Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award finalists named

Tampa Bay Business Journal
Published Monday, May 10, 2010

Ernst & Young LLP said Monday 15 Tampa Bay area businesspeople are among the finalists for the company’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 award in Florida.

The firm also said its Florida Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Lewis Hay III, chairman and chief executive officer of FPL Group Inc., a utility company that is based in Juno Beach and that serves customers in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Bay area finalists are:

• Distribution, manufacturing and defense category — Gregory Celestan, chairman and chief executive officer of Celestar Corp. in Tampa

• Emerging category — Chad W. Dudeck, president and chief executive officer of Geo-Logical Inc. in Port Richey

• Financial services category — Mike Gottfried, chief operating officer; Manish Gupta, chief technology officer; Pete Kirtland, president; James Olson, chief marketing officer of ASPire Financial Services in St. Petersburg

• Health services category — Dr. A.K. Desai, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Universal Health Care Group Inc. in St. Petersburg; Jason Patchen, chief executive officer of American Healthcare Holdings Inc. in Tampa; Ron Roma, chief executive officer and owner of Healthesystems Inc. in Tampa

• Marketing, media and entertainment category — Benjamin C. Fertic, chief executive officer of World Triathlon Corp. in Tampa; Joy Gendusa, chief executive officer of PostcardMania in Clearwater

• Real estate and construction services category — Jose Morales, chief executive officer of J2 Engineering Inc. in Tampa

• Services category — Michael K. Ferris, president and chief executive officer of Valet Waste in Tampa; Darryl Shaw, chief executive officer, and Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa

Finalists were selected by an independent judging panel made up of regional business, academic and community leaders, Ernst & Young said in a release. The Entrepreneur of the Year program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June, leading up to the national awards in November.

Venture-backed companies that win an Entrepreneur of the Year award regionally are eligible for the Venture Capital Award of Excellence on a national level. The overall U.S. winner is then eligible to compete for the World Entrepreneur of the Year title.

Award recipients will be revealed on June 10 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.