SBN Staff

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Distribution and Manufacturing

Finalist

 

Jeffery Rand

owner and president

HB Chemical Corp.

 

HB Chemical Corp. started as a distributor of carbon black in 1986 and has since expanded its product line offering to more than 300 under Jeffery Rand’s vision and leadership. Rand joined HB Chemical in 1998 as a sales rep after working for a competing chemical distributor. The founder of HB Chemical, Hill Browning, was looking for assistance to successfully grow the business, as well as a successor.

Rand soon became minority shareholder and by 2006 had assumed the role of president. In November 2009, he purchased the company from the retiring owner during one of the most difficult economic periods.

The company’s solid performance in times of economic uncertainty has helped to strengthen HB Chemical’s relationship with its bank and has allowed the company to continue to expand both physically as well as economically where others ceased operations.

Rand is committed to finding ways to improve the distribution process through privately owned warehousing capabilities. With a privately owned warehouse, HB Chemical can serve a wide variety of customer sizes and fulfill orders from entire containers and pallets of product to five gallons of product. This would not be possible in large public warehouses.

This capability along with fulfilling same-day orders with no upcharge and no price gouging of customers during times of rising prices has differentiated HB Chemical from competitors.

Rand also strives to look for ways to improve HB Chemical’s global footprint as evidenced by the decision to move into Mexico. He believes the most likely expansion strategy will be to look for financial partners in international companies who don’t currently have North American distribution capabilities.

Today, HB Chemical is a clear reflection of Rand’s vision. Its distribution strategy with the use of private warehousing has resulted in a 60 percent increase in sales in the last two years with a corresponding increase in net income of 190 percent.

How to reach: HB Chemical Corp., www.hbchemical.com

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Health Care and Pharmaceutical Services

Winner

 

Drew Forhan

founder and CEO

ForTec Medical

 

As the founder and CEO of the mobile medical equipment company ForTec Medical, Drew Forhan leads through a collaborative, creative and competitive environment. His leadership qualities include integrity, perseverance and a bias toward action.

Forhan says he has an innate entrepreneurial spirit and drive that has been his personal motivation since he started ForTec at the age of 27 with one truck and one laser. He saw a need in the medical field for a new model to give hospitals and physicians access to innovative technologies. Ultimately, ForTec offers a business model that provides hospitals and physicians a simpler/less expensive way to utilize the latest and greatest medical tool technology.

The concept is such that when a medical operation requires a certain piece of technology a hospital system cannot afford to buy, ForTec’s service can be utilized to gain access to the equipment. The ForTec service also provides a trained technician, all for which there is a one-time usage fee.

This model eliminates hospitals capital expenditure or operating lease commitment for new technologies, which can cost nearly $2 million per piece of equipment. ForTec’s service simplifies hospital operations, but it was no easy task to get this idea off the ground. ForTec’s service has a number of moving parts that need to work in unison to maintain a profitable operation.

Forhan encountered many difficulties along his path, one of the toughest being financing. Each piece of equipment requires a large amount of capital expenditure, and often new technology is introduced annually. So the company’s model is all about logistics, demand and turning profit within the year.

In 2012 ForTec served roughly 2,000 hospitals in 40 states. The ForTec team — now almost 300 — has delivered specialized medical equipment and the related service team in 50,000 surgeries, through 26 different facilities throughout the United States.

Forhan’s future vision for ForTec includes growing through deepening relationships and strategic acquisitions.

How to reach: ForTec Medical, www.fortecmedical.com

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Professional Services

Finalist

 

Scot Lowry

president and CEO

Fathom

 

Scot Lowry is president and CEO and the entrepreneurial force driving the growth and innovation at Fathom, a digital marketing and analytics company. Lowry, along with a business partner, purchased Fathom in 2007 from the company’s founder.

Although Lowry bought the company, the founder remained a vital operating component to the business by adding sales and marketing expertise. Working together, they leveraged their individual strengths to continue to grow the company. However, the sudden death of Fathom’s founder in 2010 proved to be a formidable challenge.

Lowry had to provide leadership, compassion and guidance to all his employees and clients shaken by the event. He then worked to replace the valuable sales and marketing resource that he had lost. Through it all, he was able to identify new talent and refocus his existing team toward an exciting new future.

Lowry’s vision and strategy has enabled Fathom to grow beyond its singular offering of search engine optimization to a company with a full suite of digital marketing services. Lowry led the transformation from one to more than 15 marketing service capabilities.

He has molded and shaped Fathom’s clever strategy approach. With ideas such as “devote to the moat” and “pick a niche,” Fathom expands its competitive advantages and keeps focused on niche markets like health care and education.

In addition, the company’s “easy in, impossible out” strategy ensures Fathom is committed to expanding its intellectual property and technology capabilities. To survive in the fast-paced digital marketing world, Fathom must stay ahead of the changing technology landscape. Every day there are changes online that can impact clients, so Lowry promotes “making order from chaos.”

Lowry has helped create these capabilities by investing in people, intellectual property, technology integration and acquisitions. By hiring results-oriented technology professionals and encouraging them to explore and expand creative solutions, Fathom has developed proprietary customer solutions and broadened solutions offerings to support its strategy of “easy in, impossible out.”

How to reach: Fathom, www.fathomdelivers.com

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Health Care and Pharmaceutical Services

Finalist

 

Dale Wollschleger

president

ExactCare Pharmacy

 

Dale Wollschleger’s experience in the pharmacy industry is vast. He held positions at Medic Pharmacy and at Lutheran Family Pharmacy before he requested an early buyout from the latter pharmacy in 2004.

In 2006, he started a durable medical equipment business, called Family Home Care, which he operated out of the back of the Lutheran Family Pharmacy. During his time at Lutheran, he worked with a large population of psychiatric patients taking several medications each with very different sets of instructions such as dose size and frequency.

These experiences helped Wollschleger identify a widespread need in the pharmacy market for compliance packaging to enable patients to manage their prescriptions and adhere to instructions associated with their medications. He was particularly drawn to this idea because of the business opportunity and the positive affect it could have on patients his pharmacy served.

With this idea, he founded ExactCare Pharmacy in 2009. Wollschleger’s main focus was to develop “an easy-to-use multi-medication packaging solution for administering medications” named the ExactPack.

The ExactPack started out as a manual process dividing patient’s medications into separate packages to be taken throughout different times of the day. This process became automated with a machine that produces the ExactPacks. Within the ExactPack, there is a separate packet of medications to coincide with each different time during the day in which a patient is required to take their medications.

Like most pharmacies, the packaging and shipping of the prescriptions is free; ExactCare generates profits through the sale of the prescriptions. This new business rapidly expanded and by 2010 Wollschleger moved ExactCare out of Lutheran to a new space to better accommodate his growing operations.

ExactCare’s workforce grew from three employees to 70 and serves patients throughout Ohio. In 2011, Wollschleger purchased an additional pharmacy in New Jersey in which he implemented this same business strategy.

How to reach: ExactCare Pharmacy, www.exactcarepharmacy.com

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Financial Services

Finalist

 

Brendan Anderson and Jeffery Kadlic

co-founders and managing partners

Evolution Capital Partners

 

When Jeffery Kadlic and Brendan Anderson met, the experience and business knowledge of each turned into the evolution of a new way of investing within small and midsize markets. They realized that there was a niche in small and midsize markets that was begging for the attention of investors to obtain the appropriate capital and business plan that could lead to success and growth.

Kadlic and Anderson took a leap of faith in 2005 by co-founding Evolution Capital Partners, and as managing partners of the firm, they quickly became entrepreneurs assisting the small business market.

Their passion for wanting to see small businesses succeed is uncanny, and something both Kadlic and Anderson take pride in. Evolution distinguishes itself from other private equity firms by taking control of the investments and building the company’s success rather than buying a company, trimming down the investment, and then selling.

Evolution’s specialty and passion is helping small businesses navigate that difficult territory between startup and becoming a large, professional firm. Kadlic and Anderson know the challenges that arise during this phase of a company’s growth, and they are experts in providing business owners with the resources, both financing and advising, they need to grow a small business into a booming company.

In addition, Kadlic and Anderson know that small business financing is only one part of developing a business, so Evolution offers a comprehensive approach. The company won’t just hand over capital and wish a business good luck. Rather, Evolution will become partners with a business, taking on the burden of any risk involved and offering advisory services to ensure that those companies have the resources to make the right decisions.

The company’s continuing ability to reach out to the small business community and grab the attention of businesses looking for an answer to achieve success has delivered significant growth.

How to reach: Evolution Capital Partners, www.evolutioncp.com

Sunday, 30 June 2013 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

 

For 27 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in their businesses, their teams and their communities. We are excited to announce that this year we received more than 1,600 national entries from some of the country's most well deserving entrepreneurs.

The blood, sweat and passion they’ve poured into their businesses and the triumphs they’ve achieved stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries, leaders and innovators. Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize this passion for excellence and to build an influential and innovative community of peers.

We have gathered here and in 25 other cities in the U.S. to welcome the men and women who are regional award recipients into our entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and to toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching their companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

So let’s celebrate their achievements, perseverance and tireless pursuit of business excellence.

John Belli, office managing partner, Ernst & Young, Orange County

Kim E. Letch, partner, Entrepreneur Of The Year program director, Orange County

Kathy Beckman, Entrepreneur Of The Year program manager, Orange County

 

Family Business Category

Winner

Gennaro “Jerry” Paolone, Car Sound Exhaust Systems Inc.

Finalists

Jim Beck, Nature’s Best

Eve Yen, Diamond Wipes International Inc.

Real Estate & Hospitality

Winner

Alan J. Fuerstman, Montage Hotels & Resorts

Finalists

Doug Bauer, Tom Mitchell and Mike Grubbs, TRI Pointe Homes

David Kim and Jerome Fink, The Bascom Group

Retail & Consumer Products

Winner

Hezy Shaked, Tilly’s Inc.

Finalists

John Fuller, The Johnny Rockets Group Inc.

Nick Seedorf, nuCourse Distribution Inc.

Business Services

Winner

Heidi Golledge, CyberCoders and CareerBliss

Finalists

Dr. Vinod Jivrajka, AppleCare Medical Enterprises

Caryn Siebert, Carl Warren & Company

Technology

Winner

Joseph Renton, Systems & Software Enterprise

Finalists

Dominic Gallello, MSC Software Corp.

Jonathan Ord, DealerSocket Inc.

Financial Services

Winner

Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic Inc.

Finalists

Stephen Gordon, Opus Bank

Michael Joseph Purcell, Global Cash Card

 

Judges

Bala Iyer, Board Member

Life Technologies, QLogic, IHS,

Skyworks Solutions, Power Integrations

Prior Judge – 2009, 2012

 

Bruce Hallett, Managing Director

Miramar Venture Partners

 

Dan Lubeck, Managing Director/Founder

Solis Capital

 

*Dean Yoost, Board Member

Union bank, Pacific Life, Emulex, Belden Inc.

Prior Judge – 2010, 2011

 

*Doug Ammerman, Board Member/Director

Fidelity, Stantec, William Lyon Homes, El Pollo Loco

Prior Judge – 2011, 2012

 

Gary Jabara, Founder & CEO

Mobilitie, Inc.

Prior Winner – 2012

National Winner - 2012

 

Glenn Schafer, Chairman

Janus Capital Group, Skilled Healthcare

Prior Judge – 2011, 2012

 

Matthew Jenusaitis, President & CEO

OCTANe OC

Prior Judge – 2012

 

  • * Judge’s spokespeople

 

 

 

 

 

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Education and Non-profit

Finalist

 

William Scott Duennes

executive director

Cornucopia, Inc.

 

Before the term “social enterprise” was coined, Cornucopia, Inc./Nature’s Bin, under the direction of William Scott Duennes, was a leader in setting the standard for socially responsible companies in northeast Ohio.

Duennes joined Cornucopia in 1986 and in just one year, due to his display of leadership qualities, the board of directors approached him about transitioning into the role of executive director. He accepted, and the organization has been flourishing ever since.

Cornucopia is a nonprofit organization that operates five community-based vocational training sites providing opportunities and employment services to people with disabilities. The primary training location is Nature’s Bin, a retail grocery store that Cornucopia operates.

Throughout Duennes’ tenure as executive director, he has maintained a focus on the organization’s mission to help people with disabilities develop their skills, confidence and workplace potential. This is evidenced by the partnerships that Cornucopia has made with retail and non-retail organizations.

Duennes decided to expand beyond the retail world with respect to rehabilitation training to meet the needs and interests of the individuals the program serves. Cornucopia placed 40 individuals with disabilities that were part of its training program into competitive employment in 2012.

To emphasize the organization’s focus on rehabilitation efforts and related success, Duennes recently arranged for the income statement to list rehabilitation revenue ahead of Nature’s Bin retail operation revenue.

While maintaining a steadfast focus on the training program affiliated with Cornucopia, the retail business associated with Nature’s Bin continues to thrive, breaking industry norms by being more than just an organic food market, and widening its target market base by appealing to the needs of people in the community.

Specifically, through product diversification and its ability to identify, develop and serve niche sub-markets, the organization under Duennes’ leadership is an industry leader in sales per square foot, averaging 32 percent more than its competitors.

How to reach: Cornucopia Inc., www.cornucopia-inc.org

Financial Services

FINALIST

As executive vice president and CMO of Global Cash Card, Michael Purcell has faced both trouble and triumph throughout his journey as an entrepreneur, which began in the staffing industry.

It was during this time that Purcell realized there had to be a better way to distribute payroll to employees across the nation. Though this was uncharted territory, he knew that an electronic pay system would save time and money for employers and employees. This creative spark helped to transform a traditional staffing business into a cutting-edge business.

Breaking into the pay card industry was no easy feat. In its inception, no one knew what a pay card was or if it was even legal. There was no product, no demand and there were no clients. As time passed, the innovative idea of a pay card finally caught on, but there was still the challenge of client trust to overcome.

What sets Global Cash Card apart from its competitors is flexibility and client service. Off-the-shelf software does not fit the diversified needs of many companies. As a solution, Global Cash Card developed an in-house software system, and it is the only company in the industry that provides a live demo of the system.

Global Cash Card’s unique value is that there is no charge to the company to implement the system. The formula of success equals customer service and a flexible system is exemplified by the fact that the company has been able to acquire one new client every day for the last three years, with more than 15 percent coming from competitors.

The company continues to innovate and was the first company in its industry to create a mobile app and help companies become 100 percent paperless. As the company continues to grow, Purcell’s goal is to be at the forefront of the newest payroll technology.

 

How to reach: Global Cash Card, www.globalcashcard.com

Financial Services

FINALIST

Throughout Stephen Gordon’s distinguished 25-year financial and investment banking career, he’s served in executive leadership positions with rapidly growing and successful financial services firms focusing on investment banking, retail banking and commercial banking.

During the worst economic cycle in decades, Gordon recognized that the lack of available credit and liquidity was severely stifling the growth of small and midsize businesses and entrepreneurs, thereby impeding job growth, business expansion and economic recovery.

At the height of the financial crisis, through his vision, leadership and perseverance, Gordon raised millions of dollars to recapitalize a small bank based in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, which he rebranded as Opus Bank. Gordon, who is chairman, president and CEO of Opus, created a community bank with a clean balance sheet and positioned it to infuse capital funding and liquidity back into its local economies.

In the two years since its recapitalization, Opus Bank has grown tenfold to 54 locations in California and Washington. This success has resulted in Opus Bank becoming the fastest growing bank in the Western region.

The bank’s growth was aided by two rapid follow-on acquisitions and additional capital infusion, which required a clear vision and relentless focus on driving out inefficiencies and redundancies, while maintaining an unfailing focus on the client and the community. This growth has allowed Opus to provide billions of dollars in capital funding through 750 loans to small and midsize commercial businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate investors and professionals.

To achieve Gordon’s vision of returning to the old days of banking, where bankers respected their clients and clients relied on and respected their bankers, Opus has broadened its business lines to include advanced treasury management and payment solutions, fiduciary banking and other highly valued features that deliver efficiencies for clients. These business lines complement the bank’s more traditional business lines: retail banking, residential lending and income property banking.

How to reach: Opus Bank, www.opusbank.com

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Distribution and Manufacturing

Finalist

 

Scott Becker

president and CEO

Chromaflo Technologies Corp.

 

Scott Becker’s story begins 33 years ago when he was hired as a color matcher for a London-based company in Pennsylvania. After a highly successful journey through the colorants business, Becker now leads a nationally recognized supplier — Chromaflo Technologies Corp.

As president and CEO of Chromaflo, an independent global colorant provider to the coatings and thermoset plastics markets, Becker has turned opportunity to success using the recession, targeting customer needs, and carefully strategizing partnerships and acquisitions. At his core, Becker wants what is best for the company, its people and its customers.

The way in which he has handled the company’s challenges only reiterates his passion for success. While at a company called Plasticolors, Becker had a vision to transform what was a single-focus, small business into a global leader. Becker spent several months convincing shareholders to take a leap of faith with the acquisition of Colortrend, which would launch the company into a broad range of markets. The acquisition of Colortrend transformed Plasticolors into what the business is today as Chromaflo.

One main component of Becker’s success is his philosophy of “give the customers what they want.” That attitude resonates throughout the company, from the customer service to the business’s alliances and partnerships. He uses a “less rules” strategy in his customer service department and is in constant contact with his customers to understand their needs and demands.

That philosophy helped Becker and Chromaflo to grow the business during the recession while others were cutting back. In 2008-09, Chromaflo was building opportunity and gaining customers, and didn’t have to partake in any layoffs. Becker’s leadership helped transform Chromaflo and increase market share, leaving other companies to catch up.

Thanks in part to Evonik Industries’ Colortrend acquisition, which Becker orchestrated, Chromaflo has grown substantially in the last three years. The company’s employee count has more than tripled.

How to reach: Chromaflo Technologies Corp., www.chromaflo.com