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June 17, 2021

Top 100 alumni-owned companies feted, ranked at virtual Sun Devil 100 ceremony

Overnight success doesn’t happen overnight.

But it sure helps if you have a degree from Arizona State University.

The university on June 17 celebrated grads who have gone out in the world and crushed it, entrepreneurially speaking. They call them the Sun Devil 100.

This year, the ASU Alumni Association honored 132 alumni representing 146 degrees — the largest cohort ever.

The top spot went to Anthony Sarandrea, who graduated in 2013 with a business management degree.

Sarandrea is the president, managing partner, owner, founder and CEO of Pocket Your Dollars, a customer-centric company targeting debt-ridden and struggling Americans with debt relief solutions, credit score fixes, help with navigating insurance options and a host of other money-saving tips.

Pocket Your Dollars has had 1,650% growth over the past three years. Sarandrea started in sales, including door-to-door and cold calling. His advice for future entrepreneurs? Be “addicted to failure and find confidence in failure.”

Two members of his executive team were best friends and freshmen at ASU together.

“I really have to thank ASU,” he said. “None of this would have been possible without the support ASU offers.”

This year’s cohort by the numbers:

  • $6.67 billion in total revenue (as of 2019).
  • 8,477 full-time employees.
  • Locations in 11 states.
  • An average of 20.2 years in business.
  • 16 schools and colleges represented.

To be eligible for the Sun Devil 100, candidates must have been in business for three years, have had revenues of $250,000 for three years and must operate in the spirit of ASU’s charter.

The rankings this year are based on the year-over-year revenue growth from 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The top three companies averaged year-over-year growth ranges from between 600% to more than 1,600%.

The fields represented include marketing and PR, engineering, nonprofits, law firms, marketing, manufacturing, insurance, architecture, consulting, interior design, banking, real estate, food and beverage, electronics, construction, health care and transportation.

“As leaders, each of you has a unique success story and have one commonality, you are all Sun Devils!” said ASU Alumni Association President and CEO Christine Wilkinson.

Snagging the No. 10 spot was the Ybarra Maldonaldo Law Group. Ybarra Maldonaldo earned a BA in religious studies in 2002.

“I was heavily involved in social justice issues when I was a student,” he said. “Here I am in the future still in contact with the same professors and friends from when I was a student.”

Greg McMillan, owner and founder of B&B Pet Products (No. 3 on the list), with four stores in Kansas and Missouri, shared one secret to his success.

“As far as advice to someone on campus, find an area in the economy where there’s strong demand, go into it and outperform the competition,” McMillan said.

University President Michael Crow encouraged the honorees to share their knowledge with students.

“We hope that you can, as one of your things, not only as great innovators and as great developers, become teachers yourselves, work with more ASU students, drive the whole entrepreneurial spirit forward,” Crow said. “It really is the case that that’s the way for our country to be the most successful. That’s the way for us to be the most competitive. That’s the way for us to create the most jobs. It all is about, at the end of the day, building a more resilient economy, building a more adaptive economy. And you all as top alums that are out there doing this: You really set the stage. You really move things forward.”

Top image by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The Sun Devil 100 Top 10:

Rank Number

Company

Name

Degree

Title

1

Pocket Your Dollars

Anthony Sarandrea

’13 BS management

President, partner, managing partner, owner, founder, co-founder, CEO

2

Lever1 and Lever2

Erica Brune

’98 BA theater

President, co-founder

3

B & B Pet Products LLC

Greg McMillan

’85 BS finance

Owner, founder

4

Freestar

David Freedman

’05 BS real estate

Founder

5

Casa Unlimited Enterprises Inc.

Joya Kizer

’04 BS zoology

President, CEO

6

PC Sportscards

Joshua Cohen

’05 BA business administration, small business sales and marketing

Partner, owner

7

High Rock Accounting PLLC

Melissa Diaz

’10 Master of Accountancy

CFO

7

High Rock Accounting PLLC

Liz Mason

’10 MS information management

Founder, CEO

8

SLP Toolkit LLC

Sarah Bevier

’05 BS speech and hearing, ’12 MS in communication disorders

Co-founder

8

SLP Toolkit LLC

Lisa Kathman

’97 MS communication disorders

Co-founder

9

Willmeng Construction

Keyvan Ghahreman

’02 MS construction management

Director of client and preconstruction services

9

Willmeng Construction

Michael J. Mongelli

’83 BS construction

President

9

Willmeng Construction

James P. Murphy

98 BS construction, ’09 MS construction

CEO

10

Ybarra Maldonado Law Group

Angeles J. Maldonado

02 BS justice studies, philosophy

 CEO

10

Ybarra Maldonado Law Group

Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado

’02 BA religious studies

Owner

Scott Seckel

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