Press release

EY Announces Winners for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Award

Detroit, 24 June 2016

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Celebrating 30 years of ingenuity in America

EY is pleased to announce the winners of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio region. This year marks the award’s 30th anniversary. These entrepreneurs were selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous winners of the award, leading CEOs and other regional business leaders. The winners were unveiled at a black-tie awards gala on June 23 at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“EY has had a tremendous history in honoring outstanding entrepreneurs during the past 30 years,” said Angie Kelly, Assurance Partner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Director for Michigan and Northwest Ohio. “This year’s winners have not only taken their companies to the top, but they have also acted as mentors to their employees and made impressive contributions to their communities.”

The winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Award include:

  • Dale Watchowski, CEO, American House Senior Living Communities (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
  • Mark A. Jones, President and Co-Founder, and David N. Gahm, CEO and Co-Founder, AmeriFirst Home Mortgage (Kalamazoo, MI)
  • John Lowery, President, Applied Imaging (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Dr. Shri Thanedar, CEO and Owner, Avomeen Analytical Services (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Cory Steeby, President and Pat LeBlanc, Chairman, EBW Electronics (Holland, MI)
  • Dan Musser, President, Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island, MI)
  • Donald Hicks, President and CEO, LLamasoft, Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Julia Owens, President and CEO, Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Laurent Bresson, President and Global Chief Operating Officer, Nexteer Automotive (Saginaw, MI)
  • John Pigott, Chief Innovation Officer/Strategic Business Development and Randy Oostra, President and CEO, ProMedica/ProMedica Innovations (Toledo, OH)
  • Michael VandeMaele, CEO, Pro Services, Inc. (Portage, MI)
  • Amy Peterson, Co-Founder and CEO, and Diana Russell, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Rebel Nell (Detroit, MI)

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall National Award winner, will be announced at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 19, 2016. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

The US Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco, June 2017.

Founded and produced by EY, Entrepreneur Of The Year is sponsored nationally by SAP America, Merrill Corporation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In addition, Merrill Corporation is the official and preferred data partner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards as a global leader in secure content sharing, regulated communications and compliance services. Merrill Corporation’s DataSite is used to facilitate the judges’ independent review of nominations. In the Michigan and Northwest Ohio region, sponsors include Citizens Bank, Colliers International, Foley and Lardner, Crain’s Detroit, Tanner Friedman and NewsTalk 760/WJR.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

About EY’s Strategic Growth Markets practice

EY’s Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary teams of elite professionals provide perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. EY is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at, or follow news on Twitter @EY_Growth.

About EY

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, an EY member firm serving clients in the US.