Under 40, But Unseen: Young Leaders Get the Spotlight


REDDING, Calif. – In the Redding area, where many feel that the contributions of the under-age-40 population go unrecognized, recipients of the first round of "20 Under 40" awards have been applauded enthusiastically.

When the Record Searchlight lined up the event, nominations were cast for those younger people who have made significant contributions to the community through charity and leadership excellence. In total, 64 nominees were named. Of those, 20 were named the top 20 Under 40 during a sold-out cocktail reception Thursday night at the McConnell Foundation.

Many recipients Thursday knew who had nominated them, but some had no idea.

Awardee Adam Mankoski was recognized for co-creating ArtHop with partner Troy Hawkins. They founded the monthly art event that showcases artists' work at dozens of businesses around town. (Full disclosure: Mankoski also writes for anewscafe.com.)

"We created ArtHop for two reasons," Mankoski said. "Obviously we wanted to create a social event that the community could participate in every month, but at the root of ArtHop is the idea that art and culture can stimulate the economy, cultural tourism, and so on."

The event draws artists from all over California to participate, stay in hotel rooms and stimulate the local economy, Mankoski said. Speaking of the 20 Under 40 demographic, he said, "I think it's a totally under-recognized segment of the community. I haven't been here that long, but it seems like this is the first time in a long time that you're seeing the people in this age group want to stay in the community, not with the 'one foot in, one foot out' syndrome."

Community activist and recent entrepreneur Adam McElvain, 31, was also among the 20 chosen. McElvain serves on the board of the Friends of Whiskeytown, the Community Services Advisory Commission, and is involved in philanthropy through the 20-30 Club. He has a wife and child and another baby on the way. McElvain said he was proud of the opportunity to have made a change.

"My main intention is to improve my community. About the time I turned 25, I was a big complainer about things in life. But I decided that if I'm not doing anything to help, I have no room to complain," he said.

The lobby of the foundation Thursday was aglow with good spirits, congratulatory dues and pride, both personal and by association. All 150 tickets available were taken in what is hoped to become an annual event, said Michelle Martin Streeby, convergence director at the Record Searchlight.

"We saw that some of our sister papers were saluting emerging leaders in their communities, and we thought, 'Uh, why aren't we doing that?' We encouraged the community to nominate leaders in about six different industries," including manufacturing, business, health care, nonprofits, churches and religious sectors, government and philanthropic organizations, Martin Streeby said.

Some of the nominees had more than one source for nomination, Martin Streeby said. The selection committee read through each of the nominations and, based on the information and recommendations, selected the 20 most inspiring candidates.

Simpson University was a key sponsor of the event and named 20 Under 40 nominee Scott Putnam, CEO of Apex Technologies, ambassador of a $5,000 scholarship to Simpson. In that role, Putnam will select a qualifying North State high school student to receive the scholarship. Additionally, he will have the opportunity to mentor the winner of the course of the student's Simpson University experience.

Cameron Middleton, whose 32nd birthday was Thursday, said it was quite a way to celebrate a nomination. "I'm just starting out. Hopefully I can be here in Redding for years to come and be able to keep up the contributions and make it a lifelong goal, said Middleton, who named his role in the 20-30 club, on the City Planning Commission and in Sunset Rotary as highlights of his work here.

Nominations for next year's salute are due Nov. 8. Applications can be found at www.redding.com/20under40.


Article by Joshua Corbelli, anewscafe.com
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