Industry Veteran Accepts National Award
Valley View, OH-Robert Klein, the founder and CEO of Safeguard Properties here, was recently named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 national winner in the services category.
Mr. Klein was recognized for growing Safeguard Properties from a small regional preservation company into a national presence, inspecting and maintaining more than one million defaulted and foreclosed properties across the country. "Receiving this national award is an honor, and I am proud to receive it on behalf of our clients and our nearly 800 employees who have contributed to our growth and success," said Mr. Klein.
He was selected as a national winner from more than 300 regional Entrepreneur of the Year winners in over 25 U.S. cities.
Mr. Klein was just 16 years old when he borrowed $5,000 from his father to start his first business. He secured a medallion - a license to operate a taxi - and became a taxi driver in New York. It was the start of an unconventional, but highly successful career as an entrepreneur. Five taxis later, medallions were selling for $85,000 and he sold his business. Next, he turned his focus from taxis to onions. He purchased his uncle's wholesale produce business, and began packaging the produce, putting his client's labels on them.
After selling the business, Robert discovered a mortgage field services company was about to shut down. He tried to buy it, but couldn't come to terms with the owners. Instead of giving up, he waited for the shop to close, and then hired its former office manager to teach him the business. His business philosophy remained unchanged, focusing on the customer and their needs.