Steve Madden at work in Queens

Meet Steve Madden. With 310 stores in 76 countries, his public company is a significant player in the fashion business. And this international empire, founded in 1990, is headquartered right off Woodside Avenue in Long Island City.

Using an in-house shoe factory, Madden and his team whip up ideas in a matter of minutes, testing out concepts that are then made at scale overseas.

During his climb to the top, Madden encountered a personal and professional challenge when, in 2002, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison for stock fraud.

After being released two and a half years later, he and his company thrived. Today, Madden is still driven by his passion for creating "hit" shoe designs.