The 19th Annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebration in Palm Springs, Calif. was held from Nov. 17-20, 2005. Attended by the nation's top entrepreneurs, the event culminated in Saturday's ceremony, emceed by Jay Leno, where the finalists and winners were announced. Out of the 400-plus national nominees invited to Palm Springs, 35 were named as finalists in one of the 11 national categories, including financial services; services; supporter of entrepreneurship; International Lifetime Achievement Award for Activism, entrepreneurship and leadership; media/entertainment/communications; health sciences; technology; realizing business potential; distribution/manufacturing/security and real estate/hospitality/construction.
Layne Sapp, founder and CEO of Mountlake Terrace, Wash-based MILA Inc., was the only Pacific Northwest entrepreneur from the region that includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska to be named as a finalist. In fact, he is the first regional entrepreneur to make the nationals in five years. Sapp shares the financial services winners circle with fellow finalist Robert L. Riter, chairman of American Chartered Bank, a Chicago-area full-service commercial and retail bank. James E. Stowers Jr., founder of American Century Investments, was named the category winner.
"It is a thrill to be named with such powerhouses of the industry," said Layne. "I know everyone says, 'It's an honor just to be nominated,' but to carry that nomination to the national stage and then share the spotlight with the likes of Robert Riter and James Stowers truly is an honor. I share the spotlight gladly with every MILA associate who has helped realize our vision over our 21-year history."
Sapp attributes the Ernst & Young honor to MILA's proprietary loan management system AccessPoint, which has spearheaded the company's 803 percent growth since its introduction in 2002. The only online loan management tool to provide instant loan commitments, the technology is putting MILA in a category by itself within the wholesale lending industry. With Sapp at the helm, the company aims to solve the business problems of brokers across the country by providing them a uniquely robust online loan management tool that allows them to be both broker and banker right from their desktop.
Having been recognized by other leading business watchdogs such as Inc 500, Mortgage Technology News, Deloitte & Touche, Puget Sound Business Journal and the Better Business Bureau, MILA and its founder are poised to make industry history in the coming years with plans to expand to 22 new states by the close of 2006.
For more information, visit www.mila.com.