Tribune announces Top 20 Under 40 award winners

A group of San Luis Obispo County’s best and brightest leaders have been selected as this year’s Top 20 Under 40 award winners.

Now in its seventh year, The Tribune’s competition honors the accomplishments and achievements of young women and men under the age of 40 who have demonstrated excellence in their professions and commitment to community service. To be eligible, nominees must have lived and worked in San Luis Obispo County year-round.

More than 100 entries were submitted online at, and a review panel from the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation selected the winners at The Tribune’s request.

The judges were Matt Neff, principal of Neff & Associates Insurance Services; Sasha Irving, programs director of Studios in the Park; Charlene Rosales, chief operating officer of United Way of San Luis Obispo County; and Barry VanderKelen, executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation.

Short biographies of the winners will be published in The Tribune in late January. The winners also will be recognized at a special luncheon Jan. 26 at the Madonna Inn.

As in years past, winners have proven they have the leadership skills, dedication and vision to make a difference in their organizations and respective communities. They also represent a diverse group of occupations and industries, and have been involved in business, law, education and nonprofit organizations.

“We were impressed with both the number — and quality — of applicants this year,’’ said Sandra Duerr, executive editor of The Tribune. “Those young professionals have clearly demonstrated dedication, innovation and excellence, enriching our county in the process.’’

The winners for 2011 are:

Ahmad Nooristani, founder and executive director of the SLO Noor Foundation Free Clinic.

Matthew Wild, chief executive officer of San Luis Sports Therapy.

Trevor Keith, environmental resource specialist for San Luis Obispo County and Cal Poly lecturer.

Christine Dietrick, San Luis Obispo city attorney.

Ermina Karim, president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.

Stephanie Buresh, director of campus ministry and community service coordinator, Mission College Prep High School.

Christina Kaviani, program coordinator at Gender Equity Center and coordinator of Sexual Assault Response Program at Cal Poly.

James Statler, executive director, San Luis Obispo Community Counseling Center.

Jimmy apRoberts, owner apRoberts Arts.

Jono Hicks, owner of Coalition.

Kim Spiller, partner, Caliber Audit & Attest.

Joshua Martin, attorney, Sinsheimer Juhnke Lebens & McIvor.

Francine Levin, health and prevention education supervisor, Community Action Partnership.

Joy Harkins, coordinator of the Community Center and Multicultural Center at Cal Poly.

Katelyn Kaney, president and CEO of Cattaneo Bros.

Kimberly Walker, owner, Borracha LLC and Granada Bistro.

Scott Kirk, director of finance, AME Unmanned Air Systems Inc.

Paul Filice, president of Miner’s ACE Hardware.

Joel Peterson, director, Hope Family Wines.

Stacey White, owner, Mode Associates.

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