As the economy does its best to get back on its feet, there are still some companies all across the United States ranging from aerospace to steel that have been kicking some major tail and taking names. Those companies made Forbes’ annual "America’s Best Small Companies” list.

The big winner this year is the Austin, Texas-based software company SolarWinds, which provides I.T. departments with affordable program solutions to assist them in monitoring networks and servers. And with Internet traffic predicted to triple within the next five years, SolarWinds is poised to handle it.

Interestingly, education companies follow technology on this year’s list, with Grand Canyon University coming in at number two and American Public Education rounding out the top three. Grand Canyon’s stock has more than doubled since the recession hit in 2008, and American Public has expanded programs to work with companies like Wal-Mart that are now committed to $50 million over the next three years.

Second Amendment-rights activists fearful of how the presidential election will affect their right to bear arms is why gun maker Sturm, Ruger holds the number four spot. Sales growth has been up 51 percent since 2006, with 38 percent of sales coming from the eight new models the company released over the past year.

The 10 Best Small Companies in America

1. SolarWinds

2. Grand Canyon University

3. American Public Education

4. Sturm, Ruger

5. IEC Electronics

6. Questcor

7. Cirrus Logic

8. Rue21

9. Medifast

10. IPG Photonics

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