- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 1999

Deloitte & Touche, a national accounting and consulting firm, identifies 50 businesses from Maryland and Virginia as the "Fast 50" each year. Other companies are named "Jump Start" companies, recognizing them as fast growing, and potential place-holders on future Fast 50 lists.

"The idea is to promote the entrepreneurial spirit in Maryland, Virginia and throughout the country," says Gary Tabach, partner in charge of the technology and communications fields for Deloitte and Touche. "It's hard to sustain such high growth rates for such a short period."

Fast 50 contestants must meet specific requirements. Among those are being in business for five years, and having revenues of $50,000 in 1994 and $100,000 in 1998.

The Jump Start companies don't meet one of the above criteria, but have shown great revenue growth over a short time. They are considered "rapidly rising stars."

"They have high growth potential and are doing wonderful things in the field," Mr. Tabach said.

Being named a Jump Start business means the likelihood of being on next year's Fast 50 is high.

The three Maryland-based winners, DataSource, Inc., Digital Addiction, Inc.

and International Computer Solutions, as well as one of the Virginia winners, Clara Vista Corporation, are private companies. Only the other Virginia winner, Primus Telecommunications, Inc., is publicly traded.

Primus expands global reach In the ocean of global telecommunications, Primus Telecommunications Inc.

is a small fish —with the potential of becoming a whale.

The Fairfax, Va., wireless cell-phone service provider was started by Paul Singh and John DePodesta in 1994. That first year, the company reported revenues of about $1 million. Last year, revenues exceeded $475 million. Since its founding, Primus has had $1 billion in revenues.

"We went from 1 million to 1 billion," says Mr. Singh, 52. "It's hard to grow a thousand times in four years, so yeah, we are very happy to be a multimillion-dollar company."

While Mr. DePodesta was in the consulting business before founding Primus, Mr. Singh is a veteran in the field. He was a partner in a company that was acquired by MCI in 1991, and continued as vice president of global marketing for the communications giant.

He left MCI in 1994 to start Primus, which now employs 2,000 workers at its operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Europe.

Several factors contributed to Primus' growth, analysts say. For one thing, Primus was at the right time and place almost two years ago when the World Trade Organization (WTO) signed an accord deregulating telecommunications in Europe. Then China move closer to becoming a WTO member, which would further expanding the market.

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