Release Date: June 27,2017
Ernst & Young (EY) announced that Akron RubberDucks Owner and Chief Executive Officer Ken Babby is a winner of the coveted Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award at a special gala event at the Hilton Downtown Cleveland hotel.
The awards program, which is celebrating its 31st year, recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. As a winner for the Northeast Ohio region, Babby is up for the national honor in November.
“This is an incredible honor, but it reflects the dedication and passion our amazing team has contributed throughout the last five seasons,” said Babby. “Everyone on our team plays an essential role in our growth and success. We are built to serve Akron and the Northeast Ohio community, but I’m proud their hard work is now being noticed nationally.”
Babby purchased the then-named Akron Aeros franchise in October 2012, and through his leadership, the team has garnered increased local and national attention. Attendance at Canal Park has increased more than 27 percent and Akron hosted the Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby for the first time in 2016. In 2014, Babby helped lead the franchise through a major identity change to the RubberDucks, and set new merchandise sales records, and on a national level, the team was honored in 2015 as the top promotional team by Minor League Baseball with the Larry MacPhail Award.
“When (RubberDucks General Manager) Jim Pfander and I set a vision and values for this company five years ago, we wanted to set a new standard for the role Minor League Baseball can play in a community. We wanted to be more than just a baseball team and become a conduit to serve a greater purpose in the community,” said Babby.
In the past, the EY program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, John Mackey of Whole Foods Market Inc., Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn Corporation and Mindy Grossman of HSN, Inc.
Now in its 31st year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.
Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 18, 2017. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.