PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., has been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year ® 2016 National Overall Award winner. Now in its 30th year of celebrating ingenuity in America, the Entrepreneur Of The Year award recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses. Bill Marriott received the distinction for a lifetime of work in turning his family's regional restaurant business into one of the world's premier hospitality and lodging companies.
"Mr. Marriott has taken not only his company but the entire hospitality industry to new heights," said Mike Kacsmar, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Americas Program Director. "We are proud to give him EY's highest honor for entrepreneurship, which shows that ingenuity has no limits. Mr. Marriott proves that innovation and disruption can take place whether your company is a start-up or an established global player." Marriott International grabbed headlines in 2016 for its successful acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The deal brought together more than 30 brands under its umbrella ranging from Courtyard by Marriott to Ritz-Carlton — a massive entrepreneurial undertaking for a company that draws its origins from a root beer shop outside of Washington, DC, and subsequent restaurant chain Hot Shoppes. Today, Marriott employs approximately 365,000 people in 80 countries and territories. For additional details on Bill Marriott and the story behind his award, visit here. Mr. Marriott was recognized at the award program's namesake National gala, which is the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum™ in Palm Springs, California. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. In addition to the Entrepreneur Of The Year National overall title, 11 other awards were given in industry-specific categories. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from more than 250 regional award recipients. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National category winners "Our category winners and finalists represent some of the most unique and transformative companies in their respective industries," Kacsmar said. "The entrepreneurs behind these companies are bringing new ways of thinking to American business and are a hugely positive force for the economy."