Twenty young San Luis Obispo County residents have been selected from a field of nearly 100 nominees as winners of The Tribune’s 14th annual Top 20 Under 40 Award.
The competition honors young professionals who do exemplary work in their professions and in their communities. To be eligible, nominees must be under the age of 40 on Jan. 1, 2019, and live in San Luis Obispo County year-round.
Community members submitted the initial applications, which The Tribune narrowed down to 40 semi-finalists. A panel of seven judges, led by former Tribune Publisher and senior strategist for AMF Media Group Chip Visci, then selected 20 winners.
This year’s judging panel also included President and CEO of South County Chambers of Commerce Jocelyn Brennan; WhiteFox Defense Technologies CEO Luke Fox; SLO Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Economic Initiatives and Regional Advocacy Melissa James, COO of Martin Resorts Margaret Johnson, PG&E Director of Strategic Initiatives Tom Jones, and Market President of 1st Capital Bank Anita Robinson.
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“These 20 young professionals have made our community a better, more vibrant place to live and work,” the judges said. “Excelling not only in their day jobs, each one gives generously of their time and talent to help others. We look forward to how much more they will accomplish in the years to come.”
The 13 women and seven men are employed in a variety of fields in the nonprofit, private and public sectors. Biographies of each winner will be published in The Tribune in February, and an awards luncheon will be held in their honor Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
Cara Crye, president and CEO of San Luis Obispo-based Farm Supply, will be the keynote speaker at the event. Farm Supply is a farmer-owned cooperative that has about 2,600 members. Crye, a Morro Bay native and Cal Poly alumna, began working at the company at 19 as a part-time salesperson in 1996. She was named CEO in 2016 when Jim Braback retired.
Previous Top 20 Under 40 winners have been innovative, dedicated, persevering and deeply involved in their communities. 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:
Erica Andrade, 31, director of 5 Cities Hope
Andrea Angelucci, 39, doctor at Primary Care Partners
Bushra Anjum, 36, software development engineer at Amazon
Nicholas Beem, 35, Air National Guard operations superintendent and owner of SLO Camp ‘n’ Pack
Joe Benson, 39, corporate counsel at Mindbody
Danielle Borrelli, 30, California Cybersecurity Institute business services coordinator
Angela Cisneros, 39, general manager at K-Jons Diamonds & Gems
Kelly Donohue, 32, Wilshire Health & Community Services creative media brand strategist
Aaron Gomez, 39, owner of the Gold Concept
Ann Hansen, 33, vice president, commercial and ag banking officer at American Riviera Bank
Michael Hopkins-Tucker, 25, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing policy analyst
Jennifer Idler, 39, Idler’s Home human resource director
Ryan Lawrence, 38, owner of SLO Movement Arts Center and creative director at Movement Arts Collective
Bonnie Loftus, 38, owner and operator of Bonnie Marie’s Catering
Shannon McOuat, 39, Hospice San Luis Obispo County volunteer services director
April Nolan, 37, speech language pathologist at Beyond Speech Therapy and business owner
Michael Parolini, 39, principal and managing partner at Smith Structural Group
Greg Squires, 35, The Parable Group president
Sondra Williams, 38, Central Coast Home Health registered nurse and owner of Twisted & Glazed
Amanda Wittstrom Higgins, 36, Ancient Peaks Winery vice president of operations