Convergint founders earn E&Y nod

They've won the Midwest—can they win it all?
Thursday, July 9, 2009

CHICAGO—At a black-tie ceremony here at the Hilton on June 26, Convergint Technologies founders Greg Lernihan and Dan Moceri were presented Ernst & Young’s Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2009 in the Technology category.

There are 26 districts in the United States—Midwest covers Indiana, west Michigan and Illinois—and eight business categories. These 208 business leaders will now travel to Palm Springs, Calif., in November for Ernst & Young’s Strategic Growth Forum, where national award winners will be announced, and the likes of Dick Enberg, Deborah Norville, Charlie Rose, Ben Stein and Gold medalist Dana Torres will speak.

Jay Leno is the master of ceremonies for the conference.

Moceri said he and Lernihan were wary of entering the competition over the past two years because they were reluctant to be recognized as individuals when they believe their company’s success is predicated on its 750 employees, “but [the contest organizers] called this third year and we said, ‘What the heck’.”

After supplying a great deal of financial data and an extensive interview, Convergint was named a finalist and attended a reception where Moceri and Lernihan were interviewed by two different panels of five independent judges.

“They’re industry people, academia, even some community people,” said Moceri. “It’s a cross section of people who are judging these ... I was really kind of skeptical about whether it was above board, but I think it’s very much above board.”

Like any good entrepreneur, however, Moceri remains more focused on the bottom line than any awards he might win. “The pipeline had leveled off,” Moceri said of how Convergint has weathered the recession, “but now it’s inching back up. I don’t know that we’re through the worst of it yet. We do a lot of service work, which offsets some of the softness on the installation side.”