Lightning struck Sterling Lumber Company of Phoenix, IL, in a good way. The company was recently recognized for its business leadership in separate award ceremonies, one by accounting firm Ernst & Young and the other by the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation (CSEDC).
Ernst & Young named Carter Sterling, CEO of Sterling Lumber, as its EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016 in the Midwest Region. The award recognizes trending entrepreneurs who have elevated their respective companies in the areas of innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
The 60-year-old family business is a national leader in the production and installation of ground protection mats for the building of electrical transmission and distribution networks, as well as major highway and bridge infrastructure and the oil industry. Sterling Lumber has been listed on Crain’s Fast Fifty in each of the last two years and has amassed a five-year growth rate of 569 percent.
Sterling Lumber has also been active in the Chicago-area urban wood market, including partnering with the Chicago Park District on a number of initiatives such as using felled park district trees to remodel the Bears Den at Soldier Field. Its division, Sterling Tree Solutions, is an active member of the Illinois Wood Utilization Team and sponsored the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference held in March.
Sterling accepted the award on behalf of his father and brothers during a black tie gala held at Navy Pier. “The timing of this award couldn’t be better,” Sterling said. “It reflects an amazing year of growth and accomplishment for our company. We’ve evolved from supplier to manufacturer in a single leap, with the goal to dominate industry sales.”
Throughout its three decades in existence, the EY Entrepreneur of the year has honored the inspirational leadership of entrepreneurs such as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Robert Unanue of Goya Foods, and Mindy Grossman of HSN. Recent U.S. national winners include Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani; and 2015 winners Andreas Bechtolsheim and Jayshree Ullal of Arista Networks.
As a Midwest Award winner, Sterling is eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur of the Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, CA, on Nov. 19. Read more about the EY Award.
Phoenix Mayor Terry Wells told the crowd of 150 in attendance that the Sterling family was well worthy of the Big Shoes Award for bringing its business to his south suburban town.