Aaron Houghton and Ryan Allis, co-founders of e-mail marketing firm iContact, and Matthew Szulik, chairman of Linux software developer Red Hat, took home Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Carolinas Thursday night.

Houghton and Allis, who launched iContact while they were students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shared the award for emerging company in the annual contest.

iContact celebrates its fifth anniversary this summer. The company, which recently moved to new headquarters in Durham, topped the 25,000 customer mark in May and recently hired its 100th employee. Houghtonn is the chairman and Allis is the chief executive officer.

Szulik, who stepped down as chief executive officer at Red Hat last Fall, was recognized in the software and information technology category. Over his career at Red Hat, Szulik helped take the company public, moved its stock to the New York Stock Exchange, and helped establish Red Hat as the world’s largest Linux software firm.

E&Y also recognized winners in several other categories. The list of winners:

• Financial Services: Robert Hatley, Paragon Commercial Bank

• Health Services: Willam Cobb, JM Smith

• Industrial Products: Christopher Kearney, SPX Corporation

• Real Estate Hospitality Construction: Patricia Rodgers, Rodgers Builders

• Retail and Consumer Products: Thomas Millner, Remington Arms

• Emerging: Aaron Houghton and Ryan Allis, iContact

• Software and IT: Matthew Szulik, Red Hat

• Telecommunications: Eugene Johnson, FairPoint Communications

Finalists for the awards were:

• Michelle Buelow, Bella Tunno, Charlotte

• Josef Schmidt, Thomas Lotrecchiano, Canvas on Demand, Raleigh

• Richard Bryant, Capital Investment Companies, Raleigh

• Dr. Michael Collins, CEM Corporation, Matthews

• Ray Ledford, Concrete Supply Company, Charlotte

• Eugene Johnson, FairPoint Communications, Charlotte

• Aaron Houghton, Ryan Allis, iContact, Durham

• William Cobb, J M Smith Corporation, Spartanburg

• Richard McNeel, LORD Corporation, Cary

• Randy Garrett, Mainline Contracting, Durham

• Nicholas Gavalas, Mass Mutual Financial Services Group, Mount Pleasant, SC

• Jeff Reedy, Overture Networks, Morrisville

• Robert Hatley, Paragon Commercial Bank, Raleigh

• David Jones, Peak 10, Charlotte

• Matthew Szulik, Red Hat, Raleigh

• Thomas Millner, Remington Arms, Madison

• Patricia Rodgers, Rodgers Builders, Charlotte

• Stephen Wiehe, SciQuest, Cary

• Elizabeth Perry, Jordan Lipton, M. Bryan Woodard, Signature Healthcare & Signature PatientCare, Charlotte

• Christopher Kearney, SPX Corporation, Charlotte

• Michael Vadini, TITAN Technology Partners, Charlotte

• Dr. Adnan Mjalli, TransTech Pharma Inc., High Point

• Susan Gravely, VIETRI, Inc., Hillsborough

• Jerry Heneghan, Virtual Heroes, Inc., Durham