Houston’s Craig Taylor is basking in the entrepreneurial spotlight.
On May 10, Taylor, founder and CEO of Houston-based Iapetus Holdings, and Tejpal Singh, co-founder and chief operating officer, were named Entrepreneur Of The Year 2022 finalists in the program’s Central South region. That region includes the Houston area. Professional services giant Ernest & Young sponsors the program.
Meanwhile, Taylor last month was named 2022 Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year by the Rice Business Veterans Association at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.
Iapetus Holdings is a minority- and veteran-owned portfolio of eight self-funded, multimillion-dollar companies in the energy sector.
“When you set off to become a self-funded entrepreneur, you start with a vision and a ton of grit, but you never really have assurance of the fact that you’re going to be successful,” Taylor says in a news release. “The road to business success takes many turns and that’s why, to find ourselves among those honored with this distinction, to be among the EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalists, is so meaningful.”
Singh says he and Taylor “have much greater ambitions” for Iapetus as well as Atlas Scholars, the nonprofit they launched to provide internships and scholarships to high school students.
“It has taken a ton of dedication and effort to realize our ambition of building this group of energy solutions businesses, creating this number of jobs, serving this quantity and quality of clients,” Singh says.
Regional Entrepreneur Of The Year winners will be announced June 23.
The Entrepreneur Of The Year nod follows Taylor’s acceptance April 23 of Rice’s Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year honor.
Navy veteran Charles “Reid” Schrodel, an officer with Rice Business Veterans Association, says Taylor was chosen for the honor because of his success in business and philanthropy.
“For the Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year award, “we were looking for veteran entrepreneurs that are successful in their field, and we wanted to find a vet entrepreneur whose organization also gave back to their communities,” Schrodel says.
Taylor received the award during the Rice Veterans Business Battle competition. He and Alex Danielides, head of business development at Iapetus Holdings, were judges for the competition. In the competition, 16 early stage companies vied for funding. The 2022 winners were Libre, Opera Bioscience, and Bonappesweet.
In a news release, Taylor notes that veterans who own businesses face an array of challenges.
“Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but the Navy instilled in me a strong sense of responsibility and grit, which are critical characteristics of a successful entrepreneur,” he says.
Businesses under the Iapetus umbrella are:
- Atlas Commodities, a commodity brokerage firm.
- Atlas Field Services, which provides safety inspections and audits for energy providers.
- Atlas Retail Energy, a provider of energy management services for commercial and industrial customers.
- Gold Coast Utility Specialists, which provides risk management services for energy suppliers.
- Hyperion Safety Environmental Solutions, whose services include safety programming and environmental planning.
- Iapetus Infrastructure Services, which encompasses five of the holding company’s eight subsidiaries.
- Soaring Eagle Technologies, a provider of mapping services.
- UATI (Unmanned Aviation Training Institute), which trains drone operators.
Collectively, annual revenue for the eight subsidiaries is around $100 million.
“Our customers rely on Iapetus employees who are innovating and are making a difference on the most critical issues of our times. We’re affecting everything from energy security to sustainability to infrastructure reliability, and we do so as a cohesive group of diverse perspectives working toward common goals,” Taylor said in a 2021 news release.
“Our companies are working closely with utilities on strategies to help prevent risks, plan vegetation management, keep the lights on and employees safe,” he added. “We’re also helping commercial and industrial clients procure energy efficiently and sustainably, while providing international energy trade brokerage services in this intense-demand landscape.”