By HOWARD FINE Staff Reporter The Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual List of the 20 fastest-growing private companies in the San Fernando Valley reflects the increasing diversity of the Valley economy. There are three computer companies, three health-related companies, three construction/home improvement companies and two auto dealers. Others range from automotive testing to a costume-jewelry making. “This List represents the truly diverse nature of Valley businesses now that the manufacturers have left,” said Shirley Svorny, director of the San Fernando Valley Center for Economic Studies at California State University Northridge. The appearance of three construction/home-products companies on the List may reflect in part all the rebuilding going on as a result of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Svorny said, although it could also be another indicator of the Valley’s improving economic health. “If we see that many construction companies on the List next year, then I would say that is almost entirely due to the economic recovery.” The List is comprised of companies with at least $10 million in 1996 revenues and measures revenue growth over a three-year span from 1994 through 1996. This period coincides with two recoveries in the San Fernando Valley: the rebuilding after the 1994 Northridge quake and the economic recovery. Taken together, the 20 fastest-growing private companies racked up 1996 revenues of $2.8 billion, up 75 percent from their 1994 revenues of $1.6 billion. The average 1996 revenues for the companies on the List is $141.9 million. These companies are also major employers, with a combined 11,259 employees. A total of 3,435 employees have been added since 1994 at 19 of the 20 companies (one company did not supply 1994 employment data); that represents a 48.2 percent increase. The largest employer on the List is Environmental Industries, the Calabasas-based landscape, irrigation and golf course construction firm, with 4,689 employees. The smallest is Valencia-based pharmaceutical distributor PDI Enterprises Inc., with 22 employees. The average work force consists of 563 employees. Chatsworth is a hot spot for fast-growing companies, with three out of 20. Van Nuys also has three companies, two in the computer industry. Calabasas and Glendale each have two of the 20 fastest-growing companies. Topping this year’s List is Calabasas-based Breath Asure, the marketer and distributor of a breath freshener that grew 410 percent between 1994 and 1996. “For us, careful planning has been the reason for our success,” said Breath Asure co-owner and Executive Vice President Anthony Raissen. “We have a product that works and we have aggressively marketed that product in an organized, coordinated way.” Rounding out the top five on this year’s List are: Montrose Travel, which posted a 115 percent increase in revenues between 1994 and 1996; Chatsworth-based Bason Computer Inc., which doubled its revenues; Van Nuys-based DocuSource Inc., a Xerox products distributor that posted a 90 percent gain; and Kett Engineering Corp., an auto testing service provider also based in Van Nuys that grew 89 percent. BreathAsure, DocuSource and Kett Engineering are all repeaters from last year’s Business Journal List. Also on last year’s List were Van Nuys-based Compu-D International Inc., a distributor of computers and peripherals, and North Hills-based Galpin Motors Inc.