Finalists Announced for 2008 Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur Of The Year

TAMPA, Fla.--()--Ernst & Young LLP has announced the finalists for the 2008 Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur Of The Year. Award recipients will be revealed at the awards ceremony to be held on Thursday, June 5, 2008 at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando.

These finalists are an exceptional group who embody the unique spirit of entrepreneurism, says Michael J. Brennan, Florida Host of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program. They have a positive impact on our region in many ways, including innovation, the creation of jobs and contribution to community growth and development.

Finalists for the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award are:

-- Central Florida

-- Distribution and Manufacturing: Patrice Minguez, president and founder; Mark Allegre, vice president and founder; Cellynne Holdings, Haines City

-- Financial Services: John Thedford, president, CEO and founder, Value Financial Services, Maitland
-- Health Services: Brian Hutchinson, chairman and CEO, RTI Biologics, Inc., Alachua
-- Master: Howard Lance, chairman, president and CEO, Harris Corp., Melbourne
-- Services: Harold Mills, CEO, Zero Chaos, Orlando
-- Technology: Jay Freeland, President, CEO and director, FARO Technologies, Inc., Lake Mary
-- Technology: Steve Miller, president and CEO, Highwinds Capital, Inc., Winter Park

-- North Florida

-- Financial Services: Robert Clements, chairman and CEO, EverBank, Jacksonville
-- Retail and Consumer Products: William H. Morris, chairman, president and CEO, Hickory Foods, Inc., Jacksonville
-- Technology: David L. Brown , chairman and CEO,, Jacksonville

-- South Florida

-- Distribution and Manufacturing: Mark A. Ascik, president and CEO, StyleMark, Inc., Ormond Beach
-- Distribution and Manufacturing: Amin Khoury, chairman, CEO and founder, B/E Aerospace, Inc., Wellington

-- Emerging: Gisela Biganski, director of client relations; Sean Biganski, vice president technology; Christel McIntosh, director of finance; and Steve McIntosh, vice president operations, BeQuick Software, Palm Beach Gardens

-- Emerging: Marc Siegel, president, China Direct, Inc., Deerfield Beach
-- Health Services: Steve Geller, chairman and Edward Goldman, CEO, MDVIP, Boca Raton
-- Real Estate and Construction: Beverly Raphael, president and CEO, RCC Associates, Deerfield Beach
-- Services: Laurent Lamothe, president and CEO, The Global Voice Group S.A., Miami

-- West Central Florida

-- Emerging: Derek Hennecke, president and CEO, Xcelience, Tampa
-- Financial Services: David Serlo, president and CEO, PSCU Financial Services, Inc., St. Petersburg
-- Health Services: Jason M. Patchen, CEO, American Healthcare Holdings, Inc., Tampa
-- Master: Mario Longhi, president and CEO, Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation, Tampa
-- Master: John Zumwalt, chairman and CEO, The PBSJ Corporation, Tampa
-- Real Estate and Construction: Todd Gates, chairman, Gates, Naples
-- Real Estate and Construction: Douglas Rothschild, principal and Louis Varsames, principal; CLW Real Estate Services Group, Tampa
-- Retail and Consumer Products: Tony Little, president, CEO and founder, Health International Corporation, St. Petersburg
-- Retail and Consumer Products: Mark Johnston, CEO; Mike Johnston, chairman; and Bob Johnston, president; The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., Tampa
-- Services: Scott Riley, CEO, Fintech, Tampa

-- Lifetime Achievement Award: Thomas A. James, chairman and CEO, Raymond James Financial, Inc., St. Petersburg

The program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate extraordinary success in the areas of innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Finalists were selected by an independent judging panel comprised of regional business, academic and community leaders. Regional award recipients will be eligible for consideration in the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year national program, with national award recipients to be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 15, 2008. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, an annual gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

This year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year award program celebrates its 22nd anniversary. The program has been expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 135 cities representing 50 countries around the world.


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and SAP America.

Florida sponsors include Foley & Lardner LLP, Bowne and RFB Communications Group.

Contact Information

To make reservations for the Florida Entrepreneur Of The Year awards gala on June 5, contact Beverly Eha, program manager, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida Awards, at 813.225.4893 or Tickets are $200 per person. Information is also available at

About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

The 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, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006, honors entrepreneurs through regional, national and global award programs in over 135 cities and 50 countries.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to enhancing the public's trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting. Its 130,000 people in 140 countries pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism in providing a range of sophisticated services centered on our core competencies of auditing, accounting, tax, and transactions. Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited does not provide services to clients. Ernst & Young LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, is a U.S. client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.


For Ernst & Young LLP, Tampa
RFB Communications Group
Suzie Boland, 813-259-0345


For Ernst & Young LLP, Tampa
RFB Communications Group
Suzie Boland, 813-259-0345