Bill Marriott, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 National Overall Award winner

Palm Springs, 19 November 2016

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2016 marks 30 years of EY celebrating ingenuity in America

J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., has been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 National Overall Award winner. Now in its 30th year of celebrating ingenuity in America, the Entrepreneur Of The Year award recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses. Bill Marriott received the distinction for a lifetime of work in turning his family’s regional restaurant business into one of the world’s premier hospitality and lodging companies.

“Mr. Marriott has taken not only his company but the entire hospitality industry to new heights,” said Mike Kacsmar, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Americas Program Director. “We are proud to give him EY’s highest honor for entrepreneurship, which shows that ingenuity has no limits. Mr. Marriott proves that innovation and disruption can take place whether your company is a start-up or an established global player.”

Marriott International grabbed headlines in 2016 for its successful acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The deal brought together more than 30 brands under its umbrella ranging from Courtyard by Marriott to Ritz-Carlton — a massive entrepreneurial undertaking for a company that draws its origins from a root beer shop outside of Washington, DC, and subsequent restaurant chain Hot Shoppes. Today, Marriott employs approximately 365,000 people in 80 countries and territories. For additional details on Bill Marriott and the story behind his award, visit here.

Mr. Marriott was recognized at the award program’s namesake National gala, which is the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™ in Palm Springs, California. The Forum is the nation’s premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. In addition to the Entrepreneur Of The Year National overall title, 11 other awards were given in industry-specific categories. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from more than 250 regional award recipients.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National category winners
“Our category winners and finalists represent some of the most unique and transformative companies in their respective industries,” Kacsmar said. “The entrepreneurs behind these companies are bringing new ways of thinking to American business and are a hugely positive force for the economy.”

By category, they include:

  • Distribution and Manufacturing: Vernon J. Nagel, Chairman, President and CEO — Acuity Brands, Inc., Atlanta, GA
  • Emerging: Matt Salzberg, Co-Founder and CEO, Ilia Papas, Co-Founder and CTO, and Matthew Wadiak, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer — Blue Apron, New York, NY
  • Energy, Cleantech and Natural Resources: Steven D. Gray, CEO — RSP Permian, Inc., Dallas, TX
  • Family Business: Trisha D. Lemery, President & CEO — Winsert, Inc., Marinette, WI
  • Financial Services: David Zalik, CEO — GreenSky, LLC, Atlanta, GA
  • Life Sciences: Leonard S. Schleifer, MD, PhD, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, and George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, Founding Scientist and Chief Scientific Officer — Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tarrytown, NY
  • Media, Entertainment and Communications: Ben Chestnut, Co-founder and CEO — MailChimp, Atlanta, GA
  • Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction: J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board — Marriott International, Inc., Bethesda, MD
  • Retail and Consumer Products: Jeremy S. G. Fowden, CEO — Cott Corporation, Tampa, FL
  • Services: David Inns, CEO — GreatCall, Inc., San Diego, CA
  • Technology: James Park, CEO, President & Co-founder — Fitbit, San Francisco, CA

"As we entered the 30th year of this program, we decided to take a step back to examine the impact the winners — leaders of these incredibly high-growth, innovative companies — have had on the overall US economy and business environment,” Kacsmar said. “What we’ve found is the vast majority of winners have far outpaced the US market in terms of stock price returns, job creation and longevity."

EY partnered with the Harvard Business Review to explore those attributes in its Lasting Legacies which was released at this year’s Strategic Growth Forum.

Notes to editors

Videos and photos
To view video of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners, please visit

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the US by SAP America, Merrill Corporation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, chosen from an independent panel of judges including entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance, and local community leaders. The program 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 awards program 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 Growth Markets Network
EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early stage, venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed. For more information, please visit us at or follow news on Twitter @EY_Growth.

About EY
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