Karen J. Martinez Selected To Serve On The New Jersey 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Judging Panel

karen martinez

Judge’s Biography for Karen J. Martinez

More than fifteen years ago, Karen J. Martinez founded BRAVO! Group Services, now one of the country’s largest, privately-held facility and outsourcing companies. With over 3,100 employees, the company is headquartered in Green Brook, New Jersey and operates Regional offices in Virginia, Delaware and North Carolina. BRAVO! offers a full range of expert services, such as janitorial, mechanical, electrical and HVAC service, repair and installations through its Facility Services, Control Temp Mechanical and Electrical Services divisions.

In 2013, Karen was recognized by SmartCEO as one of the Future 50 winners; and in 2012 and 2011, she was named a winner of the Top 25 Leading Women in New Jersey. She was also the EY Entrepreneur of The Year 2011 New Jersey Business Services Award winner. Karen has led BRAVO! through several acquisitions in the US. Following her motto: “Do what you say you are going to do,” BRAVO! employees take personal responsibility for delivering quality service and excellent customer satisfaction.

BRAVO! has assisted a few dozen customers in achieving their LEED certifications. In 2009, the company led the industry by receiving its CIMS Green Certification with Honors. BRAVO! is committed to reducing their carbon footprint while embracing chemical-free cleaning beyond the sustainable movement.

Karen mentors future leaders for Rutgers University and Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she was the 10th Annual Female Entrepreneur Lecturer in 2013. In 1989, she was a pioneer in the Community FoodBank while spreading awareness of organic food by demanding no pesticides in food markets. In 2007, she was recognized by Boy Scouts of America as Distinguished Citizen of the Year and honored by the YWCA.

Karen is active in many real estate and industry associations. She is the Chairperson for BOMA’s Office Building of the Year Awards and a Girl Scout Leader in her hometown.

Judging criteria

The nominees are evaluated by an independent panel of judges. Factors that provide metrics for selecting the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners are:

Leadership: demonstrates commitment, vision and calculated risk-taking, as well as a capacity for personal growth

Financial performance: demonstrates outstanding financial performance as evidenced by factors such as return on equity, revenues, profitability and growth rate that indicate long-term sustainability for the company

Management: has assembled a quality group of people, such as board and management team advisors, to help ensure the continued success of the company

Culture/values/incentives: has created an environment that respects, recognizes and rewards employees and that encourages giving back to the community

Originality: demonstrates a clear and sustained capacity for creativity and innovation in the development and implementation of products or services

Degree of difficulty: has faced a particularly unique situation in launching and building the company and has overcome adversity and significant obstacles in the industry to make the company successful

Independence marks integrity

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award program maintains an independent judging panel and allows impartiality to govern the selection of award winners. Ernst & Young provides an environment where judges can examine the scope of each nomination and consider the credibility, capacity and determination of each competitor.


In order to avoid conflict of interest, judges are asked to refrain from voting for candidates with whom they have a personal or business relationship.


The judges will consider all nomination data that is submitted as strictly confidential. Such data is not to be reproduced or discussed, except as required in the selection process.

Judging requirements

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 New Jersey judging panel members are asked to:

Review nominees and select the finalists

Provided information includes an executive summary, financial information and essays on each nominee, as well as additional promotional materials submitted by the nominee. This allows the judges to become familiar with the nominees and aids in the selection process.

Attend judges and finalist reception

The judges have a chance to meet all of the finalists and listen to their story in person.

Judges meeting

Judges are asked to meet to select the award recipients, who are then announced the evening of the awards gala.

Awards gala

The attendance of the judges is requested at the gala awards ceremony on Thursday, June 26.

Regional award categories

In the past, regional Entrepreneur Of The Year awards have been presented in the categories below. Final determination of the number of categories and awards will be decided by the panel of judges.

Business Services
Software Solutions
Technology Services
Retail and Consumer Products
Pharmaceutical and Medical Technology
Distribution, Manufacturing and Construction
Special Achievement
Special award

Special award categories can be established by the judges.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards

All Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year regional award winners are eligible for the national awards. The national award winners are selected in general and industry categories by an independent national judging panel. From the national category winners, overall National Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner is chosen. National finalists and winners in all categories will be announced at the National awards gala at the Strategic Growth Forum, November 12-16, 2014 in Palm Springs, CA. In addition, all of the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners and national finalists will be featured in the annual issue of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year magazine, as well as other local and national media.

Scroll to Top