Here are the 11 winners in the 2018 FW Inc. Entrepreneur of Excellence competition, announced Thursday in a gala at the Fort Worth Club:
MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION
Category winner: David Wesson, CEO, GEODynamics
Finalists: Buddy and Vince Puente, co-owners, Southwest Office Systems; Larry Buck, CEO, Victory Awning
Category winner: John Hill, CEO, The Good Contractors List
Finalists: John and Linda Askew, co-owners, The John Askew Co.; Robert Whittaker, CEO, Magnolia Fence & Patio
Category winner: Nolan Bradshaw, CEO, Cornerstone Projects Group
Finalists: John Avila, chairman, Byrne Construction Services; Harold Muckleroy, CEO, Muckleroy & Falls
Category winner: Bruce Schultz, CEO, Boardroom Salon for Men
Finalists: Kevin Lackey, CEO, Freedom Powersports; Karim Jamal, owner, University Car Wash
SUPPORTER OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Category winner: Tamara Payne and Dawn Shannon, co-owners, Ensemble Coworking
Finalists: Sherry Green and Allen Spinner, entrepreneurs in resident, Idea Works FW; Ed Riefenstahl and Valerie Riefenstahl, co-owners, ROI Associates
TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS
Category winner: Stanley Baker Jr., owner, Baker Aviation
Finalists: Matt Johnson, CEO, Holiday Auto Group, Defender Outdoors; Gary Reeder, CEO, Reeder Distributors
HEALTH CARE AND LIFE SCIENCES
Category winner: Dr. Kevin James, Advanced Spine & Orthopedics
Finalists: Shay Smith, CEO, Therapy Heroes; Dr. Saam Zarrabi, CEO, Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics
MEDIA, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Category winner: Randall Meinen, CEO, Qualbe Marketing Group
Finalists: Kelly Massey, CEO, Grit Productions; Matt Bowman, CEO, Thrive Internet Marketing Agency
Category winner: Brent Tipps, CEO, BoomerJack’s Grill & Bar
Finalists: Brent Johnson, CEO, Rio Mambo; Dic Marxen, CEO, CCRA International
Category winner: Jamey Ice, CEO, 6th Ave Homes
Finalists: JP Piccinini, CEO, JP & Associates Realtors; Gary Vasseur, CEO, Vasseur Commercial Real Estate
Category winner: Gus S. Bates, CEO, Gus Bates Insurance and Investments
Finalists: Jason Forrest, CEO, Forrest Performance Group; Sunny Lowe, CEO, Blue Jean Networks
It was the magazine’s second annual Entrepreneur of Excellence competition. Eligibility criteria included ownership or lead of a business in the greater Fort Worth area, at least two years in business, and $1 million in annual sales. The revenue requirement did not apply to the Supporter of Entrepreneurship category, for which there was no minimum.
Entrants must have been CEOs or majority owners; two executives were allowed to be nominated for the same company if they held 50-50 ownership stakes. Two executives per entity were also allowed to be nominated in Supporter of Entrepreneurship.
The nominees were independently judged by 25 business leaders. The judges chose the finalists and category winners based on sales and profit growth, best practices, ethical business practices, innovation, perseverance and community involvment. The judges made their decisions in early November; the magazine’s ownership and staff had no input into their choices. The category winners’ identities were kept secret until they were revealed Thursday at the Fort Worth Club. There was no cost associated with applying for, or being considered for, this award.
Tony Ford, CEO of Success Fort Worth and a past Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, was the program director for the second straight year.
Sponsors of the 2018 Entrepreneur of Excellence competition: Whitley Penn, presenting sponsor; Origin Bank, supporting sponsor; and Frank Kent Cadillac, automobile sponsor.