Thursday night I attended the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas. This black tie gala has become the "Academy Awards" of the local business community with over 600 of the area's top business professional in attendance.
This was the tenth year that I attended the event, and am always impressed with the way the the accounting firm honors the city's top business leaders. While the program ran long, it was still great to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Austin spectacular.
The lifetime achievement "Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award" was given to local entrepreneur and venture capitalist Jimmy Treybig. Jimmy is a fixture in the Austin business community and was the founder of Tandem Computers, which was sold to Compaq, and is now a venture partner with NEA Ventures. He has been a "leader by example" and adviser to many of today's young entrepreneurs.
The "Social Entrepreneur Award", which includes a $100,000 donation to the charity, was given to Richard Halpin, founder of American YouthWorks.
Ernst & Young honored the founders of three successful companies as the "2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Winners":
Sam Goodner, Catapult Systems
Satin Mirchandani and Mike Rosenfelt, Message One
Mark Adams, Advocate MD
All the winners are shining examples of the "can do" attitude of Austin's business climate.
The party continued until late in the night at the annual Andrews Kurth "After Party" at PF Changs. Hosted by the Austin office of the Andrews Kurth law firm, the party rocked out until after 2 AM (I left at 1 AM, and there were still over 200 people dancing and having a grand old time!). If the award ceremony is like the Academy Awards, this party is like getting an invite to Spago. Nobody ever believes that middle aged executives in tuxedos and formals would party until 2 AM...but it happens every year!
Even after a decade of attending this event, I still find it to be the best party of the year.
Have A Great Day.