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Entrepreneur of the Year

This article submitted by Bethany Hilt on 07/190.

July 17, 2000 Robert H. Chapman of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Inc. Receives Regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award Robert H. Chapman, Chairman/CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Inc., was awarded the Regional Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Manufacturing/Industrial category. All regional award recipients are eligible for the national awards, to be announced in November. The Entrepreneur of the Year award is an Ernst & Young program designed to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions and achievements within a growing and successful company. Regional and national award recipients become lifetime members of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Institute, which includes some of the most notable individuals in business, such as Ted Turner of Time Warner and Jeff Bezos of Chapman was also recognized locally this year, receiving the Businessperson of the Year in January from the Clayton, Missouri Chamber of Commerce. Nominations are accepted from the Clayton community to acknowledge stellar business achievement and local involvement. Chapman’s local participation includes serving as a Board member of LaBarge, Inc., a public company in St. Louis and as member of the Advisory Board of Intrav. At only 29 years of age, with a BS in Accounting from Indiana University and an MBA from Michigan State University, Chapman assumed the helm of Barry-Wehmiller after his father’s death in 1975. He has witnessed dramatic shifts in the industry during his leadership, and in spite of the obstacles has managed to triumph, growing the company to realize annual revenues exceeding $260 million. A booming brewery industry that enabled Barry-Wehmiller to prosper in the 1970s led to significant losses in the 1980s. “This market cooled suddenly when the breweries curtailed their previously rapid expansion efforts,” explained Chapman. In response, Chapman divested two-thirds of the company in 1987 through an initial public offering on the United Kingdom stock exchange; the IPO became Barry-Wehmiller International. The proceeds from the IPO have powered his plan of strategic acquisitions, in turn fueling organic growth and product diversity. This aggressive strategy has enabled Barry-Wehmiller to become a single source for highly advanced packaging automation technology in a fragmented industry. Under Chapman’s leadership, Barry-Wehmiller has emerged as the leading packaging automation group in the Western Hemisphere. Chapman’s keen understanding of the packaging industry has enabled him to capitalize on new opportunities. His current focus is on the surging B2B Internet economy. Chapman’s latest endeavor,, promises to be a portal to the packaging industry offering packaging professionals content, community and commerce tailored to their unique requirements. Chapman’s commitment to excellence extends beyond his corporation. He has collaborated with directors of St. Louis’ Salvation Army Harbor Light Homeless Shelter to improve organization and effectiveness. Additionally, corporate contributions to the United Way and the Red Cross extend throughout each Barry-Wehmiller division. For additional information, please contact: Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Inc. Kim Martin

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