Celebrating entrepreneurship Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009

Congratulations to all of the nominees, finalists and winners in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Midwest Area 2009 awards! Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy. As a leader in guiding these companies, we feel it’s important to honor them and recognize their impact, while encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. Just about everything begins with an entrepreneur, whether it’s an innovative new business model or establishing new industries and trends. Pick a company — any company — and you can trace its roots back to an entrepreneur.

As we all know, these are tough times to be out there running a business. The nominees in this year’s program have shown us that it is possible not only to persevere — but to thrive! They demonstrate every day that entrepreneurship is a state of mind, and these entrepreneurs think BIG!

It is hard to imagine where we would be today without the entrepreneurs who create growth companies. They are the visionaries and the risk-takers who believe in their dreams and refuse to be denied. Rather than follow in the footsteps of others, entrepreneurs choose instead to lead, to take the road less traveled. For 23 years, Ernst & Young has been recognizing the men and women who have created the products, services and jobs that help our economy and communities grow. In fact, it was in the Midwest — in the Ernst & Young Milwaukee office — that the seed was planted and the first awards program took root. The companies we celebrate from the Midwest region, which includes businesses based in Illinois, Indiana and western Michigan, have a tradition of excellence.

Ernst & Young’s Strategic Growth Markets practice is the undisputed leader in guiding Russell 3000 companies, IPO-bound companies and Forbes’ largest private enterprises. We are committed to serving the entrepreneurial companies throughout their life cycle. That’s why we started the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. Since the first awards were presented in 1986, more than 12,000 outstanding businessmen and businesswomen have been honored with this distinction.

Join us in congratulating the leaders of today — those innovators that have achieved their American dream. We, along with our sponsors and patrons, continue to be inspired and encouraged by the entrepreneurial business achievements of our nominees. The following pages highlight those individuals who pursued this coveted distinction. Ernst & Young is proud to recognize and honor the accomplishments of the people who make this country great. Congratulations from Ernst & Young on your continued success!

Randall L. Tavierne is Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Midwest Area program director, Midwest Area Strategic Growth Markets leader and a partner at Ernst & Young LLP. He can be reached at (312) 879-3695.