Jack Cheng, CEO of AA Metals, Inc. Named EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year (Florida)

The Berman Hopkins team sends our most sincere congratulations to our valued friend and EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year (Florida)

Jack Cheng, CEO of AA Metals, Inc. 

Jack Cheng (center), CEO of AA Metals, Inc. with Chris McDirmit (right), Partner at Berman Hopkins

Jack Cheng (center), CEO of AA Metals, Inc. with Chris McDirmit (right), Partner at Berman Hopkins


In 2003, Jack started AA Metals in a small home office in Lexington, Kentucky and in just over a decade Jack’s vision and leadership has created one of America’s premier distributors of non-ferrous metals and steel. AA Metals has twice been recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, and serves 500+ customers with over 200 million pounds of aluminum and steel from dozens of mills located in Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program, founded by EY, has recognized the endeavors of exceptional men and women who create the products and services that keep our worldwide economy moving forward. Since its inception, Entrepreneur Of The Year has grown dramatically and now includes programs in more than 145 cities and more than 60 countries worldwide. The Entrepreneur Of The Year US Awards gala is the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum®, the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in America.

Jack and other outstanding business leaders around the country were selected as finalists by a panel of independent judges, and the winners will move on to compete on the national stage this November in Palm Springs, CA. 

We’re wishing you all the best today and always, Jack. Congratulations on this recognition that is so well-deserved!

ESOPs - "Wow, that's really smart!"

I recently had the nerdy pleasure of a family member asking about how an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) works and I was so excited to explain!  After I was done, it was a great reminder of how great of a tool an ESOP is for business succession, especially when it comes to the tax advantages!

My daughter recently started a job with Publix, a large regional grocery chain in the Southeast that also happens to be an employee owned company. ESOPs have been around forever but are widely under-utilized, are complicated, so explaining how they work to a non-nerd was an interesting challenge.  The truth is, the more I talked about how an ESOP works, the easier I found it was able to explain the advantages of this type of ownership structure.  I knew I had done a good job of explaining when I got the reaction of “Wow, that’s really smart”!

As a new employee for the company, she is excited for the opportunity to grow her interest in the company and it has already motivated her to look forward to her future with Publix. After hearing her say this, it’s no surprise to me that the National Center for Employee Ownership has found in multiple studies that employee owned businesses find increased growth after transitioning to an ESOP.

It also helped renew my excitement in my role as an advisor to my clients about how ESOPs work and how they can benefit from this type of succession vehicle.  I know I’m a nerd, but I think helping clients successfully pass along their business to the next generation of business owners is really smart.


Written by

Katie Hardin, CPA

Senior Audit Manager