Some of San Luis Obispo County’s best and brightest leaders have been selected as The Tribune’s Top 20 Under 40 Award winners this year.
Now in its 12th year, the competition honors the accomplishments and achievements of young women and men under the age of 40 who have demonstrated excellence in their professions and a profound commitment to community service. To be eligible, nominees must have lived and worked in the county year-round.
Ninety-five individuals were nominated for the honor. Six judges representing both the private and nonprofit sectors evaluated the nominations, selecting the winners at The Tribune’s request.
The judges were: Jill Bolster-White, executive director of Transitions-Mental Health Association; James J. Brescia, San Luis Obispo County superintendent of schools; Cara Crye, vice president of communications at Farm Supply Co. and a 2015 Top 20 Under 40 winner; Tom Jones, director of strategic initiatives at PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and a former Top 20 Under 40 winner; Margaret Johnson, chief operating officer of Martin Resorts; and Chip Visci, former Tribune publisher and communications consultant. Visci and Johnson also served as judges last year.
Short biographies of each winner will be published in The Tribune in early February, and an awards luncheon will be held in their honor Feb. 3 at the Madonna Inn. The guest speaker will be Bill Swanson, retired chairman and CEO of defense contractor Raytheon. He grew up in Los Osos, attended Cuesta College and Cal Poly and has maintained ties with the university. He and his wife, Cheryl, donated more than $10<TH>million to the university’s golf program last year.
Previous Top 20 Under 40 winners have been innovative, dedicated, persevering and deeply involved in their community. Some have founded their own firms, while others have played key roles in their nonprofit organization, private business, public agency or university. The same holds true for this year’s group.
“These young leaders are excellent role models,” the judges said. “Bright, talented and accomplished, each one also finds significant time for community service without expectation of reward. Their generosity is an inspiration for us all.”
Here are the winners, in alphabetical order:
▪ Ryan Amborn, president, West Coast Auto & Towing.
▪ Chris Blake, director of Mission Advancement, Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School.
▪ Chet Brandenburg, chief product officer, MindBody Inc.
▪ Christie Tjong Clemons, sales manager, Fidelity National Title.
▪ Danijela Dornan, planning specialist, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.
▪ Kristin Flynn, chief human resources officer, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.
▪ Marissa Greenberg, associate small animal veterinarian, Animal Care Clinic.
▪ Luke Huskey, president, Greener Environments Inc.
▪ Lance Iunker, project director, Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy, Cal Poly.
▪ Melissa James, director of economic development, Economic Vitality Corp. (She has accepted a job as director of economic initiatives and regional advocacy at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, effective January.)
▪ Sarah Ketchum, financial adviser and limited partner, Edward Jones.
▪ Dan Knight, attorney, licensed contractor, owner of Dan Knight Construction & Plumbing, Cal Poly lecturer.
▪ Eric Linkugel, manager of Business Customer Success at PG&E.
▪ Anthony William Overton, science teacher and activities director, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District, Paso Robles High School.
▪ Matthew Pauls, technology trainer and coordinator, Grizzly Youth Academy.
▪ Mi Young Shin, music education director, San Luis Obispo Symphony.
▪ Fatma Spanton, director, Cal Poly Conference & Event Planning.
▪ Misty Tartaglia, owner, administrator and director of Patient Care Services, Cherish Home Health Inc.
▪ Brian J. Weiss, CEO and co-founder, ITECH Solutions.