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2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist: Walker Sands President Mike Santoro

We’re excited to announce that our very own Mike Santoro, president of Walker Sands, has been named a finalist for the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Midwest region.

It’s a big honor to be counted among the region’s most successful entrepreneurs.  Around here, we’re very familiar with the instrumental role Mike has played in transforming Walker Sands into an award-winning, 80-person agency over the last seven years. We’re even more excited this hard work is being recognized on a national level.

Mike and members of the Walker Sands executive team celebrate at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year reception for finalists, May 11, 2016. (Photo by Simon Weinstein of Ernst & Young)
Mike and members of the Walker Sands executive team celebrate at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year reception for finalists, May 11, 2016. (Photo by Simon Weinstein of Ernst & Young)

In 2015, we earned more than $7 million in revenue, a 177 percent increase over the past three years. Much of our growth can be attributed to Mike and his work in developing our innovative Digital Ecosystem – a comprehensive approach that helps our clients maximize the results they achieve from earned, owned and paid media.

But if you ask Mike, the reason for our success runs much deeper than the Digital Ecosystem or our ability to holistically integrate PR and digital marketing for our clients.  He will tell you it’s the creativity and hard work of our people that sets Walker Sands apart from the competition.

At Walker Sands, we pride ourselves on being a different type of agency. Unlike other firms in our weight class, there’s a sense of shared ownership at Walker Sands.

That’s a characteristic that Mike and the rest of our leadership team have worked hard to maintain throughout our steep growth curve. And it’s a cultural differentiator that hasn’t gone unnoticed by those of who work here – our employee retention rate is head and shoulders above the industry average. We see this as a testament to the interesting partnerships and happy culture Mike has helped establish.

The 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest winners will be announced at the Awards Gala on June 15 in Chicago, where Mike will stand alongside 28 other finalists. And we’re in good company. Vaughn Moore of AIT Worldwide Logistics, Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal of ContextMedia, Matt Moog of PowerReviews and Michael Rothman of SMS Assist name a few of the other Midwest finalists.

We hope you’ll join us in rooting for Mike and congratulate him on his success in leading Walker Sands to become one of the nation’s fastest growing companies. Congratulations to the other Midwest finalists on your accomplishments thus far. We look for forward to celebrating together on June 15!