Publisher named top entrepreneur

Business acumen of Delaplaine, 7 others honored at banquet

June 30, 1999|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

George B. Delaplaine, president and chief executive of Great Southern Printing & Manufacturing Co. of Frederick, was named master entrepreneur last night in Maryland's 1999 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards competition.

Delaplaine, whose company publishes the Frederick News-Post, and seven other local entrepreneurs will represent the state's business community in a national competition in Palm Springs, Calif., in November.

The award winners were revealed last night at a banquet at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Delaplaine distinguished himself among 26 finalists because he transformed a family business into a "growing, dynamic company that's set up for the future," said J. William Knott, First Union National Bank's regional president for Maryland, who helped judge the competition.

"He changed the direction of the company from a straight publishing operation he inherited to a media and communications company," Knott said.

In 1964, Delaplaine became general manager of the company his grandfather founded in 1883. In 1967, he launched a cable TV business, now known as GS Communications, which has 114,000 subscribers.

More recently, Delaplaine launched GS Net, an Internet services business that offers an online Frederick Marketplace for area merchants.

Winners in the annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards were selected for innovation, financial performance and commitment to their business and community, competition officials said.

"I believe all 26 finalists are outstanding," said William Cole, an Ernst & Young partner. "They have traits most of us don't possess, including the ability to take a new technology, a service not provided before, or a product new to the market, and turn it into a successful business."

Winners in the past two years have gone on to win in the national competition, Knott said. In 1998, the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the emerging category was Jeong H. Kim, founder of Yurie Systems Inc., a Landover telecommunications equipment firm that he sold to Lucent Technologies Inc. for $1 billion. Patrick H. Nettles, president and chief executive of Ciena Corp. in Linthicum, won a national award in 1997, Maryland's first.

Last night's award winners were:

Business Services Entrepreneur: Marjorie O. Waldman, president of the Stroud Group, a Columbia firm that provides furnishings design, purchasing and installation to the hospitality industry.

High Technology/Software Entrepreneur: Theodore F. Bayer, president and chief executive of Syscom Inc., the Baltimore information technology consulting company he founded in 1982.

High Technology/Systems Integrator Entrepreneur: Frank F. Islam, president and chief executive of QSS Group Inc. in Lanham. Founded in 1993, QSS ranked 11th on Inc. magazine's list of the fastest-growing, privately held U.S. companies. The firm specializes in information technology support, network services, software development and engineering.

Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution Entrepreneur: Michael Dahan, president and founder of Fiber-Conn Assemblies, a Hanover company that manufactures and assembles fiber-optic cable.

Science and Technology Entrepreneur: David W. Jourdan, president of Nauticos in Hanover. The underwater exploration and navigation services company, which was founded by Jourdan and two partners in 1986, is now solely owned by Jourdan.

Socially Responsible Entrepreneur: Richard E. McCready, chairman of Eastern Sales Marketing in Columbia. Aside from building his food brokerage business, McCready also created the Grant-A-Wish Foundation 15 years ago. He also helped raise $1.3 million for the ALS Foundation, which leads the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Turnaround Entrepreneur: Thomas L. Anderson, president of Alpharma USPD of Baltimore. Anderson became president of the company in 1997 and turned the struggling firm into a leader in generic liquid and topical pharmaceuticals.

Pub Date: 6/30/99

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