Leaders of nine Pittsburgh-area companies named regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year®; will now compete for national recognition

Ron Morris awarded Lifetime Achievement Award for his personal entrepreneurship and work mentoring local entrepreneurs.

Ernst & Young LLP is pleased to announce this year’s winners of the regional Entrepreneur Of The Year® program.  The awards recognize outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.  Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, and the awards were presented at a gala event today at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Pittsburgh.

 The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 regional winners are:

Industrial Solutions Category:

Bossa Nova Robotics  – Pittsburgh

Martin Hitch – Chief Executive Officer

Sarjoun Skaff, PhD – Chief Technology Officer

David Palmer – Chief Strategy Officer

Technology Category:

Confluence – Pittsburgh

Mark Evans – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Legacy Business Category:

Giant Eagle, Inc. – Pittsburgh

Laura Shapira Karet – Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer

Manufacturing & Construction Category:

Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. – State College

Daniel R. Hawbaker – President

Life Sciences Category

Knopp Biosciences, LLC – Pittsburgh

Michael E. Bozik, MD – President and Chief Executive Officer

Business Services Category:

Paris Companies – Du Bois

David Stern – President & CEO

Not-for-Profit Category:

St. Barnabas Health System – Gibsonia

William V. Day – President

Health Services Category:

The Tomayko Group – Pittsburgh

John R. Tomayko, PhD – President

eCommerce Category:

Wolfe, LLC – Pittsburgh

Jason Wolfe – President and Chief Executive Officer

“These individuals and organizations truly embody innovation by creating novel solutions to relevant problems faced by either businesses or consumers,” said Kevin Pickels, Program Director for the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In addition to the honorees, local entrepreneur and radio host Ron Morris was honored for his work with entrepreneur mentorship, as well as his own personal start-up successes.

“Ernst & Young is especially proud to honor Ron Morris,” said Pickels.  “He has added countless new jobs to our economy and has truly enriched our local community as a result.”

 For over thirty years Morris has followed his passion for entrepreneurship, and to date has successfully started several businesses in the Pittsburgh area.  Currently Morris actively sits on the Board of eight companies.  In addition to starting businesses, Morris has decided to share his passion for entrepreneurship with others.  In 2003, Duquesne University named Morris the Director of the Entrepreneurial Studies program, through which he has been able to bestow his wisdom upon hundreds of business students whom also share his passion for entrepreneurship.

In addition to his work at Duquesne University, Ron Morris is also known for his business-based talk radio show, The American Entrepreneur.  Since starting Entrepreneur, Morris has been able to evolve the talk show into a nationally syndicated radio broadcast; and has used the show’s success to create an all-business local radio station, WMMY 1360 AM.  Through these broadcasts, Morris has been able to advise and inspire thousands of individuals who are interested in starting their own businesses.

He has also provided insight for the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s TEQ magazine; and in addition to his work as a mentor and advisor for countless entrepreneurs, has provided startup capital for many local businesses as an active angel investor.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June, leading up to the national awards in November.  Additionally, venture-backed companies that win an Entrepreneur Of The Year Award regionally are eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Venture Capital Award Of Excellence. The overall U.S. winner then moves on to compete for the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in June.

This year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program celebrates its 25th anniversary.  The program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities and more than 50 countries throughout the world.  All regional honorees are invited to the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, hosted by Jay Leno on November 12, 2011, in Palm Springs, California. The gala is the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

*For more information on the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, please visit www.ey.com/us/strategicgrowthforum.

About the Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award

For the last 25 years, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Program has recognized outstanding business leaders who inspire others with their innovative vision and established track record of achievement. The program identifies, honors and supports those outstanding business leaders who excel in the following areas: financial performance, risk and commitment, innovation, relationships and community contributions.

However, in the world of business there are some who have achieved such great success that their efforts demand special recognition. The winners of this award have, over a sustained period of time, achieved entrepreneurial success through one outstanding venture or, in many cases, a series of entrepreneurial endeavors. They have built a significant presence in their business community and are admired not only for their business activities but also for the way they have inspired others through their mentorship and active engagement in community and philanthropic efforts.

 Sponsors

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.

In Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, sponsors include PNC Bank, ParenteBeard, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC, Smart Business Network and Bravo Group.

For more information about the program, please visit www.ey.com/us/eoy.

 About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award 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 award 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 140 cities in more than 50 countries.

 About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the US. For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com.

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a US client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.

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