A Catalyst for Economic Change: Timothy Sullivan, Former President and CEO of Bucyrus International, Inc., Named Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Distribution and Manufacturing Award Winner

Sullivan honored for bringing company from the brink of bankruptcy to world-class status while creating local jobs

Nov 13, 2011, 02:34 ET from Ernst & Young

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. , Nov. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Timothy Sullivan, former President and CEO of Bucyrus International, Inc., was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Distribution and Manufacturing Award winner. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.  

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Sullivan was recognized for transforming Bucyrus International, Inc. from a cash-poor company on life support to a world-class leader in the mining equipment industry. The company's turnaround attracted the attention of Caterpillar Inc., which acquired the company earlier this year for more than $8 billion. Sullivan was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, California. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from approximately 300 regional award recipients.  

"Entrepreneurs like Tim Sullivan are not only dedicated to starting businesses for their own achievement, but they also see the importance of making significant contributions to their communities and our US economy by harnessing the skilled workforce in their own backyard to create local jobs," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. "Tim Sullivan has done just that by expanding Bucyrus' manufacturing footprint and building a state-of-the-art facility in the Midwest, as opposed to moving production overseas like several of his competitors. Given the fact that he has been addressing one of our country's most pressing needs of the day, job creation, he is very deserving of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award."

A rocky beginning

When Sullivan stepped back in to save Bucyrus two years after leaving, the company was so cash poor that it needed to review cash flows daily and treat each week as if it were a full financial year. He and his executive staff didn't know from week to week if they would have payroll funds. In his first week, he had to reduce the workforce from 1,400 to 480 in order to avoid bankruptcy. Middle management was completely eliminated and there were essentially three executives working directly with manufacturing, sales and accounting. However, with the chips down, they developed a work style responsive to the need for constant fiscal oversight that also allowed them to make quick decisions without bureaucracy.

Bucyrus has come a long way from the brink. The 480-person workforce it employed in 2000 has grown to 10,000, and Sullivan has transformed the business culture at Bucyrus and has empowered everyone from executives to union workers.  

Attracting a world-class leader

Sullivan attributes the acquisition by Caterpillar partly due to Bucyrus' decentralized approach to business management and the empowerment of employees, giving them the freedom to adapt quickly and make smart decisions. Bucyrus has recently been acquired by Caterpillar, in a transaction that has made Bucyrus' operations the global mining headquarters of Caterpillar. This transaction will help the company grow to new heights, giving it a larger footprint and expanded diversity in products so that it can increase market share.

National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Distribution and Manufacturing finalists:

In addition to Sullivan, the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Distribution and Manufacturing finalists were: William A. Eckholm, President and CEO of Firetrace International, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, maker of fire protection technology that automatically detects and suppresses a fire where it begins so that a small fire cannot grow into a big problem; Henry W. Knueppel, Chairman and CEO of Regal Beloit Corporation of Beloit, Wisconsin, a leading manufacturer of electrical and mechanical motion control products, serving an expansive array of markets from heavy industry to high technology; President and CEO Abe N. Reichental and CTO and EVP Charles Hull of 3D Systems Corporation, a global company based in Rock Hill, South Carolina, delivering advanced solid imaging solutions to every major market around the world.

National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Overall Award winners

Reid Hoffman, Chairman, and Jeff Weiner, CEO, of LinkedIn Corporation were named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Overall Award winners.

Video and photos

To view video clips of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners, please visit http://www.ey.com/US/en/About-us/Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year

Photos of the winners are also available by request.


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.

About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year

Ernst & Young's 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 50 countries.

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SOURCE Ernst & Young