Entrepreneur of the Year National Winners Revealed

Howard Lutnick of BGC Partners took home the coveted prize as overall Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Upper Midwest was well represented by John Link of Jack Link's Beef Jerky.

Ernst & Young, LLP, on Sunday unveiled its list of the 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year award winners-marking the 24th year of the program that encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes innovative leaders.

Howard Lutnick, chairman and CEO of New York-based BGC Partners, Inc., received the prestigious overall Entrepreneur of the Year title. After two-thirds of his company's headquarters' workforce was killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Lutnick set out to rebuild Cantor Fitzgerald-the predecessor of BGC-into one of the world's leading financial services.

John “Jack” Link, CEO of Jack Link's Beef Jerky, was named the national winner in the retail and consumer category. Jack Link's is based in Minong, Wisconsin, and it operates an office in Minneapolis containing staff from the company's sales and marketing team. It also acquired a manufacturing plant in Mankato in August.

“Entrepreneurs are characterized by a willingness to disrupt traditional ways of seeing the world, a willingness to draw on new ways of thinking about familiar problems, and a willingness to fail,” Bryan Pearce, director of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards for the Americas, said in a statement. “Jack Link embodies this willingness and more. By constantly pushing the envelope, and responding to consumers' needs and changing behaviors, Link has grown Jack Link's Beef Jerky into a snack food powerhouse.”

M.A. “Mort” Mortenson, Jr., chairman of Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Company, was a national finalist in the real estate, hospitality, and construction category-and was the only other national finalist from the Upper Midwest. Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of New York-based Silverstein Properties, Inc., won the national award in that division.


The other national Entrepreneur of the Year winners, as well as the categories in which they were recognized, include:

  • Media, entertainment, and communications: Robert Friedman, co-chairman and CEO of Summit Entertainment, LLC
  • Distribution and manufacturing: Thad W. Simons, Jr., president and CEO of Novus Ineternational, Inc.
  • Emerging: Bob Moore, chairman and CEO of iGPS
  • Energy, chemicals, and mining: W. Keith Maxwell, CEO of Spark Energy Gas & Electric
  • Health sciences: Lawrence D. Stern, chairman and CEO of Talecris Biotherapeutics
  • Services: Mary A. Tolan, founder, president, and CEO of Accretive Health, Inc.
  • Technology: Lars BjÅ¡rk, CEO and director of QlikTech

Ernst & Young-which provides assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services-recognized the 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year winners on Saturday at a gala in Palm Springs, California.