Avenue Magazine Crowns 'Top 40 Under 40'

Local magazine sifts through the best of the best of Edmontonians who are shaping our future


I CAN'T imagine exactly how many under-40-year-olds there are in our grand city, and I can't imagine having to dwindle those tens of thousands of fine folks down to a short list, and then selecting the 40 who would make up Avenue magazine's inaugural "Top 40 Under 40" list. Fortunately, that task wasn't up to me.

Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, Grant MacEwan President & CEO Paul Byrne, Avenue's Director of Marketing Trudy Callaghan, Edmonton Arts Council Executive Director John Mahon, Chair of Junior Chamber International Edmonton Julie Ward, and Lexus of Edmonton GM Bruce Kirkland were given the burden of tackling this list, which meant rejecting countless worthy candidates and narrowing it down to 70, and then again to the final 40.

How did they come up with the elite 40? I'm glad you asked! Avenue magazine went on the prowl to find Edmonton's "brightest and most talented individuals under the age of 40 who are excelling in their careers, giving back to the community and raising the city's profile."

The honour roll includes a cornucorpia of young talent and experience in various professions, from refined CEOs and zealous executives to worldly artists and habitual volunteers, most of whom moonlight to broaden their portfolios. "They are the generation of today making a better future for the people of tomorrow."

So rather than going any further, let's just get to the cream of the crop. In alphabetical order, here are Avenue magazine's "Top 40 Under 40," and why they've made the list:

-Trevor Anderson, 36, "multi-faceted international artist"
Why? "For representing Edmonton around the world with his audacious short films and striking rock band."

-Geoff Ball, 38, "director of the Pediatric Centre for Weight and Health, Stollery Children's Hospital, an assitant professor and a prodigious researcher"
Why? "For leading a savvy team that helps hundreds of overweight children and their families."

-Ken Bautista, 32, "Associate creative director of interactive at RED The Agency, and CEO and creative director of CIE: Seek Your Own Proof"
Why? "For bringing diverse communities together to create a more vibrant, engaging city."

-Tamisan Bencz-Knight, 31, "resource development co-ordinator for Edmonton's Food Bank"
Why? "For helping to feed the hungry and for bringing awareness of the issue to Edmonton's business community."

-Suzanna Brytan, 37, "director of development and project management for the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers"
Why? "For setting the pace for the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers as they break boundaries to preserve and enliven Ukrainian culture."

-Andrea Cairns, 33, "volunteer director of public relations at Second Chance Animal Rescue Society"
Why? "For dedicating her spare time to rescuing animals and helping SCARS become the biggest rescue organization in the province."

-Mike Christiansen, 38, "owner of Venus Eye Design"
Why? "For building an eyewear franchise that's competing with international designers at optical shops around the world."

-Tanya Driechel, 35, "community programmer and librarian at the Legal Resources Centre of Alberta"
Why? "For making complicated and often intimidating legal information available to those who need it most." (pictured above right)

-Janaya Ellis, 36, "lead singer of Souljah Fyah"
Why? "For bringing the world of reggae to our city and exporting it around the world."

-Cheryl Feldstein, 32, "executive director, Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton"
Why? "For helping citizens understand the impact wildlife has on all aspects of our lives."

-Lori Gawryluik, 36, "owner and operator of Noiselab Industries"
Why? "For using her musical talents to help others develop theirs at a new art venue and studio."

-Bretta Gerecke, 39, "resident designer at the Catalyst Theatre"
Why? "For earning national recognition for her award-winning theatre designs."

-Rick Harcourt, 38, "president of Harcourt Recruiting Specialists"
Why? "For growing the family business at a time when its competition was downsizing or disappearing."

-Don Iveson, 30, "city councillor, Ward 5"
Why? "For proving you can change city hall--with lots of persistence, patience and non-partisan bridge-building." (pictured right)

-Junetta Jamerson, 38, "project co-ordinator of Keshotu Leadership Academy"
Why? "For ensuring an exciting future for young blacks by teaching them strategies for battling racism and stereotypes with art."

-Todd Janes, 39, "executive director of Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture"
Why? "For advocating on behalf of the local arts community and bringing international attention to our city."

-Ryan Jespersen, 32, "host of Breakfast Television"
Why? "For going beyond the sound bites to reflect the hidden stories behind Edmonton's culture and community."

-Stephanie Jonsson, 26, "lead artist, instructor and educator at Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, and gallery educator at the Art Gallery of Alberta"
Why? "For creating award-winning art and teaching her talent to Edmontonians to ensure a legacy of imagination lives on in the community."

-Shafraaz Kaba, 34, "architect"
Why? "For creating a more cohesive art and architecture community in Edmonton and bolstering sustainable design in Alberta."

-Peter Kiss, 37, "owner and president of Morgan Construction and Environmental"
Why? "For contributing to Alberta's economy through his oilfield construction business and by reclaiming beneficial land."

-James Mabey, 27, "real estate broker at Sutton Group-Nor-Vista Realty"
Why? "For leading one of the most sought-after real estate branches in the area and supporting young buyers."

-Mack Male, 25, "founder of Paramagnus Developments and prolific blogger"
Why? "For being a tech guru and passionate blogger who is transforming Edmonton into City 2.0."

-Ian Mann, 39, "professor of physics at the U of A"
Why? "For working to strengthen Canada's position on the global space frontier and connecting us to the cosmos."

-Daniel McBee, 33, "manager of commercial, real estate and construction services at RBC"
Why? "For being a leader in the community and maintaining a long-standing commitment to volunteerism."

-Christy Morin, 39, "director of Arts on the Ave"
Why? "For harnessing the power of art to revitalize Alberta Avenue."

-Ian Mulder, 30, "artist and owner of Mulder Studios"
Why? "For beautifying the city with murals and advocating for public art."

-Simon O'Byrne, 35, "head of urban planning and landscaping architecture groups at Stantec Consulting"
Why? "For creating vibrant communities across Canada and beyond, while setting the standard for community engagement."

-Stephen Petasky, 29, "president and founder of the Luxus Group"
Why? "For leading two very successful entrepreneurial careers and still finding time to give back to the community."

-Derek Prue, 37, "president of Skyrider Holdings Ltd."
Why? "For building a juggernaut property development company from the ground up." (pictured above right)

-Steve Ruggiero, 29, "VP of Kimberley Homes and Communities"
Why? "For ignoring the recession and helping build dreams for homeowners and communities."

-Shannon Scott, 38, "assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the U of A"
Why? "For being a star in the new field of knowledge translation."

-Jared Smith, 34, "principal at Incite Solutions Inc."
Why? "For leading a marketing company out of a basement to the pages of PROFIT and for contributing to the community."

-Jared Tabler, 28, "CEO of TSA Consulting Strategies Inc."
Why? "For bringing fun and understanding to the complex world of employee relations."

-Adam Thompson, 29, "music director and assistant program director at Sonic radio 102.9 FM"
Why? "For being an ambassador to Edmonton's rock music scene and expanding chances for local talent to succeed."

-Moira Vane, 31, "crown prosector"
Why? "For using her skills in criminal law to stand up for people and animals in vulnerable conditions." (pictured right)

-Renèe Vaugeois, 35, "executive director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights"
Why? "For dedicating her life to creating change on a global scale and mobilizing youth to do the same."

-Michael Walters, 38, "community organizer of the Greater Edmonton Alliance"
Why? "For using collective action to create change in our city."

-Cary Williams, 31, "co-chair, City of Edmonton's Next Gen Committee"
Why? "For being a community-minded, globally ambitious Edmonton booster." (pictured at top of post)

-Marlon Wilson, 29, "urban music artist, radio DJ, consultant and mentor"
Why? "For immersing himself in music as an artist and a teacher to make the industry more swimmable for other local musicians."

-Mike Zouhri, 23, "humanitarian and community advocate"
Why? "For diving right in and removing potential obstacles when it comes to organizing major fundraisers for grassroots causes."

For more information (and photos) of all 40 of these young, talented and dedicated Edmontonians, visit Avenue magazine's website, where you can read more about each individual, or click on the links that'll take you to each of their Avenue profiles. You can also pick up the actual magazine itself (for free) at any of the various locations around town, and see who made the cover. Okay, it was Cary Williams! Cary Williams made the cover! There, I blew it for you!



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