A. O. Smith Chairman Paul Jones named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Midwest finalist


Milwaukee, Wis.—Paul W. Jones, executive chairman of A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE:AOS) has been named a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 program in the Midwest.

The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Jones was selected from a pool of nominations by a panel of independent judges and is one of three Wisconsin business leaders named a finalist.

Awards will be presented at a banquet on June 27 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, Ill.

Jones joined A. O. Smith in 2004 as president and chief operating officer and was elected the eighth chairman and chief executive officer in the company’s history in 2006. He was named executive chairman on Jan. 1, 2013.

Under his leadership, the company achieved sales of nearly $2.0 billion last year and grew net earnings from $46 million the year he joined the company to $234 million last year. The company’s profitable growth contributed to a five-year total return to shareholders of 196 percent as of Dec. 31, 2012, compared with the S & P 600’s return of 27 percent for the same period.

Early in his tenure at A. O. Smith, Jones identified the growing importance of hot and clean water as emerging global industries. He led the effort to transform the 139-year-old business into a global water technology company. Among the strategic actions, A. O. Smith:
• Acquired GSW, Inc. and American Water Heater in 2006 which brought the addition of new brands as well as expanded retail business with Lowe’s;
• Expanded the company’s presence in China by growing its water heater business in that country and entering the water treatment industry with the 2009 acquisition of what is now known as A. O. Smith (Shanghai) Water Treatment Products Co., Ltd.;
• Entered the Indian residential water heater market and built a new plant in Bangalore in 2010;
• Acquired Lochinvar, LLC, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency boilers and water heating equipment in 2011.

Jones also is the co-founder of the Milwaukee Water Council, a partnership of industry, education, and government that seeks to capitalize on the city’s unique strengths in the fresh water industry. Under Jones’s leadership, the Water Council has brought together more than 150 water-related companies in the region with key institutions, such as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences. One outcome is Milwaukee’s achieving the designation as a United Nations Global Compact City, recognized internationally as a center of freshwater expertise.

Now in its 27th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner, will be announced on Nov. 16.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In the Midwest region, sponsors include: Winston & Strawn LLP, Benefitdecisions, LaSalle Network, PNC Bank, Smart Business magazine, Becker Professional Education, Merrill Datasite and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.

About Ernst & Young

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