The Knox Regional Development Alliance, at its annual investor meeting at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, recognized Meade County defense contractor Universal Spartan for manufacturing the prestigious Inc. 5000.
KRDA Chairman and Abound Credit Union CEO Ray Springsteen praised Universal Spartan Founder and CEO Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez for leading one of the most dynamic private companies and the most successful in the United States.
“Alex’s leadership in guiding Universal Spartan to this accolade is worth celebrating,” Springsteen said in a press release. “One of KRDA’s goals is to help foster and support the growth of defense-related businesses in our region. We are delighted that Alex has chosen our region to do business.
Inc. 5000 companies are often where future household names make their first mark. Companies such as Microsoft, Zappos, Under Armour, and Patagonia are all former Inc. 5000 companies.
“Thriving businesses like Universal Spartan help make our region a better place to live and work,” Springsteen said. “We are proud to see the accomplishments of Alex and Universal Spartan and look forward to continued growth and prosperity. »
The Inc. 5000 list ranks companies with annual sales over $2 million based on overall revenue growth over a three-year period. Ramirez said the company, which specializes in providing tactical, IT, electrical, industrial and medical equipment, has achieved more than 1,000% growth in sales since 2017.
Of the 5,000 companies, Universal Spartan ranked 457th in the United States, fourth in Kentucky and No. 1 in the markets of Elizabethtown, Bowling Green, Lexington and Cincinnati.
Ramirez, a military veteran, founded the company in 2013 after retiring from the military at Fort Knox. Ramirez says he regularly draws on the lessons learned from his military service in running the business, especially the lessons of perseverance and discipline.
“Learning to navigate the government procurement process is not an easy task. It may seem so overwhelming, but the military taught me to do my research, develop a game plan, stick to it, and adapt or adjust as needed,” Ramirez said in the statement.
Ramirez said he chose to establish his business in the area because of the support he had from both his family and the wider community.
“This region offers an unparalleled quality of life for me and my family. Equally important is its positive business climate and the supportive nature of the community, especially towards its veterans,” Ramirez said. “Organizations like KRDA, ECTC, the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Small Business Development Center, and countless companies and individuals all want to help you succeed. This is truly something special.
KRDA CEO Jim Iacocca called the achievement remarkable but not surprising based on his experience watching Ramirez at work, according to the statement. He said what he finds most special about Ramirez is his desire to give back and help others through his nonprofit organization, the Kentucky Veterans Business Alliance.
“Alex, like many veterans, has what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur: perseverance, dedication and a rock-solid work ethic. We are so proud that he chose to do business here in the Greater Fort Knox area,” said Iacocca. “But we are equally, if not more, proud of his commitment to giving back and helping other veteran entrepreneurs through the Kentucky Veterans Business Alliance. He embodies the selfless service that we have all learned to embody as soldiers.
Ramirez said he founded KVBA after attending trade shows with other seasoned entrepreneurs.
“I saw that we were all in this together and could benefit from sharing ideas, advice, resources and best practices,” Ramirez said. “For me, it was a great way to continue serving and helping my fellow veterans.”