20 MN Biz Leaders Up for Entrepreneur of the Yr. Award

Ernst & Young, LLP, announced the competition’s finalists for the Upper Midwest region, 20 of whom are leaders of Minnesota-based companies.

Ernst & Young, LLP, on Tuesday announced 29 finalists for the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year awards in the Upper Midwest region—and 20 Minnesota business leaders are vying for this year’s award.
The annual awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who excel in the areas of innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their companies, among other factors. Business leaders from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota are included in the Upper Midwest competition.
The companies that the finalists lead collectively brought in more than $9.6 billion in revenue last year, according to Ernst & Young. Between 2010 and 2012, they increased employment by about 20 percent—together creating nearly 4,000 jobs during the past three years.
Of this year’s 29 finalists, here are the 20 leaders of Minnesota-based companies:

  • Brian Kueppers, founder and CEO of St. Paul-based Apex Information Technologies
  • David Kristal, co-chairman and CEO of St. Paul-based Augeo Affinity Marketing
  • Matthew Dornquast, founding partner and CEO of Minneapolis-based Code 42 Software
  • John Barrow, founder, president, and chairman of St. Louis Park-based Coolibar, Inc.
  • Michael LeJeune, president and CEO of Savage-based Fabcon
  • Douglas Milroy, director and CEO of Minnetonka-based G&K Services, Inc.
  • Bob Gardner, business strategy and development leader of Minneapolis-based Gardner Builders
  • Megan Tamte, co-founder and CEO of Edina-based Hot Mama
  • Thomas Salonek, founder and CEO of Eagan-based Intertech, Inc.
  • Managing Partner Christopher Pearson and Product Manager Richard Halmstad of Minneapolis-based JAMF Software, LLC
  • Kenny Nelson, owner of Perham-based KLN Family Brands
  • Tashitaa Tufaa, founder and owner of Fridley-based Metropolitan Transportation Network, Inc.
  • David Lenzmeier, CEO of Eden Prairie-based Milk Specialties Global
  • Brad Rixmann, chief manager of Burnsville-based Pawn America
  • Alan Bignall, CEO of Edina-based ReconRobotics, Inc.
  • Brenton Hayden, founder and CEO of Minnetonka-based Renters Warehouse
  • Craig Kruckeberg, CEO of Blooming Prairie-based Spray Control Systems, Inc.
  • Mike Derheim, CEO of Minneapolis-based The Nerdery
  • Thomas Auth, owner and CEO of St. Paul-based Vomela

To view the full list of finalists, click here.

A panel of judges will select this year’s regional winners, who will be named on June 13 at the Marriot City Center in Minneapolis. Regional award winners will then go on to compete at the national level. 

Twin Cities Business will have in-depth coverage of the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year award winners in its August issue. To read about last year’s winners, click here.