Jimmy John Liautaud, the founder and chief executive officer of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops, was inducted into the CEO Hall of Fame by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization during its national conference in Chicago. Liautaud was inducted along with Jeff Taylor, the founder of Monster.com.
The CEO Hall of Fame recognizes excellence and encourages students to honor the entrepreneurial spirit, and inductees are selected based on accomplishments and entrepreneurial success. Once selected, the entrepreneurs are evaluated based on excellent performance over time, overcoming challenges, growth in sales, contributions to the industry and community, and profitability.
"I am living the American Dream," said Liautaud. "Although hard work itself is a reward, receiving an honor such as this is something tangible for other up-and-comers to strive for and to see the incredible rewards that tenacious, hard work can produce."
Liautaud and Taylor joined a select group of entrepreneurs that have won the annual award. Past inductees include Gordon Segal, Crate and Barrel; Paul Orfalea, Kinko’s; Earl Graves, Black Entrepreneur Magazine; William Saito, I/O Software, Inc.; Myra Hart, Staples, The Office Superstore; Herbert Kelleher, Southwest Airlines Co.; Rhonda Kallman, Boston Beer Company; Bill Porter, E-trade; and Yossi Vardi, Mirabilis, Ltd.
Liautaud founded Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops in 1983 in a converted garage in Charleston, Illinois, when he was 19 years old. The company has grown to more than 280 corporate and franchised locations in 30 states and two countries.