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Billion-Dollar Babies

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Michael Amsler

Meeting of the Minds: Carolyn Graham, right, director of client services at the Santa Rosa­based North Bay Careers Resource Center, and others meet with hi-tech jobs recruiter Don Ross, far left.

By Paula Harris

SANTA ROSA­BASED Sonoma Business magazine placed Hewlett-Packard (electronic instruments) first in this year's ranking of Sonoma County's Top 500 companies, which lists firms with the mightiest annual revenues. With $1.1 billion gross annual revenues and 4,100 employees, HP places above California Gold Dairy Products, which ranks second with $485 million in revenues and 192 employees.

A host of other high-tech players made the Top 20 list, nestled among the wineries and other agribusinesses.

Those firms, all based in Petaluma, include DSC Communications, Access Systems Group ($450 million in estimated annual revenues); Sola Optical ($210 million); Broderbund Software Inc. ($186 million); Netsource Telephone Service ($150 million); and Advanced Fibre Communications ($119 million).

"In general, Sonoma County is definitely becoming a more hi-tech location," says hi-tech entrepreneur Tim O'Reilly, chief of a $25 million annual operation. "This is a very desirable location and a lot of people are tired of the rat race and want to work closer to home. In the future, I'd expect to see a lot of continued growth here and additional buildings along the 101 corridor.

"But also, now people don't need to have access to a physical infrastructure --the access to a highway is only important for shipping physical goods. People are networked and can work from home if they have good access to the Internet."

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From the July 31-Aug. 6, 1997 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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