July 1, 2012

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Article

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year

Candace Little

July 1, 2012

 “It’s all become so much more than we could have ever imagined in the beginning,” says Budge. “We started off with an idea to build a shelf that would help people rotate cans of food. Now with an extensive product line, rapid growth and international expansion, a powerful charity, and a team we couldn’t have dreamed of, our vision for the future is so much more impactful and meaningful.” 

HOSPITALITY AND SERVICES
Dave Rutter & Sean Collins
Owners, Costa Vida

Dave Rutter and Sean Collins are the winning team behind Costa Vida. When the two purchased the Mexican grill franchise in 2009, the restaurant had little presence in the state. Rutter and Collins worked to build the company’s brand and today it has become a household name. In 2010, the team began selling franchises and in just two quarters 250 locations were sold. Currently the corporation owns and operates eight restaurants, employing 195 team members, in addition to the 33 other Costa Vida restaurants owned by franchisees.

“I have had to sacrifice doing things the easy way,” Collins says. “In order to succeed in any business you need to push yourself to do the best you can…every time.” But that’s not to say you can’t enjoy it. “Success is a journey,” he says. “Make the journey fun.” Collins and Rutter pass on this sentiment to their employees, who worked toward an incentive cruise to the Western Caribbean in February 2012.

Dan Caffee, CEO
Shaun Ritchie, CFO
Neutron Interactive

Shaun Ritchie, CFO of Neutron Interactive, says being an entrepreneur is being at the right place at the right time with the right skill set and being willing to give it a try. “If you’re always looking for ways to make things better and then getting out there and doing it, that’s what being an entrepreneur is.”

Dan Caffee, CEO, says he would have been a rock star or an actor if he had the looks for it—but he tried business instead. “I really love what I do. Every day there are new opportunities and challenges so I never get bored,” he says. “And I still keep a guitar in my office just in case.”

From college roommates to entrepreneurs, these two men have created an online marketing company, supplying leads to more than 10,000 campuses and online universities throughout the United States and Canada.

Bob Wheaton
President and General Manager, Deer Valley Resort

Since 1981, Bob Wheaton has made an irreversible impact on Deer Valley, working under many titles, including building maintenance supervisor, vice president of operations and president. He has helped the resort through ski industry ups and downs, overseen improvements and investments worth more than $120 million and has led the resort to its ranking as the No. 1 resort in North America by SKI magazine five years in a row.

Wheaton says he asked himself more than once if he had the skill set necessary for his leadership role, but soon realized he wasn’t in it alone. “Everyone here at Deer Valley is so talented professionally and so caring on the personal side that I know as a team we can accomplish the loftiest goals,” he says. “So far, so good, but everyone also knows that we cannot rest on yesterday’s achievements and we need to continue to strive for improvement on what we do.”

REAL ESTATE
Jeffrey Edison
Principal, Phillips Edison & Company; Co-chairman
& CEO, Philips Edison ARC Shopping Center REIT

Phillips Edison & Company invests in and revitalizes under-managed or mismanaged grocery anchored centers. It’s a pretty specific niche, but one Jeffrey Edison, principal, is confident being in. Since investing in their first shopping center in 1992, Edison and his partner, Mike Phillips, have raised several funds, doubled the company’s size overnight by acquiring another real estate portfolio, and now employ more than 200 people in several offices. Their management  portfolio extends across more than 26 million square feet of neighborhood shopping centers across the country. 

Edison’s business model revolves around “3 Ps”—people, partners and properties—which the company claims sets it apart from its peers, creating a culture of creativity, innovation, fun hard work and enthusiasm. Edison firmly believes in giving everyone an opportunity for growth and success. He implemented PECO University, a professional development program that provides free training and development opportunities for all associates at the company.

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