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March 21, 2013

2013 UNL Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards

The Center for Entrepreneurship in the UNL College of Business Administration hosted the UNL Distinguished Entrepreneur Awards Night, Tuesday, March 12 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln. The reception was followed by the awards ceremony and dinner. The event was held in conjunction with the three-day EntrepreneuringDays@UNL event.

The 2013 award winners include:

Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award – Michael D. Hays. He is the CEO and director of National Research Corporation (NRC) which he founded in 1981. NRC is headquartered in Lincoln, Neb., with offices located in San Diego, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Toronto, Canada. Under Hays’ leadership, NRC has become a recognized industry leader specializing in healthcare performance

Blake Lawrence

Blake Lawrence receiving his award

New Company Entrepreneur Award – Blake Lawrence. He is the founder and CEO of Hurrdat, a digital marketing agency, and opendorse, an endorsement management platform for athletes, agents and brands. Lawrence is a 2009 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate with a degree in business administration and is a three-year letter winner for the Husker football team. He completed his MBA in 2011 while starting his company, Hurrdat. The Kansas City native spends much of his spare time giving back to the UNL College of Business Administration through classroom speaking engagements and instruction. Hurrdat serves more than 200 brands and 130 professional athlete clients from around the world. In 2012, Hurrdat was named one of seven Nebraska Startups to Look Out For by Techli, and has been featured in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.

Start-up Executive Award – Thomas G. Guy. He began his career in packaged goods marketing before switching his emphasis to franchising. Three of the Omaha, Neb., franchisors that he was associated with became among the fastest growing in America – Godfather’s Pizza, Merry Maids and Home Instead Senior Care. Guy was recently featured in the Omaha World-Herald as a pioneer in Nebraska franchising and helped develop two books on the subject – Rags, Riches and Real Success and The Promise of Home. In 2006, the Advertising Federation in Omaha selected his work for Godfather’s Pizza as one of the top ten advertising campaigns in Nebraska over the past 100 years.