Online Tech Co-CEO Yan Ness a Finalist for Ernst & Young Regional Entrepreneur
of the Year Award
Self-Described 'Serial Entrepreneur' Recognized for Three Decades of
Launching and Managing Successful High Tech Companies
ANN ARBOR, MI -- (Marketwired) -- 05/29/13 -- The last time Yan
Ness interviewed for a job, it was the early 1980s and he was
applying to work in the calculator department at a University of
Ness, the co-CEO at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based data center company Online
Tech, would never be hired again. Instead, the entrepreneurial
pursuits that started before he completed his computer science degree
at Michigan expanded into a three-decade career of launching and
managing successful high tech companies.
He was honored for that track record by the prestigious Ernst & Young
Entrepreneur of the Year award program. Ness was named one of 33
finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Michigan
and Northwest Ohio region. Finalists will be honored at an awards
gala in Detroit on June 20, when winners will be announced. Regional
winners (typically between 8-10 are selected) become eligible for the
annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year national awards,
presented in November.
The program recognizes high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate
excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation,
financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and
Ness, a past chairman of the Small Business Association of Michigan,
has often spoken publicly about the role entrepreneurs must play in
the turnaround of Michigan's economy. The self-described "serial
entrepreneur" is a strong proponent of economic gardening, a
development model that seeks to create jobs by supporting
entrepreneurs in their quest to grow small businesses organically and
sink deep roots into a community.
He has done just that with Online Tech since leading a group of
investors to acquire the company in 2003 and turning what was one of
Ann Arbor's first Internet Service Providers into a leader in secure,
compliant hosting featuring private cloud hosting, managed cloud
hosting, hybrid cloud hosting and colocation services.
Serving as CEO since the purchase, Ness has overseen Online Tech's
tremendous growth both physically (from 600 to more than 60,000
square feet of capacity) and financially (an average of 30-percent
annual growth). That steady growth got a significant boost in
September 2012 when News-Press & Gazette Company invested $20 million
to help Online Tech expand into new markets across the Midwest.
Prior to Online Tech, Ness co-founded CompanyCrafters, WorkWell
Health and Safety Systems, and Systems and Software Group. WorkWell
was acquired by Liberty Mutual in 1998 and SSG was acquired by Appnet
A guest lecturer at the University of Michigan's Ross School of
Business, Ness encourages his students to consider a career as an
entrepreneur, as he did in the mid-80s by "extending my Ramen Noodle
diet for another five years."
Ness says many people consider starting their own company only after
losing a corporate position, but he believes the opposite approach is
"These days, companies don't keep people around for 30 years. You
really have to look out for yourself," Ness said. "I want people to
say they're going to try to start a company, and if that doesn't work
they have a backup plan."
About Online Tech, LLC
Online Tech, Michigan's largest managed data center is becoming the
largest in the Midwest, expanding into at least four new markets. The
"Fort Knox" for data is known for complete redundancy -- "backups for
everything" -- from multiple back-up generators and backup systems to
locations straddling two power grids and even two CEOs.
Online Tech leads in secure, compliant hosting services including
cloud hosting, managed dedicated servers, Michigan colocation and
disaster recovery. Online Tech's Midwest data centers assure mission
critical applications are always available, comply with government &
industry regulations, and continue operating after a disaster. Backed
by independent HIPAA, PCI, SSAE 16, and SOC 2, Online Tech delivers
the security, privacy, and availability expected from world class
data center operators. For more information, call (877)740-5028,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.onlinetech.com.
About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the YearÂ®
Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year is the world's most
prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award
recognizes the significant contributions of entrepreneurs who inspire
others with their vision, leadership and achievement.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and
advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our
shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a
difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider
communities achieve their potential. For more information, visit
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