Eight Orange County business professionals have made it to the finalist round for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year awards for the Orange County/Desert Cities region. There are 15 honorees in total.
A panel of judges made up of members of the local business and academic communities selected the finalists, who include Liz McKinley, president and CEO of Pinnacle Petroleum in Huntington Beach, and Rajesh Shrotriya, CEO of Irvine-based Spectrum Pharmaceuticals.
The regional winners will be revealed during a gala held at the Hyatt Regency Irvine on June 17.
Awards are given to those individuals who stand out for their efforts in innovation, financial performance and commitment to their businesses and communities.
“Entrepreneurship is especially vital as our nation recovers from recession,” said Kim Letch, program director for the regional awards. “These finalists create jobs in our area, encouraging healthy growth, development and innovation in the local economy.”
Regional honorees will move on to the national awards in November, and the winner will then compete for the World Entrepreneur of the Year title.
Ernst & Young, which has local offices in Irvine, has held the program for the past 24 years, recognizing business leaders in more than 135 cities in 50 countries worldwide. It is the world's most prestigious honor for entrepreneurs.
Here's a breakdown of the local finalists:
Robert G. Funari, CEO and chairman, Crescent Healthcare Inc., Anaheim
Babak Ghaznavi, president, Paul’s TV LLC, Irvine
Liz McKinley, president and CEO, Pinnacle Petroleum, Huntington Beach
Rajesh Shrotriya, CEO, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Irvine
Gerald Fitch, president and CEO, Teridian Semiconductor Corp., Irvine
Hayes Drumwright, CEO, TRACE3, Irvine
Joseph John Duran, CEO, United Capital Financial Advisers, Newport Beach
Kirsten Mangers, founder and CEO, WebVisible Inc., Irvine
Andy Lee, CEO, Alorica, Chino
James D. Tuton, CEO, American Traffic Solutions Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.
Jeremy Freer, president and CEO, Angel Jet Services, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Deborah A. Weidenhamer, CEO, Auction Systems Auctioneers & Appraisers Inc., Phoenix, Ariz.
William A. Eckholm, president and CEO, FireTrace USA LLC, Scottsdale, Ariz.
James R. Schweikert, president and CEO, Liberty Distribution Co. LLC, Chandler, Ariz.
Chuck Vermillion, CEO, OneNeck IT Services, Scottsdale, Ariz.
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