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Entrepreneurs
Business Observer Friday, May 15, 2015 5 years ago

Entrepreneurs of the Year | Lorna Taylor

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Premier Eye Care Tampa
by: Michael Hinman Tampa Bay Reporter

Why we chose Her:
What was expected to be a short-term leadership role through the launch phase has become a 20-year career for Lorna Taylor, and she's still not ready to go.

The CEO of Premier Eye Care has since jumped on the rapid growth of Americans with health insurance following the implementation of Obamacare, expanding a once regional company into locations in 15 states.

“With the Affordable Care Act and everything else coming up, we were forecasting that millions of uninsured people would be coming onto the Medicaid rosters and the (health) exchanges, so we quickly mobilized to stay ahead,” Taylor, 57, says. “We started to roll out state by state, using partners we already had in Florida, from Texas to California, and all the way to Hawaii.”

State governments quickly found managing vision care through its Medicaid rolls to be cumbersome, and found relief reaching out to the private sector to companies like Premier.

“Groups like us could come in and take over, bringing all the cost efficiencies and plan management experience we had to the table,” Taylor adds.

It was risky to reach beyond a specific geographic area, but risks are necessary to grow, Taylor says. Companies just have to be careful about stepping too far.

“You can't be reckless,” she says. “We have employees and their families to think about, and we have to make sure we're around a long time so that we can nurture our communities.”

Revenue has doubled in the last three years to $84 million, but Taylor expects to end 2015 topping $100 million. And Premier shares the wealth -- even ensuring that equal pay comes with equal work.

“We review everyone's pay, even if they don't ask for it,” Taylor says. “That might go against the bottom line, but it's a responsibility we take seriously.”

Growth
Revenues
2012: $41.4 million
2013: $53.9 million
up 30.2%
2014: $84 million
up 55.8%

Employees
2012: 46
2013: 73
2014: 94

- Michael Hinman

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