CEO of the Year Awards 2020

Katy Smith

The region’s executives have lived through an incredible year. The coronavirus pandemic. Historic protests and calls for racial equity—in board rooms and executive suites as well as in the realm of criminal justice. A presidential election that highlighted the continuing deep chasm between Americans on opposite sides of the political aisle.

See the CEOs of the Year in the gallery attached to this story.

Covid-19 has wrought a recession unlike any in memory—one we didn’t see coming. One that shut down entire industries in the span of a day. But it’s also one that has the potential to dissipate quickly, once we have a reasonable expectation of safety from the virus.

Against this backdrop, we asked Columbus region business leaders responding to our 2020 Central Ohio CEO Survey, which was conducted in October, to share with us their expectations for the coming year. Let’s just say while there is continued optimism, it’s not like the optimism of 2019.

Our favorite part of the survey (besides the expert analysis from Bill LaFayette at Regionomics)? We asked respondents to vote for the CEOs of the Year in four categories: Large and small business and large and small nonprofit. The slate of candidates was compiled though recommendations from chambers of commerce and other business organizations and Columbus CEO’s editorial staff.

The executives they chose—five winners, with a tie in the small business category, and 11 finalists—represent the best of the region as we know it in 2020.

Among the honorees are intensely creative businesspeople. People who set trends and built companies unlike any that came before. And they are deeply committed to advancing racial equity in every corner of the economy, from housing to insurance to education to the makeup of every C-suite.

We are thrilled to present the 2020 CEOs of the Year.

Large Business Winner: Alex TimmRoot Insurance

Small Business Winner (tie): Sandy Doyle-Ahern, EHM&T

Small Business Winner (tie): Brett Kaufman, Kaufman Development

Large Nonprofit Winner: Christie Angel, YWCA

Small Nonprofit Winner: Angel Harris, Dress for Success Columbus

Large Business Finalist: Bill Henniger, Rogue Fitness

Large Business Finalist: Dr. Bill Wulf, Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians

Large Business Finalist: Mike Kaufmann, Cardinal Health

Small Business Finalist: Jonathan Moody, Moody Nolan

Small Business Finalist: Mark Daniels, M+A Architects

Large Nonprofit Finalist: Stephanie Hightower, Columbus Urban League

Large Nonprofit Finalist: Lou Von Thaer, Battelle

Large Nonprofit Finalist: Dr. Stephen Markovich, OhioHealth

Small Nonprofit Finalist: Michael Corey, Human Service Chamber of Franklin County

Small Nonprofit Finalist: Oyauma Garrison, A Kid Again

Small Nonprofit Finalist: Elizabeth Martinez, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio

Annual Central Ohio CEO Survey

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