Twenty of San Luis Obispo County’s brightest, most promising leaders have been selected to receive The Tribune’s 11th annual Top 20 Under 40 awards.
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 commitment to community service. To be eligible, nominees must have lived and worked in the county year-round.
Seventy-five individuals were nominated for the honor online. Five judges representing both private and nonprofit sectors evaluated the nominations, selecting the winners at The Tribune's request.
The judges were Judith Bean, president and chief executive officer of the Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce; Margaret Johnson, chief operating officer at Martin Resorts; Chip Visci, former Tribune publisher and communications consultant; Janice Fong Wolf, director of grants and programs, The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County; and Jonathan York, faculty director and associate professor of entrepreneurship, Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business.
Short biographies of the winners will be published in The Tribune in late January. The winners will be recognized at a special luncheon Jan. 28 at the Madonna Inn. Guest speaker will be Dan Baum, co-founder of Shutterfly Inc., based in Redwood City, which offers personalized photo products and services.
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 they have been involved in a wide range of nonprofit organizations. Of the 20, 12 are women.
“We at The Tribune were pleased with the nominees’ overall talent, philanthropic contributions, and diversity of activities and interests,” said Executive Editor Sandra Duerr. “This is a deep reservoir of talent and leadership, and it bodes well for our county’s future.”
The judges were equally impressed. “Given the deep talent and generous spirit of all 75 nominees, we feel very good about the future of our community. Each of the Top 20 Under 40 honorees is a highly accomplished professional who is very engaged in our county’s civic life. We appreciate what they already have contributed to the health and vitality of our region, and we look forward to what they will accomplish in the years to come.”
Here are the honorees:
▪ Lauren Bell of Los Osos, president, GLO.Bell Consulting
▪ Carolyn Berg of San Luis Obispo, senior water resources engineer, San Luis Obispo County
▪ Doug Carscaden of Templeton, ranger services supervisor, city of San Luis Obispo
▪ Rachel Cementina of San Luis Obispo, community engagement director, United Way of San Luis Obispo County
▪ Cara Crye of Santa Margarita, vice president of communications, Farm Supply Company
▪ Katie Grainger of San Luis Obispo, administrative services officer, San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Department
▪ Melissa Kasarjian of Templeton, owner and CPA, Kasarjian & Company Certified Public Accountants
▪ Courtney Kienow of San Luis Obispo, director of community relations, Office of the President at Cal Poly
▪ Chase Martin of Arroyo Grande, deputy district attorney, San Luis Obispo County
▪ Courtney Meznarich of San Luis Obispo, account manager, Barnett Cox & Associates
▪ Alex Minicucci of San Luis Obispo, chief executive officer, SMS Masterminds
▪ Dallas Mosier of San Luis Obispo, attorney, Carmel & Naccasha LLP
▪ Dan Neff of Arroyo Grande, principal, Central Coast New Tech High School
▪ Taylor Newton of Morro Bay, founder and supervisor, Guerrilla Gardening Club
▪ Kevin Okimoto of San Luis Obispo, founder, Trellis Wealth Advisors
▪ Christine Robertson of Atascadero, associate director, Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly
▪ Mariam Shah of Grover Beach, council member, City of Grover Beach
▪ Eric Veium of San Luis Obispo, energy and sustainability analyst, Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability at Cal Poly
▪ Eva Ulz of San Luis Obispo, director and curator, History Center of San Luis Obispo County
Previous year’s winners
Take a look at Top 20 Under 40 award winners from years past:
Gallery: 2014 Top 20 Under 40 winners
Gallery: 2013 Top 20 Under 40 winners
Gallery: 2012 Top 20 Under 40 winners
Gallery: 2011 Top 20 Under 40 winners
Gallery: 2010 Top 20 Under 40 winners