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Whitestone biz tops boros’ leading firms

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Kinray Inc. of Whitestone was recognized Tuesday as the top company among the 50 largest privately held firms in the outer boroughs at the sixth annual "Bridges to Success Awards," which honors leading businesses in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.

Of the 85 businesses singled out at the annual presentation, 44 Queens businesses were praised for their success in five categories at the ceremony held at Terrace on the Park in Fresh Meadows Corona Park.

"The Bridges to Success luncheon provides us with the opportunity to honor the many successful private businesses and not-for-profits from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx," said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was the keynote speaker.

The event, sponsored by Chase, KPMG, St. John's University and The New York Times, recognizes the achievements of the often-forgotten heroes in the community, privately held companies which are often the backbone of economic development in New York.

Kinray is a remarkable story of achievement, said Ron Steger, a partner at KPMG. He told the crowd of more than 600 that the company, the largest privately held pharmaceutical distributor in the United States, has placed either No. 1 or No. 2 in the top 50 every year of the program's existence.

He said this year he was honored to present Stewart Rahr, chief executive officer of Kinray, with the Baby Billion Award for being the first privately held company in the outer boroughs to report more than $1 billion in sales.

"I am very excited to be honored and to represent not only myself, but my teammates who have helped us to reach the milestone of $1 billion in sales," Rahr said. "People are any company's most valuable asset and I am very fortunate to surround myself with the best."

The awards and criteria presented in five categories are: the 50 largest privately held firms, based on revenue; 25 fastest-growing privately held firms, based on revenue growth; 10 top job creators in New York City; 10 top women/minority-owned firms, based on revenue; and 10 top not-for-profits based on revenue.

Jade Systems, another Queens company, won in the category of top 10 women/minority-owned firms. Jade Systems is a solution provider in computer industry and personal computer products for New York-area companies.

The company, founded six years ago by Debbie Milner, is located in Long Island City and now employs her husband, John, who left his job as a service provider in the banking industry to help out when she Milner went on maternity leave and decided to stayed on.

"It is tantalizing to have this recognition from our community," said Debbie Milner. "We have been fortunate to win for four or five years. Each year the competition gets stiffer and the event more glamorous."

Varsity Transit Inc., based in East Elmhurst, was in first place in the category of 10 top job creators.

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