Local healthcare professionals up for Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Breeze nominated for Next Level Urgent Care, Freudenberg for OakBend Medical Center

By Joe Southern
jsouthern@fortbendstar.com

(Photo by Joe Southern)
Dr. Juliet Breeze, owner of Next Level Urgent Care, visits with Lyric Flores at one of the nine clinics she operates in the Houston area. She has been nominated for an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Gulf Coast Area.

Two Fort Bend County based healthcare professionals are finalists in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Gulf Coast Area that will be awarded on Thursday, June 15.

Dr. Juliet Breeze, owner of Next Level Urgent Care, and Joe Freudenberger, CEO of OakBend Medical Center, are among 31 finalists competing for the regional award and a chance to represent the region at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 18. The regional award will be presented Thursday in a gala at the Marriott Marquis in Houston.

“It’s a huge honor,” Breeze said. “I was very surprised to learn I was a finalist because the company is so young.”

“OakBend Medical Center’s patients are our neighbors, our family and our friends, and we are committed to excellence in all that we do for our community,” Freudenberger said. “I am honored to be named a finalist for this award. It reflects the successes our team has achieved in a highly competitive, ever-changing environment.”

This is Breeze’s second nomination for the regional award. She was nominated in 2011 for Richmond Bone and Joint Clinic, a group of three orthopedic clinics she started with her husband, Dr. Scott Breeze, and later sold to Memorial Hermann, which then transitioned it to UTHealth.

(Submitted photo)
Joe Freudenberger CEO of OakBend Medical Center, has been nominated for an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Gulf Coast Area.

“I’m really excited to be back in it again,” Breeze said. “It’s an outstanding event … You get to be in a room with people who are building companies and innovating.”

Breeze currently has nine Next Level Urgent Care Clinics and a 10th clinic for Fort Bend County employees at the Travis Building in Richmond. In addition, she also has Vantage Hospice, which provides end-of-life care for patients in Houston and Katy.

Breeze said she got the idea to start Next Level after taking her son to a freestanding emergency room one Saturday and getting hit with an outrageous bill.

“The bill was really, really high for the basic level of service we got,” she said.

She started asking around and found the cost to be a common complaint.

“We take care of a lot of the same things seen in an emergency room but for a lot less cost,” she said.

Another feature offered by Next Level is an appointment app where patients can put themselves in a virtual line and receive a text message when an exam room is ready so they don’t have waste time in the waiting room.

OakBend Medical Center is an independent, nonprofit community hospital based in Fort Bend County, providing quality care and exemplary service with its two full-service hospitals, as well as many specialty centers.

Now in its 31st year, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world. Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National competition. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs on Nov. 18.

The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

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