CEO Bret Biggart named finalist in EY’s 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year awards

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CEO Bret Biggart named finalist in EY’s 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year awards

Originally posted on Austin Business Journal.

This year, EY named 45 executives from 40 companies as finalists in the Gulf South Region, which includes Central and South Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The awards are a prestigious honor for self-made business leaders.

The finalists from Austin, listed in alphabetical order by company, are:

Peter Wang, CEO and co-founder, Anaconda
Amber Glassman, CEO and co-founder, Bryan Anthonys
Omair Tariq, CEO and co-founder,
Armir Harris, founder and CEO, CharterUp
Neha Sampat, founder and CEO, Contentstack Inc.
Brett Hurt, CEO and co-founder,
Dean Drako, founder and CEO, Eagle Eye Networks
Bret Biggart, CEO, Freedom Solar Power
Joyce Durst, CEO, Growth Acceleration Partners
Johann Moonesinghe, CEO and co-founder, inKind Cards Inc.
Arran Stewart, chief visionary officer,
Prasad Gundumogula, co-founder, CEO and chairman, Mondee Holdings Inc.
Allison Ellsworth, co-founder and chief brand officer, and Stephen Ellsworth, founder and chief product officer, Poppi
Tom Weber, CEO, Removery
Mike Rypka, CEO and founder, Torchy’s Tacos (Success Foods Management Group LLC)
Mathias Ihlenfeld, CEO, Woom Bikes USA
Ross Buhrdorf, CEO and founder, ZenBusiness

Listed in alphabetical order by company, the Houston-area finalists

Brooks Bassler, founder and CEO, BB’s Tex-Orleans (Houston)
Carlos De Aldecoa, president, Cadeco Industries & Affiliated Cos. (Houston)
Derek Maetzold, founder, president and CEO, Castle Biosciences Inc. (Friendswood)
Keith Smith, president and co-founder, and Mark D. Walker, CEO, co-founder and chairman, Direct Digital Holdings (Houston)
Mohammad A. Millwala, CEO, DM Clinical Research (Houston)
Hardy Murchison, president and CEO, Encino Energy LLC (Houston)
Craig Taylor, CEO and founder, Iapetus Holdings LLC (Houston)

Steve Altemus, president and CEO, Intuitive Machines Inc. (Houston)
Christopher Anderson, founder and CEO, Ledge Lounger Inc. (Katy)
Ludmila Golovine, president and CEO, MasterWord Services Inc. (Houston)
Eduardo J. Morales, CEO and president, Mexcor International (Houston)
Roger W. Jenkins, president and CEO, Murphy Oil Corp. (Houston)
William Pate, CEO, Par Pacific Holdings Inc. (Houston)
Cody Nath, president and CEO, Refined Technologies (Spring)
Chris Howard, president and CEO, Softeq Development Corp (Houston)
Gaurab Chakrabarti, CEO and co-founder, and Sean Hunt, cofounder and chief technology officer, Solugen (Houston)
Daryl Dudum, founder and co-CEO, and Matthew Haddad, founder and co-CEO, Specialty1 Partners (Houston)
Trevor Best, CEO and co-founder, Syzygy Plasmonics (Houston)
Michael Wilson, president and CEO, Vibrantz Technologies (Houston)
John Magee, president and CEO, VLS Environmental Solutions (Houston)
Ting Qiao, CEO and co-founder, Wan Bridge Group (Houston)
Finalists outside Texas are:
Mo Vij, president and CEO, 365Labs (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Chad Kalland, CEO, and Kenny Rouse, president and founder, Vecta
Environmental Services LLC (Gonzales, Louisiana)

Over the most recent three-year period, the 2023 Gulf South finalists’ companies generated nearly $19 billion in revenue and experienced an average of 142% revenue growth, according to EY. They also employed more than 26,000 people in 2022, up 91% on average over the most recent three-year period. A panel of independent judges selected the finalists “based on their demonstration of long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact, among other core contributions and attributes,” EY said. “This year’s finalists are ambitious entrepreneurs set on transforming their industries and communities,” said Anna Tallent, Gulf South program co-director and assurance partner at EY.

“They have been carefully selected by our independent panel of judges for their unwavering commitment to their companies, customers and communities, and we are thrilled to recognize them.” Winners will be announced at an awards event June 15. They will then be considered for the Entrepreneur of the Year National Awards, which will be presented in November at the annual Strategic Growth Forum. The overall winner of the national awards will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in June 2024. Last year, the Gulf South Region was called the Central South Region. Prior to that, Central Texas was separate from what was then known as the Gulf Coast Area.

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