Paul W. Jones, executive chairman of A. O. Smith, has been named the National EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 Distribution and Manufacturing Award winner.
The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Jones was recognized for bringing the manufacturing company to the next level of innovative strategy, business approach and new service offerings. He was honored at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in 10 additional categories.
The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from more than 250 regional award recipients.
"Jones' bold decision-making definitely impressed our judges,'" said Bryan Pearce, EY Americas Director, Entrepreneur of the Year. "Jones helped the company grow internationally both in China and India, which are now both highly successful ventures."
"When I joined the company, we needed to rationalize the acquisitions we made in order to put the company into a more efficient operation status," Jones said. "Once our costs lowered in the marketplace, we were able to focus on bringing innovation back to the equation."
Jones joined A. O. Smith in January 2004 as president and chief operating officer, and became chairman and CEO in January 2006. He was elected to the board of directors in December 2004. Jones assumed the newly created position of executive chairman on Jan. 1, 2013.
In addition to Jones, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Distribution and Manufacturing finalists in the US were: Gary M. Schuster, president and CEO, OMCO, based in Wickliffe, Ohio; Dr. Larry Sanders, president and CEO, Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC, based in Leawood, Kans.; and Andra Rush, founder, president and CEO, The Rush Group, based in Detroit.
Hamid Moghadam of Prologis was named the National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Overall Award winner.