On May 3, 2022, Aaron Shilts was featured in the Business Journals article 21 Twin Cities Executives Named Regional Finalists for EY’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Preview the article below, or read the full article online.


Twenty-one leaders of Twin Cities companies are finalists for Ernst & Young’s 2022 Entrepreneur Of The Year award for its seven-state “Heartland” region.

The Minnesota executives dominated EY’s recently unveiled list of 28 finalists from a region that also includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

EY will name the winners in June, then pick national winners in the fall.

The Heartland region finalists, with titles gleaned from LinkedIn and company websites, are:

  • Sam Anderson, president and CEO, Bay & Bay, based in Eagan
  • Jeff Crivello, CEO of BBQ Holdings Inc., based in Hopkins
  • Dave Perrill, CEO at Compute North, based in Eden Prairie
  • Subodh Kulkarni, president and CEO, CyberOptics Corp., based in Golden Valley
  • Barry McCarthy, president and CEO, Deluxe Corp., based in Minneapolis
  • Scott Lien, CEO and co-founder, GrandPad, based in Hopkins
  • Lili Hall, president and CEO Knock Inc, based in Minneapolis
  • Christine Lantinen, president and owner of Maud Borup Inc., based in Plymouth
  • Aaron Shilts, president and CEO, NetSPI, based in Minneapolis
  • Thompson Aderinkomi, CEO and co-founder, Nice Healthcare Management Co. Inc., based in Roseville
  • Clifton Kaehler, CEO, Novel Energy Solutions, based in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • David Saber, chairman and CEO, Park State Bank, based in Minneapolis
  • Tyrre Burks, founder and CEO, Player’s Health, based in Minneapolis
  • Brian Murray, CEO of Ryan Cos. US Inc., based in Minneapolis
  • Eric Hall, CEO, and Rita Katona, board chair, chief brand & innovation officer, So Good So You, based in Minneapolis
  • Barry Nordstrand, retired CEO, Solutran, based in Plymouth
  • Chad Hetherington, CEO, The Stable Group, based in Minneapolis
  • Chris Metz, CEO, Vista Outdoor, based in Anoka
  • Jason Von Bank, president and CEO, Wellbeats, based in Golden Valley
  • Bret Weiss, president and CEO, WSB, based in Golden Valley

Nominees for the award are evaluated based on six criteria: entrepreneurial leadership; talent management; degree of difficulty; financial performance; societal impact and building a values-based company; and originality, innovation and future plans.

Other finalists from elsewhere in the region are Byron Whetstone of American Direct, based in Lenexa, Kansas; Greg Siwak of CareVet, based in Clayton, Missouri; Josiah Cox of Central States Water Resources, based in St. Louis; Jay Kim of DataLocker, based in Overland Park, Kansas; Todd Keske of Foam Supplies Inc., based in Earth City, Missouri; Brian Weaver of Torch.AI, based in Leawood, Kansas; and Austin Mac Nab of VizyPay, based in Waukee, Iowa.