Mike Riggs, chairman of Jack Cooper Holdings, has been recognised for his entrepreneurship at the Central Midwest regional heat of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 Awards.

The award, held annually by the global accountancy, recognises outstanding high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Riggs’ award was in the Turnaround category.

Riggs was one of ten winners selected by an independent panel of judges and honoured at a gala event at the Sheraton, Overland Park on 20 June (further details of regional winners can be found here) but was the only representative from the sector in this year’s regional finals.

“I was humbled to even be nominated alongside such a great group of entrepreneurs in the Midwest section of the United States,” Riggs told Automotive Logistics News. “Ernst and Young has developed this programme over the last thirty years into a major competition that covers the entire world. Candidates were nominated across numerous business sectors, from solar power to sports to entertainment, so I was certainly not expecting to win, given our “boring” trucking/vehicle delivery business sector.”

“It was an honor to represent the world of finished vehicle logistics and our team at Jack Cooper DOES believe this is an exciting business! I am proud on behalf of the best management team in the business. They deserve this award more than me,” he added.

Jack Cooper Holding’s CEO Robert Griffin said: “Looking back in the rearview mirror, this award is a great testament not to just Mike, but all employee accomplishments in transforming the company from the depths of the auto recession in 2009. Jack Cooper is now the leading car hauler in North America. Looking ahead, we see the company continuing to grow and prosper, but we are most happy to be able to say that we were able to secure jobs for our more than 2,500 employees.”

The regional award winners now go on to compete at the national level. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the National Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 16, 2013. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum.

Riggs said he would represent the sector to the best of his ability at the nationals adding that should he win that the next stage for a worldwide winner will be in Monaco. “My wife says ‘no pressure dear, but Monaco sure sounds nice!’.”

The only previous winner of the regional heats of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Award from the car transport sector was Raymond BonAnno, chairman and CEO of Fleet Car Lease who won the Rocky Mountain region stage of the competition in 2007. He was elected to the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and has been a member of the regional panel of judges for the award in 2009 and 2010.