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Six companies named San Diego's Entrepreneurs of the Year

And the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards go to …

Kathleen Sellick, president and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, accepted the award for social responsibility on behalf of the hospital’s leadership team.

“When every door seems to be closed, one opens and we call it a ‘Rady moment,’ Sellick said during a video interview. “It’s like magic and it happens all the time at Rady Children’s Hospital, and I think it’s because it’s all about the kids.”

The six San Diego regional Entrepreneur of the Year winners were announced Tuesday night at The Grand Del Mar.

Iboss Network Security’s Paul Martini, CEO and chief technology officer; and Peter Martini, president and chief operating officer, took the award in technology.

Peter Martini said his brother, Paul, is the yin to his yang and “whatever I do wrong he does right, and whatever he does wrong, I’ll tell him.”

Sean Gailey, president of co-founder of J!NX, won the consumer services category.

In his acceptance speech, Gailey said he remembered applying for a programmer position at Ernst & Young when he was 14. “So this award means something very special to me,” he said.

“I was going to say, ‘Who’da thought?’ But we used to think about this all the time,” Gailey said.

Mike Grey, president and CEO of Lumena Pharmaceuticals Inc., won the award in the emerging category.

Lumena was acquired about a week ago by Shire, which can take it to the next stage, he said.

Grey said there are three key components to biotech companies: a great product, great investors and great people.

“We were lucky enough to have all three, but by far and away the most important was the great people,” Grey said.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award in the life sciences category went to Ted Schroeder, president and CEO of Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc.

He said entrepreneurs have a higher-than-average tolerance for risk, and those who are successful do it by managing that risk.

Rick Haux, president and CEO of Mor Furniture for Less Inc., won the family business category.

“Our goal this year for our company is to make it easier for our employees, make it easier for our customers and have a little bit more fun,” Haux said in a video interview.

The finalists included 19 entrepreneurs from 16 companies, which had been whittled down from 60 nominees. The judges were former winners, community leaders and business peers. The criteria for the winners were entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, community impact, innovation, personal integrity and influence.

The judges, who gave a video presentation, said they were looking for entrepreneurs with passion and a vision that allows them to plan for opportunities. Some wanted to learn about the finalists’ setbacks and how those experiences made them stronger.

“My father used to say, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get.’ So this is a really hardworking group who have the influential capacity, drive and desire to succeed,” Ernest Rady said in the video presentation.

The Entrepreneur of the Year winners will compete for the national awards in November in Palm Springs. That winner will go to Monte Carlo in June for the world Entrepreneur of the Year.

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