Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, and Chris Meaux, founder and CEO of Waitr, been each been named winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2019 Award for the Gulf Coast Area.
Thomas and Meaux are now up for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 National Award, to be announced at a national gala in Palm Springs, California, in November. They were selected by an independent panel of judges.
Under Thomas’ leadership, Ochsner has created an innovation lab, innovationOchsner, or iO—which functions like a start-up that is embedded within the organization—to capitalize on emerging technology and the shift to health care consumerism. Thomas was named CEO of Ochsner in 2012 after serving as COO since 1998.
In 2013, Meaux launched Waitr in Lake Charles to help restaurants to connect to hungry customers in places where large corporations, such as UberEats and PostMates, wouldn’t venture at the time. In the past year, Waitr has nearly doubled in size. Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta bought the business in 2018 for $50 million in cash and $258 million in stock, a deal that led the company to go public.