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EY Announces Finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in the Upper Midwest
[April 20, 2017]

EY Announces Finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in the Upper Midwest

Today, EY announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Award in the Central Midwest. The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. These business leaders were selected by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a special gala on June 8 in Minneapolis.

The Upper Midwest program includes companies based in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. Collectively, this year's finalists generated nearly $7 billion in revenue and they employed over 10,000 people by the end of 2016.

The finalists are:

  • Tony Jacobson, AllOver Media
  • Amit Gupta, Amsum & Ash - TAB
  • Grant Kvalheim and Jim Belardi, Athene Holding Ltd.
  • Joel Conner, Bellisio Foods, Inc.
  • Charles Kummeth, BioTechne
  • Joyce Brenny, Brenny Transportation, Inc.
  • Jerry Baack, Bridgewater Bank
  • Tom Goodmanson (News - Alert), Calabrio, Inc.
  • Ben Gray, Jeff Gray and Scott Gray, Creative Apparel Concepts, Inc.
  • Lisa David, eCapital Advisors
  • Chris Staley, Jeremy Langevin and Sabin Ephrem, Horizontal Integration
  • Jason Hammerberg, Hammer Made
  • Jennifer Smith, Innovative Office Solutions LLC
  • Joel Theisen, Lifesprk
  • Zachary Quinn, Love Your Melon
  • Curtis Steffen and Daniel Gage, MacQueen Equipment Group
  • Eric Dayton, North Corp
  • Bruce Zeilinger, NXC Imaging
  • Dale Nitschke, Ovative/group
  • Jamie Candee, Questar Assessment, Inc.
  • Kari Rihm, Rihm Family Companies
  • Chris Homeister, The Tile Shop
  • Mark Summers, ThreeWire, Inc.
  • Gwen Stanley and Michael Zenk, Venture Bank

"EY has honored outstanding entrepreneurs for over 30 years," said Dominic Iannazzo, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Director for the Upper Midwest. "These business leaders are accomplished entrepreneurs who have contributed a tremendous amount to the community."

Now in its 31st year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall National Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California on November 18, 2017. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum, the nation's most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco in June 2018.

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the U.S. by SAP America, Merrill Corporation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

In the Upper Midwest, region sponsors include Padilla, Twin (News - Alert) Cities Business, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, Salo, Lockton, Pohlad Companies and ThreeBridge Solutions.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year®, founded by EY, is the world's most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, chosen from an independent panel of judges including entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance and the local community. The program 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 awards program 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 over 145 cities and more than 60 countries. For more information, visit

About EY's Growth Markets Network
EY's worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we've helped many of the world's most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early stage, venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed. For more information, please visit us at or follow news on Twitter (News - Alert) @EY_Growth.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member of the global EY organization that provides services to clients in the U.S.

For more information, please visit

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