EY taps seven Va. biz leaders as mid-Atlantic entrepreneurs of year
Regional honorees to compete for national award
Seven Virginia business leaders have been named winners of Ernst & Young LLP’s Mid-Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2023.
The winners, named Friday by the Big Four multinational professional services company, include:
- Aptive Resources | Rachele Cooper, founder and CEO, Alexandria
- Cuisine Solutions Inc. | Felipe Hasselmann, CEO and president, Sterling
- Foster Fuels Inc. | Watt Foster Jr., CEO and president, Brookneal
- Groundworks | Matt Malone, founder and CEO, Virignia Beach
- Joyebells | Joye B. Moore, founder and CEO, Richmond
- ShiftMed | Todd Walrath, founder and CEO, McLean
- Stori | Bin Chen, founder and CEO, Arlington County
Altogether, EY presented Mid-Atlantic Enterpreneur of the Year Awards to 11 entrepreneurs from Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Awards were based on demonstration of building long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact, as well as other attributes. Finalists for the Mid-Atlantic awards were announced in May.
“Every year, we are completely blown away by the accomplishments of our Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Award winners, and 2023 is no different,” AJ Jordan, EY Americas Entrepreneur Of The Year program director, said in a statement. “They are change-makers and champions of business and community, and we are so proud to be honoring them. We can’t wait to see how these leaders will continue to improve lives and disrupt industries.”
Presented since 1986, EY’s entrepreneur awards have recognized more than 11,000 U.S. executives. Regional winners will be considered by national judges for the U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, and that winner will compete for the World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in June 2024.
Aptive Resources, a government services firm that provides mission support for programs across the government, is led by Cooper, a Navy veteran and aerospace engineer. The company was ranked No. 565 on Inc. 5000’s list of the nation’s fastest growing privately held companies last year.
Cuisine Solutions, a sous vide manufacturing business based in Sterling, sent truckloads of food to Ukraine last year. The company’s clients include Starbucks Coffee Co., United Airlines Inc., McLean-based Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp.
“On behalf of our thousands of employees worldwide at Cuisine Solutions, I am honored to be acknowledged as the CEO of one of the most entrepreneurial companies in the region by the Ernst & Young team,” Hasselmann said in a statement provided to Virginia Business. “At our company, it has always been a team effort and outcome, and I am incredibly thankful for the passion and dedication I witness every day. My focus, as with all my colleagues, is to continue to transform the culinary marketplace and expand our role as the global leader in sous vide food manufacturing. The future is incredibly bright for our company, as well as the art and science of sous vide.”
Foster Fuels, established in 1921, provides residential, commercial, agricultural, transport and emergency fuel services. Based in Campbell County, the company has more than 200 employees and has responded to major disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2021 Texas ice storm and Hurricane Ian, according to the company. It also provides support to Fortune 500 companies.
“It’s with great pride that the entire Foster Fuels team celebrates President and CEO Watt Foster’s 2023 EY Mid-Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year award,” Cameron Anctil, the company’s vice president of marketing, said. “As a third-generation owner of Foster Fuels, Watt Foster carries on a strong legacy of entrepreneurial leadership with forward-thinking focus on innovation.”
Virginia Beach-based Groundworks is a foundation services and water management solutions provider comprised of 21 brands and with offices across the country. Founded by Malone in 2016, it made the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately owned companies. This year, it has expanded to five new markets and now employs more than 4,000 workers.
“This honor is the result of a team effort and should be shared by the entire company,” Malone said in a statement. “Great companies are built by great people, and I’m proud to serve the men and women who have dedicated themselves to the Groundworks mission.”
Moore founded Joyebells in 2019 after a layoff. She’s a sixth-generation sweet potato pie baker, and spent 30 years baking pies to give as gifts during the holidays, according to a 2021 profile in Southern Living magazine. She started off selling pies in Richmond; Food Lion, Sam’s Club and QVC now carry her pies and the company projected $10.4 million revenue in 2022, according to the Richmond-Times Dispatch.
ShiftMed is a mobile app that gives nurses and health care providers the ability to schedule shifts with more than 1,500 partners across the country. The software company, founded by Walrath in 2019, landed at No. 1,713 on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list. The company announced in February that it had raised $200 million to expand its footprint.
“Being named one of EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners is one of my proudest moments of my career. This award is meaningful to me as it recognizes the collective efforts, dedication and impact of my entrepreneurship journey to improving the future of healthcare,” Walrath told Virginia Business. “It is an honor to stand alongside many prominent business leaders in Virginia who have made remarkable contributions to their respective fields. This prestigious recognition serves as a reminder of the power of perseverance, innovation and the unwavering belief in the transformative potential of entrepreneurship.”
Stori is a financial tech company co-founded by CEO Chen in 2018 that us seeking to her the underbanked population in Latin America. In 2022, the company announced it had a $150 million financing round, bringing its value up to $1.2 billion.