EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Midwest Awards – Jerry Jendusa

Jerry Jendusa has never been afraid to take risks. So when he was approached by a customer at Gulfstream Aerospace with the idea of replacing fluorescent tubes in airplanes with LEDs, Jendusa was excited to tackle the challenge.


He began working on a plan in his basement while honoring a non-compete agreement that meant he could not draw a salary for more than a year.
Jendusa obtained equity through family and friends and cobbled together a small amount of cash, a Small Business Administration loan and a minimal line of credit.


Despite the financial difficulties, Jendusa was driven to make this plan work. He wanted to offer an expansive product line that would be flexible in its use on many different aircraft types. Other goals were to continually increase the amount of product sold on each aircraft and to include value-added services such as certifying products and aircraft in order to box out the competition.
But product wasn’t the only thing that would be needed to make EMTEQ a great business. He needed to develop a strong vision that everyone understood and would channel their efforts toward fulfilling. He had to build a team that was adaptable and ready to move quickly to meet customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.


He empowered them with an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to excellence that was second to none.
Those traits are nice when your company is growing, but they become essential when you hit a rough patch. The 9/11 terrorist attacks created havoc in the aviation industry and could have easily been the end of EMTEQ. But the company’s founder and CEO would not let that happen. He over-communicated to his team about new marketing strategies and ways to get new customers, continuing to push forward. The strategy worked, and the company kept right on growing.