Ed Pershing, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PYA, the power behind teknovation.biz, was recognized Friday night as the “Outstanding Entrepreneur” for 2018 by the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The award was presented by Lynn Youngs, Executive Director of the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, during the College’s 10th annual Alumni Awards Gala at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Pershing and Doug Yoakley co-founded the firm 35 years ago next month. Over the ensuing period, the Alcoa native has been instrumental in the founding of a number of PYA affiliates as well as being involved in a variety of start-ups across the region.
If you ask him, Ed Pershing would tell you that he does not consider himself an entrepreneur, but others clearly see him as one. It was his passion for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship that brought me to PYA in January 2012 and the launch of teknovation.biz on January 23 of that year. It was, however, just one in a series of entrepreneurial actions by him.
As PYA President Marty Brown wrote in an email to the PYA enterprise, “Ed personifies risk taking, not just financial as best evidenced when the Firm really extended itself to purchase and rehabilitate the Perkins School Building in the early 1990s, but also in many other ways. Just consider the affiliates we have founded like Realty Trust Group, Health Care Horizons Consulting Group, PYA Waltman Capital, and PYA Analytics. They reflected Ed’s vision and his willingness to take a risk, clearly based on a need in the marketplace. Sometimes the risk was financial, but on numerous occasions it was reputational for the Firm and its owners. Always, however, Ed saw the risk as worth taking because we would be able to better serve clients and advance PYA’s brand.”
In presenting the award, Youngs noted that “while Ed includes an accounting degree from UT as part of his professional platform, his greater passion is healthcare. The accounting firm he co-founded has been a strategic base from which he’s reached out professionally and personally, privately as well as publicly, to improve healthcare locally – and nationally.”
Youngs cited the fact that PYA has clients in 50 states, is consistently ranked in the Top 100 Accounting Firms within which it ranks third in percentage of female ownership, and the firm also is the ninth largest healthcare management consulting firm in the U.S.
Congratulations to an individual who truly personifies all of the characteristics of a true entrepreneur.