Distinction places Ray Mays in the ranks of executives at large-scale, nationally recognized brands including Microsoft, Verizon, Amazon, Deloitte and more.

Crossville – The Biz Foundry, an entrepreneur development center and coworking space in Cookeville, co-founder and longtime local business leader Ray Mays was recently recognized by the Best in Biz Awards in the Executive of the Year category.

According to Best in Biz, the recognition is part of “the only business awards program judged by independent panels of prominent writers and editors from top-tier publications … including Businessweek, CNET, Consumer Affairs, Fast Company, Financial Times, Inc., Forbes, Fortune, Network World, PC Magazine, Reuters, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Wired and more.”

Since co-founding The Biz Foundry alongside CEO & President Jeff Brown in 2012, The Biz Foundry has worked with more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, raised approximately $15 million, opened multiple coworking spaces, helped start a micro-lending fund and launched an angel investment fund.

The organization has also begun assisting business leaders across rural Tennessee in launching similar concepts to support their own local entrepreneurial ecosystems.

“The work Ray and I have done alongside the team at The Biz Foundry has outpaced anything we ever dreamed of when we sat down together to discuss our ideas more than 10 years ago,” said Biz Foundry CEO and President Jeff Brown. “Our area in rural Tennessee is lucky to have folks like Ray who are committed to improving the business landscape in tangible and meaningful ways for our friends and neighbors.”

Mays is also CEO of the area’s leading eye care provider Eye Centers of Tennessee (ECOTN).

Mays started with ECOTN in 1998. Today he manages a team of 15 physicians, a professional support staff of more than 125 employees across nine locations and an ambulatory surgery center that performs over 3,000 procedures annually.

He is a former marine who also co-founded the ECOTN Foundation to support local education, the Upper Cumberland Entrepreneurial Foundation and is the Chief Manager of RKB Group, a collection of health care, real estate development and property management enterprises.

“As in years past, determining winners in some categories was a matter of selecting the very best from among the very good and came down to the smallest details,” said Best in Biz Awards staff. “Each year, the judges are impressed by the innovations, growth, and change emanating from the winning companies and permeating across layers of society, from their employees through clients to local and global communities.”

To view the full list of Best in Biz Awards winners, click HERE

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