Ironman 2? 11 area entrepreneurs competing in annual Ernst & Young business contest

Benferticceoworldtriathlongcorpironmanbriancassella Wake up and good morning. What's this? Our own Tampa entrepreneur, Ben Fertic, is starring in Ironman 2? You could say that, since the CEO of World Triathlon Corp., which controls the global Ironman triathlon brand, is back for a second shot as a regional finalist competing for the annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 awardin Florida. (Fertic photo by Brian Cassella of the St. Petersburg Times.)

In fact, Fertic is one of 11 finalists from west Florida and one of 27 statewide vying in various categories for entrepreneur recognition in the Ernst & Young contest. Award recipients will be revealed at a gala event on Thursday, June 10, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. A national contest then takes place in Palm Springs, Calif.

Here are all 11 regional finalists in the competition.:

* Distribution, Manufacturing and Defense category - Gregory Celestan, chairman and chief executive officer, Celestar Corp., Tampa
* Emerging category – Chad W. Dudeck, president and chief executive officer, Geo-Logical, Inc., Port Richey
* Financial Services category – Mike Gottfried, chief operating officer; Manish Gupta, chief technology officer; Pete Kirtland, president; James Olson, chief marketing officer, ASPire Financial Services, St. Petersburg
* Health Services category – Dr. A.K. Desai, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Universal Health Care Group, Inc., St. Petersburg
* Health Services category – Jason Patchen, chief executive officer, American Healthcare Holdings, Inc., Tampa
* Health Services category – Ron Roma, chief executive officer and owner, Healthesystems, Inc., Tampa
* Marketing, Media and Entertainment category – Benjamin C. Fertic, chief executive officer, World Triathlon Corp., Tampa
Joygendusapostcardmaniadouglasclifford * Marketing, Media and Entertainment category – Joy Gendusa, chief executive officer, PostcardMania, Clearwater. (Gendusa photo, right, by Douglas Clifford of the St. Petersburg Times.)
* Real Estate and Construction Services category – Jose Morales, chief executive officer, J2 Engineering, Inc., Tampa
* Services category – Michael K. Ferris, president and chief executive officer, Valet Waste, Tampa
* Services category – Darryl Shaw, chief executive officer, and Dr. Neil Shaw, chief medical officer, BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Tampa

Here's Venture blog's coverage of the Ernst & Young competition last year, starting with 2009's ten area finalists and the four regional winners. Good luck to the area's 11 in 2010. 

--  Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:27pm]

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