I glanced at my calendar the other day and noticed two things. The first was that the year is almost over (there are less than eight weeks left to 2004). The second -- directly related to the first -- was that the date on the calendar tells me that it's almost time to embark on two major projects: holiday shopping and Top 100 Firms.

While the first is entirely up to me, many of you will play a major role in that second. And in order to make things run as smoothly as possible, I'm using my allotted space here to ask for your cooperation.

Sometime during the next few weeks, we'll be e-mailing (in the interest of saving trees and eliminating the excuse that the forms got lost in the mail) more than 150 firms with requests for information.

Try as we might, on occasion, a firm that should be on the contact list slips through the cracks, and we either find out two days before our deadline that they should be included, leaving little time for the firm to get us the necessary data, or we find out about it after the deadline has passed, at which point we don't have a lot of options.

Here's where you, dear readers, can help. If your firm, or a firm that you know, belongs among those to be recognized in our annual compilation of the largest firms (ranked by revenue), but wasn't on our radar this time last year for some reason, please take 30 seconds to drop me an e-mail at melissa.aguilar@thomsonmedia.com with the name and location of the firm, and if possible, a contact person, phone number, e-mail address or URL.

For those of you who aren't sure whether your firm belongs on the list, the answer is, if your firm will have 2004 net revenue of $15 million or more, we want to hear from you. While the firm that rounded out the 2004 list (which was published in March of this year) reported $18 million in net revenue, we also recognize "Firms to Watch" -- those with revenue just below the Top 100 threshold with growth rates that make them contenders for the next year's list. So, it's a chance to be recognized, even if you're No. 101. As a side note for those of you who haven't closed out your year and don't have final 2004 numbers (which we know from experience can be quite a few of you), we do look at estimated numbers, so long as you disclose that they are, in fact, estimates.

And if you were on our hit list last year (meaning your firm was either on the list or at least filled out the forms) but your firm has changed e-mails or the person the forms were sent to has since left the firm, or you just want them sent to someone else, please send me an e-mail and let me know that, too. It cuts down on the number of bounced e-mail messages and ensures that you get the forms with plenty of time to complete them.

If any of you have ideas for making my holiday shopping easier, you can e-mail those along too.

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