EY Announces Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2024 Heartland Award Finalists

26 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 Heartland Award. The Heartland program celebrates entrepreneurs from the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. 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 daring entrepreneurs with big ideas and bold actions that reshape our world.

These 38 entrepreneurs across 28 companies 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.

"This year's finalists are bold entrepreneurs creating a lasting impression in their industries and communities," said Dominic Iannazzo, Program Director. "Selected by an independent panel of judges, these trailblazers demonstrate unwavering dedication to their companies, customers and communities. We are thrilled to recognize their success."

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 Heartland finalists are:

Sean Higgins | BetterYou | Saint Paul, Minnesota

Alex French and Andrew Healy | Bizzy Cold Brew | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Margaret Murphy | Bold Orange Company | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nolan Lubarski | CNOS PC | Dakota Dunes, South Dakota

Ron Konezny | Digi International | Hopkins, Minnesota

Erin Pash | Ellie Mental Health | Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Brad Batz | Fike Corporation | Blue Springs, Missouri

Craig O'Halloran | Foss Swim School | Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Paula Gamer | Gamer Packaging, Inc. | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mark Watkins | Geneva Capital, LLC | Alexandria, Minnesota

Rick Bauerly | Granite Partners | Saint Cloud, Minnesota

David Graff and Matt Mueller and John Wirtz and Brian Kaiser | Hudl | Lincoln, Nebraska

Joel Peterson | iSPACE Environments | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jim Loffler and James Loffler | Loffler Companies | St Louis Park, Minnesota

Pat Chinander | Love From USA Group, Inc. | Shoreview, Minnesota

Bo Lais | Lula | Overland Park, Kansas

Beth Wozniak | nVent | St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Joseph Dunham | OneroRx | West Des Moines, Iowa

Ryan Bosshart | phData | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Marco Assis | Propio Language Services | Overland Park, Kansas

Jeff Kiesel | Restaurant Technologies, Inc. | Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Brian Roers and Kent Roers | Roers Companies | Plymouth, Minnesota

Josh Herron and Tyler Staszak | Southwind | Lenexa, Kansas

Lori Coulter and Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin | Summersalt | Clayton, Missouri

Gayle Packer | Terracon | Olathe, Kansas

Jimmy Sansone and Conrad Sansone and Lan Sansone | The Normal Brand | Saint Louis, Missouri

Brian Smith | Wagner Logistics | North Kansas City, Missouri

Bret Weiss | WSB | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Learn more about the finalists at ey.com/us/eoy/heartland/finalists.

Regional award winners will be announced on June 20, 2024 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 Heartland, sponsors also include regional Platinum sponsor, Twin Cities Business; regional Gold sponsor, Padilla; and regional Silver sponsors, Brillect and Robert Half.

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.