2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Midwest Awards

Manufacturing

WINNER

mw_eoy_JerryJendusaJerry Jendusa
Founder and CEO
EMTEQ
www.emteq.com

 

Jerry Jendusa has never been afraid to take risks. So when he was approached by a customer at Gulfstream Aerospace with the idea of replacing fluorescent tubes in airplanes with LEDs, Jendusa was excited to tackle the challenge.
He began working on a plan in his basement while honoring a non-compete agreement that meant he could not draw a salary for more than a year.
Jendusa obtained equity through family and friends and cobbled together a small amount of cash, a Small Business Administration loan and a minimal line of credit.
Despite the financial difficulties, Jendusa was driven to make this plan work. He wanted to offer an expansive product line that would be flexible in its use on many different aircraft types. Other goals were to continually increase the amount of product sold on each aircraft and to include value-added services such as certifying products and aircraft in order to box out the competition.
But product wasn’t the only thing that would be needed to make EMTEQ a great business. He needed to develop a strong vision that everyone understood and would channel their efforts toward fulfilling. He had to build a team that was adaptable and ready to move quickly to meet customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.
He empowered them with an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to excellence that was second to none.
Those traits are nice when your company is growing, but they become essential when you hit a rough patch. The 9/11 terrorist attacks created havoc in the aviation industry and could have easily been the end of EMTEQ. But the company’s founder and CEO would not let that happen. He over-communicated to his team about new marketing strategies and ways to get new customers, continuing to push forward. The strategy worked, and the company kept right on growing.


FINALISTS

mw_eoy_RobertKamphuisRobert D. Kamphuis
Chairman of the board, president and CEO
Mayville Engineering Company, Inc.
www.mecinc.com

 

When Robert D. Kamphuis started as CEO of Mayville Engineering Company, Inc., in 2005, he found a company that was struggling. The company had its ups and downs and this was one of its down periods. Even in the midst of those tough times, Kamphuis could see an organization that had tremendous potential.
So he didn’t waste any time making moves to help the company reach it. He set forth a clearly defined mission that continues to be successful today. It began with a foundation of teamwork and trust that led to a culture that is filled with tremendous loyalty and commitment to each other and to the company.
Each employee owner is vested in the success of the company and is therefore focused on helping to make the company’s customers successful. Kamphuis has helped them understand that when customers are successful, the company is also successful.
Employee shareholders have embraced the mission Kamphuis has set forth, largely because they have reaped the rewards of growth opportunities, both personally and professionally.
Kamphuis, chairman of the board, president and CEO, is able to see beyond his business and help those who need it. He’s created a charitable giving campaign that gives back to local schools, chambers of commerce, United Way and other organizations that set out to improve the lives of local citizens.
But it’s the business that has set the foundation for these many great works. Kamphuis has worked hard to build a strong culture, but also a business that is continually aiming to get better at what it does. The company has built new plants and acquired businesses that have diversified the customer base while stabilizing and growing record profits. He has done this by exercising good risk management and implementing well-thought-out plans.


mw_eoy_CaryWoodCary Brendan Wood
President and CEO
Sparton Corporation
www.sparton.com

 

Cary Brendan Wood is the fifth person to head the 109-year-old Sparton Corporation, a manufacturer of electromechanical devices. As president and CEO, he took over the company just a few months from bankruptcy in a tough economy. He and his management team led Sparton through a series of difficult, unpopular, but necessary decisions to avoid bankruptcy and retain customers.
Prior to Wood coming on-board, the manufacturing company had squandered its cash reserves, suffered multimillion-dollar losses and developed an over-leveraged debt position. Customers, suppliers and employees were anxious, and vocal investors wanted a leadership change.
With Wood at the helm, he and his team initiated a financial and operational turnaround strategy. He asked employees to make decisions as if they owned the company. Employees found cost- and time-saving initiatives, which led to profitability for Sparton for the first time in three years. Now, the company was able to shift into growth phase, launching a new business development function that led to six acquisitions.
With bankruptcy behind him, Wood led a series of planning events that established corporate values and a five-year strategic plan with further growth opportunities and operational improvements.
The strategic plan defined the types of products and markets Sparton would pursue. Business development was re-initiated with a new team, brand and marketing message. Sparton made its first annual investments in R&D that led to a number of proprietary products in 2011. Finally, the team started strategically rounding out Sparton through acquisitions, leading to geographic expansion, customer diversification, value-added capabilities and entry into tangential markets.
Together, these efforts have strengthened Sparton and differentiated it from competitors.
Today the culture is benefiting from Wood’s installation of corporate values and the entire organization is benefiting from the turnaround strategy — Sparton is enjoying one of the most profitable eras in its history.


mw_eoy_PeterAnthonyPeter Anthony
President and CEO
UGN, Inc.
www.ugnauto.com

 

As president and CEO of UGN, Inc., Peter Anthony’s leadership demonstrates his ability to implement multiple strategies as part of a comprehensive business plan. He joined UGN, a producer of high-quality acoustic interior trim and thermal management products, as a sales and marketing manager in 1992.
His goal, however, was to run the company. Anthony’s personal growth plan has translated to immense success for the company he now heads.
While responsible for business development, he helped increase UGN sales, implemented standard costing models to ensure consistent quotations to customers and developed an internal packaging department that became a profit center for the company.
As the company’s vice president, Anthony created and implemented global strategies and systems to coordinate sales activities with customers in Japan and Europe.
Then, as CEO, he diversified the company’s product mix by successfully marketing new technologies to customers and building business cases, returns-on-investment and projected cash flow to support new investments. He dramatically increased profitability through effective negotiations with both domestic and international customers.
During his tenure, he has coordinated multiple, cross-functional groups encompassing a variety of global stakeholders to broaden market share, bringing new products and technologies to market. He created and implemented a global core team to meet customer demand for worldwide business sourcing, and coordinated worldwide sales and marketing efforts to ensure cross-functional viability.
Anthony reinvented UGN by expanding it from a niche supplier to a broad-based corporation with a diversified product line. He implemented strategic and aggressive growth by skillfully directing successful entry into novel sectors.
His vision for continued growth has resulted in the addition of two manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Mexico. A third U.S. plant has just been announced.
Anthony’s assertive implementation of cost-cutting measures has positioned UGN to remain a highly profitable enterprise, and an industry leader in the delivery of innovative automotive products.