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EY names three Marylanders Entrepreneur of the Year

Three Maryland businessmen have been named Mid-Atlantic region winners of Ernst and Young’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year award.

The award honors entrepreneurs for innovations and solutions that redefine their industries, the firm said.

“Our independent panel of judges, made up of past award winners and other business leaders, determine the Entrepreneur Of The Year Award recipients and finalists each year,” said Denise Dodson, a co-director and partner of the Entrepreneur of the Year program. “They look at a number of criteria including innovation, financial performance, management style, global and community impact and, of course, how these individuals embody the entrepreneurial spirit.”

Dan Simons, Jeff Hargrave and Wayne Jackson were Maryland’s award winners.

Simons, a restaurateur, started VSAG in 2004 with Michael Vucurevich and formed Farmers Restaurant Group, also with Vucurevich, in 2011. The Founding Farmers restaurants have locations in Maryland, Washington, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Baltimore’s Hargrave started Mahogany, Inc. 27 years ago. The company focused initially on furnishing and installing high-end millwork but has expanded to include specialized general contracting services. Its sales gross about $12 million annually.

Fulton’s Wayne Jackson founded Sonatype. There, he launched the Nexus platform, used by more than 10 million developers to govern the quality of open-source components.

As regional winners, these businesses qualify for awards in national categories, including the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Overall National Award. That award will be announced Nov. 10, 2018.

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year program is a global program in more than 145 cities and 60 countries. The firm said the program encourages entrepreneurial activity and rewards people who inspire others.

“EY has been recognizing leading entrepreneurs who do things differently for more than three decades,” Debra von Storch, EY Americas Entrepreneur of the Year Program Director, said in a statement.

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