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2015 judging panel

The success of the program relies on the efforts of our independent panel of judges. These past Entrepreneur Of The Year™ award winners and civic and community leaders devote significant effort to review and deliberate the merits of each nominee. We deeply appreciate their dedication to this process.


Midwest: Zaid Alsikafi Zaid Alsikafi
Zaid Alsikafi is a Managing Director on the MDP Telecom, Media & Technology Services team. Before joining MDP, Mr. Alsikafi 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.
Midwest: Pam Buchanan Pam Buchanan
Pam is managing director at the NASDAQ Stock Market and has worked at NASDAQ for the last 9 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 IN.
MW_Carbone_judge_100x100 Paul Carbone
Paul 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 board 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.
Upper Midwest award winner Michael Gauthier Michael Gauthier
Michael Gauthier is president and co-founder of Gauthier Biomedical.  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 Medical Technology Award.
Midwest: Jai Shekhawat 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 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 Technology Award winner.

Doug Waggoner
Doug Waggoner has served as Chief Executive Officer of Echo Global Logistics since 2006 and has contributed to making Echo a leading provider of technology-enabled transportation management.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Supply Chain Innovation Network of Chicago (SINC), a new organization emerging out of World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs.  Doug was also EY's Emerging Entrepreneur Award Winner for the Midwest in 2009.