EY names Entrepreneur of the Year winners


Bridgett Tubbs-Carlon’s AppleTree Learning Centers has 17 locations in Michigan and a new national brand called Gilden Woods. Photo by Johnny Quirin

A global award program recognized several West Michigan entrepreneurs during its regional gala in Detroit to celebrate business leaders.

EY, a global accounting and business advisory firm, said last week that it has named the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners for the Michigan and northwest Ohio region, including four West Michigan leaders who are contributing to local economies and communities.

The award program

EY’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award program recognizes entrepreneurs across multiple regions, countries and the world who are creating products, launching new companies, opening new markets and fueling job creation in communities.

Individuals are nominated by an independent judging panel, which comprises past award winners, private capital investors and regional business leaders.

Each nomination form is evaluated on a number of factors, including entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, financial performance, strategic direction, market impact, personal integrity and social responsibility.

The 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award is meant to encourage entrepreneurial activity and honor those who have inspired others with their leadership.

EY runs regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities across roughly 60 countries.

EY has honored outstanding entrepreneurs for 29 years.

“What these business leaders have contributed to our local economy will have lasting impact,” said Angie Kelly, assurance partner and program director for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Michigan and northwest Ohio region.

West Michigan winners

The 12 entrepreneurs from Michigan and northwest Ohio were honored during a regional awards gala on June 11 in Detroit at the Cobo Center.

The regional winners were recognized in several categories and selected for their vision, leadership and achievement in building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses.

Four business leaders from West Michigan won the regional award.

Aaron Ziegler, president, Zeigler Auto Group

Education and Training
Bridgett Tubbs-Carlon, founder and CEO, Gilden Woods Early Care and Preschool

Spirit of Entrepreneurship
Rick DeVos, founder and CEO, Start Garden

Consumer Products
Mark Sellers, owner, BarFly Ventures

Other Michigan winners

The 29th-annual program also recognized entrepreneurs from metro Detroit in a number of categories: technology, financial services, automotive supplier, diversified services, supporter of entrepreneurship, emerging, family business and creative services.

The businesses honored included EnvisionTEC, Talmer Bancorp, Key Safety Systems, Penske Corporation/Penske Automotive Group, Eastern Market Corporation, The Empowerment Plan, E.W. Grobbel Sons and MyLocker.com.

National gala

Each of the regional award winners are eligible for the national program, which will recognize entrepreneurs in various categories and one individual as the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award winner.

The national awards gala will be held Nov. 11-15 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif. 

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