The competition is heating up in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year O.C. program, with 15 professionals – including 13 local individuals – in the final running for the coveted title, which will be revealed during a gala event next month.
Among this year's finalists: Neel Grover of Aliso Viejo-based Buy.com, Praful Kulkarni of Irvine-based gkkworks and Dr. Joseph Pham of Costa Mesa-based QSC Audio Products LLC. The honorees were narrowed down from a field of 29 semifinalists in the O.C., Inland Empire and Las Vegas areas based on their achievements in innovation, financial performance and their dedication to their businesses and local communities.
“These finalists create jobs in our area, encouraging community development and innovation in our broader economy,” said Kim Letch, Entrepreneur of the Year Orange County program director. “No matter who wins on June 11, we know one thing for sure – Orange County is enriched by every one of these finalists.”
This year's regional winners will be honored during a ceremony set for June 11 at The Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach. The national award gala will follow in November, and the winner will go on to vie for the World Entrepreneur of the Year title. In total, the program, now in its 25th year, honors execs in more than 140 cities and more than 50 countries.
Here's a look at this year's O.C. program finalists:
• Neel Grover, Buy.com, Aliso Viejo
• Ronald Andrews, Clarient Inc., Aliso Viejo
• Puneet Nanda, Dr. Fresh Inc., Buena Park
• Praful Kulkarni, gkkworks, Irvine
• Richard Heard, Insight Investments LLC, Orange
• Anant Desai, Interface Rehab Inc., Placentia
• Reynolds Bish, Kofax, Irvine
• Heath Clarke, Local.com, Irvine
• Steven Brown, Nexgen Pharma Inc., Irvine
• Wade Olson, Precept, Irvine
• Dr. Joseph Pham, QSC Audio Products LLC, Costa Mesa
• Dr. Rajesh Shrotriya, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., Irvine
• Richard Ham, US Lighting Tech, Irvine
Inland Empire-area honorees:
• Linda Reyes Stone, APR Consulting Inc., Diamond Bar
• Mohan Tavorath, Walz Group, Temecula
'OC METRO Minute,' May 11: Ernst & Young names finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year
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