Dennis Brazier, founder and CEO of Altoz and Central Boiler, received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Upper Midwest Award for Distribution and Manufacturing during a black-tie awards gala at the JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America on June 9. Altoz manufactures zero-turn mowers, and Central Boiler manufactures outdoor furnaces.
“What an honor this entire experience has been,” Brazier said. “The other winners’ stories were incredibly inspiring, and I’m thrilled to have been recognized.”
Unsatisfied with the heating in his original home, Brazier created his first wood-burning furnace to heat not only his own home, but also his workshop and his parents’ home on the same farmstead. As word spread to his neighbors and local businesses, Brazier found his furnace prototype blossom into a viable business. As a result, Brazier rented out his fields and established Central Boiler in 1984 with a mission to create a cleaner, safer and more efficient furnace. Celebrating its 32nd year in business, Central Boiler is currently North America’s largest manufacturer of outdoor furnaces.
In 2013, Brazier launched a second business — Altoz zero-turn mowers. Powered by the experienced staff and state-of-the-art facility created for Central Boiler, Altoz is now turning heads within the power equipment industry.
Brazier continues to live in Greenbush, Minn., with his wife Terri and family, and they support their community with donations to regional hospitals, fire departments, churches and schools. Brazier even finds time to personally offer helicopter flights for the hometown nursing home residents.
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Upper Midwest winners were selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous winners of the award, leading CEOs, private capital investors and other regional business leaders. The complete list of winners includes:
- Randy Newman, chairman, president and CEO, Alerus (Grand Forks, N.D.)
- Eric Timko, CEO, Blue Belt Technologies (Plymouth, Minn.)
- Dennis Brazier, CEO, Central Boiler/Altoz (Greenbush, Minn.)
- Kurt Kottke, president; Kory Kottke, senior vice president; and Kyle Kottke, general manager, Kottke Trucking (Buffalo Lake, Minn.)
- Kris Kowalski Christiansen and Mary Anne Kowalski, COO and owner, Kowalski’s Companies (Woodbury, Minn.)
- Susan Schneider, president, Plus Relocation (Minneapolis)
- Don Rachel, CEO, Rachel Contracting, Inc. (St. Michael, Minn.)
- Jim Kelly, founder and CEO, ThreeBridge Solutions, LLC (Minneapolis, Minn.)
“EY has had a tremendous history in honoring outstanding entrepreneurs during the past 30 years,” said Todd Papa, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program director for the Upper Midwest. “This year’s winners have not only taken their companies to the top, but they have also acted as mentors to their employees and made impressive contributions to their communities.”
Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall National Award winner, will be announced at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 19, 2016. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.
The US Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco in June 2017.