Ernst & Young LLP Thursday announced the Rocky Mountain region finalists for its Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. The finalists [to include Braxton CEO, Frank Backes] were chosen by an independent judging panel of regional business, academic and community leaders. The winners will be announced at a gala on June 18 at the Grand Hyatt Denver hotel.

“Entrepreneurs contribute so much to our economy and the fabric of this nation,” said Jim Wilson, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program director for the Rocky Mountain region, in a statement. “These finalists help our region create jobs, while encouraging community growth, development and innovation. We are pleased to honor them.”

The finalists are:

Kevin Semcken, chairman & CEO, Able Planet Inc.

Pascal Noronha, president & CEO, Abound Solar

Kathy Boe, president & CEO, Boecore Inc.

Frank Backes, CEO, Braxton Technologies LLC

Stephen Patterson, president & CEO; Brian Brown, Chief Technology

Officer; and Michael Davis, Executive Vice President; Broadnet

John Tredennick, CEO, Catalyst Repository Systems

Michael Moniz, founder, president & CEO, Circadence Corp.

Brad Poorman, CEO, Cocona Inc.

Barry W. Cooper, chairman & CEO, Cooper Tea Co.

Marcia Coulson, president, Eldon James / EJ BioMed

Michael Fiore, president, Fiore & Sons, Inc.

Scott Wylie, chairman & CEO, First Western Financial, Inc. / First

Western Trust Bank

Robert Levitt, president, Hudspeth & Associates, Inc.

John Raeder, president & CEO, IQNavigator, Inc.

Blake Jones, co-owner, founder, President, & CEO, Namaste Solar

Jim Perry, CEO & owner, Bob Deibel, President & Owner, OfficeScapes Group

David Chernow, president & CEO, Oncure Medical Corp.

Joshua Onysko, founder & CEO, Pangea Organics

Rajat Bhargava, president & CEO, Still Secure

Roy Dimoff, chairman & CEO, ViaWest, Inc.

Dan Caruso, president & CEO, Zayo Group

Regional winners will be eligible for the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009 awards, to be presented Nov. 14 at Palm Springs, Calif.

In the Rocky Mountain region, sponsors include Faegre & Benson, Clifton Gunderson LLP, LeGrand Hart, and the Denver Business Journal.