Book of Lists

A look at the 8th largest cleaning company

Fifteen years ago, Lilian Radke emigrated from Brazil for a volleyball scholarship at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where she earned her business degree in 2005.

Ten years ago, Radke founded Unic Pro Inc., a Shrewsbury cleaning company with clients like Holy Name Central Catholic High School in Worcester. After starting with one employee in 2008, her company now employs 64 and has about $5 million in annual revenue.

One month ago, Radke was honored as the Massachusetts Woman Small Business Owner of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which cited Unic Pro's 45-percent growth rate in annual sales, low employee turnover and high client retention rates.

Today, Unic Pro occupies three spots in WBJ's Book of Lists: the No. 8 commercial cleaning services company, the No. 12 woman-owned company, and the No. 12 minority-owned company.

Book of Lists is designed to be a year-round resource guide. Need a lawyer? Check out page 97. Looking for a loan? The bank list is on page 18, and the SBA lender list is on page 25. Want to know who the power players are in any given industry? The entire publication is filled with them.

Yet, behind all the lists, the company names, the revenue numbers, the product listings and the CEOs are great stories about the businesses, the industries and the economic trends of Central Massachusetts. Companies moving up the lists are growing their revenues and/or hiring more people; firms dropping down the lists may be ripe for acquisition. Although their exact ranking may change, the players included on entire industry lists can remain unchanged for years (hospitals on page 34; colleges & universities on page 46), while other industry lists wouldn't have existed 10 years ago (breweries on page 92; green buildings on page 55). The entire region's economy is a story of growth and contraction, steadiness and volatility.

My hope is this publication will remain around your office until next year, and you will pull it out from time to time, whenever you need to know a fact about the region or need to find a company to help you grow your business. Just like with Radke and Unic Pro, behind each entry in this publication is the story of someone's struggles and successes, how exactly they ended up as a name in a long list of names.

-Brad Kane, editor

Each list can be downloaded in an Excel format. Go to the Worcester Business Journal Data Center for more information.

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