bought it in 2018. It’s now a construction management firm. 

Good leadership, people and positivity are the key to the company’s success, he said.

“We spend a lot of time focusing on culture, staying rooted to our core values and taking care of our people. A positive work environment with good leadership has been key to our success.” 

Jemery Voss

Being part of the community helps Springer add to Polk County’s economic development, Voss said. “We look for win-win solutions for all stakeholders involved in our projects. Also, we try to act as a connector for business leaders. We introduce them to other resources in our communities that help them achieve their goals.”  

His advice for people who want to start their own business? “Maintain a strong faith (pray often), work hard, have a good support system. Have a plan and work your plan, don’t let the plan work you. Lastly, stay disciplined to the vision of where you want to be. Maintain a sense of urgency.” 

#41: Southern Milling & Lumber

Southern Milling & Lumber of Lakeland saw revenue growth of 94%, up from $23 million in 2020 to $45 million in 2022. Founded in 1991, the lumber products manufacturer has 132 employees. 

#46: Agamerica Lending

AgAmerica Lending of Lakeland saw revenue growth of 87%, from $60 million in 2020 to $112 million in 2022. Founded in 2014 to help finance the future of agriculture, the company employs 146 people.  

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