Press release
13 Jun 2024 

EY Announces Winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2024 Gulf South Award

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Celebrating the bold leaders who disrupt markets, revolutionize industries and transform lives

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) is pleased to announce the winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Gulf South Award. The Gulf South program celebrates entrepreneurs from Central and South Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. This prestigious award program recognizes the ambitious leaders of high-growth companies who are creating a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous world for future generations.

The regional winners were chosen by an independent judging panel made up of previous award winners, leading CEOs and other business leaders. Candidates were evaluated based on their success in creating long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to their purpose and the demonstration of growth and substantial impact, among other key indicators.

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 Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf South Award winners are exceptional business leaders fueling innovation within their industries and growth within their companies,” said Anna Horndahl, Partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf South Program Co-Director.

"These entrepreneurs are shining examples of how to lead a scaling business and also care for their employees, customers and communities,” said Travis Garms, Partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf South Program Co-Director.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year 2024 Gulf South Award winners are:

Shannon Payne | AlliedFire Protection | Pearland, Texas

Andrew Levy | Avelo Airlines | Houston 

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

Katy Mimari | Caden Lane | Boerne, Texas       

Derek Maetzold | Castle Biosciences | Friendswood, Texas

Dean Drako | Eagle Eye Networks | Austin        

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

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

Robbins Schrader | SafeRide | San Antonio      

Hal Brumfield | Tachus Fiber Internet | The Woodlands, Texas   

Joe Spell | Tides Medical | Lafayette, La.

Russell Diez-Canseco | Vital Farms | Austin     

Ting Qiao | Wan Bridge | Houston

Learn more about the winners at

These regional award winners will now move on to be considered for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, set to be presented in November at the annual 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 represent the US as they compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award in June 2025.

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

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

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