Pioneer Services executives win 'Entrepreneur of the Year for Social Responsibility'

For more than 20 years, Bill Sullivan, chairman of Pioneer Financial Services, Inc. (PFS), and Tom Holcom, president, have fostered an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the company, helping to create an industry leader in military specific financial services. And last night both were rewarded for their vision by being named Ernst and Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year for Social Responsibility" (EOY) for the Central Midwest Region.

Initiated in 1986, the EOY awards were created to identify, honor, and support entrepreneurs who have successfully built and grown world-class business organizations. Sullivan and Holcom won the award for their ability to combine entrepreneurial skills and attitudes with a dedication to the military market the company serves. With more than 300 associates in the United States and Germany, PFS has educated more than 13,000 military families on how to identify their financial condition and break the debt cycle.

"We believe that the key to success is empowering our associates," said Holcom. "By creating what we call an 'intra-preneurial' culture, we have given them the power and responsibility to go outside of their normal job duties to do what is right for the both the customer and company. This allows our associates to take ownership of their role within the company and create truly unique solutions."

Sullivan, whose father started the company 75 years ago, said the principles established decades ago still help guide the company in the 21st century. "We've always focused on hiring people with a passion for serving the customer, and then gave them the tools needed to succeed," he said. "Through hard work, dedication from our associates, and commitment to our customers and the communities we serve, Pioneer Financial Services has become the industry leader in providing financial services to members of the Armed Forces."

As regional winners, Holcom and Sullivan will be contending for the national EOY award in Palm Springs, Calif., in November. Previous EOY winners include individuals who have built some of business's most recognizable names: Jeff Bezos of; Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc.; Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Inc.; Howard Schultz of Starbucks Corp.; Jim Stowers of American Century Investments and the Stowers Institute; and Jim McCann of