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Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2007 Finalists -- General Business

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Robert S. Christie

President & CEO

3E Co.

Some may have wondered why Bob Christie joined 3E Co.; he was accustomed to managing much larger organizations. But Christie had a vision for 3E, a provider of chemical, regulatory and compliance information services. He had recognized an accelerating demand for BPO-based information services for environmental, health and safety (EH&S) and at the same time knew he could use innovation to further strengthen 3E's leadership position in its field.

Christie leveraged 3E's subscription-based business model and high renewal/retention rates to build a global business with sustainable competitive advantages. He led the acquisition of Ariel Research Corp., a chemical regulatory compliance data business based in McLean, Va., with a manufacturer services operation in Kingsport, Tenn., and a European operation in Copenhagen, Denmark. This transaction resulted in a global hazardous substance information and chemical regulatory compliance powerhouse, offering the most compelling and diversified suite of integrated compliance management solutions available. The foundation on which the suite of services is built is the world's premier global regulatory and chemical information database. Access to this aggregation of content, combined with an EH&S knowledgebase of business rules and best practices, allows 3E to provide unprecedented support for identifying, monitoring and complying with complex and ever changing EH&S requirements.

3E's core services are MSDS On Demand, Regulatory Reporting, Waste Management and Transportation Assistance. 3E differentiates itself from its competitors by offering customers a full chemical lifecycle product offering along with a 24-7-365 call center and response management. The company's EH&S expertise is unrivaled, as are the breadth of countries it covers and depth of regulatory and legislative information it provides.

Less than three years since Bob's arrival, the number of employees at 3E has more than doubled, the number of offices has expanded from one to six, annual revenue has increased over 20 percent, and profitability has increased over 100 percent annually. There is no limit to the firm's acceleration, and Christie has multiple strategies in place to grow the business, including the planned acquisition of two more companies.

Todd J. Anson, Managing Member

Steven L. Black, Managing Member

Cisterra Partners LLC

Todd Anson

In 1999, Cisco Systems had an urgent need for additional facilities around the world at the same time it found itself overwhelmed by the amount of development it was undertaking in Silicone Valley. The networking giant contacted Steven Black and Todd Anson and asked them to explore the possibility of creating a private development company. To meet Cisco's requirements, the company would have to provide an extremely high degree of professionalism and quality while utilizing a format that made its services portable to remote locations. It was a tall order, but Black and Anson filled it with the creation of Cisterra Partners.

As a legal representative of Cisco Systems throughout its rapid growth period in 1990s, Anson had considerable experience with the company and had been influenced by its entrepreneurial attitude: There is always a better way of doing things. Black brought extraordinary skill as a developer, honed as both chief development officer at Kilroy Realty, and as head of the development activities in San Diego of the Allen Group.

Steven Black

Cisterra's first project was the logistically difficult development of a 1.1 million-square-foot development in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where neither Black nor Anson had ever done business. Cisterra convinced the city to permit development of a prime, previously unavailable site near its soccer stadium and successfully delivered to Cisco the initial 650,000 square feet of European Headquarters space on time and on budget.

Equally challenging projects followed, with equally spectacular results. Black and Anson share an uncompromising commitment to quality, both in design and materials, and their projects show a clear reflection of these standards. The 305,000-square-foot DiamondView Tower is already gaining recognition as one of the iconic buildings on the West Coast, while the Idec campus may represent the most extensive design of any corporate campus in Southern California. With the DiamondView Tower final lease-up underway, the 200,000-square-foot Gateway at Torrey Hills in the early stages of construction, the 287,490-square-foot The Point in Rancho Bernardo recently acquired and other projects in discussion, Cisterra has gone from a good idea to a phenomenal reality.

Chad Carpenter, Chief Executive Officer

David Bourne, Chairman


Founded in 1993 by David Bourne and Chad Carpenter, Equastone is a real estate investment firm specializing in "value-added" or "distressed" commercial real estate investments. Equastone buys, fixes, leases, operates and sells commercial real estate, primarily office and industrial properties. In addition, the company sponsors private real estate investment funds catering to high net worth and institutional investors that provide the equity capital to finance acquisitions.

Bourne and Carpenter created Equastone when debt and equity capital was extremely scarce and expensive. The best opportunities were available to major private equity investment firms that had long-standing relationships with major institutional investors. Bourne and Carpenter did not have these relationships, and raised money based on a superior business plan. Equastone's acquisitions, asset/property management leasing and operations were bootstrapped using personal lines of credit and savings.

Competing with well-capitalized, well-known real estate investors required great selling skills to convince sellers that transactions would be completed in a timely fashion and at the agreed price. Buying at the right price was essential to offering competitive lease rates to tenants and to achieve projected returns. Bourne and Carpenter mastered these challenges while building a loyal following of high net worth investors.

Bourne and Carpenter have built Equastone on the belief that honesty, transparency and fair dealing are essential business practices. On that foundation, they have made the company successful by delivering exceptional returns to their investors, performing efficiently for buyers and sellers of properties, providing good value to tenants leasing space in Equastone properties, and remaining calm and effective when periods of stress are driving others to panic. The fact that major institutions, wealth managers and hundreds of high-net-worth individuals continue to invest in Equastone Real Estate Funds is a testament to Bourne and Carpenter's high standards and integrity.

That integrity and the quality of their business practices have given Equastone an exceptional track record of success. Since its inception, Equastone has delivered over 30 percent per year net returns to its investors and has not lost money on over 60 real estate transactions.

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