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Imperial Forces

The truly ambitious entrepreneur has but one goal, one drive, one prime motivating factor: the desire for empire.

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This story appears in the March 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Brenda L. Hill-Riggins was waiting in line for food stamps in 1992 when she got the news that her Miami plumbing firm had won its first big contract. Unfortunately, her staff wasn't big enough to supply the 10 people the client needed. No problem. Hill-Riggins pulled two people out of the welfare line and hired them on the spot.

An auspicious way to start an empire? Maybe not. But Hill-Riggins cleared $2 million in 2001 and expects a series of high-profile contracts to pan out this year to the tune of $9 million. "I have the vision to grow this company, and I'm the type of person who wants to win," says the 43-year-old president and co-founder (with husband Marcus A. Riggins) of M.A.R.S Plumbing Contractors Inc., which has moved past leaky-toilet calls into installing plumbing systems for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Raymond James Stadium and the Miami Heat's AmericanAirlines arena.

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