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Toledo firm designated 1 of top small businesses

Judges honor its CEO as entrepreneur of year

Kim-Kaplan

Kim Kaplan, president and chief operating officer of K-Limited Carrier Ltd. in Toledo.

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K-Limited Carrier Ltd., a growing Toledo transport company, has been recognized as one of the top small businesses in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan by accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.

Kimberly Kaplan, president and chief operating officer of K-Limited, was one of 10 executives -- and the only one from the Toledo area -- who received Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award last week during a presentation in Detroit.

The firm specializes in transporting liquid chemicals for such customers as Jones-Hamilton Co. of Walbridge and PBF Toledo Refining Co. K-Limited reported sales of $14.5 million last year, and expects to reach $16.75 million in 2011, Ms. Kaplan said.

"In our opinion, the economy has cranked up," said Ms. Kaplan, who has more than 90 employees.

A panel of judges, made up of CEOs, business leaders, and past award winners, chose this year's recipients based on such criteria as financial performance, innovative business strategies, and community involvement, said Lisa Bower, director of marketing for Ernst & Young in Detroit.

Ms. Kaplan stood out to this year's panel, Ms. Bower said, in part because of K-Limited's growth in the liquid transport industry. The company believes it is the largest woman-owned liquid bulk carrier in the United States.

"She is a woman in an industry that is traditionally male, and she has really had a lot of success in that industry," Ms. Bower said.

Ms. Kaplan said K-Limited has grown because of new customers and increased sales from existing clients, who are rebounding from the recession. The company opened a Cincinnati office in August to handle additional business.

K-Limited hopes to reach sales of $22 million to $25 million in the next five years, and is considering whether to make an acquisition in the next year, Ms. Kaplan said.

Executives from K-Limited will attend Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala on Nov. 12 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Contact Sheena Harrison at: sharrison@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.

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