Four Toledo-area businessmen have been chosen to represent northwest Ohio in this year's Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
To compete June 9 in Dearborn are:
●Tom Brady, founder and chief executive officer of Plastic Technologies Inc. in Springfield Township, a manufacturer of a type of plastic used in beverage and household-product bottling. Mr. Brady received the Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1989 but the judges decided the company has grown so much that he merited a second award.
●Willie Geiser, founder and president of Allshred Services Inc., a document destruction firm in Monclova Township. The company ranks in the country's top 10 to 15 secure shredding companies by revenue.
●Michael Hart, president and CEO of Hart Associates, a Maumee marketing and communication firm with 60 employees, where sales have grown 100 percent since Mr. Hart took over after the death of his father, Tom, in 1998.
●Patrick Hylant, chairman and CEO of Hylant Group, an insurance and risk management company in downtown Toledo that Mr. Hylant took over from his father in 1981. Under Patrick Hylant's leadership, company revenue has increased by 2,600 percent.
Their names were announced last night at a reception at the Inverness Club.
Ernst & Young, national sponsor of the awards for nearly two decades, combined eight local programs into four regional ones this year. Toledo is now in the Central Great Lakes region, which also includes metro Detroit.
Eight nominees from northwest Ohio competed with several dozen nominees from southeast Michigan and the greater Detroit area. In addition to the four entrepreneurs from the Toledo area, 26 from the greater Detroit area were selected to go on to Dearborn, for a competition for 10 spots in the national event in Palm Springs, Calif., in November.
"This raised the price of poker on our entrepreneurs but we found our finalists competed very well with nominees from eastern Michigan," said Larry Davenport, the Ernst & Young partner who has overseen the local program since its start in 1989.
The other four entrepreneurs named as finalists for the Toledo area region are Fred R. Burkhart, president and CEO of TTXE Inc., a wholesaler of automotive parts in Rossford; Kathleen M. Krueger, president and chief operating officer of Kenakore Solutions in Perrysburg, which manages the flow of supplies and inventory for independent manufacturers; Gregory A. Jurger, president, co-founder, and a managing director of Greater Ohio Ethanol LLC, of Lima, which builds ethanol plants; and Carol Wedding, president of Toledo's Imaging Systems Technology, which specializes in the design of flat panel displays.
Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at