Dalton—As EY celebrated the 30th anniversary of its unique entrepreneurial awards program, Mohawk Industries’ chairman and CEO Jeff Lorberbaum became the first flooring industry leader honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award in the Southeast U.S. Region.
Lorberbaum joined Mohawk Industries in 1994 after the company merged with Aladdin Mills, the carpet and rug company his parents founded here. Under his leadership as first CEO and then chairman and CEO, Mohawk has grown to become the world’s largest flooring company with 2015 sales of more than $8 billion and 34,000-plus employees worldwide.
“I began my career in a small family business, which has grown into a large public company, and the success of both depended on talented, dedicated people,” Lorberbaum said. “I’m here tonight because of thousands of individuals who create, sell and deliver innovative flooring products to our customers around the globe.”
The EY awards honor entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Award winners are selected by a panel of independent judges, most of whom are past Regional Entrepreneur of the Year award winners.
EY, the world’s third largest professional services firm, pioneered the concept of recognizing entrepreneurs in 1986 when the company spotlighted business leaders in the Midwestern U.S. The awards program is now global in scope, and during the past three decades more than 10,000 emerging entrepreneurs have been recognized in 60 countries. The Lifetime Achievement awards more selectively honor those individuals who have delivered extraordinary success in the field of business.
Past Southeast Regional Lifetime Achievement honorees include CNN founder Ted Turner; Spanx founder Sara Blakely; Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy; and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank. With this regional honor Lorberbaum becomes one of the finalists for EY’s national Entrepreneur of the Year award.
The black-tie award ceremony was held on June 23 in Nashville’s award-winning Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and attracted an audience of several hundred business leaders from across the region.
In his remarks, Lorberbaum explained his success was an extension of the important work of many people within Mohawk’s business and that even with the organization’s dramatic growth, he always views success as being “halfway there.”
He added, “Mohawk has become a successful business through the exceptional work of many people, but we remain dissatisfied with the status quo. For us, entrepreneurship is not about celebrating what we did yesterday; it’s the excitement about what we can achieve tomorrow.”
Lorberbaum expressed his gratitude for the EY honor but reinforcedthe Lifetime Achievement award only served as further motivation to continue the good work that has led to Mohawk’s growth and that has benefited the company’s customers around the world.
“All of us at Mohawk are proud of our past, but we’re more excited about our future,” he said. “We continue to invest in the business at record levels, drive innovation in all product categories and develop programs and services that help our customers succeed. We’ve made great progress, but we’re still only halfway there.”
He concluded his remarks by thanking Mohawk’s employees for their commitment to excellence, the company’s thousands of customers for their trust and support, and his family for their encouragement.
Winners of EY’s national Entrepreneur of the Year awards will be announced in November during the firm’s strategic conference in Palm Springs, Calif.