Several of the Triangle's most successful corporations also rank among the country's largest privately owned companies.
In Forbes latest annual list, which is based on annual revenue or estimated revenue, Quintiles of Durham comes in at No. 133 with $3 billion. Raleigh-based General Parts, owner of the Carquest Auto Parts chain, is No. 148 with $2.79 billion. And Cary-based SAS is No. 188 with $2.31 billion.
While such lists might seem irrelevant, they give companies exposure that can help win new customers and recruit new employees.
Forbes also has a profile of Quintiles founder and CEO Dennis Gillings. The story trace the history of how the UNC Chapel Hill professor, a "30-year-old Brit with longish hair and bushy sideburns," got the idea of handling clinical drug research for big pharmaceutical companies in 1975, founded Quintiles in 1982 and expanded it to become the world's largest contract research organization.