An innovative spirit and strong sense of family propel business at Fairfield, N.J.-based Schuman Cheese, and that mindset has earned CEO Neal Schuman national attention. EY selected Schuman as the national winner in the Family Business category of the national EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 program.

The national award recipients were announced at a black-tie gala held on Nov. 18 at the Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif. The event was hosted by Seth Meyers, host of Late Night with Seth Meyers, Schuman Cheese said.

“EY’s category winners have created the products, services and jobs that help our economy and communities grow and have encouraged others to follow suit,” said Debra von Storch, Entrepreneur of the Year Americas director, EY. “This year, our winners employed over 230,000 people with job growth of 20%, while also generating revenue of more than $77 billion — more than 33% annual revenue growth.”

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year program takes place in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries around the world. The program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellent and extraordinary success in areas such as financial performance, innovation and commitment to their businesses and communities, Schuman Cheese noted. The program encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.

“When you’re part of a family business four generations strong, every day is a reminder of the importance of family,” Schuman said. “We have an amazing organization of 1,250 people, all who take personal ownership of the family values that define Schuman Cheese. I sincerely believe that my honor is their honor, and I’m immensely proud to share this award with all of them.”