Dr. Larry Sanders, president and CEO of Leawood, KS-based Specialty Fertilizer Products, LLC (SFP), has been named a winner of the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Central Midwest, which encompasses the states of Kansas and Missouri.
The award recognizes outstanding high-growth entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. The finalists and winners were selected by an independent panel of judges and honored at a black-tie gala event in Overland Park, KS, on June 20.
A Ph.D.-level agronomist, soil chemist and soil fertility-plant nutrition specialist, Sanders received the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Agriculture and Plant Sciences category. Eight other regional business leaders also received the award in other categories.
Collectively, these winners grew their companies’ employment by 11% and their revenues by 18% between 2010 and 2012.
“This highly-coveted award is a great honor for me personally and for all SFP employees who have contributed to our company’s success,” says Sanders. In 2009, SFP was ranked 28th by INC. magazine’s INC. 500 competition for a three-year business growth average of 4,321.3%. Among other honors, Sanders also received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1996.
As head of SFP, Sanders develops and patents technologies in the use of polymers for increasing agricultural potential. His responsibilities include new product development, research and management of all company enterprises.
“I’m usually in the office only five days a month, because I am out working with people who sell, manufacture, buy and use our products to ensure they are getting the value they should be getting,” he says.
SFP currently holds more than 100 domestic and international patents.
The company’s products include AVAIL Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer, NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager and More Than Manure Nutrient Manager. SFP also has a strong pipeline of potential new products in the research and development stage, with some scheduled for commercial introduction in the near term.
Central Midwest award winners will now go on to compete at the national level. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the National Entrepreneur of the Year Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, CA, on Nov. 16, 2013.
The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.