2015 judging panel
The success of the program relies on the efforts of our independent panel of judges. These business, civic and community leaders, some of whom have been EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award winners devote significant effort to reviewing and deliberating the merits of each nominee. We deeply appreciate their dedication to this process.
| Zaid Alsikafi |
Zaid Alsikafi is a Managing Director on the MDP Telecom, Media & Technology Services team. Before joining MDP, Zaid was with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the financial institutions group, and with MDP as an Associate for two years. Zaid attended The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received his MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Centennial Towers, Q9 Networks, Inc., QuickPlay Media, Inc. and Univision Communications Inc.
| Pam Buchanan |
Pam Buchanan is Managing Director at the NASDAQ Stock Market and has worked at NASDAQ for the last nine years. She was responsible for IPOs in the West, including Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Denver. She has worked with high-profile companies such as Tesla and Facebook. She is now working out of the NASDAQ Chicago office and continues to work with IPOs and also NASDAQ-listed companies. Prior to NASDAQ, Pam worked in the financial service industry at Deutsche Asset Management for 18 years. In her responsibilities as Senior Vice President, she focused on sales and marketing to banks and independent financial broker-dealers. Pam is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
| Paul Carbone |
Paul Carbone is the Managing Partner of Pritzker Group Private Capital, an investment firm led by Tony and J.B. Pritzker, which acquires and grows North America-based middle-market companies. He also currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and several civic, cultural and charitable organizations, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, University of Wisconsin, Carbone Cancer Center, Misericordia Endowment Fund, Chicago History Museum and University of Chicago Medical Center.
| Kevin Conroy |
Kevin Conroy serves as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Exact Sciences Corporation, a company committed to playing a role in the eradication of colorectal cancer through the company's innovative noninvasive screening test, Cologuard. Prior to Exact Sciences, Kevin served as President and CEO of Third Wave, Intellectual Property counsel at GE Healthcare and COO of two early-stage, venture-backed technology companies in Northern California. Prior to those positions, he was an Intellectual Property litigator at two Chicago law firms: McDermott Will & Emery; and Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard and Geraldson, where he was a partner. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University, as well as a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Kevin was the recipient of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 Midwest Region Biotechnology Award.
| Michael Gauthier |
Michael Gauthier is president and co-founder of Gauthier Biomedical, Inc. Founded in 2000, Gauthier Biomedical is a manufacturer of high-quality instruments for spine, trauma, hip, shoulder, knee, ankle and small-bone surgical applications. Michael and his wife, Stacy, were co-winners of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Upper Midwest Region Medical Technology Award.
| Frank Jaehnert |
Frank Jaehnert was the President and CEO of Brady Corporation, an international manufacturer and marketer of complete identification solutions, from 2003 until his retirement in 2013. Prior to joining Brady Corporation, he held various financial positions in Germany and the US at Robert Bosch GmbH. Frank received an MBA from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He serves on the boards of directors of Nordson Corporation, Briggs & Stratton Corporation, as well as on the Board of Regents of the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He was an EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 regional winner.
| Kristi Ross |
Kristi Ross is the co-CEO and President of dough, Inc., which includes tastytrade, the fastest-growing online financial network, and dough, a highly visual platform that makes investing interactive, educational and mobile. Previously, Kristi was the CFO of thinkorswim, where she led numerous mergers, acquisitions and integration. thinkorswim sold to TD Ameritrade for $750m in 2009. Prior to thinkorswim, Kristi was CFO of Automated Trading Desk Specialists, a stock specialist on the Chicago Stock Exchange. Kristi started her career in public accounting, specializing in financial services industry clientele, including individual traders, proprietary, market makers, specialists, discount brokerages and advisory firms. She is also a certified public accountant and has been in and around the trading business for more than 20 years.
| Jai Shekhawat |
Jai is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Fieldglass, which makes the world's most widely used cloud platform for the procurement of contract labor and services. Under his leadership, the Fieldglass platform has grown globally, with users in more than 70 countries, multiple languages and currencies, and more than $20 billion in annual spend. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Field Museum of Chicago, is a Board Member of METROsquash and is a founding member of the FireStarter Fund, which mentors and invests in Chicago start-ups. He was the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Midwest Region Private Equity/Venture Capital Award winner.