Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Gulf Coast Area Award Winners Announced

Exemplary entrepreneurs were honored at program's 25th anniversary gala

Jun 23, 2011, 09:00 ET from Ernst & Young

HOUSTON, June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ernst & Young LLP is pleased to announce the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Gulf Coast Area Award winners. This group of leading entrepreneurs was selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous winners of the award, leading CEOs, private capital investors and other regional business leaders. The winners were revealed at a gala event on June 22, 2011 at Houston InterContinental Hotel.

"Ernst & Young has honored outstanding entrepreneurs like this year's winners for the past 25 years," said Todd Zuspan, Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur Of The Year Gulf Coast Area Program Director. "These business leaders have accomplished so much and contributed a tremendous amount to the community. They give us hope for what the next 25 years of entrepreneurs will bring."

The Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Award winners are:

  • Kirk Headley, President, American Pollution Control Corporation
  • John Hoffman, CEO & President, Black Elk Energy, LLC
  • Don Byrne, CEO, Byrne Medical, Inc.
  • David Walstad, President, General Plastics & Composites, L.P.
  • Kemal Farid, CEO, Merrick Systems
  • Charles Davidson, Chairman & CEO, Noble Energy, Inc.
  • William "Kip" Schumacher, MD, Chairman & CEO, Schumacher Group
  • Beth Williams, CEO, TechTrans International
  • M.B. "Flip"  Flippen, President and Susan Flippen, CEO, The Flippen Group

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 also eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Venture Capital Award of Excellence on a national level. The overall National US 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. Awards are given to entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

All regional honorees are invited to the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala, 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


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 the Gulf Coast Area, sponsors include Fullbright & Jaworski L.L.P., Lockton Companies, SAP, SolomonEdwardsGroup LLC, HFBE, Smart Business Magazine and Pierpont Communications.

For more information about the program, please visit

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.

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

SOURCE Ernst & Young