EY Announces Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2024 Gulf South Award Finalists

29 Apr 2024

Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates ambitious entrepreneurs who are shaping the future

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2024 Gulf South Award. The Gulf South program celebrates entrepreneurs from Central and South Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Now in its 38th year, Entrepreneur Of The Year is the preeminent competitive business award for audacious leaders who disrupt markets, revolutionize industries and have a transformational impact on lives. Over the past four decades, the program has recognized the daring entrepreneurs with big ideas and bold actions that reshape our world.

These 48 entrepreneurs were selected as finalists by an independent panel of judges. The candidates were evaluated based on their demonstration of building long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact, among other core contributions and attributes.

"The finalists of this year are audacious entrepreneurs who are making a significant impact in their respective industries and communities" said Anna Horndahl, Partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf South Program Co-Director.

“These pioneers, chosen by an independent panel of judges, showcase relentless commitment to their businesses, customers and communities. We are thrilled to acknowledge their accomplishments," said Travis Garms, Partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf South Program Co-Director.

Entrepreneur Of The Year honors many different types of business leaders for their ingenuity, courage and entrepreneurial spirit. The program celebrates original founders who bootstrapped their business from inception or who raised outside capital to grow their company; transformational CEOs who infused innovation into an existing organization to catapult its trajectory; and multigenerational family business leaders who reimagined a legacy business model to fortify it for the future.

The 2024 Gulf South finalists are:

Shannon Payne | Allied Fire Protection | Pearland, Texas

Jay McEntire IV | Arva Intelligence | Houston     

Andrew Levy | Avelo Airlines | Houston 

Justin Fenchel, Bradley Schultz and Aimy Steadman | BeatBox Beverages | Austin     

Katy Mimari | Caden Lane | Boerne, Texas       

Martin Keighley | CarbonFree | San Antonio     

Derek Maetzold | Castle Biosciences | Friendswood, Texas       

Scott Aronstein | Connectivity Source | Houston           

Joshua Weisman | Construction Concepts | Houston

Jeff Lee and Courtney Shields | DIBS Beauty | Austin         

Dr. Andrea Thomaz | Diligent Robotics | Austin 

Feras Moussa and Ben Suttles | Disrupt Equity | Houston         

Dean Drako | Eagle Eye Networks | Austin        

Mark Engels | ePayPolicy | Austin         

Erine Gray | FindHelp | Austin  

Andy Flanagan | Iris Telehealth | Austin

John Poindexter | J.B. Poindexter & Co., Inc. | Houston

James D. Ross, PE | LJA Engineering, Inc. | Houston   

Asher Kazmann | Locke Solutions LLC | Houston

Chad Millis | Millis | Missouri City, Texas        

Kate Bourgeois | Mississippi Export Railroad Company | Moss Point, Ms.

Mike Francis | NanoTech Materials, Inc. | Houston         

Beth San Segundo | OriGen Biomedical | Austin           

Charles Leddy | Presidian Hospitality | San Antonio       

Emerson Smith | Pushnami | Austin     

Stuart Hinchen and Peter Jenkins | Quva Pharma, Inc. | Sugar Land, Texas

Robbins Schrader | SafeRide | San Antonio      

Russ Davis | SchoolStatus | Ridgeland, Ms.

Dr. Lefteris Ntouanoglou | Schoox, LLC | Austin

Nicole Budworth | Senox Corporation | Austin  

Ted Ross | SpyCloud | Austin   

Trevor Best and Dr. Suman Khatiwada | Syzygy Plasmonics | Houston 

Hal Brumfield | Tachus Fiber Internet | The Woodlands, Texas     

Joe Spell | Tides Medical | Lafayette, La.

Katie Jensen | Triton Stone Group | Elmwood, La.

Tony Hartl | Undefeated Tribe Operating Company LLC | Austin 

Jared Boudreaux | Vector Controls and Automation Group | Pearland, Texas      

Russell Diez-Canseco | Vital Farms | Austin      

Ting Qiao | Wan Bridge | Houston         

Chris Brundrett | William Chris Wine Company | Hye, Texas     

Chris O'Dowd | WIN Reality | Austin     

Wayne Morton | Wind Energy Transmission | Austin      

Learn more about the finalists at ey.com/us/eoygulfsouth

Regional award winners will be announced on June 13th during a special celebration. The winners will then be considered by the National independent panel of judges for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, which will be presented in November at the annual Strategic Growth Forum®, one of the nation’s most prestigious gatherings of high-growth, market-leading companies.

In addition to Entrepreneur Of The Year, EY US supports other entrepreneurs through the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program and the EY Entrepreneurs Access Network to help connect women founders and Black and Hispanic/Latino entrepreneurs, respectively, with the resources, network and access needed to unlock their full potential.


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards include presenting sponsors PNC Bank, Cresa, Marsh USA, SAP and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In the Gulf South, sponsors also include ADP, DLA Piper, Marsh McLennan Agency, vcfo, Big Picture Inc., and Pierpont Communications.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Founded in 1986, Entrepreneur Of The Year® has celebrated more than 11,000 ambitious visionaries who are leading successful, dynamic businesses in the US, and it has since expanded to nearly 80 countries and territories globally.

The US program consists of 17 regional programs whose panels of independent judges select the regional award winners every June. Those winners compete for national recognition at the Strategic Growth Forum® in November where National finalists and award winners are announced. The overall National winner represents the US at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year® competition. Visit ey.com/us/eoy.

About EY

EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today

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. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.