Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Midwest Finalists Announced

Celebrating 25 years of inspiration

CHICAGO--()--Ernst & Young LLP is pleased to announce the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Midwest finalists. This group of outstanding entrepreneurs was selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous winners of the award, leading CEOs, private capital investors and other regional business leaders. Winners will be revealed at a gala on June 22 at the Sheraton Chicago.

In addition to recognizing the 26 finalists, John A. Canning, Jr., Co-Founder and Chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement award. Canning will be honored for building one of the largest and most successful private equity funds in the United States, among his other accolades.

The Midwest region includes companies based in Illinois and Indiana. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Midwest finalists are:

  • Jaideep Bajaj, ZS Associates, Inc. — Evanston, Illinois
  • Stuart Bernsen, Chiro One Wellness Centers — Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Jack W. Blumenstein and Michael J. Small, Aircell — Itasca, Illinois
  • Paul C. Darley, W.S. Darley & Co. — Itasca, Illinois
  • Mike Evans and Matt Maloney, GrubHub, Inc. — Chicago, Illinois
  • Ted Gelov, Heartland Sweeteners, LLC. — Carmel, Indiana
  • Scott Graf, BCD Meetings & Incentives — Chicago, Illinois
  • Michele Honomichl, Celergo — Deerfield, Illinois
  • Gordon Hunter, Littelfuse, Inc. — Chicago, Illinois
  • Andrew Mason, Groupon, Inc. — Chicago, Illinois
  • Robert J. McCullen, Trustwave Holdings, Inc. — Chicago, Illinois
  • Matthew Moog, Viewpoints Network, LLC — Chicago, Illinois
  • Guy H. Morgan, BlueStar Energy Services, Inc. — Chicago, Illinois
  • John Priest, Equable Ascent Financial, LLC — Buffalo Grove, Illinois
  • James Reynolds, Jr., Loop Capital Markets — Chicago, Illinois
  • Joe Reynolds, Red Frog Events — Chicago, Illinois
  • Shawn Riegsecker, Centro — Chicago, Illinois
  • Jai Shekhawat, Fieldglass, Inc. — Chicago, Illinois
  • Andrew Sieja, kCura — Chicago, Illinois
  • Jeff Silver, Coyote Logistics, LLC — Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Joseph J. Slawek, FONA International — Geneva, Illinois
  • Mark A. Thierer, SXC Health Solutions — Lisle, Illinois
  • Elliot S. Weissbluth, HighTower — Chicago, Illinois
  • Jeffrey M. Yordon, Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. — Schaumburg, Illinois

“These finalists create jobs in our area, encouraging community development and innovation in our broader economy,” said Randy Tavierne, Ernst & Young partner and Midwest Strategic Growth Markets Leader. “No matter who wins on June 22 we know one thing for sure — the Midwest is enriched by every one of these finalists.”

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June, leading up to the national awards in November. Additionally, venture-backed companies that win an Entrepreneur Of The Year Award regionally are also eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Venture Capital Award of Excellence on a national level. The overall National US winner then moves on to compete for the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in June.

This year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program celebrates its 25th anniversary. The program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities and more than 50 countries throughout the world. Awards are given to entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

All regional honorees are invited to the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala, hosted by Jay Leno, on November 12, 2011, in Palm Springs, California. 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, which will be held November 9–13, 2011. For more information on the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, please visit


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.

Regional sponsors for the Midwest program include ManpowerGroup, Charter One Bank, Winston & Strawn LLP, SAP, Smart Business magazine and Becker Professional Education. Locally, the program is sponsored by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, Gibbs & Soell Public Relations and WBBM Newsradio 780.

Contact information

To make reservations for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala on June 22, contact Christine Evans of Ernst & Young at + 1 312 879 2470 or Tickets are $200 per person or $1,800 for ten tickets. For more information about the program, please visit

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year

Ernst & Young 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 more than 50 countries.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services.

Worldwide, our 141,000 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.

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 LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the US. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a US client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.


Ernst & Young LLP
Christine Evans, + 1 312 879 2470
Gibbs & Soell
Doug Hampel, + 1 847 519 9150 x2118

Release Summary

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 finalists announced for the Midwest region, which includes Illinois and Indiana-based companies. Twenty-six finalists named.


Ernst & Young LLP
Christine Evans, + 1 312 879 2470
Gibbs & Soell
Doug Hampel, + 1 847 519 9150 x2118