Bill Samuels

Lexington’s one-year-old Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame has announced its 2011 list, to be inducted November 16.

The Hall of Fame’s sophomore class is:

  • Dana Bowers, iPay Technologies

In 2001, Dana Bowers founded, along with her husband Mike, iPay Technologies. During her tenure at iPay, Dana served as CEO and as a member of the board of directors, and grew the company to become the largest independent electronic bill pay provider in the US. iPay was sold to Jack Henry and Associates in June of 2010 for $300 million.

  • David Jones, Sr., Humana

In 1961 David A. Jones, Sr. co-founded Extendicare with Wendell Cherry as a nursing home company. In 1974 the corporate name was changed to Humana Inc. In its March 2008 issue, Fortune Magazine named Humana one of the Top 5 Most Admired Healthcare Companies in the United States. By 2011, Humana reached a market cap of over $14 Billion.

  • Kent Taylor, Texas Roadhouse

Before his founding of Texas Roadhouse in 1993, Kent Taylor founded and co-owned Buckhead Bar and Grill in Louisville, Kentucky. Kent has over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. By 2010, Texas Roadhouse was doing over $1 Billion in revenue and reached a market cap of over $1.25 Billion.

  • Wendell Cherry, Humana Inc.

Wendell Cherry was born in Kentucky’s rural Hart County. He was a graduate of the University of Kentucky and its law school. Wendell Cherry co-founded Humana with David A. Jones, Sr. By 2010, Humana was employing over 28,000 employees. By 2011, Humana reached a market cap of over $14 Billion.

  • Bill Samuels, Jr., Maker’s Mark

Bill Samuels Jr. became president of Maker’s Mark in 1975. Maker’s Mark was founded in 1954 by Bill Samuels Sr. In 1980 it was the first distillery in America to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark. Bill Samuels Jr. turned the operation into one of the most recognized brands in the world, helping it surpass 1 million cases bottled for the first time in 2010.

The first Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductees included:

John Y. Brown, who bought Kentucky Fried Chicken in Louisville, then turned it in to a national brand. KFC is now part of Yum! Brands.

Pearse Lyons, founder of AllTech in Lexington.

John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s International, based in Louisville.

Jim Host, founder of Host Communications in Lexington and former chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority.

The Entrepreneur Hall of Fame is sponsored by  Awesome Inc., a Lexington co-working space and business incubator to raise awareness of entrepreneurism in the Commonwealth, according to its website.