Minnesota and Dakotas Entrepreneurs Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2004 Award Winners

MINNEAPOLIS--()--June 10, 2004--What's your sleep number? You might not have had the opportunity to know if it hadn't been for the vision of Select Comfort CEO and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner Bill McLaughlin.

When McLaughlin took the reins as CEO of Select Comfort in 2000, he was the fourth CEO in 12 months hired to turn around the company's eroding sales growth and income losses. Where others had failed, McLaughlin succeeded - restructuring operations, trimming jobs, and consolidating stores and manufacturing facilities. He reduced fixed costs by more than $25 million his first year and convinced investors, including his own family, to give the fledging company $11 million.

After revitalizing the company's operations, McLaughlin went on to direct the company's rebranding effort and its development of the Sleep Number technology. Since the launch of the "Sleep Number Bed," Select Comfort's sales have skyrocketed.

McLaughlin's story of vision, passion, leadership, and achievement was one of twenty stories shared as professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP announced the Minnesota and Dakotas winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2004 Award. The winners, who were announced last evening at an awards banquet, were selected by an independent panel of judges comprised of local community and business leaders.

The Minnesota and Dakotas winners of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year are:

-- Life Sciences - Robert Dutcher, CEO, Possis Medical, Inc.

-- Manufacturing - Alan Klapmeir, CEO and Dale Klapmeier, Vice President, Cirrus Design

-- Master - Lois Anderson, President and David Anderson, Vice President, Bay & Bay Transfer Co., Inc.

-- Realizing Business Potential - Gary Halleen, President and CEO, API Outsourcing, Inc.

-- Retail - Greg Maanum, COO and Randy Zanatta, President and CEO, Golf Galaxy

-- Socially Responsible - Candyce Ihnot and Tom Ihnot, co-founders, Read Naturally, Inc.

-- Technology - Greg Frankenfield, CEO and Paul Fridman, President and Chief Business Development Officer, Magenic Technologies, Inc.

-- Turnaround - Bill McLaughlin, CEO, Select Comfort

"Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and determination necessary to achieve success," said Bill Miller, leader of Ernst & Young's Minneapolis Emerging & Growth Markets practice. "Ernst & Young is proud of its history recognizing and supporting these outstanding leaders and their companies."

The Minnesota and Dakotas award winners are now eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2004 national program. Winners in several national categories, as well as the overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., in November 2004. The overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner is then considered for the world event held in Monte Carlo.

About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) Awards Program

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program was created and is produced by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP. As the first award of its kind, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who are building and leading dynamic and growing businesses. The program honors entrepreneurs through regional, national, and global award programs in more than 100 cities and 35 countries.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to restoring the public's trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting. Its 103,000 people in more than 140 countries around the globe pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism to provide clients with solutions based on financial, transactional, and risk-management knowledge in Ernst & Young's core services of audit, tax, and transaction advisory services. Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at www.ey.com/perspectives. Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

About the Sponsors

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services, and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place, and on any device. Microsoft works to help ensure that small-business owners have the tools, technology, and support they need to reach their business potential in today's competitive marketplace. More information is available on the Web at www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information is available at www.kauffman.org.

The law firm of Faegre & Benson helps emerging companies meet the legal challenges of regional, national, and international growth. The firm has more than 460 lawyers serving clients from offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Twin Cities Business Monthly is Minnesota's leading and largest business magazine. For more than ten years, TCBM has provided editorial content that supports the development of successful entrepreneurial and corporate enterprises in Minnesota. Each area of the magazine gives readers the insights they need to make their companies thrive and entertains them with stories about trends and happenings.

Contacts

Ernst & Young, Minneapolis
Wendy Fox, 612-371-6703
wendy.fox@ey.com

Contacts

Ernst & Young, Minneapolis
Wendy Fox, 612-371-6703
wendy.fox@ey.com