Two prominent Lehigh alumni, James R. Maida ’85 ’17P ’19P and Sanjay Shah ’89 MBA, were awarded the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® award for their region in June.
The Entrepreneur Of The Year® program, founded by Ernst & Young in 1986, recognizes the endeavors of innovators in more than 60 countries whose products and services redefine how people work, live and play. In November, the award committee will announce a national recipient among the regional winners who will go on to represent the United States at the international competition in June 2020.
“James and Sanjay are the epitome of what can be achieved when you couple a Lehigh education with a great idea,” said John D. Simon ’19P. “We are proud of their entrepreneurial spirit and thrilled that they have received this honor.”
Maida, cofounder, president and CEO of Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), earned the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® New Jersey 2019 Award in the business services category. GLI has more than 1,300 employees throughout six continents and provides testing and certification services to regulators, suppliers and operators in the gaming industry. Maida was recognized for excelling in innovation, financial performance and his personal commitment to GLI and the local community.
“I am both humbled and honored to receive this most prestigious award,” said Maida, a Lehigh University Board of Trustees member and campaign cochair for GO: The Campaign for Lehigh. “It was a privilege to be numbered among such an outstanding group of finalists, each of whom displayed exceptional entrepreneurial talent and vision.”
Maida earned his computer science engineering degree at Lehigh. He said the university taught him the problem-solving and real-life skills he needed to figure things out on his own. Part of three generations of Lehigh alumni, he and his wife, Sharon, are continuing their family’s legacy with a $5 million gift to name one of the six New Residential Houses on campus—a project fueled by GO. The Maida family also has supported the Lehigh Fund and launched initiatives to benefit students, including a scholarship fund and an international internship fund. They also helped transform Williams Hall into the university’s global hub.
Shah, founder and CEO of Vistex, received EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® Midwest 2019 Award in the technology category. He was recognized for his development and design of a new category of software, as well as his two decades of leadership in pioneering software that enables organizations to better deploy their products and services through Go-to-Market programs. Vistex has 21 offices and 1,500 employees worldwide.
“I’m honored to be the recipient of this award,” said Shah, a member of the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. “Vistex started 20 years ago when I saw a void in the enterprise resource planning market. Since then, Vistex has transformed from being the ‘largest software enterprise company in Chicago that no one has heard of’ to becoming the Midwest’s answer to Silicon Valley in enterprise software and technology.”
Shah earned his MBA at Lehigh and is a proponent of lifelong learning. In 2017, he committed a $5 million gift to the campaign to elevate the executive education program in the College of Business. The gift will be recognized in the new Lehigh business facility by the establishment of a space for the Vistex Institute for Executive Learning and Research.
Story by Dawn Thren ’21P