Five Minnesotans Win Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award

The leaders of Coborn's, Chamilia, and Minnesota Wire were among this year's Entrepreneur of the Year award winners for the Upper Midwest.

Five Minnesotans have won Ernst & Young's prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Upper Midwest.

The five-three of whom were nominated jointly-join five other entrepreneurs from Wisconsin and the Dakotas who were honored Wednesday at a gala in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Minnesota winners-along with the categories in which they won, their company names and headquarters, and a brief description of what they do-are:

  • Retail: Chris Coborn-Coborn's Incorporated (Saint Cloud, Minnesota). One of the 25-largest employers in Minnesota, the company owns and operates 41 Coborn's, Cash Wise Foods, and Save-A-Lot grocery stores in the Upper Midwest, most along the I-94 corridor between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. It also operates liquor stores near most of its grocery stores, pharmacies, video stores, and about 35 Little Duke's convenience store/gas stations.
  • Emerging: Jeff Julkowski, Killian Rieder, and Michael Flaherty-Chamilia, LLC (Minneapolis, Minnesota). The company designs beads-made with materials that include 14-karat gold, sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, and Italian murano glass-that women can use to create personalized jewelry. “I want it to be a connection piece,” Rieder says of her jewelry, which is sold at close to 5,000 retail locations across the world.
  • Technology: Paul Wagner-Minnesota Wire (St. Paul, Minnesota). The company develops and custom manufactures wires and electrical systems for multiple industries, including the medical field, for use in patient-monitoring devices, drug-delivery systems, and many other applications. Wagner is also credited for introducing Minnesota Wire to the defense industry, for which it has developed products ranging from wires for soldier headset communication systems to cables for military vehicles and Air Force One.

The other Upper Midwest winners, along with the categories in which they won and their company names and headquarters, are:

  • Hospitality: Joseph Bartolotta-Bartolotta Restaurants (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin)
  • Consumer Products: Deborah Carey-New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wisconsin)
  • Manufacturing: James Joel Quadracci-Quad/Graphics (Sussex, Wisconsin)
  • Master Entrepreneur: Timothy Sullivan-Bucyrus International, Inc. (Oak Creek, Wisconsin)
  • Lifetime Achievement: Henry Knueppel-Regal Beloit Corporation (Beloit, Wisconsin)

This year's group of winners was selected by an independent judging panel consisting of previous winners, CEOs, private capital investors, and other regional business leaders.

The Upper Midwest winners will now compete for the national Entrepreneur of the Year awards, which will be announced at a November gala in Palm Springs, California, that will be hosted by Jay Leno.

Ernst & Young provides assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. Its annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards program, now in its 25th year, honors those who are building and leading successful, growing, and dynamic businesses. The award aims to encourage entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and to recognize the contributions of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership, and achievement.