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Ernst & Young Announces the Independent Judging Panel for Florida Entrepreneur Of the Year(R) Awards 2013

TAMPA, Fla., March 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ernst & Young LLP has announced the 2013 independent judging panel for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida Program.

"Our panel of nine judges includes a diverse group of highly accomplished individuals from a variety of industries – many of them entrepreneurs in their own right," said Greg Rosica, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida Program Partner. "Many have won the Florida Entrepreneur Of The Year award in the past and understand what it takes to be an innovator and entrepreneur, especially in a challenging economy."

Judges who select the Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida finalists and award recipients are all Florida business leaders, including previous award recipients, leading CEOs and private capital investors. This year's award recipients will be announced at the annual awards gala on June 13 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

The judges are:

Gregory Celestan

Chairman and CEO

Celestar Corporation

Tampa

Denise E. Dickins, Ph.D.

Director

Watsco Inc., Steiner Leisure Limited and Auxis, Inc.

Associate Professor

East Carolina University

West Palm Beach

Michael M. Earley

Immediate past Chairman and CEO

Metropolitan Health Networks, Inc.

Boca Raton

Jay Freeland

President and CEO

FARO Technologies, Inc.

Lake Mary

Michael K. Ferris

Founder and Chairman

Valet Waste, LLC

Tampa

Mindy Grossman

CEO HSN, Inc.

Clearwater

Steven T. Halverson

President and CEO

The Haskell Company

Jacksonville

Mark A. Llano

President and CEO

Source One Distributors, Inc.

Wellington

Darryl Shaw

CEO

BluePearl Veterinary Partners

Tampa

Now in its 27th year, the national program has recognized the leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Arthur M. Blank of AMB Group, LLC (Home Depot, Atlanta Falcons), Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris Steak House, Maxine Clark of Build-a-Bear, Tom Adams of Rosetta Stone, Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn and Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani.

Awards criteria

Entrepreneurs eligible for consideration include not only company founders, but also leaders of multi-generation family businesses and transformational public and private company CEOs. Additionally, the nominee's company must be at least three years old (two years old for Emerging category nominees). Self-nominations are encouraged, and there is no fee. The deadline for nominations has been extended to March 22, 2013.

For information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards please visit www.ey.com/us/florida_eoy.

To nominate a candidate, please visit: https://eoy-nomination.ey.com/LoginManagement/Welcome.aspx.

Sponsors

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Florida platinum sponsors include Carlton Fields, Fifth Third Bank, Tribridge and Vaco; silver sponsors RFB Communications Group and Scherzer International and media sponsor Smart Business Network.

Contact information

For more information about the program, please contact Beverly Eha, Ernst & Young Florida program manager at beverly.eha@ey.com or visit www.ey.com/us/florida_EOY. Information is also available at www.ey.com/us/eoy.

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's Strategic Growth Markets practice

Ernst & Young's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. Ernst & Young is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets, or follow news on Twitter at EY_Growth.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 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. For more information, please visit ey.com.

CONTACT: Suzie Boland RFB Communications Group 813-259-0345 sboland@rfbcommunications.comSource:Ernst & Young LLP

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