Winners for the Midwest Region of the 33rd annual Ernst & Young U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year competition were announced June 12, with Indian Americans Dhruv Saxena and Sanjay Shah among those moving on to the national round.
A total of 10 entrepreneurs were announced by the region. Shah, of Vistex, was named the winner in the technology sector; Saxena, of ShipBob Inc., was named in the logistics and supply chain category.
Shah is the founder of Vistex, which he founded in 1999, and serves as its chief executive officer and chief architect. He brings a high level of passion, energy and skills to address complex business processes for global organizations, his bio notes.
Shah, a graduate of Lehigh University, has been instrumental in creating an entirely new category of business software called “Go-to-Market” programs and has charted a visionary path for Vistex that transcends the “business as usual” mindset.
Vistex provides enterprises with solutions that manage pricing, incentive, rebate, rights and royalty and channel programs to enhance business performance while reducing labor and infrastructure costs.
Saxena co-founded ShipBob, which is based in the greater Chicago, Illinois, area, in May 2014. The company, which employs somewhere between 200 and 500 employees, is a privately held technology company that offers simple, fast, and affordable fulfillment for e-commerce businesses.
As an end-to-end fulfillment solution, ShipBob provides warehousing and package delivery in one-to-two business days, with a network of fulfillment centers across the U.S. ShipBob’s software combines order and inventory management, customer communication, predictive insights, and optimized shipping for online merchants.
Prior to his time at ShipBob, Saxena was a software developer at InContext Solutions and an engineer at Lincoln Electric.
The Purdue University graduate, earning a bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering, served as an undergraduate research assistant from 2008 through 2009, and a research assistant from 2010 to 2012.
San Diego had announced its regional winners June 6, though none were of Indian or South Asian origin.
On June 13, the Mid-Atlantic, East Central and Florida regions announced their respective regional competition winners, with one Indian American and a Pakistani American among those advancing.
In the Mid-Atlantic Region, Pramod Sharma of Criterion Systems won in the cybersecurity category; the Florida Regional winners included Pakistani American Fred Hassan, chair of IM HealthScience, in the health category; no Indian Americans or South Asian Americans were named in the East Central region.
Sharma is the president and CEO of Criterion Systems. He co-founded the company in 2005 as a federal government contractor with a focus on providing cybersecurity services to three federal agencies. In 2018, Criterion was recognized as one of the fastest growing businesses in the DC region, delivering on the promise of his vision.
A serial entrepreneur, Sharma has enjoyed a successful career in the information technology industry. He has managed numerous mergers and acquisitions and led high growth IT services companies. Sharma is skilled at building strong, motivated teams and corporate cultures that achieve exceptional results, his bio notes.
Prior to founding Criterion Systems, Sharma served as president and CEO of CNSI, a government technology services and solutions company. He also co-founded ID DataWeb.
He is also the founder and CEO of Abolish Child Trafficking Now Inc., a humanitarian initiative that focuses on combating child trafficking in the Washington metropolitan area.
He obtained a B.S. in physics from Delhi University and a M.S. in finance from the London School of Economics.
Hassan has been CEO of three major global pharmaceutical companies and was chairman of Bausch & Lomb until 2013. Hassan has played varying roles at Warburg Pincus, including partner and managing director. Fred also served on the board of Time Warner from 2009 until its sale to AT&T in June 2018. He is presently a board member of Amgen (biotech) and Intrexon (synthetic biology).
Hassan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Imperial College London. After working in the fertilizer industry with an affiliate of Hercules Inc., he enrolled at Harvard and obtained an M.B.A. in 1972.