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Knoll A Top Entrepreneur
CHICAGO – Eight entrepreneurs from five West Michigan firms were honored Friday night in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 awards in the Lake Michigan Program held at Navy Pier Grand Ballroom.
One of the West Michigan nominees, Evan W. Knoll, president and owner of Torco Racing Fuels Inc., based in Decatur, will advance to the national competition in Palm Springs, Calif., Nov. 15-18. Knoll was the top award winner in the Automotive and Transportation category.
In 1987, Knoll bought a convenience store, gas station, propane fill station and auto repair garage and named it General Sales & Service. He then began building what had been a family business into a complete high-octane, fuel-blending, storing and resale facility that is one of the top private energy reserve movers in the country.
Over time, Knoll has branched out into car care products, power products, additives, and apparel and merchandise lines. The company continues to grow by increasing its distribution outlets, as well as partnering with large automotive suppliers to distribute its products.
Other finalists from West Michigan included Larry Andrus, CEO of Trivalent Group Inc., Grandville; J. Lawrence Taunt, chairman, John A. Kailunas II, president and COO, and Brian D. Yarch, vice president, Regal Financial Group, Kentwood; Jeff Lobdell, president, Restaurant Partners Inc., Grand Rapids; and Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner, Lambert, Edwards & Associates Inc., Grand Rapids.
Also making the trip to Chicago was Kenowa Hills High School senior Josh Westgate, winner of the Junior Achievement Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award.