A first in the dental community

June 27, 2003
Ernst & Young names Heartland Dental Care's president and CEO, Dr. Rick Workman, as the 2003 Illinois Entrepreneur Of The Year

A first in the dental community! Ernst & Young celebrates the success and innovation of Heartland Dental Care by naming Heartland's President & CEO Dr. Rick Workman the 2003 Illinois Entrepreneur Of The Year®.

The selection of Rick Workman as Master Entrepreneur Of The Year was recently announced at Ernst & Young's 17th annual Chicago awards banquet. More than 500 attendees honored the award recipients at the black-tie event, held at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom. Dr. Workman was among a distinguished assembly of candidates chosen by a panel of independent judges.

Dr. Rick Workman started as a small-town dentist in 1980. Always thinking to expand, Dr. Workman eventually increased his practice to 29 offices throughout central Illinois. After selling his practice to an insurance company, the CEO could have retired. Instead, Dr. Workman invested his share of the proceeds to fund a new venture, Heartland Dental Care. Heartland is a dental practice-management company founded on the belief that most dentists would rather focus on practicing dentistry and helping people, instead of running a business. Heartland's skilled professionals handle everything from payroll, human resources and information technology to accounting, education and coaching. The dentists still keep their autonomy to diagnose and treat patients as they see fit, but have access to extensive continuing education, the ability to network with their colleagues, and also the most comprehensive benchmarking system in the industry. Today, Heartland Dental Care has more than 100 offices in seven midwestern states.

Dr. Workman is now eligible to become the National Entrepreneur Of The Year, selected by a notable national judging panel. The national search culminates at a black-tie awards gala, emceed by Tonight Show host Jay Leno, in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 22, 2003. National finalists and the National Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners will be announced and celebrated by more than 1,500 attendees.

Previous Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners have included a virtual "Who's Who" of business leaders, such as Michael Dell of Dell Computer Corporation, Jim McCann of 1-800-Flowers.com, Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee, and Scott Kriens of Juniper Networks. The most recent winner (2002) is Jeno F. Paulucci, founder and chairman of Stanford, Fla.-based Luigino's, Inc. Paulucci, nicknamed the "frozen-food king," has enjoyed phenomenal success as the creator of such well-known food brands as Chun King Chinese cuisine, Jeno's Pizza Rolls, and Michelina's frozen entrees. 

Ernst & Young founded and produces the global and Illinois Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program, the pre-eminent program honoring outstanding owners of fast-growing companies. LaSalle Bank is also an Illinois program sponsor. The 18-year-old program, which has grown to include 38 United States markets and 30 foreign countries, honors entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. 

Heartland Dental Care is a collection of more than100 hometown dental practices that currently reside in seven Midwestern states - Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. Heartland is comprised of more than 750 employees, with dental office facilities that do more than $1 million per year in business. Heartland Dental Care operates under the philosophy of lifetime dental care through advancements in technology, dental solutions and continuing education for its dentists. For more information, please visit heartlanddentalcare.com.