Anyone who looked for Fort Wayne’s presence on the latest Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest growing companies could have noticed a theme.
Of those half-dozen Fort Wayne-based businesses making the list last month, three of them are run by Mark Music, who is looking to accommodate their continued expansion with a new downtown office building.
Best know as chief executive officer of Ruoff Home Mortgage, which came in 3,209th on the list, the local entrepreneur also heads 4,952nd-place Centurion Land Title, and Accucomp Appraisal Services, which placed 2,945th.
Centurion and Accucomp were first-time applicants to the list. Ruoff is among a mere 1.5% of the companies on the list that have made it six times before.
With this year’s feat of getting the three locally owned sister companies on the prestigious list, Music “has earned a virtual trifecta in national recognition,” said Kim Murphy, Ruoff’s director of communications and client relations.
And they aren’t his only companies. He also owns an aircraft leasing company, a real estate holding company, a title insurance underwriter and a private lines insurance agency.
The Inc. 5000 list showed Ruoff revenues grew 114% to $102.6 million last year; Accucomp’s grew 127% to $5.8 million and Centurion’s grew 53% to $2.3 million.
Each of the companies also added to Fort Wayne’s employment base, even AccuComp, which Murphy said relies heavily on software and automation.
Ruoff increased its workforce to 680 at the end of August from 612 a year earlier as Centurion grew to 31 employees from 22 and Accucomp grew to seven employees from five.
“The growth of Ruoff Mortgage has definitely had an impact on Accucomp Appraisal Services because they are Accucomp’s biggest client,” Murphy said.
“Centurion Land Title has also benefitted from the Ruoff relationship, but to a lesser extent, as that company sources business from Realtor referrals, attorney relationships as well as other residential and commercial lender relationships,” she said.
Centurion and Accucomp also benefit from the buzz Ruoff generates as a highly visible company with a team culture that is appealing to a very diverse group, she said.
“It is exciting for team members to be in a work environment that is based on helping others achieve their homeownership goals, and that is laser focused on customer experience,” Murphy said.
“We recognized a long time ago that if you want to provide your clients with the best experience, you must have happy employees to effectively make that happen. That strategy and energy naturally bleeds into all of our affiliate businesses.”
Accucomp, which provides residential appraisal management services, started in 2011. Centurion has provided real estate closing, title and escrow services throughout the state since it started in 2013.
Ruoff has grown since its founding in 1984 to more than 60 branches throughout Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Florida.
The full-service residential mortgage company is licensed to originate in 45 states. A third-party customer rating service, Customerville Inc., has assigned it a 98.8 customer satisfaction rating.
Ruoff, Accucomp and Centurion have grown under Music’s vision and leadership by adapting to and getting ahead of evolving real estate industry trends, embracing technology, recruiting and retaining top talent and committing to a high standard of customer satisfaction, Murphy said.
“All three companies are in the rapidly growing fintech space. Digital mortgages, digital closings and the ability to service a larger market area without always having a brick-and-mortar presence allows for rapid growth,” she said.
Centurion limited its title services to northeast Indiana during its first six years in business, but managers committed to scaling it in the manner of the mortgage company, she said.
With two offices in Fort Wayne, Centurion opened its third branch in Carmel and plans to open a fourth office in Fishers at the end of this year.
“The next several years will see Centurion entering into several new markets as well as leveraging digital notary technology, once it has been adopted by states throughout the nation,” Murphy said.
Fort Wayne serves as the headquarters city for the three companies, but all three do business in multiple states, she said.
“We love this community and are happy to see our growth, regardless of the geography, positively impact northeast Indiana economically as so much of our three operations are based here,” she said. “Hiring talent, which sometimes involves attracting them to relocate here, is one of our biggest challenges.”
Building a downtown Fort Wayne headquarters “will allow us to provide our existing team members with a workplace environment that properly matches the level at which they deliver financial services every day to our client base,” Murphy said.
“It will make the ‘Ruoff story’ more compelling as we recruit top talent from other parts of the country to move to Fort Wayne and join our team,” she said. “It will also be a source of pride for our community to see our beautiful building towering over the third base line at Parkview Field.”
The proposed, 100,00-square-foot downtown headquarters will be built specifically for Ruoff Mortgage, with nine levels, including the parking garage. The company plans to invest about $42 million in the project.