50 Fastest Growing Women Owned/Led Companies Announced by Capital One and Women Presidents’ Organization

Congrats to Erica Brune of Lever1 and Pam Evette of Quality Business Solutions for making this list! Quite an accomplishment! See the full article below.

12TH Annual Awards Ceremony Recognizing Fast Growth Held in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), along with Capital One, has announced the 12th annual ranking of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies. The companies featured on this year’s list include a wide variety of industries, such as technology and finance. Aggregate revenues are $5.9 billion, demonstrating the significant impact of women-led companies on the global economy.

Women Presidents' Organization logo. (PRNewsFoto/Women Presidents' Organization) (PRNewsfoto/Women Presidents' Organization)
Women Presidents’ Organization logo. (PRNewsFoto/Women Presidents’ Organization) (PRNewsfoto/Women Presidents’ Organization)

The top five winners are:

  • Enspire Energy, LLC, a full-service natural gas marketing company, run by Mary Hensley and Julie Hashagen, is the number one winner in this year’s ranking.
  • The second fastest growing women-owned/led company is TKT & Associates, Inc., a business management firm run by Tierra Kavanaugh Wayne, in Louisville, KY.
  • In the number three spot is LYNC Logistics, LLC, which provides truckload, less-than-truckload, refrigerated, and specialized transportation services. Based in Chattanooga, it is run by Cynthia P. Lee, CEO and Founder.
  • The number four spot is Erica Brune’s Lever1, a Kansas City-based Professional Employer Organization (PEO).
  • Ranked number five is SPERO, a portfolio of profitable business enterprises. Based in Washington, D.C., SPERO is run by 26-year-old Jenelle S. Coy.

The number nine winner, Pamela S. Evette of Quality Business Solutions, located in Travelers Rest, SC, is Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. The number 22 winner, Patti MasseyMYCA Material Handling Solutions, Inc., is based in Cary, NC.

“At Capital One, we are passionate about supporting women business owners and leaders,” said Jenn Flynn, Head of Small Business Bank at Capital One. “The rise in women-owned businesses is an exciting trend to watch. These women are a real force, as reflected in the WPO 50 Fastest winners, and they are inspiring others to achieve great levels of success.”

“I am delighted our rankings show women entrepreneurs are branching out into every sector of business,” said WPO President and Founder Dr. Marsha Firestone. “We are also very encouraged companies of all sizes are represented – some smaller but very successful companies demonstrated significant growth.” 

All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula, combining percentage and absolute growth. To qualify for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately-held, woman-owned or led and have reached annual revenues of at least $500,000 as of 2013 and every subsequent year. Applicants are not required to be WPO members.

Additional facts:

  • Average number of employees on first day: 9; projected average for 2019: 492
  • Funding sources at company start:
The 2019 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies are:
1Enspire Energy, LLCMary Hensley and Julie HashagenChesapeake, VA
2TKT & Associates, Inc.Tierra Kavanaugh WayneLouisville, KY 
3LYNC Logistics, LLCCynthia P LeeChattanooga, TN
4Lever1Erica BruneKansas City, MO
5SPEROJenelle CoyWashington, DC
6Stride ConsultingDebbie MaddenNew York, NY
7Xtreme Solutions IncPhyllis W. NewhouseAtlanta, GA
8Within Interior Design, Inc.Heather R. RobinsonNorfolk, VA
9Quality Business Solutions, Inc.Pamela EvetteTravelers Rest, SC
10Merrimak Capital Company LLCMary KariotisNovato, CA
11Maximum Games, Inc.Christina SeelyeWalnut Creek, CA,
12Pretzel Perfection, LLC dba Perfection SnacksAmy HolykDoylestown, PA
13Technology Group Solutions, LLCLenora PayneLenexa, KS
14Marijuana Business DailyCassandra FarringtonLakewood, CO
15KDM EngineeringKimberly MooreChicago, IL
16EnseoVanessa OgleRichardson, TX
17LifeHealth, LLCMargot Adam LangstaffLittleton
18Quantum HealthKara TrottColumbus, OH
19Innovative Office Solutions LLCJennifer SmithBurnsville, MN
20Twelve, Inc.Katie ConovitzBrooklyn, NY
21GlobalCare Clinical Trials, LLCGail AdinamisBannockburn, IL
22MYCA Material Handling Solutions, Inc.Patti MasseyCary, NC
23KaTom Restaurant Supply, IncPatricia BibleKodak TN
24Artech LLCRanjini PoddarMorristown, NJ
25AEC Group, Inc.Cathy MaryMcKeesport, PA
26Coranet Corp.Margaret MarcucciNew York, NY
27BrightStar CareShelly A. SunGurnee, IL
28AtriumRebecca CenniNew York NY
29SwoonMichelle BakerChicago, IL
30CB Technologies, Inc.Kelly IrelandOrange, CA
31ERKUNT TRACTOR IND.INC.Zeynep ArmaganAnkara, Turkey
32Ampcus Inc.Ann RamakumaranChantilly, VA
33CMT Services, Inc.Annette JohnsonHyattsville, MD
34Blue Chip TalentNicole PawczukBloomfield Hills, MI
35E2 OPTICS LLCKristi Alford-HaarbergEnglewood, CO
36Strategic Security CorpChristie SordiCommack, NY
37Atlas Travel & Technology GroupElaine OsgoodMarlborough, MA
38CJ ChemicalsCatherine LeePerry, MI
39Data Systems Analysts, Inc.Frances R. PierceTrevose, PA
40SocialfixTerry TateossianClinton, NJ
41Stones River ElectricJami HallMadison, TN
42Kaizen Technology Partners LLCDao JensenSan Francisco, CA
43Xclusive StaffingDiane AstleyWestminster, CO
44Koya Leadership PartnersKatie BoutonNewburyport, MA
45Evolution Event Solutions, LLCFalon Veit ScottNashville, TN
46NUGATE GROUP, LLCJamila StanfordSan Jose, CA
47Airosmith DevelopmentMargaret SmithSaratoga Springs, NY
48ShareableeTania YukiNew York, NY
49Etica Group, Inc.Jessica NickloyIndianapolis, IN
50SpaceBound, Inc.Patricia MillerCleveland, OH

About Capital One 
Capital One Financial Corporation is headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Its subsidiaries, Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives.

CONTACT:Frank TortoriciMarketing Mavenfrank@marketingmaven.com908-875-8908 MobileMarissa DavisCapital Onemarissa.davis@capitalone.com(484) 620-2247 Mobile

Marijuana Legalization Update: Five Things You Need To Know

See below from our friends at NCCI regarding a very popular topic these days…Cannabis.

Marijuana legalization continues to be a hot topic in 2019. Most states have legalized marijuana in some form, and there is much speculation around federal activity. NCCI is monitoring legislative, judicial, and other developments as this issue evolves. Our latest update addresses the top five questions on the minds of our workers compensation industry stakeholders.

  1. What is the status of marijuana legalization? Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, there is ongoing activity at the federal and state levels to address marijuana legalization and related issues. The current status of state marijuana legalization is shown in the map below:
    • Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states plus DC
    • Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states plus DC
    • CBD oil/non-psychoactive forms of marijuana are legal in an additional 14 states under certain circumstances
    • Three states currently do not have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, but two of them (Kansas and Nebraska) have pending legislation
  2. What is happening legislatively in 2019? NCCI is tracking marijuana-related legislation in more than 20 states, as well as at the federal level.Federally, legislation to decriminalize marijuana is pending before Congress. Decriminalization at the federal level is viewed as unlikely in the short term. Meanwhile, Congress is also considering measures that allow for state regulation of marijuana without federal interference and provide protections to financial institutions that serve marijuana-related businesses that are legal under state law.Federal legislation providing protections to financial institutions is already advancing. On March 28, the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 1595, which provides financial institutions and insurers that provide services for legitimate cannabis-related businesses with a safe harbor from criminal prosecution.Regarding state legislative activity, as of April 1, an additional 15 states are considering legalizing recreational marijuana and 8 are considering legalizing medical marijuana. NCCI is also tracking several state bills addressing the issue of medical marijuana reimbursement in workers compensation.
  3. Are insurers required to reimburse for medical marijuana in workers compensation? One of the emerging workers compensation issues is whether medical marijuana is reimbursable. Insurers are increasingly receiving requests to reimburse for medical marijuana use for workers compensation treatment. Given the friction between state and federal law, states are faced with the challenge of whether to approve medical marijuana treatment for work-related injuries. This issue is being addressed through legislation as well as in the courts. Over the years, states such as Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, and New York have permitted reimbursement for medical marijuana in certain circumstances. New Mexico has even established a maximum reimbursement amount for medical marijuana in its workers compensation fee schedule. Other states, including Florida and North Dakota, have enacted laws prohibiting payment of workers compensation benefits for medical marijuana. Louisiana passed legislation in 2018 which provided that medical marijuana reimbursement is not required for workers compensation purposes.During the 2019 legislative session, several states—including Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont—have considered or are considering legislation to authorize the reimbursement of medical marijuana in workers compensation.On the other hand, Kentucky and Oklahoma lawmakers proposed legislation similar to the Louisiana law, which does not prohibit reimbursement, but also does not affirmatively require employers and workers compensation insurers to pay for medical marijuana.
  4. Have there been any new rulings from the courts regarding medical marijuana reimbursement? In addition to state legislation, state courts are addressing the issue as to whether medical marijuana is reimbursable in workers compensation. In March 2019, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the state’s medical marijuana law does not prohibit reimbursement under workers compensation. However, the court did not rule that the insurer is required to reimburse. The supreme court remanded the case to the compensation appeals board to provide additional legal support on the federal issues involved in the case; specifically, whether federal law would be violated if the insurer is ordered to reimburse for the payment of medical marijuana.In 2018, the Maine Supreme Court ruled in the Bourgoin v. Twin Rivers Paper Co. case that employers are not required to reimburse for marijuana as a workers compensation treatment. The court determined that because marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Maine’s medical marijuana law is preempted and cannot be used as the basis to require reimbursement.The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents and the Vermont Department of Labor have also recently denied reimbursement for medical marijuana treatment for workers compensation claimants.
  5. Have there been any new developments regarding research studies or a test to determine impairment? One outstanding workers compensation issue is whether medical marijuana is a viable alternative to opioids for pain management and getting employees back to work sooner. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, research has been limited to date. Another outstanding issue is how to determine “impairment” for marijuana and the impact on workers compensation benefits if an employee is injured on the job and tests positive. There are efforts under way to develop tests similar to breathalyzers and other methods currently available to test blood alcohol levels, which would better help define what could be considered appropriate “impairment” levels. Until those tests are fully developed and implemented, states and state courts are addressing this issue on a case-by-case basis. For example, in November 2018 the Oklahoma state court of appeals ruled in Rose v. Berry Plastics Corp. that the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in an employee’s blood after a workplace accident does not automatically mean that the employee should be denied workers compensation benefits due to impairment. There is also pending legislation in Oklahoma (SB 305) which, among other things:
    • Clarifies instances in which an employer may take action against an employee or applicant who tests positive for marijuana
    • Provides that employers will not be required to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana on their premises or reimburse a person for costs associated with the use of medical marijuana
    • Authorizes employers to have written policies regarding drug testing and impairment

The legislation has passed the Oklahoma Senate and is awaiting action in the House.NCCI will continue to track these developments.

Stay tuned to ncci.com for updates on marijuana legislation and other hot topics throughout the year.


Big Data was a BIG Deal at NAPEO’s Risk Management Conference

Last week’s Risk Management Conference hosted by our friends at NAPEO was a huge success! For those that weren’t able to attend click here to access the Big Data presentation that was presented by the following individuals:

  • James Benham / JBKnowledge
  • Paul Hughes / Libertate Insurance Services
  • Kristin Meeker / CCMSI
  • Chase Pettus / gradient A.I.

NAPEO’s Risk Management Conference Ready to Invade Nashville on March 6th and 7th!

NAPEO’s annual Risk Management Conference is right around the corner! It’s a must see conference for those interested in risk management and other related areas of focus. Click here to access the agenda. Below are presentation topics:

  • Workers’ Compensation Rate Update
  • Crime Insurance
  • Big Data
  • Cyber Security
  • PEOs and Cannabis
  • Payroll Fraud

Libertate is proud to be a sponsor of this wonderful conference. We hope to see you there. If attending, we would love to buy you a drink and talk about insurance, data and the PEO industry!

Paul – phughes@libertateins.com

David – dburgess@libertateins.com

Sharlie – sreynolds@libertateins.com

Premium renewal rates rise in all sectors but comp: Ivans

See below from Business Insurance. Once again, comp was the only major commercial sector to see premium price relief in 2018.


Insurance premium renewal rates in the fourth quarter rose across nearly all major commercial lines compared with the previous quarter, except in workers compensation, according to the 2018 Ivans Index.

Premium renewal rate changes in commercial auto averaged 4.66% in the fourth quarter, which was higher than any quarter in the previous year, which saw its high in September 2017 with an average premium renewal rate change of 4.5%.

In the business owner policy sector, the fourth-quarter premium renewal rate change averaged 4.23%, which was 0.8% greater than in the third quarter. According to Ivans, BOP experienced the most variability in average premium renewal rates between 2017 and 2018.

Although general liability began 2018 with lower average premium renewal rates, the rate change rose 0.44% in March 2018 compared with the same quarter in 2017. That trend continued with the premium renewal rate change averaging 2.54% in the fourth quarter, an increase of 0.19% compared with the third quarter.

Commercial property experienced quarter over quarter increases in 2018, ending with an average rate change of 3.74% in the fourth quarter, which was 0.4% higher than the third quarter. Umbrella also experienced higher premium renewal rate changes in 2018, finishing the fourth quarter with an average renewal rate change of 2.42%, an increase of 0.7% over 2017.

Workers comp average premium renewal rates, however, dropped to -3.04% from the third-quarter average of -2.76%. The average premium renewal rate change in workers comp also consistently fell compared with 2017, except for during December.

Libertate/RiskMD Merge with Ballator Group

ORLANDO, December 18, 2018 / PRNewswire / —

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  RiskMD and Libertate Insurance merge with Ballator Insurance Group

Ballator Insurance Group (“BIG”) and Libertate Insurance/RiskMD have merged to combine forces in support of insurance placements and data management for Professional Employer Organizations (“PEO’s”).  BIG and its senior management team have created multiple risk-bearing entities with specialization in “governmental entities”, “not for profits” and “automotive dealers”.  Libertate is a general agency focused on the property and casualty insurance needs of the PEO industry and RiskMD manages data based on a recently patented process.

“The combination of these entities is truly accretive” according to the head of Libertate, Paul Hughes.  “I have known the management team of Ballator for many years and we share common values, beliefs and vision.  They are going to be a tremendous influence in the next chapter of supplying best of class capacity, data management and professional consultation to our PEO clientele.  Our combined capabilities allow us to go very deep in what we are able to offer whether as an insurance agent, a due diligence/data consultant or overall trusted advisor.  Our resources are now greater  than ever before.”

According to Ballator CEO Shane Caldwell, “We are very excited about the the addition of Libertate to the Ballator group of companies. Libertate’s specialty focus and RiskMd’s innovative technology will prove to be a great enhancement for our team members and clients.” 

The combination of Libertate’s premiums with that of B.I.G. brings overall property and casualty premiums under management to close to $200m.

Florida comp rate cut 13.8% in commissioner’s final order

It’s official…effective January 1st, workers’ compensation rates in Florida will decrease by -13.8%.  We will share the new rates as soon as we get our hands on them.


Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has issued a final order for a 13.8% workers compensation rate decrease for 2019.

This applies to both new and renewing workers comp policies effective in the state as of Jan. 1, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

The final rate reduction is slightly larger than the 13.4% decline submitted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance in August.

Workers compensation rates in the state have been significantly impacted in recent years by two major court decisions: in Marvin Castellanos v. Next Door Co. et al., the Florida Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Florida’s mandatory attorney fee schedule was unconstitutional while in Bradley Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state’s 104-week cap on temporary total disability benefits was unconstitutional.

Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Approve 19% Comp Rate Cut

It’s official…comp rates in Tennessee will be dropping -19% as of 3/1/19.  See more below from Business Insurance News.


Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak has approved a 19% reduction in workers compensation rates in the state.

The 19% reduction was recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance in August and the commissioner approved the decrease on Oct. 31, according to a statement issued by the department on Monday. The reduction will become effective on March 1.

Previous reductions of 12.6% and 12.8% were approved for 2018 and 2017, respectively, according to the statement.

Rate reductions have been attributed to reforms of the state’s workers comp system and fewer significant workplace injuries, according to the statement.