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Family business owner named entrepreneur of the year

By Giulia Cambieri

Jose Mas, chief executive of American family-managed company MasTec, has been named as one of Ernst & Young's US entrepreneur of 2011 for his efforts to modernise the family business.

The 39-year-old was commended for “leading the company through a restructuring phase during arguably the most challenging time for the telecommunications industry”, Ernst & Young said in a statement.

Under his leadership, MasTec added more than 1,000 people to its workforce and its revenues more than doubled, increasing from $1 billion (€744 million) in 2007 to $2.3 billion in 2010.

He is also credited with changing the company’s revenue structure, making it less dependent on the declining sector of telecommunication installations and expanding the business into the power industry.

Mas, who won in the real estate, construction and lodging category, joined the family business's construction team as a teen. He then moved up in the firm, holding roles in various divisions before being appointed chief executive in 2007.

“Entrepreneurs like Mas are of a special breed,” said Bryan Pearce, E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Americas director.

“After inheriting the role of CEO from his father, Jose found ways to grow and modernise MasTec while holding on to the home-grown values that have ensured the company’s sustainability,” he added.

MasTec traces its roots back to Church & Tower, a Florida-based underground utility construction firm that was acquired in 1971 by Mas’s father, Cuban immigrant Jorge Mas Canosa. The company, which in 1994 changed name to MasTec, is now the largest Hispanic-owned business in the US.

Jose’s eldest brother Jorge is the company’s chairman. They both sit on the MasTec's board of directors.