TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

4 Houston-area businesses rank among Inc.'s best-led companies in the country

Castle Biosciences CEO Derek Maetzold has something to be proud about.Photo courtesy of Castle Biosciences

Some Houston-area companies now have some major bragging rights — and perhaps, an influx of resumes on the way. Inc. magazine has released its new list of the country's 250 best-led midsize companies, and four Greater-Houston firms are in the spotlight.

The Houston-area companies are:

  • Castle Biosciences, Friendswood, No. 126
  • Sunova Energy, Houston, No. 156
  • Cactus Wellhead, Houston, No. 224
  • National Energy Services Reunited, Houston, No. 228

For those brushing up CVs or ready to invest, Castle Biosciences develops and commercializes diagnostic and prognostic tests for dermatologic cancers.

To compile the list, Inc. evaluated private and public U.S.-based companies with 2020 revenue of $50 million to $2 billion, or a valuation of $50 million to $10 billion. With help from Pitchbook and Shango Labs, Inc. sifted through data related to management excellence for more than 10,000 companies.

"This inaugural list of companies represents the remarkable mid-sized companies, both public and private, often founder-led, that are at the vanguard of reinventing American business," says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. magazine. "With their leadership, all businesses will benefit from an exciting, competitive future full of possibilities."

Bozeman, Montana-based software company Snowflake tops the Inc. list.

Elsewhere in Texas, An Austin company is generating buzz as the best-led midsize business in Texas. Dating app provider Bumble ranks first in Texas and 40th overall. Here's how the Austin companies fared overall:

  • Bumble, No. 40
  • BigCommerce, No. 70
  • YETI, No. 91
  • Digital Turbine, No. 101
  • Open Lending, No. 137
  • Everly Health, No. 150
  • The Zebra, No. 170
  • Helias Construction, No. 177
  • Cirrus Logic, No. 180

As for Dallas-Fort Worth, these companies landed on the list:

  • Goosehead Insurance Agency, Westlake, No. 148
  • The Container Store, Coppell, No. 153
  • Sabre, Southlake, No. 181
  • Trintech, Addison, No. 184
  • MB2 Dental, Carrollton, No. 203
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

SurgWise is giving surgical teams the right support for hiring. Photo via Getty Images

A surgeon spends over a decade in school and residency perfecting their medical skills, but that education doesn't usually include human resources training. Yet, when it comes to placing candidates into surgical programs, the hiring responsibilities fell on the shoulders of surgeons.

Aimee Gardner, who has her PhD in organized psychology, saw this inefficiency first hand.

"I worked in a large surgery department in Dallas right out of graduate school and quickly learned how folks are selected into residency and fellowship programs and all the time that goes into it — time spent by physicians reviewing piles and piles of like paper applications and spending lots and lots and of hours interviewing like hundreds of candidates," Gardner tells InnovationMap. "I was just really shocked by the inefficiencies from just a business and workforce perspective."

And things have only gotten worse. There are more applicants hitting the scene every year and they are applying to more hospitals and programs. Future surgeons used to apply for 20 or so programs — now it’s more like 65 on average. According to her research, Gardner says reviewing these applications cost lots of time and money, specifically $100,000 to fill five spots annually just up to the interviewing phase of the process.

Five years ago, Gardner came up with a solution to this “application fever,” as she describes, and all the inefficiencies, and founded SurgWise Consulting, where she serves as president and CEO.

"We help provide assessments to help screen competencies and attributes that people care about," Gardner says. "(Those) are really hard to assess, but really differentiate people who really thrive in training in their careers and people who don't."

Aimee Gardner is the CEO and president of Houston-based SurgWise. Photo via surgwise.com

These are the non-technical skills, like the professionalism, interpersonal skills, and communication. While SurgWise began as a service-oriented consulting company, the company is now ready to tap technology to expand upon its solution. The work started out of Houston Methodist, and SurgWise is still working with surgery teams there. She says they've accumulated tons of data that can be leveraged and streamlined.

"We're now pivoting from a very intimate client approach to a more scalable offering. Every year we assess essentially around 80 percent of all the people applying to be future surgeons — those in pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, and more,” Gardner says. “We’ve used kind of the last five years of data and experiences to create a more scalable, easy-to-integrate, and off-the-shelf solution.”

Gardner says her solution is critical for providing more equity in the hiring process.

“One of our goals was to create more equitable opportunities and platforms to assess folks because many of the traditional tools and processes that most people use in this space have lots of opportunity for bias and a high potential for disadvantaging individuals from underrepresented groups," she says. "For example, letters of recommendation are often a very insider status. If you went to some Ivy League or your parents were in health care and they know someone, you have that step up from a networking and socioeconomic status standpoint."

Personal statements and test scores are also inequitable, because they tend to be better submissions if people have money for coaching.

SurgWise hopes to lower the number of programs future surgeons apply to too to further streamline the process. She hopes to do this through an app and web tool that can matchmake people to the right program.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a platform for applicants to obtain a lot more information about the various places to which they apply to empower them to make more informed decisions, so that they don't have to apply to a hundred places," Gardner says. "We want to essentially create a match-style app that allows them to input some data and tell us 'here's what I'm looking for here are my career goals and any preferences I have.'”

While that tool is down the road, Gardner says SurgWise is full speed ahead toward launching the data-driven hiring platform. The bootstrapped company hopes to raise early venture funding this summer in order to hire and grow its team.

“As we continue to consider this app that I talked about and some of the other opportunities to scale to other specialties we're gonna start looking for a series A funding later this summer.”

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