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Fifteen of the region’s top small businesses and nonprofit organizations have been named finalists in the 2012 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) program.

The announcement comes after the EIEA selection committee narrowed a field of 41 nominees from across Southern and Eastern Kentucky into groups of three finalists in each of the fiveEIEA business award categories.  

This year, the EIEA program added a fifth award category to recognize the achievements of young entrepreneurs (25 years of age or younger) in Southern and Eastern Kentucky who are operating a successful business venture.

The 2012 EIEA finalists and their respective award categories are:

Young Entrepreneur

  • Jared Sizemore, owner, Juggling Jared, Pineville, Ky.
  • Michael Todd Duff, owner, LowGap Outfitters, LLC, Hindman, Ky.
  • Hong Ren Zhang Durandal, founder and president, Energy Hunters, LLC, Berea, Ky.

 Start-Up Business

  • Nick Noble, owner, Park Mammoth Resort, Park City, Ky.
  • Shane Richmond, GM and owner, Wildcat Harley-Davidson, London, Ky.
  • Troy E. Lay, CEO, Alternative Energies Kentucky, LLC, Danville, Ky.

 For-Profit Small Business

  • Jeff Parmelee and Terry Randall, owners, Total Rehab Center, Somerset, Ky.
  • Shane Baker, president, CEO, and co-owner, Ferm Solutions, Inc., Danville, Ky.
  • Sarah Culbreth and Jeff Enge, owners/potters, Tater Knob Pottery and Farm, LLC, Berea, Ky.

For-Profit Business

  • Bob Hutchison & Tom Hutchison, owners, McDonald’s of East Kentucky, Paintsville, Ky.
  • Anthony and Julie Roberts, owners, Servpro of Pulaski and Laurel counties, LLC, London, Ky.
  • Masato Sugimura, president and owner, Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC, Stanford, Ky.

 Not-For-Profit Entity

  • Bobby W. Grant, president and CVO, Twin Lakes Family Wellness Center, Albany, Ky.
  • Grace Community Health Center, Gray, Ky.
  • Jeff Rubin, executive director, Body Recall, Inc., Berea, Ky.

The award recipient in each category will be announced and publicly recognized on Monday, Sept. 10, at a regional awards presentation and luncheon at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.All finalists—regardless if they are chosen as an award recipient—will also be recognized with in-depth business video profiles that will air during the ceremony.

The EIEA program—honoring excellence in entrepreneurship since 2001—recognizes small business leaders, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations in Southern and Eastern Kentucky for their efforts in exemplifying America’s spirit of entrepreneurship and playing an important role in growing the region’s economy.

Nominees are judged on the economic success of the enterprise, contributions to the community, job creation, and operational achievement as measured by innovative business practices, superior safety achievement, and superior technology.

The EIEA program is sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU) College of Business and Technology, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, The Center for Rural Development, and its newest partner, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED).