Entrepreneur of the Year Heartland Finalists Revealed, Minnesota Dominates Again

Entrepreneur of the Year Heartland Finalists Revealed, Minnesota Dominates Again

Fifteen of the 31 finalist businesses within the seven-state regional division are based in Minnesota.

Finalists for the Heartland division of the 32nd annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards were announced Wednesday. Leaders of 31 businesses are up for the 2018 honors, for their innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their work and communities, among other factors.

One of about 20 separately considered regional sects, the Heartland program looks at entrepreneurs from Minnesota, Greater Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

As has been the case in recent years, Minnesotans dominated the 2018 list of finalists. Those entrepreneurs representing Minnesota are:

  • Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen of Woodbury-based health and fitness club Anytime Fitness, LLC
  • Luke Shimp of the Minneapolis-based restaurant group Double Black Diamond, Inc
  • Robert White of Entellus Medical, a medical equipment manufacturer based in Plymouth
  • Chris Staley Jeremy Langevin and Sabin Ephrem, of the Saint Louis Park-based employment agency Horizontal Integration
  • Joel Theisen of the home healthcare service Lifesprk, based in Edina
  • Christine Lantinen of Maud Borup, Inc., a wholesale candy and gift store based in Minneapolis
  • Gary Cunningham of the Minneapolis-based business development organization Meda
  • John “Ozzie” Nelson, Jr. of the design firm NELSON, based in Minneapolis
  • Bruce Zeilinger of the Minneapolis-based medical supply store NXC Imaging
  • Pat Ryan of Ryan Companies, a real estate development firm based in Minneapolis
  • Dan Stoltz of Minneapolis-based SPIRE Credit Union
  • Angelina Lawton of Minneapolis-based sports marketing agency Sportsdigita
  • Emily Pritchard and Martha Krueger of The Social Lights, LLC, a social media marketing agency based in Minneapolis
  • Mark Jacobs of health and household products manufacturer The Watkins Company, based in Winona
  • Benjamin VandenWymelenberg and John Guenveur, of the Minneapolis-based Woodchuck USA

The out-of-state competition includes leaders from eight Missouri businesses, four Kansas businesses, two based in Iowa, and one each in North and South Dakota.

“Every year, we are impressed by the ingenuity, passion and undying optimism exuded by the entrepreneurs we meet and honor through this awards program. They don’t follow trends – they define them.” said Dominic Iannazzo, EY’s Heartland Program co-director.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the National Award. The winners of the national categories are announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, Florida in November – an event which serves as the culmination of the Strategic Growth Forum. The competition then progresses to EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year, announced June 2019. Overall, the program recognizes business leaders in more than 145 cities across more than 60 countries.

Winners of the Heartland division competition are determined by a panel of independent judges and will be announced at a gala at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis Thursday, June 14.