Winners of The Tribune's Top 20 Under 40 award are announced

A group of San Luis Obispo County’s most accomplished and promising leaders have been selected as The Tribune’s Top 20 Under 40 award winners for this year.

Now in its eighth year, The Tribune’s competition honors the 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 be first-time winners who have lived and worked in San Luis Obispo County year-round.

More than 70 entries were submitted online at A review panel from the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation selected the winners at The Tribune’s request. The judges were Connie O’Henley, executive director of the Clark Center Association; Hillary Trout, president of Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery; 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 luncheon in their honor at the Madonna Inn on Jan. 24. Blake Irving, chief executive officer of, will be the guest speaker. Irving recently served as chief product officer for Yahoo!, and before that was corporate vice president at Microsoft.

As in years past, the winners represent a diverse group of occupations and industries, and have been involved in medicine, business, education and nonprofit organizations.

The Tribune's Top 20 Under 40 award winners for 2013

  • Travis Adelman, physician assistant for the Community Health Center’s Atascadero clinic
  • Jeff Aranguena, social science teacher at Pacific Beach High School
  • Christina Bearce, owner of video production company Highlight Media
  • Jennifer Bedrosian, activities director at Paso Robles High School
  • Lino Bozzano, vice president of vineyard operations for Laetitia Winery
  • Zachary Hall, communication studies instructor at Cuesta College
  • Dan Hile, optometrist and co-owner of Optometric Care Associates
  • Steve Hodgson, clinical director for North County Physical Therapy in Atascadero
  • Jennifer Kirn, youth programs supervisor for Cuesta College
  • Stephanie Little, environmental scientist for California State Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Simon Lowrie, a paralegal for the San Luis Obispo County Office of County Counsel
  • Alex Minicucci, CEO of SMS Masterminds
  • Danya Nunley, a group fitness instructor
  • Stephanie Pipan, police officer and K9-handler for the Morro Bay Police Department
  • Dan Podesto, owner of Central Coast Lending
  • Edith Puga, family advocate at the First 5 SLO County School Readiness Center in Paso Robles
  • Megan Rivoire, account coordinator at Verdin marketing agency
  • Bettina Swigger, executive director of Festival Mozaic
  • Erin Wighton, chief administrative officer of the History Center of San Luis Obispo County
  • David Wilson, loan officer with Bank of Commerce Mortgage