Press release

4 Jun 2021 Minneapolis, US

EY US Announces Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Heartland Region Finalists

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Heartland Region Award.

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Related topics Entrepreneur Unstoppables

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Heartland Region Award. The Heartland program celebrates entrepreneurs from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Now in its 35th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors audacious business leaders whose ambition, courage and ingenuity help catapult us from now to next and beyond. These 35 entrepreneurs were selected as finalists by a panel of independent judges.

Award winners will be announced during a special virtual celebration on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, and will join the ranks of a lifelong community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world.

The 2021 Heartland finalists are:

  • Angie Conley | Abilitech Medical | Eden Prairie, Minnesota
  • Brian NeSmith | Arctic Wolf Networks, Inc. | Eden Prairie, Minnesota
  • Carlene Wilson | Atmosphere Commercial Interiors | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Janet Johanson | BevSource and The Lab | Little Canada, Minnesota
  • Tony Miller | Bind Benefits, Inc. | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nathan McKean | BMC Enterprises | St. Louis, Missouri
  • Cheri Beranek | Clearfield | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Igor Epshteyn | Coherent Solutions | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Ron Daugherty | Daugherty Business Solutions | St. Louis, Missouri
  • Joe Currier | DFC Company | Fargo, North Dakota
  • Andrew Leone | DispatchIt, Inc. | Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Jamie Candee | Edmentum | Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Todd Wilkinson | Entrust Corporation | Shakopee, Minnesota
  • Mynul Khan | Field Nation | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Abir Sen | Gravie | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Marek Ciolko | Gravie | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Ken Dalley | Guardian RFID | Maple Grove, Minnesota
  • Brad Pinchuk | Hirschbach Motor Lines | Dubuque, Iowa
  • Scott Leiendecker | KNOWiNK | St. Louis, Missouri
  • Joel Theisen | Lifesprk | St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  • Aaron Shilts | NetSPI | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Stephanie Isaacson | New Horizons Industries, LLC | Kansas City, Missouri
  • Cliff Kaehler | Novel Energy Solutions | St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Lee Wallace | Peace Coffee | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Stacia Nelson | Pivot Strategies | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nicole Atchison | PURIS | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tyler Lorenzen | PURIS | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Jay Ward | Quadion LLC / Minnesota Rubber & Plastics | Plymouth, Minnesota
  • Brian Roers | Roers Companies | Minnetonka, Minnesota
  • Kent Roers | Roers Companies | Minnetonka, Minnesota
  • Eddie Sullivan | SAB Biotherapeutics | Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Sirish Samba | Sambatek, Inc. | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Charlie Youakim | Sezzle | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Chad Hetherington | The Stable | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tom Kennedy, PhD | TSI Incorporated | Shoreview, Minnesota
  • Michael Jordan | UNRL| St. Paul, Minnesota

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: entrepreneurial leadership; talent management; degree of difficulty; financial performance; societal impact and building a values-based company; and originality, innovation and future plans. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries throughout the world.

“This year’s finalists are the next class in a long line of unstoppable visionaries,” said Dominic Iannazzo, Entrepreneur Of The Year Heartland Region Co-Director. “They have been carefully selected by our independent panel of judges for their unwavering commitment to their companies, customers and communities in a year of unprecedented change. We are thrilled to share their inspiring stories this year.”

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, to be announced in November at the Strategic Growth Forum®, one of the nation’s most prestigious gatherings of high-growth, market-leading companies. 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 2022.

Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners have 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.

Heartland Region Focus

Each year, EY US showcases successful entrepreneurs from 20 regional competitions across the United States. In 2020, 10 entrepreneurs leading companies from the Heartland Region were selected as Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners.

For information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year Heartland program, please visit this site.


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

In the Heartland Region, sponsors also include Colliers International, Padilla, PNC Bank, SALO, LLC, and Twin Cities 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. National Overall winners go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title.

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