RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK– Fifteen companies from North Carolina and nine from Georgia were among those honored by Deloitte & Touche as winners of the eighth annual Technology Fast 500, a national ranking of the fastest growing technology companies in North America.

The rankings are based on average percentage revenue growth over a five-year (1997-2001) period.

Ranking in the top 50 are first time winners SciQuest (No. 38) and SpectraSite Holdings (No. 48), with combined five-year average growth of 21,098 percent. Other N.C. technology companies that ranked in the top half of the Technology Fast 500 list include Red Hat (No. 110 — 3,844 percent growth), US LEC Corp. (No. 169 — 2,666 percent growth), Advanced Internet Technologies (No. 203 — 2,055 percent) and TeleConsultants Oracle Partners (No. 246 — 1,642 percent).

The list of the remaining winners, with ranking and growth percentage, includes:

No. 310 – Closure Medical Corp. — 1,136 percent
No. 328 – RF Micro Devices — 1,064 percent
No. 330 – Ultimus — 1,059 percent
No. 348 – Salix Pharmaceuticals — 982 percent
No. 369 – TriPath Imaging — 913 percent
No. 384 – School Link — 873 percent
No. 387 – Synapse Technology — 865 percent
No. 445 – Open Software Solutions — 692 percent
No. 497 -616 percent

“The North Carolina technology companies have sustained consistent growth over the years,” Tim Gillam, partner-in-charge of Deloitte & Touche’s North Carolina Technology Fast 50, said in a statement. “We applaud the winners for their significant accomplishment and commitment to technology.”

The Georgia list:

Also included on the 2002 Technology Fast 500 list are nine Georgia software, Internet, life sciences and communications/networking companies. The 2002 Technology Fast 500 Georgia-based companies by rank and five-year percentage growth are:

No. 109 — EMS Technologies — 3,867 percent
No. 162 — Magnet Communications — 2,800 percent
No. 176 — S1 Corporation — 2,470 percent
No. 255 — Internet Security Systems — 1,560 percent
No. 262 — EarthLink — 1,439 percent
No. 375 — Witness Systems — 899 percent
No. 422 — HealthTronics Surgical Services — 767 percent
No. 443 — T/R Systems — 699 percent
No. 471 — Alogent Corporation — 651 percent

Overall, Fast 500 companies in the Southeast grew an average of 2,325 percent, compared with the national average of 6,772 percent, which is up from the 2001 average percent growth of 6,184 percent. This year’s five-year average growth rate for all 500 companies is the highest since the program’s inception eight years ago. Growth percentages for the 2002 Fast 500 winners ranged from 614 percent to 293,493 percent. Combined, the top five 2002 Fast 500 winners’ average growth rate was 196,762 percent.

American Fast 50 programs, nominations submitted directly to the Fast 500, and public company database research. To qualify for the Fast 500, entrants must have had 1997 operating revenues of at least $50,000. Deloitte & Touche researchers examined financial statements to validate operating revenues.

Entrants are public or private companies headquartered in North America and must be a “technology company”, defined as a company that owns proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company’s operating revenues or devotes a high percentage of effort to research and development of technology.

Deloitte & Touche: www.deloitte.com