Press release

27 Aug 2020 Pittsburgh, US

EY Announces Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 East Central Award Finalists

Celebrating the unstoppable entrepreneurs whose ambitions transform our world

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Related topics Entrepreneur Unstoppables

Celebrating the unstoppable entrepreneurs whose ambitions transform our world

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2020 East Central Award. The East Central program celebrates entrepreneurs from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio (except Toledo) and Kentucky. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors successful business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain groundbreaking companies that transform our world. These 26 business leaders were selected as finalists by a panel of independent judges from nearly 100 nominations.

Award winners will be announced during a special virtual event on October 7, 2020 and will join the ranks of a lifelong community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world. This year, unstoppable entrepreneurs who have provided extraordinary support to their communities, employees and others during the COVID-19 crisis will also be recognized for their courage, resilience and ingenuity.

The 2020 East Central finalists are:

  • Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga | Apex Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center (Mayfield Heights, Ohio)
  • John Thornton | Astrobotic Technology, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Alex Frommeyer | Beam Dental (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Cynthia Booth | COBCO Enterprises (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • J.D. Ewing | COE Distributing (Smock, Pennsylvania)
  • Fred Ode | Foundation Software, Inc./ (Strongville, Ohio)
  • Jake Loosararian and Troy Demmer | Gecko Robotics (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Ed Weinfurtner | Great Day Improvements, LLC (Macedonia, Ohio)
  • Chuck Mattera | II-VI Incorporated (Saxonburg, Pennsylvania)
  • Alex Yastrebenetsky | InfoTrust (Blue Ash, Ohio)
  • Jeff Beck | Leaf Home Solutions (Hudson, Ohio)
  • Gordon Vanscoy | PANTHERx Rare (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Jody Richards | Process Technology (Willoughby, Ohio)
  • Margie Brickner | Reliant Capital Solutions (Gahanna, Ohio)
  • Tom Walker | Rev1 Ventures (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Graham Rihn | Roadrunner Recycling (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Alex Timm | Root Insurance (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Chris Ratterman | Shady Rays (Simpsonville, Kentucky)
  • Maria Bennett | SPR Therapeutics, Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Anthony Hughes | Tech Elevator (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Kristie Nicolosi | The Kingswood Company (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Bill Cosgrove | Union Home Mortgage (Strongville, Ohio)
  • Rob Ratterman | Waites Sensor Technologies, Inc. (Covington, Kentucky)
  • Patrick Heist and Shane Baker | Wilderness Trail Distillery (Danville, Kentucky)

Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive business awards for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. Finalists were evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries throughout the world.

“Our finalists have been carefully selected for their grit, persistence and ambition coupled with care and concern for their employees, companies and other stakeholders,” said Mike Denove, Entrepreneur Of The Year East Central Program Director and Partner, Ernst & Young, LLP. “Now more than ever, we need unstoppable entrepreneurs to inspire innovation, fuel growth and deliver long-term value for their communities and lead us to what’s next.”   

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, to be announced in November during a virtual awards gala. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2021.

Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners become lifetime members of a global, multi-industry community of award winners, with exclusive, ongoing access to the experience, insight and wisdom of fellow alumni and other ecosystem members in over 60 countries — all supported by vast EY resources.

East Central Focus

Each year, EY US showcases successful entrepreneurs from 20 regional competitions across the United States. In 2019, ten entrepreneurs leading companies from East Central were selected as Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners. Past award winners in East Central include Jodi Berg, VitaMix Corporation; Jeff Broadhurst, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group; Tom Feeney, Safelite Group; Richard Graeter, Graeter’s Manufacturing Company; Molly North, Al. Neyer; Bryan Salesky, Argo AI LLC and Luis von Ahn, Duolingo.

For information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year East Central program, please visit


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

In East Central, sponsors also include PNC, VRC, Morgan Lewis, Oswald Companies, and Smart Business.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for unstoppable entrepreneurs. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth. It connects them with their peers to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is the first and only truly global awards program of its kind. It celebrates entrepreneurs through regional and national awards programs in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries. Winners go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title.

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