Thomas Ross was named a 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year for Michigan and Northwest Ohio by Ernst & Young.
Ernst & Young said it honored Ross, president and CEO of Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM), as one of 10 2021 Entrepreneurs of the Year in Michigan and Northwest Ohio during the firm’s Entrepreneur of the Year virtual awards gala Aug. 5.
The Entrepreneur of the Year awards program is a competitive program for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The award recognizes those who are “unstoppable entrepreneurial leaders, excelling in talent management; degree of difficulty; financial performance; societal impact and building a values-based company; and originality, innovation and future plans.”
Ross was selected by an independent panel of judges.
“I am deeply honored and grateful for the incredible team that has made GRAM a leading CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organization),” Ross said. “Our company has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit to respond to market opportunities, and that is reflected in the award I recently received. I am especially proud of the great work our employees have done in response to COVID and the role we played in supporting Operation Warp Speed and the J&J COVID vaccine. Helping save lives is a tremendous responsibility, and the operational agility displayed by our team at GRAM over the past year was amazing.
“In the face of the many challenges that we face today and have faced especially over the last year, entrepreneurs and their teams play a vital role in creating a better future. I thank EY for naming me as (an) Entrepreneur of the Year winner.”
GRAM provides parenteral contract development and manufacturing for the life science industry, specializing in biologics, small molecules and vaccines. The company has seen nearly 300% growth in the past three years and has gone from 200 employees to 350 employees in about a year.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year, these heroic leaders have inspired us all with their unrivaled courage, ambition and unwavering commitment to their companies, clients and communities,” said AJ Jordan, EY Americas Entrepreneur of the Year program director.
In the past few years, GRAM has continued a large-scale expansion campaign to meet heightened customer demand. The company just completed its fourth facility, a new finishing center, which is the second set of doors to open in just about a year.
“We are proud to call Grand Rapids our home since 2010. We are surrounded by leading universities, progressive life sciences companies, dominant medical research and health care facilities, and these are only a few of the amazing traits making Grand Rapids such a great place to live, work and play,” Ross said. “We are grateful for the support of our community and for the opportunity to give back to West Michigan.”
As a Michigan and Northwest Ohio award winner, Ross is now eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 National Awards. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced in November at the Strategic Growth Forum.