Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in their businesses, teams and communities.

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 honor the men and women who are regional finalists and welcome the winners into our entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. We toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching start-up companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

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

Enjoy this special coverage from Smart Business featuring this year’s finalists and winners from Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Kevin E. Pickels is the Entrepreneur Of The Year Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia program director at Ernst & Young.

Finalists and Honorees

Supporter of Entrepreneurship

Richard Lunak, Innovation Works

Construction

H. Rochelle Stachel, HRV Conformance Verification Associates Inc. (Winner)

Melvin E. Clark Jr., G.W. Peoples Contracting Co. Inc. (Finalist)

Reed Mahany, RECO Equipment Inc. (Finalist)

Health Sciences

Dr. Frank Alderman, MedExpress Urgent Care (Winner)

Arnold Burchianti II, Celtic Healthcare (Finalist)

Patrick Daly, Cohera Medical Inc. (Finalist)

Doug Engfer, invivodata inc. (Finalist)

Industrial Manufacturing

Dennis Oates, Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. (Winner)

James Lind, McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises Inc. (Finalist)

David Sweet, Mecco Marking & Traceability (Finalist)

Manufacturing

Bill Lambert, MSA – The Safety Company (Winner)

William Baker, Irwin Car and Equipment (Finalist)

Fred Potthoff, Kroff Inc. (Finalist)

Nonprofit

Michael Robb, Center for Community Resources (Winner)

Grant Oliphant, The Pittsburgh Foundation (Finalist)

Services

Charles Sanders, Urban Lending Solutions (Winner)

Scott Barnyak, Christy Maruca, Chris Simchick, SDLC LP (Finalist)

John Sell, Wayne W. Sell Corp. (Finalist)

Technology

Xuecang Geng, Ph.D., Blatek Inc. (Winner)

Robert Daley, Henry Thorne, 4moms (Finalist)

Jay Whitacre, Ph.D., Aquion Energy Inc. (Finalist)

Don Charlton, The Resumator (Finalist)

Published in Pittsburgh
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who make our economy vibrant.

Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program to recognize those with a passion for “thinking big” and to bring together visionaries and leaders to inspire each other and our communities. We have gathered here and in 25 cities across the United States to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome a new class of entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame, recognizing their resilience, ingenuity and innovation.

We applaud them for overcoming challenges, inspiring others, opening new markets and, ultimately, fueling economic growth in the Northeast Ohio region. Let’s celebrate their achievements, perseverance and tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Congratulations to all 2012 Northeast Entrepreneur Of The Year® finalists.

Whitt Butler is the program director and an advisory partner at Ernst & Young.

2012 Finalists and Honorees

HEALTH CARE AND LIFE SCIENCES

Dr. Robert Kent, Summa Western Reserve Hospital

DISTRIBUTION AND MANUFACTURING

ENERGY, RESOURCES AND CLEAN TECHNOLOGY

INDUSTRIAL AND ENGINEERED PRODUCTS AND MATERIALS

SERVICES AND MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS ADVISORY SERVICES

RETAIL AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS

TECHNOLOGY

Published in Akron/Canton
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 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.

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 finalists into our entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and to toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching start-up companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

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

Ernie Cortes is the Entrepreneur Of The Year program director. He can be reached at (408) 947-5462.

2012 Finalists and Honorees

Emerging

• Geoffrey Barker, RPX Corp. (Winner)

• John Woolard, BrightSource Energy Inc. (Finalist)

• Hubert Thieblot, Curse Inc. (Finalist)

Life Sciences

• Lawrence Blatt, Alios BioPharma (Winner)

• Guo-Liang Yu, Epitomics Inc. (Finalist)

• Robert W. Duggan, Pharmacyclics Inc. (Finalist)

Marketing Services

• Tom Bedecarre, AKQA (Winner)

• David B. Goldberg, SurveyMonkey (Finalist)

• Bill Demas, Turn Inc. (Finalist)

Media and Entertainment

• Nicholas Woodman, Woodman Labs Inc. d.b.a GoPro (Winner)

• Matt Mullenweg, Automatic (Finalist)

• Lars Buttler, Trion Worlds Inc. (Finalist)

Retail and Consumer Products

• Dale Carlesen, Sleep Train (Winner)

• John Foraker, Annie’s Inc. (Finalist)

• Neil Grimmer, Plum Organics (Finalist)

Services

• Lisa Im, Performant Financial Corp. (Winner)

John Boncher, Cupertino Electric Inc. (Finalist)

• Mike Sechrist, Elana Whorton, ProTransport-1 (Finalist)

Technology

• Tarkan Maner, Wyse Technology (Winner)

• Lee Chen, A10 Networks (Finalist)

• Tasso Roumeliotis, Location Labs (Finalist)

Technology Services

• Matthew Monahan, Brian Monahan, Inflection (Winner)

• Larry Augustin, SugarCRM (Finalist)

• Bruton Goldfield, TriNet (Finalist)

Published in Northern California
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

Jamie SimpsonFor more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who make our economy vibrant.

Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year program to recognize those with a passion for “thinking big” and to bring together visionaries and leaders to inspire each other and our communities. We have gathered here and in 25 other cities across the United States to honor all of our regional semi?nalists and welcome a new class of entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame, recognizing their resilience, ingenuity and innovation.

We applaud them for overcoming challenges, inspiring others, opening new markets and, ultimately, fueling economic growth in Michigan and Northwest Ohio. Let’s celebrate their achievements, perseverance and tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Congratulations to all our 2012 Michigan & Northwest Ohio semi?nalists.

-- Jamie Simpson, Partner/Program Director, Entrepreneur of the Year, Ernst & Young

2012 Winners, Finalists and Semifinalists

Business Services

Bradley Oleshansky, BIG Communications LLC (Winner)

Donald A. Hicks, LLamasoft (Finalist)

Frederick Minturn, MSX International (Finalist)

Richard B. Sheridan, Menlo Innovations LLC (Finalist)

Sabah Ammouri, ATM of America Inc. (Semifinalist)

Lynn Mustazza, JAWOOD Business Process Solutions LLC (Semifinalist)

Mark Symonds, Plex Systems Inc. (Semifinalist)

Consumer Products

Ryan J. Blair , ViSalus Sciences (Winner)

Pam Turkin, Just Baked (Finalist)

Michael Eckele, Eckele Health & Nutrition (Finalist)

Joseph M. McClure, McClure’s Pickles (Semifinalist)

Mark Peters , Butterball Farms Inc. (Semifinalist)

Distribution

Kevin and Carole Chase , Chase Plastic Services Inc. (Winner)

John Eldred, Midwest Tap LLC (Finalist)

Jameel M. Burkett , Burkett Restaurant Equipment (Semifinalist)

Charles Elliott, Lake Court Medical Supplies Inc. (Semifinalist)

Industrial Products

Douglas J. Grimm , Grede Holdings LLC (Winner)

Tanvir Arfi, SPX Service Solutions (Finalist)

Charles G. McClure, Meritor Inc. (Semifinalist)

Manufacturing

Christopher J. O’Connor, Humanetics Innovative Solutions (Winner)

Shiela Kaye Rossmann, Paramount Precision Products Inc. (Winner)

Noel Cuellar, Primera Plastics Inc. (Finalist)

Wilbert W. Williams, Williams-Bayer Industries (Finalist)

Jonathan Paul DeWys , DeWys Manufacturing (Semifinalist)

John Sztykiel, Spartan Motors (Semifinalist)

Master

Manoj Bhargava, Innovation Ventures LLC and Living Essentials LLC (Winner)

Services

Dr. David Kent, Lifestyle Lift (Winner)

Dr. Christopher Newton , Emergency Physicians Medical Group PC (Finalist)

Jeffery S. Prough , Critical Signal Technologies Inc. (Finalist)

Jane E. McNamara, GreenPath Debt Solutions (Semifinalist)

Jason Teshuba, Mango Languages (Semifinalist)

Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Nancy Schlichting, Henry Ford Health System (Winner)

Staffing & Support Services

Claudine George, ICONMA LLC (Winner)

Tel K. Ganesan, Kyyba Inc. (Finalist)

Dianne Marsh and Bill Wagner, SRT Solutions Inc. (Semifinalist)

Marie Seipenko, Preferred Solutions Inc. (Semifinalist)

Published in Detroit
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

Congratulations to all of the nominees, finalists and winners in the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest Area program. For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who make our economy vibrant. This has never been truer than it is today. The energy and passion from these entrepreneurs is being felt in a dramatic fashion throughout the Midwest right now. It is great to see!

Ernst & Young is the world leader in advising, guiding and recognizing entrepreneurs and founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program to recognize those with a passion for “thinking big” and to bring together visionaries and leaders to inspire each other and our communities. We have gathered here and in 25 other cities across the United States to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome a new class of entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame, recognizing their resilience, ingenuity and innovation.

We applaud them for overcoming challenges, inspiring others, opening new markets and, ultimately, fueling economic growth in the Midwest Area. Let’s celebrate their achievements, perseverance and tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Join us in congratulating the leaders of today — those innovators that have achieved their American dream right here in the Midwest. Ernst & Young along with our sponsors continue to be inspired by the entrepreneurial success of our nominees. The following list of stories highlight those individuals who pursued and obtained the coveted distinction of an Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist. Ernst & Young is proud to recognize and honor the accomplishments of these finalists.

Congratulations to all of the Midwest Area Finalists from Ernst & Young on your continued success.

RANDALL L. TAVIERNE is the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest Area director, Midwest Area Strategic Growth Markets leader and a partner with Ernst & Young LLP. Reach him at (312) 879-3695 or randall.tavierne@ey.com or @RandallTavierne on Twitter.

2012 Honorees

EMERGING ENTREPRENEUR

Ryan Kunkel and Joe Reynolds, Red Frog

Events

Bryan Johnson, Braintree Inc.

Elliot Weissbluth,

HighTower

FINANCIAL SERVICES

jones-president-and-ceo-accuity-inc/?full=1">Hugh

Jones, Accuity Inc.

John Pitzaferro, TransNational Bankcard

LLC

HEALTH SCIENCES

Mark Thierer, SXC Health Solutions

Corp.

Dr. Stuart Bernsen, Chiro One

Wellness Centers

Parker Hinshaw, maxIT Healthcare

MASTER ENTREPRENEUR

David

Storch, AAR Corp.

Steve Russell, Celadon Group Inc.

Gary

Rabine, The Rabine Group

TURNAROUND

John H. Weber, Remy International Inc.

Michael Werner, Gerber Plumbing

Fixtures

Cary

Wood, Sparton Corp.

PRIVATE EQUITY/ VENTURE CAPITAL

Jai

Shekhawat, Fieldglass

Dr. Daphne Preuss, Chromatin Inc.

Matt

Maloney and Mike Evans, GrubHub Inc.

Dhiraj Rajaram, Mu

Sigma

RETAIL AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS

Glenn Lyon, The Finish Line Inc.

Tim

McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Alan

Schulman, Glentronics Inc.

SERVICES

Joe

Chalhoub, Heritage-Crystal Clean Inc.

Michael

Golden and Thaddeus Wong, @properties

Michele

Honomichl, Celergo

TECHNOLOGY

Michael

Small and Jack Blumenstein, Gogo LLC

Andrew

Sieja, kCura Corp.

Jeff

Maling and Geoff Cubitt, Roundarch Isobar

Published in Chicago
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:25

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 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.

The hours, 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 in?uential 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 all of the ?nalists and their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching start-up companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

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

OSCAR SUAREZ is the Florida market leader for Ernst & Young LLP. Reach him at (305) 415-1305 or oscar.suarez@ey.com.

Honorees

Lifetime Achievement

William D. Morean, Timothy L. Main, Jabil (Winner)

Corporate Innovator

Jordan Zimmerman, Zimmerman Advertising (Winner)

Hannes Hunschofsky, HOERBIGER Corp. of America Inc. (Finalist)

Distribution and Manufacturing

Janna Ronert, Dr. Marc Ronert, Image Skincare (Winner)

R. Charles Murray, PPi Technologies Group (Finalist)

Amin Rahman Ramjee, BEL USA LLC, dba DiscountMugs.com (Finalist)

Emerging

Jorge A. Plasencia, Republica (Winner)

Bobby Harris, BlueGrace Logistics (Finalist)

Jose Prendes, PureFormulas.com (Finalist)

Financial Services

Eric R. Castro, Robert T. Castro, Albert C. Crawford, Bankers Healthcare Group Inc. (Winner)

T. John Jerger Jr., American Traditions Insurance Co. and Modern USA Insurance (Finalist)

David Miller, Michael Miller, Brightway Insurance (Finalist)

Health Care

Michael M. Early, Metropolitan Health Networks Inc. (Winner)

Richard L. Sanchez, Advantica (Finalist)

Shari Dingle Sandifer, Avant Healthcare Professionals (Finalist)

Real Estate and Construction

Charles Puccini, Bauer Foundation Corp. (Winner)

Michael I. Kaufman, Kaufman Lynn Construction (Finalist)

Craig Perry, Centerline Homes (Finalist)

Retail and Consumer Products

Rhonda Shear, Shear Enterprises LLC (Winner)

Oscar Horton, Sun State International Trucks LLC (Finalist)

Jesse Stein, SportsMemorabilia.com (Finalist)

Services

Harvey Massey, Massey Services Inc. (Winner)

David Clarke, BGT Partners (Finalist)

Steven A. MacDonald, myMatrixx (Finalist)

Technology

John Duffy, 3Cinteractive (Winner)

Carol Craig, Craig Technologies (Finalist)

Will Fleming, MotionPoint Corp. (Finalist)

Published in Florida
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who make our economy vibrant.

Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program to recognize those with a passion for “thinking big” and to bring together visionaries and leaders to inspire each other and our communities. We have gathered here, and in 25 cities across the United States, to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome a new class of entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame, recognizing their resilience, ingenuity and innovation.

We applaud them for overcoming challenges, inspiring others, opening new markets and, ultimately, fueling economic growth in the Central Midwest. Let’s celebrate their achievements, perseverance and tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Congratulations to all of the 2012 Central Midwest finalists.

Randolph Buseman is a partner in the Kansas City office of Ernst & Young.

Michael Hickenbotham is a partner in the St. Louis office of Ernst & Young.

Finalists and Honorees

Industrial Manufacturing and Mining

• Steve Carter, Knight Hawk Coal LLC (Winner)

Communications

• David Karandish, Answers (Winner)

Financial Services

• Brant Bukowsky, Brock Bukowsky, Veterans United Home Loans (Winner)

Services

• Len Rodman, Black & Veatch (Winner)

Transportation

• Robert Low, Prime Inc. (Winner)

Technology

• Harry Herrington, NIC Inc. (Winner)

Master Entrepreneur

• Larry Potterfield, MidwayUSA

Energy and Chemicals

• Jerff Stroburg, Daniel Oh, Renewable Energy Group Inc. (Winner)

Retail and Consumer Products

• Kyle Krause, Kum & Go L.C. (Winner)

Bio Science

• Dr. David Faber, Trans Ova Genetics (Winner)

Finalists

• Dr. Steve Lasky, Advanced Analytical Technologies Inc.

• John Eulich, ASPEQ Holdings Inc.

• Cory Wiedel, Ryan Zink, Complete Nutrition

• Benny Lee, DuraComm Corp.

• Patrick Perry, Genesys

• Dawn Ainger, Genova Technologies

• Greg Gragg, Gragg Advertising

• Mark Rutter, GROUP360 Worldwide

• Joseph Melookaran, Mithra Amaran, David Brown, Raqibul Huq, Maria Will, JMA Information Technology

• Greg Brown, Learfield Communications Inc.

• Matt Miller, MobileDemand

• Mary Quass, NRG Media LLC

• Dr. Reggie Chandra, Rhythm Engineering

• Tom Kalishman, Jerry Shaw, SAK Construction LLC

• Willard “Lee” Frickey, Sizewise

• Michael Vasquez, St. Gregory Centers Inc.

• Kevin Quigley, John Nickel, Mike O’Neill, Switch. Liberate Your Brand

• Dan Reed, UnitedLex Corp.

• Doug Schukar, USA Mortgage

• Jon Cook, VML

• Seth Burgett, Yurbuds Sport Earphones

Published in St. Louis
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in their businesses, teams and communities.

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 finalists 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, their perseverance and their tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Brian Ring is a partner and program director for Entrepreneur Of The Year, Greater Los Angeles.

April Spencer is a partner and program director for Entrepreneur Of The Year, Greater Los Angeles.

Pat Niemann is the office managing partner for Ernst & Young, Los Angeles.

Finalists & Honorees

Master Entrepreneur

Rick J. Caruso, Caruso Affiliated (Winner)

Distribution & Manufacturing

Jeffrey R. Clark, Anthony (Winner)

Michael Sheldon, Network Hardware Resale LLC (Finalist)

Nathaniel Victor, Sonic Electronix Inc. (Finalist)

Financial Services

Sunnie S. Kim, Hana Financial Inc. (Winner)

Jeff Stibel, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. (Finalist)

Alan Zafran, Luminous Capital (Finalist)

Food Services

David Overton, The Cheesecake Factory Inc., (Winner)

Lee Maen, Philip Cummins, Innovative Dining Group (Finalist)

Emelio Castaneda, Field Fresh Foods Inc. (Finalist)

Interactive Media/Internet

Bob Brisco, Internet Brands (Winner)

Josef Gorowitz, Prodege LLC (Finalist)

Allen DeBevoise, Machinima Inc. (Finalist)

Media

Simon Bax, Bill Tillson, Encompass Digital Media Inc. (Winner)

Vince Pace, James Cameron, Cameron Pace Group (Finalist)

Brian Fitzgerald, Aaron Broder, Evolve Media Corp. (Finalist)

Services

Peter Dameris, On Assignment Inc. (Winner)

Linda Stone, APR Consulting (Finalist)

Cesar Garcia, Iris International Inc. (Finalist)

Technology

Jon E. Kirchner, DTS Inc. (Winner)

David Hagan, Boingo Wireless Inc. (Finalist)

Alex Kazerani, James Segil, EdgeCast Networks (Finalist)

Published in Los Angeles

Laboratories with tanning booths?

That’s what Lewis Shender sees. The president and CEO of Sewell, N.J.-based Hollywood Tans sees his chain of tanning salon franchises as a nationwide collection of 140 labs conducting experiments in marketing and customer service.

“Each of our locations does things a little differently,” Shender says. “Ultimately, the stuff that does work, the stuff that does not work, people find out about that. It sort of reaches its own level at some point. I think insisting on rigid compliance to certain corporate standards can create an ivory tower. You develop a bureaucratic style of leadership, and it becomes more like checking-the-box leadership, as opposed to managing the business to really work at a particular location, with a particular set of customers and a particular staff.”

Shender speaks from experience. Previously, Hollywood Tans — officially known as Hollywood Tans Group LLC — was governed by a highly structured and compliance-oriented model. Like many franchise systems, the corporate leadership at Hollywood Tans was focused on driving uniform standards across its entire chain, so that a customer who walked into a location in Pennsylvania would have the exact same experience as a customer walking into a location in California, or anywhere in between.

But then the recession hit, and Shender quickly realized rigid adherence to a corporate rule book was not going to help his company weather the storm.

“The dramatic freezing up of the credit markets and the loss of employment was a real game changer,” Shender says “It super-accelerated what we needed to do to respond to the crisis. It really was an existential threat. Many companies did not make it through that patch.”

Hollywood Tans reshaped itself. The company got out of the tanning accessory manufacturing business, it revised its franchise model from a royalty-based system to a flat fee-based system, lowering the startup costs for franchisees in the process, and the company revised its culture to put more power in the hands of the store owners and managers.

“We moved from the compliance-oriented model to more of ‘Here is our way, but if you have a better way that works for you in your location, if you feel you need to do something unique to beat a competitive threat, you’re free to do that,’” Shender says. “It is much more flexible, and it is interesting to see how that is playing out in a positive way for so many people.”

Attack the market

Like just about every business, Hollywood Tans has tried to develop market separators — unique advantages that customers can’t obtain from the competition. Hollywood Tans’ market separators, including stand-up tanning booths and proprietary tanning lotions and skin care products, have played a big role in the company’s growth to $60 million in revenue during 2011.

But if the separators stopped there, the competition would have caught up and surpassed Shender’s company. With the ability to offer variations and add-ons to only a single service, Shender and his leadership team had to get creative as the economy hit the skids.

More specifically, he had to let everyone else under the Hollywood Tans umbrella get creative.

“We have salons in affluent communities in Southern California, in college towns in the Northeast, in urban areas in the central Atlantic states,” Shender says. “Those are very different types of customers, so if we try a one-size-fits-all approach, it just won’t work.”

The trick for Shender and the corporate team has been to allow local salon owners the latitude to tailor their approach to the needs of their respective markets while still maintaining a well-defined vision and set of values for the company’s brand. Shender’s team answered that challenge by providing some basic, systemwide marketing materials to all locations while still allowing salon operators to sit in the driver’s seat on marketing initiatives in the community.

“We try to give some structure in terms of coherent, timely and current marketing initiatives,” Shender says. “We have posters for salons, and there is always marketing collateral that goes along with that. Then there is online-based initiatives and other complementary creative projects that go along with that, so hopefully we are all communicating with the public in a unified way, with a single voice.”

Beyond that, it is up to the salon owner to crunch the numbers and decide how to best spend his or her marketing dollars.

“For instance, in Philadelphia, if our salon owners want to put commercials on the radio, and that works for them, that is great,” Shender says. “But it might not necessarily work for the guys in Birmingham or Nashville. So those are the types of situations where we try to get them to the right vendors who can help them make the decision about which path to take. We look at our data and give them our best judgment on it. But ultimately the decision for how they want to address the consumer is up to them.”

Shender looks at local marketing through two lenses — creative and media. In other words, what form the advertisement takes, and through which medium it is delivered. When the recession hit, everyone at Hollywood Tans had to place a newfound emphasis on creativity and discovering new ways to utilize various media outlets.

“In our old model, owners were required to contribute a certain percentage of their revenue toward an advertising fund,” Shender says. “Those funds were used to advertise in our various markets, and that worked particularly well in areas like Philadelphia, where we are highly penetrated. Philadelphia is our densest urban market in terms of coverage. But when the recession hit, the money dried up and the contributions began to sink. We were making more calls for collections, more owners were worried about paying their mortgages ahead of paying for advertising. So we had to rethink the whole strategy at that point.”

Utilize new media

Shender and his team came up with a plan that took advantage of new media. Hollywood Tans’ primary customer demographic is 18- to 32-year-olds — a majority are women, but with an increasing number of male customers. Younger customers are more apt to use social media platforms to interface with businesses.

Radio, TV and billboards weren’t completely kicked to the curb, but for franchises to survive, they needed the tools to connect with new customers in the target demographic.

“Our new customers don’t listen to the radio like I did when I was younger,” Shender says. “They don’t focus on billboards like I did, and they might not read the newspaper at all. So at a time when we were losing resources for advertising because our owners couldn’t contribute as much to our advertising fund, we found better and more focused ways to advertise online, targeted demographically and geographically.”

Needing to reach a younger customer base, Shender has helped spearhead social media initiatives, utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to allow individuals stores to connect with potential customers without any mediation from the corporate level.

“As an example, we have a graphic package every month or season, in order to promote salons and refresh what we are marketing to consumers,” Shender says. “There are icons that people can use on Facebook or Twitter, so that every month, whenever there is a change in our marketing campaign, we go online with locations that haven’t picked up on the new icon and connect with them. We don’t force them to change their icon, but we say ‘Have you seen this icon, we think it goes well with everything else we are doing, is this something you could think about?’ Most salon owners are happy to participate when it is in a constructive, partnership kind of way.”

The company’s online marketing efforts are styled in a way that attempts to relate to many different types of tanning customers. It’s something Shender says the rest of the industry can tend to ignore, in the name of selling out for celebrity endorsements.

“The ‘Jersey Shore’ TV show has really captured the attention of a lot of people in our marketplace, and many businesses in the market are using affiliations with ‘Jersey Shore’ stars to promote themselves,” he says. “We are going in another direction for a variety of reasons, one of which is recognizing that our customers tan for a variety of reasons, and might not identify with ‘Jersey Shore.’

“You need to embrace what you believe is a relatable and reliable method of reaching out to people. For us, we want to recognize that people don’t just tan to look hot for the weekend. Some people tan because it makes them feel better. Some tan because it’s a nice break in the week. People in sales might tan because they believe it gives them a competitive advantage. We love New Jersey, our home is in South Jersey, but you sometimes really need to question the mentality of the herd. We want to move beyond the stereotype of the fist-pumping ‘Jersey Shore’ guy, because we’re a lot more than that. If you try to identify too closely with one thing from a marketing standpoint, you sell yourself short.”

Shender has found that the Internet can be more forgiving than traditional media when it comes to marketing. Your business can alter or terminate media campaigns and online ads more readily than ads on TV, radio or billboards, which could involve a contract that lasts several months or longer.

“We have found that the newer forms of media are shorter term and come with less risk,” Shender says. “When it’s online, if you find something isn’t working the way you wanted it to, you can turn it off. It’s very easy to make changes on the run.”

Recognize your role

In Hollywood Tans’ new organizational setup, Shender sees himself as a promoter of his vision and a facilitator who can help everyone else in the organization realize the vision. In order to maintain every customer interface point as a laboratory, each experimenting with new ways to reach and maintain customers, you need to pay constant attention to what is happening on the front lines of your business, what is working and not working. The ideas that aren’t working might need an adjustment, or in some cases, might need to be altogether abandoned. The ideas that are working need the type of support and systemwide publicity that only upper management can provide.

“I have the bully pulpit as the CEO of the company, and I can see broadly what is occurring in the different markets, beyond what an individual salon owner could see,” Shender says. “With that kind of vantage point, you can be helpful in trying to move the entire organization toward what is working best for everybody. That is why we let go of our compliance-oriented culture to build more of a laboratory atmosphere.”

The people who interact directly with your customers have a great deal of power in your organizational structure. They might be on the bottom rungs of the organization, but they are the face of your company to outsiders. They build the relationships that drive sales. By putting more power in their hands, you deliver the message that you trust them, and over time, everyone in the company develops a more collaborative mindset.

“If people trust you, you trust them more, and it becomes a better overall environment,” Shender says. “For us, it is much less adversarial between the company and salon owners. It is much more open, and people are going in the same direction.”

How to reach: Hollywood Tans Group LLC, (856) 716-2150 or www.hollywoodtans.com

The Shender file

Company background: We have approximately 44 salons in the Philadelphia area and approximately 140 salons nationwide. So Philadelphia is a big part of our business. It is our hometown, so it is sort of the heart of our business. Most of our employees are in South Jersey; we have a distribution center in South Jersey, our accounting and finance teams are there, our internal sales teams are there. We have a very small office on the West Coast for marketing and administration.

Shender on setting his company apart: Our salons are generally based on a stand-up (tanning) model, which is a faster way for people to tan, which sets us apart. But it is not like walking into McDonald's, which is exactly the same no matter where you go. Here, there is a lot of opportunity for store owners to customize their situation to better address their competitive challenges, and operate the way they want to operate.

More from Shender on developing a marketing strategy: You have to understand if you are the market, because everything we look at, we look at through our own lens. One of the hardest things for me to realize is that I am not the target market. Just because I happen to watch a certain TV show or listen to a certain radio station, or read a certain paper, doesn't mean my consumers do. It's not that they might just watch a different TV show or read a different newspaper, they might not watch TV or read the papers at all.

I think particularly with the rapid changes in technology, we have to be very humble about what we know and maybe not so much rely on experts, but get good input from some solid vendors on how to reach the market you want to reach, and then just test the hypothesis to see if it is working or not. We can market so much more efficiently now, it is just stunning to me.

Published in Philadelphia
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

Each year in June, Ernst & Young celebrates entrepreneurial leaders across the country as part of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards. This year marks the 26th year in which Ernst & Young has recognized those leaders.

Over the years, we’ve learned that entrepreneurial leaders are a little different from the rest of us. They can take ideas and put them into action where others cannot, and along the way, they lead others into a better future. We call this “turning vision into reality” as that is exactly what entrepreneurs do.

In recent years, we have had a slower economy and we have seen the start of a recovery. However, during challenging economic times, entrepreneurial leaders step up to the challenge, as you will see with this year’s finalists. The companies represented at this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Gulf Coast Area Awards grew the number of people employed in excess of 30 percent and grew revenues in excess of 40 percent during the last two years combined. There can be no doubt that these entrepreneurial leaders, through their vision, will bring our country back to prosperity.

Ernst & Young has been recognizing these risk-taking visionaries for 26 years, and over that time, it has recognized more than 8,000 entrepreneurial men and women. The Entrepreneur Of The Year Award has grown to be recognized as the leading business award. While Ernst & Young is proud of this accomplishment, the credit goes to the thousands of entrepreneurial leaders who have been recognized over the years. The fact that the program has endured and grown for more than 26 years is a true testament to the entrepreneurial leaders themselves.

The program now celebrates entrepreneurial leaders in 26 U.S. regions each year. The regional award recipients then participate in the National Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in November in Palm Springs, Calif.

At that ceremony, 10 award recipients are selected and one is selected as the National

Entrepreneur Of The Year overall award recipient. The National Entrepreneur Of The Year overall award recipient will then participate in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year in Monte Carlo, along with award recipients from 50 other countries. This truly is the world’s business award.

The National Entrepreneur Of The Year Program is the culminating event for a five-day Strategic Growth Forum that had more than 1,500 participants last year. This is the only event of its kind that is focused on the CEOs of companies. The panelists and speakers are unparalleled and have included special guests such as George W. Bush, former president of the United States, and Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Air. This year will feature Frederick Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp., and Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods. The content of the program is focused on strategic growth strategies, from initial public offerings to expansion in high-growth markets.

We are honored to present the 26th Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards and to recognize the entrepreneurial leaders of the past, present and future that make this the greatest country in the world to do business. Turning vision into reality, which benefits all of us.

Todd Zuspan is a partner with Ernst & Young LLP ?and is the director of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area program.

Finalists & Award Recipient

Business Services

Joe Fowler, Stress Engineering Services Inc. (Award Recipient)

Antonio R. Grijalva, John W. Allen, G&A Partners (Finalist)

Richard Eichler, Hart Energy Publishing (Finalist)

Curtis Brown, Rimkus Consulting Group Inc. (Finalist)

Charles Schugart, U.S. Legal Support (Finalist)

Consumer Products & Services

Earl Hesterberg, Group 1 Automotive Inc. (Award Recipient)

Melvin Payne, Carriage Services Inc. (Finalist)

Donald Klein, Chesmar Homes Ltd. (Finalist)

Drake Mills, Community Trust Bank (Finalist)

Jerry Lasco, Lasco Enterprises LLC (Finalist)

Distribution & Manufacturing – Energy

Terry Looper, Texon LP (Award Recipient)

Thomas Amonett, Champion Technologies Inc. (Finalist)

Ray Rice Jr., RB Products Inc. (Finalist)

C. Jim Stewart IV, Surfire Industries USA LLC (Finalist)

Ron Farmer, US LED (Finalist)

Exploration & Production

Scott Smith, Vanguard Natural Resources (Award Recipient)

Matt McCarroll, Dynamic Offshore Resources (Finalist)

John D. Schiller Jr., Energy XXI Ltd. (Finalist)

Alan Smith, QR Energy LP (Finalist)

Health Care & Health Care Services

Richard Zuschlag, Acadian Ambulance Service (Award Recipient)

Dana Sellers, Encore Health Resources (Finalist)

TJ Farnsworth, SightLine Health LLC (Finalist)

Taseer Badar, ZT Wealth Inc./Altus Healthcare Management Services (Finalist)

Logistics & Industrial Services

June Ressler, Cenergy International Services LLC (Award Recipient)

John Magee, Crane Worldwide Logistics (Finalist)

Carolyn Doerle, Doerle Food Services LLC (Finalist)

Brian Fielkow, Jetco Delivery (Finalist)

Sandy Scott, Sprint Industrial Holdings LLC (Finalist)

Oil Field Services

Cindy Taylor, Oil States International Inc. (Award Recipient)

Darron Anderson, Express Energy Services LP (Finalist)

Chris Beckett, Pacific Drilling (Finalist)

Christopher DeClaire, Vantage Drilling Co. (Finalist)

Oil Field Technology

Richard Degner, Global Geophysical Services (Award Recipient)

Robert Stewart Sr., Lime Instruments (Finalist)

Peter Duncan, MicroSeismic Inc. (Finalist)

Allen Howard, NuTech Energy Alliance Ltd. (Finalist)

Transformational CEO

Bob Beauchamp, BMC Software Inc. (Award Recipient)

Technology

A. Jay Harrison, Mav6 LLC (Award Recipient)

James Taylor, Arun Pasrija, CHR Solutions Inc. (Finalist)

Rick Pleczko, Idera (Finalist)

Andres Reinder, PROS Holdings Inc. (Finalist)

Published in Houston