Carl Korn, Founder & Chairman, and James R. Bazet, President & CEO, Cobra Electronics Corp were recently named Illinois Master Entrepreneurs Of The Year® at Ernst & Young’s 16th annual Chicago awards banquet. This pre-eminent program honors outstanding leaders of fast-growing companies in business more than five years who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
A panel of independent judges recognized Bazet and Korn for their “develop or die” philosophy that has inspired Cobra Electronics to develop dozens of new award-winning products each year and become a leading global manufacturer of mobile communications products.
In 2002, Cobra’s track record continues as the company has already launched several new products in each of its existing categories. Additionally, Cobra will expand into a new category this fall with the launch of a handheld GPS product line.
Korn founded the company that would become Cobra in 1954 as a manufacturer of electronic testing equipment for industrial applications. In the 1960s, the company became one of the first makers of Citizens Band radios for the consumer market, to be followed later by cordless phones and radar detectors.
Bazet was recruited in 1997 to lead the company to the next level. Since then, Cobra has double sales and experienced a five-fold increase in net income. Bazet made the bold decision to exit the low-margin cordless telephone business and aggressively pursue the two-way radio market. Another key has been a successful focus on expanding retail placement both domestically and globally. Cobra is a leading player in every one of its markets, and has been named to Forbes Top 200 Small Companies for the past two years.
Korn and Bazet are now eligible for the National Entrepreneur Of The Year award designed to honor outstanding leaders of fast-growing companies. The national search will culminate at a black-tie awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 23, 2002, where national finalists and the National Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners will be announced and celebrated by more than 1,500 attendees.