Diplomacy works: Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy among companies laying groundwork for growth

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The city of Flint, Mich., is probably most famous for two things: being the birthplace of General Motors and the prolonged economic decline that followed the automaker's departure from the city.

But Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy is looking to reverse that trend. Despite starting out as a single store owned by CEO Phil Hagerman and his father, the privately owned company has grown to be so big that it now has a swanky new headquarters and is well on its way to having 800 employees.

(THE NEWS: Diplomat CEO to attend White House business summit. For the full story, click here)

The secret to the company's success is the quality of service it delivers to patients, especially in terms of patient assistance. And the result is strong growth and lots of job creation.

The employment numbers released last week were far from spectacular — they were disappointing and likely to keep more than a few people up at night. But what may be a slump that's part of a global economic downturn stretching from here to Europe to Asia or just a hiccup resulting from an unseasonably warm winter — that's ultimately up to economists to determine — doesn't belie the fact that something is stirring in the American economy, specifically the groundwork for sustainable economic growth, and it's business leaders like Hagerman and companies like Diplomat that are laying it and leading it.