Twenty individuals who excel in their professions and give generously of their time have been selected as The Tribune’s Top 20 Under 40 Award winners this year.
Now in its 13th 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.
About 100 individuals were nominated for the honor. Seven judges representing both the private and nonprofit sectors evaluated the nominations, selecting the winners at The Tribune’s request.
Other judges were: Jim Brabeck, a board director for Farm Supply Co., where he recently retired as president and CEO; James Brescia, San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools; Melissa James, director of economic initiatives and regional advocacy at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and a previous Tribune Top 20 honoree; Margaret Johnson, chief operating officer of Martin Hospitality Management; Tom Jones, director of strategic initiatives for PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and a previous Tribune Top 20 honoree; and Anita Robinson, former CEO of Coast National Bank and founder of Mission Community Bank.
“The honorees personify the best of our community’s values,” the judges commented. “They are energetic, creative and generous, and are determined to help make their corner of the world better for all.”
Of the 20 winners, 12 were women, eight men. Twelve work in the private sector, five work for government agencies and three for nonprofits.
Short biographies of each winner will be published in The Tribune in late January, and an awards luncheon will be held in their honor Jan. 25 at the Madonna Inn.
The guest speaker will be Rick Stollmeyer, chief executive officer and co-founder of Mindbody Inc., which makes online management software that helps owners of beauty, health and wellness businesses to seamlessly schedule appointments, process payments or manage staff. The company, traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange (MB), employs about 1,300, most in San Luis Obispo.
Through the years Tribune Top 20 Under 40 winners have consistently 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.
Here are this year’s winners, in alphabetical order:
▪ Ashlee Akers, vice president of client services and partner, Verdin Marketing
▪ Matias Bernal, interim associate director, RISE
▪ Victoria Carranza, education director, One Cool Earth
▪ Brian Engleton, shift manager, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
▪ Courtney Farr, CEO, HouseCallsMobile.com and nurse practitioner at Department of Veterans Affairs
▪ Angelica Fortin, librarian, City of Paso Robles
▪ Luke Fox, founder and CEO, WhiteFox Defense Technologies
▪ Daniel Lapidus, dentist and owner, Daniel Lapidus DDS Inc.
▪ Jessica Lorance, homeless services program review specialist and M.A.S.H. event coordinator, SLO County Department of Social Services
▪ Justin Maire, commercial risk advisor and principal, Morris & Garritano Insurance Agency
▪ Jamie Maraviglia, marketing strategist, Cal Poly
▪ Elizabeth Merson, program manager, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, County of San Luis Obispo Health Agency
▪ Heather Muran, executive director, SLO Wine Country Association
▪ Mary Mott Okimoto, oncology nurse practitioner, SLO Oncology Hematology
▪ Libby (Elizabeth) Parker, registered dietitian, Not Your Average Nutritionist LLC
▪ Chris Porterfield, electrophysiologist, Coastal Cardiology
▪ Richard Smith, founder, owner and CEO, Fluid Sports Nutrition
▪ Katherine Soule, director, UC Cooperative Extension in SLO and Santa Barbara counties and Youth, Families and Communities advisor
▪ Courtney Taylor, attorney and partner, Simas Taylor LLP
▪ Erik Wright, co-founder and principal, Precision Building Group