EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Northern California Awards

Since 1986, EY has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who have followed and achieved their dreams, changing the lives of countless others by building their businesses and giving back to their communities.

Their passion, vision and persistence stand as a testament to their dedication. Twenty-eight years ago, we founded the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Program to recognize these dynamic leaders and to build an influential community of innovative entrepreneurs.
Each June, we host celebrations in 25 U.S. cities to celebrate the men and women who are regional finalists and to toast their vision, tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit. Their energy and self-confidence have turned their dreams into reality. We applaud them all for taking the road less traveled to launch new companies, open new markets and fuel job growth.
Join us in celebrating their passion, innovation and unwavering commitment to win in the marketplace. Congratulations to all!

nca_eoy_d_ErnieCortesErnie Cortes
program director
Northern California
Ernst & Young LLP

 

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Central Midwest Awards

Recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious business award programs, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards celebrate gravity-defying innovators who build and run great companies. This June, we gather here and in 25 cities across the U.S. to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome the class of 2014 into our Hall of Fame.
Entrepreneurs change the world and make it a better place to work and live. We honor them for their fortitude and resilience, and we celebrate their ability to forge new markets, navigate uncharted territory and fuel economic growth.
Congratulations to this year’s finalists and winners for their unyielding pursuit of business excellence. We are honored to share their inspiring stories with you.

cm_eoy_RandyBusemanRandy Buseman
partner
Kansas City EY

 

 

cm_eoy_MikeHickenbothamMike Hickenbotham
partner
St. Louis EY

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Northeast Ohio Awards

Since 1986, EY has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who have followed and achieved their dreams. These leaders have changed the lives of countless others by building their businesses and giving back to their communities. Their passion, vision and persistence stand as a testament to their dedication.

Twenty-eight years ago, EY founded the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Program to recognize these dynamic leaders and to build an influential community of innovative entrepreneurs. Each June, we host celebrations in 25 U.S. cities to welcome the men and women who are regional finalists into our community and to toast their vision. Their energy and strategic vision have turned their dreams into reality. We applaud them all for taking the road less traveled to launch new companies, open new markets and fuel job growth.

Join us in celebrating their passion, innovation and unwavering commitment to win in the marketplace. Congratulations to all of our finalists!

 

neo_eoy_d_WhittButlerWhitt Butler

Partner
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
Northeast Ohio Program Director

Consumer and Retail Products & Services

neo_eoy_BradSacks

WINNER

Brad Sacks
CEO
More than Gourmet
www.morethangourmet.com

When he was a child, Brad Sacks would spend hours with his aunt learning how important it was to cook with quality ingredients. This made a lasting impression on the young boy, and he learned that taking an extra step to deliver a quality product was applicable at the kitchen table as well as in the workplace.

After completing college and obtaining a few years of business experience, Sacks was ready to start a business of his own — his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for gourmet cuisine soon aligned.

He visited kitchens across the country and found that the culinary marketplace had a significant void when it came to broths, stocks and demi-glazes. These were key components of any chef’s repertoire, yet they were some of the last ingredients they took pride in calling their own.

With the goals in mind of making a product that would cost less, require less shelf space, be safer for the consumer and provide a consistent, high quality flavor, Sacks launched More Than Gourmet in 1993. He put his determination and compassion to work as a leader and forged strong relationships with grocers and chefs throughout the world.

By dealing with some of the finest meat, poultry, fish and vegetable cultivators, MTG is developing cutting-edge products that have enabled it to be a leader in the food service, retail and industrial ingredient markets.

As CEO, Sacks believes one of his greatest strengths is his compassion. He believes it is important to look at a problem or issue from the other person’s perspective. With this insight and an open mind, Sacks has built a loyal workforce. Employees feel respected and part of a larger team. Sacks believes each employee should take a personal sense of pride in product quality and the company itself, allowing him or her to meet both personal and professional goals.

FINALISTS

neo_eoy_BradSacks

Grant Cleveland
CEO
DuneCraft, Inc.
www.dunecraft.com

DuneCraft, Inc., a manufacturer of themed terrariums and seed-to-sprout kits for all ages, owes much of its success to CEO Grant Cleveland’s creativity and persistence.

One of the first signs of his persistence as an entrepreneur was to pull himself up from bankruptcy after his Internet company failed during the dot-com crash.

With funding from a venture capitalist, he launched DuneCraft, Inc., which manufactured and distributed one product — Odd Pods.

Since Cleveland’s first product in 2001, more than 300 have been developed. Key to the success of its products is universal appeal and a relatively cheap price. As a result, DuneCraft’s potential market share and growth are limitless. Realizing the possibilities for expansion, Cleveland thinks outside the box to invent product lines that appeal to all ages.

Although the ultimate creative license for DuneCraft rests with him, he encourages and welcomes ideas from his staff.

Cleveland has developed a nurturing work environment focused on better communication. As part of the environment, he has integrated potted plants and fountains with fish into DuneCraft’s offices to create a calming environment conducive to creativity and effectiveness.

As a dedicated hardworking individual who expects his employees to echo his work habits, he nevertheless strongly supports a positive work/life balance. Both the office and warehouse workers are inspired by Cleveland’s dreams for DuneCraft and respect him for his vision.

Cleveland is a strong supporter in philanthropic endeavors. Each year, he donates a portion of DuneCraft’s profit and his personal income to charities.

In the past year, these include contributions to the Cleveland Foodbank, Cuyahoga Community College and Habitat for Humanity. In addition, the company donated packages of its products to the Kids Wish Network.

neo_eoy_BradSacks

David Hastings
CEO
Hastings Water Works
www.hastingswaterworks.com

In 2012, David Hastings realized that the company he had founded 20 years earlier had reached a crossroads. Hastings Water Works, a pool service, maintenance, management and lifeguard service provider, needed a new direction. There was so much growth that the company couldn’t support operations at the high standards it offered.

Founded in 1992, Hastings developed a dedicated workforce focused on providing pool cleaning, maintenance services and supplies to high net-worth individuals. Over the next several years, the company grew in terms of employees and sales as Hastings expanded to include lifeguard services.

To overcome the crossroads impasse, Hastings created new positions to help usher in the next level of growth through innovation and expansion into eight to 10 new markets by 2019. Since 2012, he has added 14 new positions.

One position was a COO, and in the months since the COO’s arrival last year, Hastings has loosened his reins and empowered employees to embrace their roles and responsibilities. This will help position Hastings Water Works for its impending expansion.

Hastings believes he himself is a “man filled with optimism but grounded in reality” and hopes that by serving as a constant inspiration to his workforce, he can motivate employees to meet their personal and professional goals.

In a market saturated with small, often unaccountable operations, Hastings tries to separate himself from others by offering a service with a high price-point and even higher quality and customer service.

Hastings says 60 percent of his new business comes through word-of-mouth referrals and 90 percent of the company’s annual revenue comes from repeat customers.

He routinely praises employees for the thorough service they provide and the pride they take in their work. Customers show appreciation for the job well-done by acting as “advertisements” for the company.

neo_eoy_BradSacks

neo_eoy_BradSacks

Jason Berry
COO
Michael Caspar
CEO
Weston Products

www.westonsupply.com

Michael Caspar had sold out his interest in his Internet startup Golf.com and was looking to buy a company he could turn around. Joining forces with his brother-in-law Jason Berry, the pair decided on Weston Products — a company with little vision or direction and an even gloomier future.

The company, which had experienced losses in the two years before Casper and Berry’s takeover in 2009, specialized in selling private label meat grinders and vacuum sealers to outdoor retailers such as Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop. Caspar and Berry felt passionate about the product and moved quickly to take Weston from the brink of bankruptcy.

Caspar, CEO, and Berry, COO, mended the relationships with some of the company’s most important clients by rebuilding trust. They also changed the design of the Weston-branded products to differentiate them from the models sold to their private label customers.

While company morale had been at a low due to micromanagement, Caspar and Berry implemented a cultural shift by empowering employees to make decisions, speak their minds and voice new ideas. The changes paid off in immediate dividends. Weston Products turned a sizeable profit in the first year and has continued to grow ever since.

The pair launched a profit-sharing plan in 2011 to demonstrate to employees how valuable they were to the company. The program is for key individuals with the goal to increase company loyalty and reward senior level management for its role in current and future company growth.

Caspar and Berry know that by establishing a relationship and catering to customers’ needs and want, they can improve business relationships and enhance the chances of the clients showcasing Weston Products on their shelves. Just this year, Cabela’s, which had previously carried only Weston’s private label products, agreed to sell more than 15 Weston-branded items.

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How top global entrepreneurs turn vision into reality

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year conference in Monte Carlo. I’m back to report that entrepreneurship is alive and thriving around the globe!

It was a whirlwind of a trip, packed with networking, thought-provoking panel discussions and personal interviews. We heard from a remarkable panel of speakers including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize recipient; Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; John Cleese, award-winning actor, author, humorist and Monty Python legend; and many more.

I also had the opportunity to sit down with some of the world’s most accomplished entrepreneurs. These business leaders come from more than 60 countries that combined represent a staggering 94 percent of the global economy.

In this issue and in the months to come, you’ll learn what the world’s greatest entrepreneurs have to say about leadership, innovation, overcoming challenges, bringing their visions to life and much, much more. You’ll also hear from the leadership at EY as to the importance of celebrating entrepreneurship.

Transforming vision into reality

“Be careful about making assumptions. Those assumptions can lead you down a pretty dangerous path. It is OK to make assumptions and have confidence but you had better do your due diligence as well. An assumption is having those critical for the business make sure it is happening. I am very trusting of people and in the past have had some unfortunate instances where I did make assumptions about something and they were completely the wrong assumptions.”

Dr. Alan Ulsifer, CEO, president and chair of FYidoctors

 

Americas Director for the Entrepreneur of the Year Program, EY

Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur of the Year Program and Venture Capital Advisory Group, EY

“Growth obviously continues to be a challenge. The markets demand growth if you are a publicly traded company, and growth is a metric of how the business is doing. If you want to continue to attract the best people, attract the right sources of capital to your business, you have to demonstrate that things are going well and growth is one measure that people look to. I think that if you are a business in an established market, growth can be a challenge because those markets by and large are growing more slowly. So in order to get more rapid growth, many companies are looking at emerging markets and trying to figure out what their strategy should be for emerging markets, those that have double-digit growth potential.”

Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year and Venture Capital Advisory Group EY

 

“One of the toughest things for me was that people have a certain image of my country, Colombia. They don’t trust a company there to have good quality and do good work, but I am very proud to offer those qualities from Colombia. It is not easy but it is something that you can accomplish. I have been down a lot of times, but the good thing I have noticed is that every time something like that happened, I have been able to obtain positive things out of it. I have been broke multiple times, but from being broke I have been able to learn from it and rebuild.

nat_eoy_MarioHernandez

Mario Hernandez, founder and president, Mario Hernandez

Mario Hernandez, founder and president, Mario Hernandez

 

Jim Turley leaves his post as Global Chairman and CEO for EY with deep admiration for the entrepreneurs who continue to use their vision and spirit of innovation to change the world.

“They have got this wonderful ability to think outside themselves, to look at the world outside these windows and see the needs that exist out there,” says Turley, who officially retired on July 1.

“Then they’ve got a vision to create a product or service or an idea to meet the need they have seen. They have got the courage to risk everything and they are as persistent as can be. Most of them fail the first time out. But they get up, clean themselves off and do it again.”

 

Jim Turley, former Global Chairman and CEO, EY

Jim Turley, former Global Chairman and CEO, EY

“Work carefully with a few people who get a twinkle in their eye. If you talk about your idea, some people will respond with excitement because they get it, but not everybody. Maybe you talk to 300 people and three people will get it. Work with those three people. The web took off because a few people all over the world got it. You get the support from a few people who get it and then it builds from there.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web

 

Corey Shapoff has a job that many would envy, booking well-known musical acts such as Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson for live concerts and private corporate events. But he doesn’t take much time to stop and think about all the famous people on his call list.

“I’m a grinder,” says Shapoff, president and founder of SME Entertainment Group. “I’m the kind of guy who is always looking to what’s next. You’re only as good to me as your last deal.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web

It’s that instinctual drive to always try to do it better that is embedded in the true entrepreneur and allows the next vision to become a reality.

“It’s hard for me to turn it off and say, ‘That’s great,’” Shapoff says. “I’m always thinking about tomorrow. You just can’t take things for granted in our business.”

 

“The skill sets of an entrepreneur involve understanding how to create business. So if you’re going to give back, why not work with kids who need it the most and actually teach them and help them to be entrepreneurs. That’s what is going to grow our economy and create stability where otherwise we’re going to have a lot of social unrest.”

Amy Rosen, president and CEO, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

 

Lorenzo Barrera Segovia, founder and CEO, Banco Base

Lorenzo Barrera Segovia, founder and CEO, Banco Base

“When you’re an entrepreneur you feel like you have never met a deal that you didn’t like. You only have limited resources and limited time to be successful. You have to stay disciplined and focused and being able to say what we are not is every bit as important as being able to say what we are.”

Jim Davis, president, Chevron Energy Solutions

 

“It’s important that you have teamwork and all your top players are well motivated with passion, principles and values. We make sure that people know where we are going and what our main objective is for that year. We promote teamwork inside and outside the company. Our directors have to make sure they are sharing our company values and principles with each of their team members.”

Lorenzo Barrera Segovia, founder and CEO, Banco Base

 

Martin Migoya, CEO, Globant

Martin Migoya, CEO, Globant

“For entrepreneurs you get a great idea, you start your business and then you have to keep focused. Keep executing that idea if that idea is big enough. Never fall into the temptation of getting out of your business or change it unless it’s strategic. Secondly, try to get financing as late as you can. Never get financing as soon as you can. Thirdly, create a great team and culture, because that’s what will prevail and create value for shareholders and your community. That’s how you scale your business. The last one is to dream big.”

Martin Migoya, CEO, Globant

 

“It was nothing but a gut feeling. The only thing I knew was there was a big opportunity in yogurt. I grew up with yogurt. Being from Turkey yogurt was a big part of our diet. I wasn’t sure if I could do it – break through in the world of yogurt in retail.

Hamdi Ulukaya, founder, president and CEO, Chobani Inc.

Hamdi Ulukaya, founder, president and CEO, Chobani Inc.

The category was owned by two major companies; Dannon and Yopliat owned about 70 percent of the market, and they had been there for years. As a startup you go to the specialty stores first. That’s how you start and you grow and once you reach a certain level then you go to the big retailers.

I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to go to the big retailers and be in the regular dairy aisle. That was a crazy idea and nobody thought that would go, but at least we tried. When we tried, we convinced one retailer in New York, ShopRite. The result from that was we were able to expand to a couple of other retailers. After the second or third customer that we had success with for our yogurt, I knew it wasn’t going to be about selling, it was about making enough.”

Hamdi Ulukaya, founder, president and CEO, Chobani Inc.

Honoring the best of the best in Northeast Ohio

Whitt Butler, program director and advisory partner, Ernst & Young

Whitt Butler, program director and advisory partner, Ernst & Young

For 27 years, Ernst & Young has championed the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing excellence in their businesses, teams and communities.

Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize the passion of entrepreneurs and to build an influential and innovative community of peers. We received more than 1,680 national entries for this year’s program, from the country’s most deserving entrepreneurs. Their triumphs stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries and leaders.

Entrepreneurs change the world and make it a better place to work and live. We honor them for their fortitude and resilience, and we celebrate their ability to forge new markets, navigate uncharted territory and fuel economic growth.

We gather here in Northeast Ohio and in 24 other cities across the U.S. to honor all of the finalists and welcome the new class of entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame.

Congratulations to all of the 2013 Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and winners. We applaud them all for their unyielding pursuit of business excellence and we are honored to share their inspiring stories with you.

 

Whitt Butler, advisory partner, Ernst & Young;  program director, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Northeast Ohio.

 

Here are the 2013 Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur of the Year winners and finalists:

Distribution and Manufacturing

Winner – Gary M. Schuster, president and CEO, OMCO

Finalist – Scott T. Becker, president and CEO, Chromaflo Technologies Corp.

Finalist – Jeffery L. Rand, owner and president, HB Chemical Corporation

Finalist – James R. Keene, president and owner, Keene Building Products

Finalist – Michael K. Baach, CEO, The Philpott Rubber Company

 

Education and Non-profit

Winner – Carol L. Klimas, president, Lake Ridge Academy

Finalist – William Scott Duennes, executive director, Cornucopia, Inc.

 

Financial Services

Winner – Jeremy E. Sopko, CEO, Nations Lending Corporation

Finalist – Brendan Anderson and Jeffery Kadlic, co-founders and co-managing partners, Evolution Capital Partners, LLC

Finalist – Jeffery Concepcion, founder and CEO, Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd.

Finalist – Ralph M. Della Ratta, managing director, Western Reserve Partners, LLC

 

Health Care and Pharmaceutical Services

Winner – Drew C. Forhan, founder and CEO, ForTec Medical

Finalist – Dale M. Wollschleger, president, ExactCare Pharmacy

 

Professional Services

Winner – Joel Adelman, founder and CEO, The Advance Group of Companies

Finalist – Scot Lowry, president and CEO, Fathom

Finalist – Alan Jaffa, CEO, Safeguard Properties Management, LLC

 

Public Company

Winner – Michael F. Hilton, president and CEO, Nordson Corporation

Finalist – Walter M. Rosebrough – president and CEO, STERIS Corporation

 

Retail and Consumer Products

Winner – Jimmy Zeilinger, founder and president, Brand Castle, LLC

Finalist – James D. Braeunig, president and CEO, Ball, Bounce & Sport, Inc.

Finalist – Kimberly Martin and Sarah Forrer, co-owners, Main Street Cupcakes

 

Technology

Winner – Kris Snyder, CEO, Vox Mobile, Inc.

Finalist – Yuval Brisker, co-founder, president and CEO, TOA Technologies

Finalist – David Levine, president, Wireless Environment, LLC

 

Family Business Award

Winner – Marc Brenner, president and CEO, Ohio Technical College

Finalist – Marty Kanan, president and CEO, King Nut Companies

Finalist – Scott J. Balogh, president and CEO, and Steven Balogh, vice president, Mar-Bal, Inc.

 

Leading the way — the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

Todd Zuspan, partner and director of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area program, Ernst & Young LLP

Todd Zuspan, partner and director of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area program, Ernst & Young LLP

Each year in June, Ernst & Young celebrates entrepreneurial leaders in 25 regions across the country as part of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards. This marks the 27th year in which Ernst & Young has recognized those leaders.

For 2013, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area program is called “Leading the Way.” There is no other place in the country where entrepreneurial innovation and leadership no matter the entrepreneur’s background is accepted and supported. We have continually seen significant innovative strides throughout a variety of industries in the Gulf Coast area, most notably in the energy, technology and the medical industries. It is the culture of the Gulf Coast that the individual or group of individuals working together can accomplish great things when they take the initiative in their own hands.

That culture was the foundation of the Gulf Coast in the early years and that culture remains today. This is why we believe the Gulf Coast led the country during the recent down years and today in population and job growth. The companies represented at this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area awards grew the number of people employed by 20 percent and grew revenues by 16 percent over the last year. There can be no doubt these entrepreneurial leaders, through their leadership, will continue to strengthen our country’s economy. That is why we believe the Gulf Coast is once again “Leading the Way”!

Ernst & Young has been recognizing these risk-taking visionaries for 27 years and, over that time, has recognized more than 10,000 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 27 years is a true testament to the entrepreneurial leaders themselves.

The program celebrates entrepreneurial leaders in 25 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 four-day Strategic Growth Forum that had about 2,000 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 in the past have included special guests such as George W. Bush, former President of the United States; Frederick Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp.; and Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin. This year will feature Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric Co.; Bernard Tyson, incoming chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente; and Jeffrey Sprecher, founder, chairman and CEO, Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.

We are honored to present the 27th Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards-Gulf Coast and to recognize the entrepreneurial leaders of the past, present and future in the Gulf Coast that are “Leading the Way” to keep this the greatest country in the world to do business.

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

Family Business Award of Excellence

Award recipient
Kenneth L. Robison,
Crest Industries

Construction & Industrial Services

Award recipient
Stephen V. Pate
Strike, LLC

Finalist
James Joseph Frischhertz
Frischhertz Electric Co., Inc.

Finalist
Troy Collins
Nathan Granger
Quality Companies USA, LLC

Finalist
Jeffrey Gerald Davis
The Brock Group

Consumer Products

Award recipient
Donald P. Klein
Chesmar Homes, Ltd.

Finalist
Basim Shami
Farouk Systems

Finalist
Stacey Gillman Wimbish
The Gillman Companies

Finalist
Gary Kiedaisch
Igloo Products Corp.

Finalist
Jerry Lasco
Lasco Enterprises

Distribution & Manufacturing

Award recipient
Walter Emanuel Blessey Jr.
Blessey Marine Services

Finalist
Arthur Moore
American Alloy Steel, Inc.

Finalist
Amit Bhandari
Biourja Group

Finalist
John L. Magee
Crane Worldwide Logistics

Finalist
Mark C. Arnold
GSE Environmental, LLC

Finalist
Fred Koetting
Schulte Building Systems

Transformational

Award recipient
David D. Dunlap
Superior Energy Services, Inc.

Energy Services

Award recipient
Larry O’Donnell
Rockwater Energy Solutions

Finalist
Darron Anderson
Express Energy Services

Finalist
John T. Rynd
Hercules Offshore, Inc.

Finalist
Christian J. Beckett
Pacific Drilling

Exploration & Production

Award recipient
Mark E. Ellis
LINN Energy, LLC

Finalist
Michael Minarovic
Arena Energy, LP

Finalist
John D. Schiller Jr.
Energy XXI

Finalist
David H. Welch
Stone Energy Corp.

Health Care

Award recipient
Dana Sellers
Encore Health Resources

Finalist
Taseer A. Badar
Altus Healthcare Management Services

Finalist
Andrew C. Knizley
Houston Orthopedic & Spine Hospital

Finalist
T. J. Farnsworth
SightLine Health

Midstream Services

Award recipient
R. Bruce Northcutt
Copano Energy, LLC

Finalist
Brad Childers
Exterran Holdings, Inc.

Finalist
Gregory L. Ebel
Spectra Energy Corp.

Services

Award recipient
Drake Mills
Community Trust Bank

Finalist
Bryan Leibman
Frosch International Travel, Inc.

Finalist
Michael L. Soper
Legacy Funeral Group

Finalist
Jose S. Suquet
Pan-American Life Insurance Group

Technology

Award recipient
Peter M. Duncan
MicroSeismic, Inc.

Finalist
Joel Bomgar
Bomgar

Finalist
Jonathan Brett Klein
Luis Luque
Cimation

 

Judges

Gregory D. Brenneman
Shelaghmichael Brown
Doug J. Erwin
Joe R. Fowler
Scott W. Smith
Cindy B. Taylor
Richard E. Zuschlag

 

 

How Gary Jaffe seeks to make GL Group the best place to work in America

Gary Jaffe, CEO, GL Group, Inc.

Gary Jaffe, CEO, GL Group, Inc.

STL Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Finalist

 

Gary Jaffe

CEO

GL Group, Inc.

 

With 22 years in his family’s book selling and distribution business, CEO Gary Jaffe has helped GL Group, Inc. remain profitable when others are exiting the market. He also has continued the many company programs that give employees a better quality of life.

Formerly Booksource, Inc., GL Group has been family-owned since its founding in 1974. Jaffe took over as CEO two years ago, after slowly working his way up through the company.

Jaffe’s leadership style empowers the more than 160 employees to set high, but attainable expectations and encourages them to see the company as their own. This includes allowing employees daily access to company financial information, bonus trends, etc., as well as implementing departmental daily goals, or scorecards, that are tied to bonuses and metrics.

The company’s vision is to be the “best place to work in America.”

Employee benefits include allowing new mothers to bring their babies to work until 6 months old or partially reimbursing day care payments for the first year. GL Group also holds many social activities and has in-office massages and yoga classes. The company provides tuition reimbursement, extensive job training such as a four-week on-boarding course and is developing stock options for long-term employees.

Jaffe hosts a monthly lunch for 10 employees to discuss the company and answer questions, while sending out annual employee surveys to seek ideas for improvement.

GL Group has recently focused on educational channels to deliver high-quality goods and services to its customers. Under Jaffe’s leadership, from 2010 to 2012, sales have grown approximately 30 percent, even with the challenges from the rise of technology and e-books.

The company is consolidating locations to create efficiencies and starting to expand internationally. GL Group’s people philosophy has continued with the move through discussions of mileage reimbursement and the idea of including laundry facilities in the new headquarters.

How to reach: GL Group, Inc., www.goodluckgroup.com

How Brad Dannegger found his niche in ARCO/Murray National Construction Company

Brad-Dannegger-ARCO2

Services

FINALIST

At age 30, Bradley J. Dannegger approached the owners of ARCO/Murray National Construction Company and asked to open a Chicago office of the firm. He had already worked at the St. Louis and Florida offices, and the owners recognized that he was a rising star, so they support his plan.

The result was a substantial decrease in pay for Dannegger as well as an increase in risk.  But his hard work, perseverance and his top talent has grown the Chicago office into one of the most successful in the ARCO/Murray family.

He continued to grow ARCO through the recent recession by focusing on complicated, niche construction projects with Fortune 2000 companies – for example, clean-rooms and laundry services for hospitals and hotels. The market is large, the construction is complicated, and few competitors are in the market. Staying away from construction that only requires “four walls and a roof” has helped differentiate his company from the competition and drive repeat business.

Dannegger sets high expectations for himself and his team, but he leads with an inclusive style — realizing that less experienced employees need coaching and encouragement. He faced challenges in the first couple of years trying to find the right talent to build his team. Starting in 2005, he focused on hiring the brightest students from the best engineering schools. When interviewing, he began focusing more on a candidate’s potential rather than experience. These new hires came onboard with no bad working habits and an eagerness to learn every aspect of the construction business.

In client relationships, Dannegger has always strived to form a strong partnership. As a design/build firm, ARCO is present at the earliest stages of the project until the building is complete.

Subcontractors and vendor relationships are just as important. Each year, ARCO honors its top 10 vendors in an annual ceremony to celebrate the year and their hard work.

How to reach: ARCO/Murray National Construction Company, www.arcomurray.com

How Kris Snyder provides mobility services to companies at Vox Mobile

Kris Snyder, CEO, Vox Mobile

Kris Snyder, CEO, Vox Mobile

NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Technology

Winner

 

Kris Snyder

CEO

Vox Mobile

 

Kris Snyder is a driving force in the high growth, billion-dollar managed mobility services market. Having founded Vox Mobile as an entrepreneur inside a $200 million systems integrator and ultimately spinning it into its own venture, Snyder demonstrated his thought leadership and insight into the growth trends in enterprise mobility.

Starting Vox Mobile in 2006, Snyder recognized the potential to create value through mobility services before anyone else. At that time, organizations were becoming increasingly reliant upon mobile devices.

While plenty of competitors and organizations had invested in technology to implement and deploy personal computers, he recognized that there would soon be a need to provide these same services for mobile equipment, which has increased since consumer products like the iPhone and iPad were released.

Enterprises are now facing significant challenges ensuring issues like mobile enterprise security, employer software configuration and customer support do not decrease the productivity of their respective organizations worldwide. These issues are coming to a head as organizations contemplate how to allow employees to “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD, rather than issuing company devices.

Snyder’s customers call upon Vox Mobile to design, procure, deploy, support, manage and analyze their mobile devices. Snyder emphasizes and provides a culture to enable and empower his employees to provide satisfactory solutions to its callers every time to reduce customers’ frustrations and potential down time.

This requires a commitment to hiring top talent who are inventive, knowledgeable and believe in his vision. During 2012, he nearly doubled the number of employees, and Snyder continues to promote the innovation of software that allows for incremental scalability.

Snyder’s vision and ability to innovate in this niche industry has enabled the growth of Vox and mobile technology as a whole. This has created more than 40 percent sales growth during the last two years, with an additional 40 percent growth being forecast in 2013.

How to reach: Vox Mobile, www.voxmobile.com

Entrepreneurs change the world

Todd E. Novak, Midwest Program Director, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Todd E. Novak, Midwest Program Director, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious business award programs, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards celebrate gravity-defying innovators who build and run great companies. This June, we gather here and in 24 other cities across the U.S. to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome the award recipients from the class of 2013 into our Hall of Fame.

Entrepreneurs change the world and make it a better place to work and live. We honor them for their fortitude and resilience, and we celebrate their ability to forge new markets, navigate uncharted territory and fuel economic growth.

Congratulations to this year’s finalists and winners for their unyielding pursuit of business excellence. We are honored to share their inspiring stories with you.

Todd E. Novak

Midwest program director

 

Consumer Products and Services

Winner

Chris Clawson, Life Fitness

Finalists

Bob Keller, Escalade Inc.

Howard Stillman, Level 6 Corp.

Tom Mazzetta, The Mazzetta Co. LLC

Emerging Entrepreneur

Winner

Al Goldstein, Pangea Properties

Finalists

John Barnicle, Doug Lee, Richard Knight, Scott Kell, Jim Brewer and Tony Hiller – Peerless Network Inc.

Matt Matros, Protein Bar

Brian Spaly, Trunk Club

Family Business Award of Excellence

Winner

Jim Sartori and Jeff Schwager, Sartori Co.

Financial Services

Winner

Hugh McKean Jones IV, BankersAccuity

Finalists

Judson Bergman, Envestnet

Theodore L. Koenig, Monroe Capital LLC

Health Care

Winner

Dr. Stuart Bernsen, Chiro One Wellness Centers

Finalists

J.P. Fingado, API Healthcare

Michael S. Butler, Life Spine, Inc.

Jason Beans, Rising Medical Solutions

T. Scott Law, Zotec Partners

Industrial Distribution

Winner

Paul Jones, A.O. Smith Corporation

Finalists

Warren Young, Acme Industries Inc.

Todd Berger, Transportation Solutions Enterprises

Peter C. Anthony, UGN Inc.

Private Equity/Venture Capital Backed

Winner

Brandon Cruz and Clint Jones, GoHealth

Finalists

Daphne Preuss, Chromatin Inc.

Scott Harris, Revolution Dancewear

Zachary Boca and Daniel Ushman, SingleHop

Services

Winner

Michael Golden and Thaddeus Wong, @properties

Finalists

Bradley J. Dannegger, ARCO/Murray National Construction Company

Michael Romano, Associated

Heather Sanderson, Overture, LLC

Michael Miles, SeatonCorp

Technology

Winner

Andrew H. Sieja, kCura

Finalists

Daniel Adamany, AHEAD LLC

Chris Gladwin, Cleversafe, Inc.

Stopher Bartol, Legacy.com, Inc.

 

Judges

Cheryl Beebe

Douglas Grissom

Jay Radtke

Chris Dalton

Cynthia LaConte

James Reynolds, Jr.

Michael Gauthier

Laura Pearl

Jai Shekhawat