Mardi Norman wasn’t particularly interested in tech when she joined fledgling information technology company Dynamic Systems Inc. 25 years ago as a sales account executive.
She has since embraced it, becoming the sole owner and chief executive of the El Segundo-based firm – and starting a nonprofit to teach girls about technology.
“As time goes on, there’s more and more opportunity for women in technology,” Norman said. “Being a woman entrepreneur provides a different angle into managing the business.”
Dynamic Systems moved up to No. 9 from 13 on this year’s Business Journal list of 100 women-owned businesses in Los Angeles County ranked by 2016 revenue, though the firm’s revenue was virtually flat at $125 million.
It was one of three tech companies to hit the list’s top 10, a sign of that industry’s growth locally, but still an outlier as women lag for representation in the sector.
The list features another industry traditionally seen as male oriented – construction – as the leading sector in terms of female ownership this year.
Next come two areas typically deemed more traditional for women: advertising and public relations, and staffing. Tech and real estate rounded out the top five.
The top companies were agriculture and food giant Wonderful Co., clothing retailer Forever 21 and Panda Restaurant Group at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively – a repeat from last year.
The 100 companies on this year’s list saw their combined revenue increase 7 percent to $19.2 billion in 2016 from $18 billion in 2015, though that jump was influenced largely by a few billion-dollar firms.
The presence of three tech companies in the top 10 of this year’s list makes L.A.’s entrepreneurial landscape somewhat of a counterpoint to recent national trends.
While tech companies moved up the list, women nationally have struggled to improve their numbers in many tech fields, dropping from about 35 percent of the computer science workforce in 1990 to 26 percent in 2013, according to an American Association of University Women study.
The numbers grow even scarcer for women in executive roles. The Center for American Progress reported that women in information technology held 9 percent of management positions and accounted for 14 percent of senior management positions at Silicon Valley startups in 2014.
The other technology companies to make the Business Journal’s top 10 list are Inglewood-based Marvin Engineering Co. Inc., which specializes in aerospace and defense, and Cerritos-based IT firm GST Inc.