Phyllis Hannan, Laser Mark-ItPhyllis Hannan
understands what it's like to overcome odds.Few thought the former salesperson would succeed when she spent her life savings to start California-based Laser Mark-It in 1985.
Not only did she
lack business experience, Hannan
was starting a business in a new high-tech industry few knew about, laser marking.Because she
couldn't afford to quit her
sales job, she
worked literally day and night in the company's early stages.Hannan's
one-person operation has blossomed into two thriving firms, with over 75 employees.Because the California location grew so quickly, Hannan
opened a Hermann, Mo., company
, Laser Light Technologies, Inc.
, in 1992.The success of the Missouri firm, which employs 47, earned Hannan the U.S. Small Business Administration's 1996 Small Business Person of the Year award for Missouri and the nation.Laser Mark-It
and Laser Light Technologies
are specialty-service companies that use high-powered CO2 and ND:YAG lasers to mark, cut and scribe a wide range of products made by other manufacturers.
"Nobody believed my tiny, one-person company had the ability and necessary resources to tackle the job of high-tech marking," Hannan