INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, Nov. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Eric Lofquist, Founder of Magnus International Group, has been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Distribution and Manufacturing Category Award winner. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 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.
Lofquist was recognized for his reputation as an innovator in the sustainable products market, reshaping the way raw materials are recovered and repurposed into natural waxes and renewable fuels. He has garnered attention from many Fortune 500 companies who have publically announced their focus on aggressive sustainability goals. He was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. All Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from 244 regional award recipients.
"Entrepreneurs like Eric Lofquist see unmet needs and opportunities in the market and in so doing drive innovation and make significant contributions to our U.S. 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. "Lofquist's unique style and production expertise has broad appeal to companies' sustainability programs. He's leveraged his reputation as an innovator to help develop solutions for these companies so they can use their by-products in an environmentally sensitive and profitable manner."
Road to becoming an entrepreneur
For Lofquist, the road to becoming an entrepreneur began with careers at several large corporations, where he gained valuable experience as a fuel and energy consultant and learned more about chemical and environmental companies. However, it was at these big corporations he also learned that advancement was based more on years of service rather than performance or merit. It was this kind of culture that led Lofquist to believe he could start a business that not only filled a gap he saw in creating groundbreaking systems for recovering raw materials, but also maintained a world class company culture. Bringing 22 years of industry experience to Magnus, Lofquist created a company that is family business-minded when it comes to culture and big business visionary when it comes to creating sustainable products.
Encouraging investors to believe in the vision
Lofquist funded Magnus through a combination of personal finances and debt financing from regional banks. In the beginning it was difficult to convince banks and customers to believe in Magnus' capabilities and Lofquist's vision. However, a large return on invested capital allowed the company the ability to move beyond its focus on all-natural waxes and renewable fuels to produce, package and distribute custom, all-natural animal feeds for the dairy, cattle, poultry, swine and equine industries. Today, Magnus companies convert vegetable oils into natural, renewable materials used by some of the biggest brands in business-to-business and consumer products manufacturing, distribution and marketing.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Distribution and Manufacturing Category finalists
In addition to Lofquist, the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Distribution and Manufacturing finalists were: Larry Lukis, Chairman and Founder, and Brad Cleveland, President and CEO, Proto Labs, based in Maple Plain, Minn., a world-leading manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production; Mike Buchen, CEO, SKYDEX Technologies, Inc., based in Kansas City, Mo., is a solutions-based company focused on blast mitigation, cushioning, impact absorption and vibration reduction; and Daniel Jones, CEO, Encore Wire, based in McKinney, Texas, one of the nation's top manufacturers of electrical building wire.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Overall Award winner
Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani, was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Overall Award winner.
Video and photos
To view video clips of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit ey.com/us/eoy. Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
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.
About Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets practice
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SOURCE Ernst & Young