Missouri-Kansas Entrepreneurs Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2004 Award Winners

ST. LOUIS, Mo.--()--June 22, 2004--It hasn't always been greener pastures for St. Louis-based Spectrum Brands. While the company today is recognized as North America's fastest growing provider of consumer products for lawn and garden care, it also has had to deal with a few thorns.

Spectrum has been a player in the lawn and garden market since 1969. However, its on-going viability was uncertain four years ago when Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measures forced the company to phase out 40 percent of its product line. Rather than succumb to the setback, CEO Robert Caulk recognized it as opportunity to diversify the company's product line and focus on developing exclusive technology. The result? Under Caulk's leadership, Spectrum has increased its sales by more than $500 million during the past three years and become the industry leader.

Caulk's story of vision, passion, leadership, and achievement was one of 17 stories shared as professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP announced the Missouri-Kansas winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2004 Award. An independent panel of judges comprised of local community and business leaders selected the winners, who were announced last evening at an awards banquet in St. Louis.

The Missouri-Kansas winners of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year are:

-- Arts & Entertainment - Mr. Robert Baudendistel, Owner; Ms. Mary Strauss, Owner; Mr. Harvey Harris, Owner; Mr. Richard M. Baker, President, Fox Associates, LLC

-- Business Services - Mr. Michael Platt, Chief Executive Officer, PlattForm Advertising, Inc.

-- Consumer Products - Mr. Robert L. Caulk, Chairman and CEO, Spectrum Brands

-- Manufacturing - Don. O. Walsworth, President and CEO, Walsworth Publishing Company, Inc.

-- Master - O. Gene Bicknell, Chairman and CEO, NPC International, Inc.

-- Realizing Business Potential - Mr. John McHugh, Chief Operations Officer and CFO; Mr. Dennis Schoemehl, President and CEO, Logistics Management Solutions

-- Technology - Mr. Jeffery S. Fraser, Chairman and CEO, NIC Inc.

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

The Missouri-Kansas 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.

Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP, one of the country's largest law firms with offices in Kansas City, Jefferson City, and St. Louis, Mo.; Overland Park and Wichita, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, DC, is committed to providing high-quality legal services to emerging and growth companies. It recognizes that a large number of businesses in its communities are in this stage of development and have structured its attorneys' practices into multi-disciplinary groups that are capable of addressing issues relevant to the entrepreneur's needs, such as tax, corporate, securities, capital formation, intellectual property, and more.

The St. Louis Business Journal and The Business Journal serving Metropolitan Kansas City are the leading sources of local business news in their respective communities. Through their traditional print editions and rapidly growing online audiences through www.bizjournals.com, the newspapers provide thorough news coverage and timely features about, and of interest to, local companies and executives. Special programs and publications produced by the newspapers also provide valuable recognition to outstanding companies, entrepreneurs, and business achievements.


Ernst & Young LLP
Wendy Fox, 800-827-4575


Ernst & Young LLP
Wendy Fox, 800-827-4575