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Local Business Leaders Receive Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards


San Diego has a significant share of the state’s entrepreneurs, key drivers of the region’s continued healthy economic growth and job creation. The Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 awards, which celebrates individuals building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses worldwide, recently presented this prestigious business award to six local entrepreneurs.

Award recipients were recognized at a gala event, hosted by award-winning journalist and KUSI News co-anchor Sandra Mass at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar hotel. Pictured above (from left) are: JP McNeill and Nick Fergis, Renovate America Inc; David Inns, GreatCall; Donald Ankeny, Westcore Properties; Dr. Gene Lay, BioLegend; and Ben Hemminger, Fashionphile.

This event marked the 30th anniversary of the awards, which recognize "excellence and extraordinary success” in innovation, financial performance and commitment to their businesses and communities. Some past San Diego winners include company leaders of, SkinMedica, Rady Children’s Hospital, Illumina, ViaSat, Stone Brewing and Qualcomm. This year’s winners, selected by an independent panel of former recipients, private capital investors and other regional business leaders, employ more than 2,600 people and are a major source of innovation and economic growth in San Diego, driving aggregate revenue of more than half a billion dollars.

The winners are:

  • Real Estate and Renewable Energy Donald Ankeny, president/CEO of Westcore Properties, a San Diego-based commercial real estate investment firm focused on institutional scale office and industrial assets nationwide;
  • Life SciencesDr. Gene Lay, CEO of BioLegend, a global provider of cutting-edge antibodies and reagents for biomedical research based in SD;
  • Financial ServicesJP McNeill, co-founder/CEO, and Nick Fergis, co-founder and COO, of Renovate America, a SD lender that provides homeowners affordable financing for energy-efficiency improvements;
  • Tech Service – CEO David Inns, Great Call, a SD-based provider of easy-to-use cellphones and one-button urgent response devices designed to help keep elderly and disabled users safe, connected and healthy;
  • Consumer Products Ben Hemminger, president of Fashionphile, a secondary market retailer of luxury handbags, based in Carlsbad.

The EY Awards are sponsored nationally by SAP America, Merrill Corp and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The local event was sponsored by Cooley LLP, Lockton Insurance Brokers, Cresa San Diego, Ballard Spahr, and Allison+Partners.