Award Pic for web Daniel Neyer, president of Neyer Properties, Inc., was named the 2008 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in real estate and construction June 26 at a gala reception at Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati.

Ernst and Young honors exemplary individuals annually—men and women with the ability to turn powerful ideas into distinctive new businesses, according to Alan Greenwell, Entrepreneur of the Year program director.

The awards are given to entrepreneurs who “demonstrate extraordinary success in the areas of innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities,” said Lisa Bower, an Ernst and Young marketing spokesperson.

Finalists were chosen were from companies located from the Columbus, Ohio area south to Louisville, Kentucky. About 375 people attended the Cincinnati dinner and awards ceremony.

Honorees will participate in November in the Ernst and Young Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif., the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

Forbes.com has called the strategic growth forum one of its “seven get-ahead executive retreats.” Honorees will also compete for Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year national awards.

Neyer was among three finalists nominated for construction, real estate and design: Paul Hemmer of Paul Hemmer Companies in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky; and Lee Robinson of the Lee Robinson Company in Louisville, Kentucky.

Eight categories of excellence were judged in the following areas: health care; real estate, construction and design; service; technology; turn-around; manufacturing; master; and supporter of entrepreneurship.