INDIANAPOLIS (September 2000) - According to Fred Klipsch, Chairman and Owner of Klipsch Audio Technologies, change is the toughest challenge he's faced since he and his wife Judy Klipsch purchased a well-respected, niche loudspeaker company in 1989. The industry changed, technology changed, products changed and retailing changed - making consumer electronics a volatile, high-risk business.
"We really had to evolve the company over the first six or seven years of owning it," Mr. Klipsch said. "It was like going after a moving target. We had to roll with the punches, have our vision, and play the role that we thought we should play."
The challenge of change, however, has been very good to Mr. Klipsch and his company. Today, Klipsch is the number one specialty audio, retail loudspeaker brand in the U.S. and the number one supplier of professional loudspeakers to the world's largest cinema operator. Klipsch makes the world's first ever THX®-Certified computer speakers and is the only manufacturer in the world to have carried THX® certification on products in the cinema, multimedia and home theater categories. These facts have earned Mr. Klipsch the honor of being named Indiana Heartland's Ernst & Young 2000 Entrepreneur Of The Year® in the category of manufacturing.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program recognizes entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
While possibly best known for his role in the evolution of Klipsch, Fred Klipsch has led several companies to positions of financial and cultural health during his professional career. Mr. Klipsch is now eligible to participate in Ernst & Young's National Entrepreneur Of The Year awards competition, the pre-eminent program honoring outstanding owners of fast-growing companies.
The national search will culminate at a black-tie awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on November 11, 2000, where the national Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and winners in several national categories, as well as the National Entrepreneur Of The Year, will be announced.
Previous Indiana Heartland winners include other Indianapolis-based consumer electronics business leaders Scott Jones and Thomas Doherty of Escient.
Previous National Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners include a "Who's Who" of business leaders, such as Michael Dell of Dell Computer Corporation, Jim McCann of 1-800 Flowers, Steve Case of America Online, Ed Iacovucci of Citrix Systems, Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee and Sheryl Leach of the Lyons Group (creators of "Barney"). Richard M. Schulze, founder of Best Buy, was named the 1999 National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program is nationally sponsored by USA Today, CNNfn and CNN, the Nasdaq Stock Market, and the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Joining in the search for the nation's best entrepreneurs are Barnes & Thornburg, Indiana Business Magazine, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indianapolis Business Journal, LaSalle Bank, Marsh, A Marsh and McLennan Company and McDonald Investments. Recipients of the Entrepreneur Of The Year award become lifetime members of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame.