Ernst & Young LLP Begins Its 2013 Search for Florida's Most Innovative Entrepreneurs

Nominations Are Open for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2013 Awards, Celebrating Innovative Business Leaders With Passion and Vision


TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 31, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ernst & Young LLP is calling for nominations for the 27th Annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Awards, recognized as one of the most prestigious business award programs in the country. The deadline for applications is March 8, 2013, with the Florida Awards ceremony scheduled for June 13, 2013 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

"Entrepreneurs continue to be a driving force in leading the economic recovery. Their ability to see around corners and find new, better ways of doing things makes them an engine of growth," said Greg Rosica, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida program partner. "The search is on for new award recipients to build on the momentum from our 27-year history celebrating entrepreneurship." 

Each year, Ernst & Young showcases successful entrepreneurs from more than 140 cities in 50 countries. In 2012, 14 entrepreneurs leading Florida companies were selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award recipients. These were:

Central Florida:

  • Services category - Harvey L. Massey, chairman and chief executive officer, Massey Services, Inc.,Orlando

South Florida:

  • Corporate Innovator category – Jordan Zimmerman, founder and chairman, Zimmerman Advertising, Fort Lauderdale
  • Distribution and manufacturing category – Janna Ronert, chief executive officer; and Dr. Marc Ronert, president and medical director, Image Skincare, Lantana
  • Emerging category – Jorge A. Plasencia, chairman and chief executive officer, Republica, Miami
  • Financial Services category – Albert C. Crawford, chairman and chief executive officer; Robert T. Castro, president and Eric R. Castro, chief operating officer, Bankers Healthcare Group, Inc. Southwest Ranches
  • Health Care category – Michael M. Earley, chairman and chief executive officer, Metropolitan Health Networks, Inc., Boca Raton
  • Technology category – John Duffy, founder and chief executive officer, 3Cinteractive, Boca Raton

West Central Florida:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award -- William D. Morean, chairman, and Timothy L. Main, chief executive officer, Jabil, St. Petersburg.
  • Real Estate and Construction category – Charles Puccini, president and chief executive officer, Bauer Foundation Corp., Odessa
  • Retail and Consumer Products category – Rhonda Shear, president, Shear Enterprises, LLC, St. Petersburg

Last year, more than 600 entrepreneurs from across the nation were selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award finalists from more than 1,700 nominations. Research compiled from these companies, which together employ nearly 700,000 workers, affirms that these innovative, expansion-oriented entrepreneurs continue to grow impressively, achieving the following between 2009 and 2011:

  • 30 percent job growth
  • 48 percent revenue growth

Award recipients are selected in a number of industry categories by a panel of independent judges, including previous award recipients, CEOs and private capital investors and other regional business leaders. Entrepreneurs may nominate themselves or be nominated by peers and other business leaders.

Some of the previous Florida award recipients include:

  • Central Florida: Harold Mills, ZeroChaos and Daniel J. Devine, Compass Knowledge Group
  • Northern Florida: Michael J. Ward, CSX Corporation and Charles C. Appleby, Advanced Disposal Services
  • Southeast Florida: Wayne Huizenga, Huizenga Holdings, Inc. (also recipient of the National and World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award) and Jose R. Mas, MasTec, Inc. (also a national award recipient)
  • Southwest Florida: Mindy Grossman, HSN and Tom James, Raymond James Financial (also a national award recipient)

Past national award recipients have included Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Arthur M. Blank of AMB Group, LLC (Home Depot, Atlanta Falcons), Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris Steak House, Maxine Clark of Build-a-Bear, Tom Adams of Rosetta Stone, Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, and 2012 winner Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June. All regional honorees are then invited to the national Entrepreneur Of The Year gala on Nov. 17, 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif. The gala is the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation's most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. For more information on the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, please visit

The overall national U.S. award recipient will go on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year title in Monaco in June 2014.

As part of Ernst & Young's commitment to advising, guiding and honoring entrepreneurs, the organization sponsors two additional programs designed to distinguish entrepreneurial success and achievement.

For the second year, Ernst & Young is recognizing family business entrepreneurs -- leaders of outstanding entrepreneurial families with a culture and tradition of successfully balancing business and family issues -- through the Family Business Award of Excellence. More information on this program may also be found at

In addition, beginning Jan. 28, 2013, Ernst & Young will open nominations for its 2013 Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, a national competition and leadership initiative that identifies and connects a select group of women entrepreneurs with the advisors, resources and insights they need to scale their businesses and become market leaders. For more information on the program, visit

Awards criteria

Entrepreneurs eligible for consideration include not only company founders, but also leaders of multi-generation family businesses and transformational public and private company CEOs. Additionally, the nominee's company must be at least three years old (two years old for Emerging category nominees). Self-nominations are encouraged, and there is no fee. The deadline for nominations is March 8, 2013.

For information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards please visit To nominate a candidate, please visit:


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  Florida platinum sponsors include Carlton Fields, Fifth Third Bank and Tribridge; silver sponsor RFB Communications Group and media sponsor Smart Business Network.

Contact information

For more information about the program, please contact Beverly Eha, Ernst & Young Florida program manager at or visit Information is also available at

About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year

Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.

About Ernst & Young's Strategic Growth Markets practice

Ernst & Young's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. Ernst & Young is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at, or follow news on Twitter at EY_Growth.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.  For more information, please visit


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