a woman holding large red scissors cuts a ribbon to the new sensory-friendly room in the Social Service Annex
Board of Visitors member Christopher Barnett and his daughter, Maddy, celebrates the opening of Maddy's Room, which supports students with different sensory needs, in Ritter Hall Annex in 2023.

ABA Centers, a provider of applied behavior analysis therapy founded by Board of Visitors member Christopher Barnett, was ranked number one on Inc. magazine’s fourth annual Inc. 5000 Regionals: Southeast list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies based in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Puerto Rico.

In the two-year period between 2020-2022 assessed for the Inc. 5000 Regionals list, ABA Centers’ revenue grew by 6,625 percent. The company’s financial prosperity continued throughout 2023, for a total revenue increase of more than 25,000 percent since 2020 and a more than 450 percent increase year-over-year from 2022 to 2023.

“It’s an incredible honor to be ranked as the number one fastest growing business in the Southeast after just three short years. Our mission at ABA Centers is to get kiddos the autism care that they need, quickly, so being recognized for our financial success means we are actually being recognized for the success of our mission,” said Barnett, who is also an alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts. “As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child and ABA Centers is building that village so families impacted by autism know that there is help—and hope—out there for them.”

Barnett first grew a passion for helping the autistic community and their families navigate diagnoses and care after witnessing within his own family how difficult this process can be. He founded ABA Centers in 2020 to give hope to others facing the same hardships and ensure equal access to diagnosis and ABA therapy from certified professionals focusing on communication, academics, social skills, and social functioning.

ABA Centers has continued to rapidly expand its geographic footprint since its founding, currently providing world-class autism care in 29 service markets throughout nine states. The company has grown from just four employees at the time of its founding in 2020 to finishing 2022 with 800 employees passionately serving the autism community to closing 2023 with around 1,650 team members spanning two countries.

Barnett is a dedicated supporter of Temple University, the College of Public Health, and the School of Social Work. In addition to serving on the college’s Board of Visitors, in 2022 he helped to create the ABA Centers of America Autism Lab to conduct autism research, offer diagnostic services, and train students to build the necessary workforces to not only meet the current needs of the autistic community but to reach out and make a difference for the general public. In 2023, he established Maddy’s Room, a calming, sensory-friendly space for students who have ASD, in Ritter Hall Annex. Barnett is also a key supporter of the Barnett and Irvine Cherry Pantry, which combats hunger in the Temple community by supplying nutritious emergency food.