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Letter from the business editor

Celebrating a quarter-century of the Globe 100

Twenty-five years ago business editor Steve Bailey launched a new rite of spring: the Globe 100. Today nearly 500 companies have made at least one appearance on our annual list of best-performing public companies in Massachusetts.

Four of them impressively have made it every year: money manager Eaton Vance Corp., defense contractor Raytheon Co., discount retailer TJX Cos., and workwear provider Unifirst Corp. Concord Computing Corp. garnered the number one spot on our inaugural list. The Woburn firm, long ago acquired by a competitor, specialized in electronic authorizations like supermarket check cashing. This year’s number one, Springfield gun maker Smith & Wesson, has been around for 161 years and tops the Globe 100 for the first time.

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One thing has been constant through the years: our ability to turn innovation into profits. In 1989, we wondered about the staying power of an emerging sector with the headline: “Yo, biotech, where’s the beef?” No biotechs made the list that year; today biotech is a pillar of our economy with multibillion-dollar stalwarts such as Biogen Idec.

Ever-sophisticated technology will be the key to our future. Take this year’s number nine, Nuance Communications Inc., a Burlington firm that would have seemed out of science fiction in 1989. A pioneer in voice-recognition technology, Nuance makes products that have us talking to our smartphones, cars, and TVs to make an appointment, find the nearest gas station, or change the channel.

This 25th anniversary issue wouldn’t be possible without another Steve: Steven Syre, who took a break from his Boston Capital column to edit this magazine. He partnered with art director Jane Martin, who has designed two Globe 100s. We ourselves have come a long way from a 24-page newspaper supplement to a 48-page magazine with content featured on two websites — and I can’t wait to see what’s in store the next 25 years.

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