EY Unveils Finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
Finalists for the Heartland division of the 35th annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were revealed last week. An independent panel of judges evaluated the 36 leaders based on six criteria: entrepreneurial leadership, talent management, degree of difficulty, financial performance, societal impact, and originality.
“This year’s finalists are the next class in a long line of unstoppable visionaries,” Dominic Iannazzo, Entrepreneur Of The Year Heartland Region co-director, said in a press release. “They have been carefully selected by our independent panel of judges for their unwavering commitment to their companies, customers and communities in a year of unprecedented change.”
One of 20 regional divisions, the Heartland region consists of entrepreneurs based in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. One finalist hails from Iowa, 4 from Missouri, and 1 from each of the Dakotas. The remainder are from Minnesota.
The 29 entrepreneurs representing Minnesota are:
- Angie Conley of Eden Prairie-based Abilitech Medical, a medical device provider for those with neuromuscular conditions. Conley was a guest on TCB’s By All Means podcast in July 2020.
- Brian NeSmith of Eden Prairie-based cybersecurity company Arctic Wolf Networks, Inc., a formerly California-based company that was recognized on TCB’s Tech 20 list this year.
- Carlene Wilson of office furniture seller Atmosphere Commercial Interiors, based in Minneapolis.
- Janet Johanson of Little Canada-based BevSource and The Lab, a beverage developer for new and established drink creators.
- Tony Miller of Bind Benefits, Inc., an insurance company based in Minneapolis
- Cheri Beranek of Minneapolis-based fiber optics company Clearfield, and upcoming TCB Minnesota Business Hall of Fame inductee.
- Igor Epshteyn of Minneapolis-based software developer Coherent Solutions.
- Andrew Leone of delivery service DispatchIt, Inc., based in Bloomington.
- Jamie Candee of Edmentum, a Bloomington-based online learning program provider.
- Todd Wilkinson of Entrust Corp., a digital security software provider based in Shakopee.
- Mynul Khan of Minneapolis-based Field Nation, which connects businesses with IT specialists. Khan has appeared on TCB’s 100 People to Know list multiple times.
- Abir Sen and Marek Ciolko of Minneapolis-based health insurance marketplace Gravie, which recently raised $28M in Series D Financing.
- Ken Dalley of Maple Grove-based Guardian RFID, a tech company that aims to protect corrections officials by tracking inmates in the U.S.
- Joel Theisen of Lifesprk, a St. Louis Park-based senior care provider.
- Aaron Shilts of Minneapolis-based cybersecurity company NetSPI.
- Cliff Kaehler of St. Paul-based solar energy company Novel Energy Solutions.
- Lee Wallace of Minneapolis-based organic, fair trade Peace Coffee. She appeared as a guest on TCB’s By All Means podcast in November 2020.
- Stacia Nelson of strategic communications agency Pivot Strategies, based in Minneapolis.
- Nicole Atchison and Tyler Lorenzen of Minneapolis-based, plant-based food manufacturer PURIS, which raised another $25M last year.
- Jay Ward of Plymouth-based Quadion LLC/Minnesota Rubber & Plastics
- Brian and Kent Roers of Minnetonka-based real estate developer Roers Companies
- Sirish Samba of Sambatek, Inc., a Minneapolis-based civil engineering company
- Charlie Youakim of Minneapolis-based payment platform Sezzle, which is currently eyeing a U.S. IPO.
- Chad Hetherington of Minneapolis-based commerce marketing agency The Stable, which recently joined forces with its main Twin Cities rival.
- Tom Kennedy, PhD of TSI Incorporated, a Shoreview-based commercial and industrial equipment manufacturerv
- Michael Jordan of St. Paul-based athleisure brand UNRL
Award winners will be announced during a virtual celebration on July 27 and profiled in a forthcoming issue of TCB.