Edmonton's 'Top 40 Under 40,' 2010

Once again, Edmonton's Avenue magazine names our city's 'Top 40 Under 40' who are making a difference right here at home


LAST year Avenue tried something new. The local monthly magazine set out to find our city's "brightest and most talented individuals under the age of 40 who are excelling in their careers, giving back to the community and raising our city's profile." In other words, Edmonton's "Top 40 Under 40."

The fine folks over at Avenue put out the call early off, asking readers to nominate worthy candidates. They responded with more than 200 nominations, each of which would have to submit a list of accolades and references, as well as some background information, a resume, and reasons why they should be considered for the Top 40.

Once that task was complete, Avenue staff set out to determine who was the most deserving, trimming the selections down to a short list of 65. The Top 40 was chosen from there by five judges, including Lexus of Edmonton GM Bruce Kirkland, Odvod Media president Trudy Callaghan, and Renee Vaugeois, director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights.

No different from last year, 2010's class is an impressive list of Edmontonians making an impact in our town. For our town. They include columnist and photographer Fish Griwowsky, radio host J'lyn Nye, musician and movie producer Paul Bellows, and Suit Yourself founder Karmen Masson.

Below is Avenue magazine's choices for 2010's "Top 40 Under 40" (in alphabetical order), and why they were selected.

-Mike Anderson, 32, Executive producer and CEO, Trixstar Productions
Why? "He has created a niche working with TV personalities, athletes and rock stars to generate celebrity-driven buzz for marketing campaigns." (Pictured right).

-Chris Andrew, 39, Jazz pianist and composer; music instructor, Grant MacEwan University
Why? "He encourages musicians to stay in Edmonton to find success--and he leads by example."

-Amanda Babichuk, 31, "Creative warrior" and owner, d'Lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar
Why? "She knows when it's time to shift her focus. 'You need to recognize when it's time to go big or go home. You have to adapt'."

-Paul Bellows, 39, Director, Yellow Pencil Inc., and folk-rock singer; movie producer
Why? "He's an independent folk-rock musician who parlayed a computer hobby into an internationally recognized web development company."

-David Benjestorf, 39, General manager and chief legal counsel, Alldritt Development
Why? "He's a driven local lawyer who took an unlikely day job to build entire neighbourhoods in Edmonton: 'It was like jumping into the deep end and hoping you could swim, but I knew I could swim'."

-Chris Bolivar, 28, Owner and managing director, McRobbie Optamedia Inc.
Why? "He has merged marketing and political science savvy to create one of the largest, fastest-growing and youthful advertising agencies in Edmonton."

-Darren Bondar, 37, President and founder, Watch It!
Why? "He took a eureka moment and built it into a national retail chain with 21 locations across Canada."

-Terrena Boss, 29, Manager of exhibitions and art education, Harcourt House Arts Centre
Why? "She helps make art education accessible to everyone and the Edmonton arts community more connected."

-Michael Brechtel, 31, Community organizer; director of strategy, McRobbie Optamedia
Why? "He's an advertising whiz and a tireless community organizer with an eye on shaping Edmonton's future through interVivos, artsScene Edmonton, TEDxEdmonton and Reboot Alberta--all of which he co-founded." (Pictured right).

-Chris Buyze, 31, Partner and designer, Battle Lake Design Group
Why? "He is a leader in the sustainable practice of building homes with straw bales, attracting clients in Alberta and B.C."

-Chris Check, 39, Owner and operator, Pedalhead Bicycle Works
Why? "He has taken Pedalhead from a bike shop to a bike institution, not only getting people on two wheels, but also getting them to explore the city through its trails."

-Dave Cournoyer, 26, Communications officer, United Nurses of Alberta; blogger, daveberta.ca
Why? "Through his blog, he uses the web and social media tools to help close generation gaps in political, health-care and literary sectors by making it easier for younger generations to join discussions that are reshaping our city and province."

-Chris Craddock, 38, Writer-in-residence, Edmonton Public Library; actor, writer, director
Why? "He uses theatre and humour to speak out against injustice and social problems, from homophobia to teen pregnancy."

-R.J. Cui, 31, CEO and president of business development, PlanIt Sound
Why? "He's a musical sensation abroad and a humble helper at home, giving at-risk youth a microphone with which to express themselves."

-Mark Fitzsimmons, 34, President, Psychometrics Canada
Why? "He has combined his fascination with human behaviour and his marketing savvy to give this family business a multinational presence."

-Fish Griwkowsky, 39, Columnist, artist, photographer, scenester
Why? "He stimulates and promotes Edmonton's independent creative scene by writing about it, participating in it as an artist, mentoring emerging artists and mobilizing groups to make the only more artistically rich and diverse."

Executive director and CEO, Alberta Museums Association
Why? "Since volunteering for the Winnipeg Art Gallery in her early 20s, she has risen steadily through the ranks of Canada's cultural institutions. She is now at the helm of Alberta's museum sector, ensuring the province's museums remain sustainable, relevant and accessible."

-Jonathan Huntington, 35, Senior marketing manager, Northlands Park
Why? "He has an endless store of energy and a head full of ideas about how to attract more people to the track at Northlands Park, helping to preserve an old sport many have given up on."

-Christine Kasturi, 31, Owner, New Mama and IronMama
Why? "She is an entrepreneur who channelled her struggles as a new mom into a fitness and lifestyle program for others who are adjusting to the frantic world of motherhood." (Pictured right).

-Laura Keegan, 39, Humanitarian issues program co-ordinator, Canadian Red Cross
Why? "Even after being taken hostage and contracting malaria, she remains committed to humanitarianism, teaching youth about international issues and helping refugees and immigrants find displaced loved ones."

-Ted Kerr, 31, Artist and organizer; community liaison, HIV Edmonton
Why? "Through his art, activism and community organizing, he has been reclaiming the word 'queer' and using it proudly to represent anyone or anything that challenges the status quo."

-Chris LaBossiere, 39, Co-chief executive officer, Yardstick Software; president, Alberta Party
Why? "He co-founded Yardstick Software in 2002, which has since been named by Alberta Venture four times as one of the fastest-growing companies in Alberta and has made Profit 100's list of fastest-growing companies in Canada."

-Katherine Lomax, 38, President and creative director, Elegant Touches
Why? "She is an industry leader and was named Event Planner of the Year for 2010 by the local chapter of Meeting Professionals International."

-Tegan Martin-Drysdale, 31, Project manager, ProCura Real Estate Services
Why? "She has a big influence on developments that are changing Edmonton's landscape. She's also a powerhouse of fresh ideas for community leagues."

-Karmen Masson, 38, Founder and executive director, Suit Yourself
Why? "She has fashionably clothed and given confidence to 1,400 women in need, helping them find work by supplying suitable workplace attire at no charge." (Pictured right).

-Kyle Murray, 37, Director, School of Retailing, University of Alberta
Why? "In just two years, he has helped raise millions of dollars for a little-known research centre and helped it grow into a top-level academic business program."

-J'lyn Nye, 39, Co-host, The Joe Show with Gary & J'lyn
Why? "She's a 20-year veteran of broadcast journalism who has lent her media profile to raising money and awareness for more than a dozen charity organizations, especially those honouring the Canadian Armed Forces."

-Brent Oliver, 35, Talent buyer and co-founder, Foundation Concerts
Why? "He uses his industry knowledge and contacts to help dozens of local bands find success."

-Erin Rayner, 32, President and owner, ED Marketingl manager of philanthropy, Cash Store Financial
Why? "She has translated her passion for community into a business of philanthropy."

-Aidan Rowe, 38, Assistant professor, Visual Communication Design/ Interactive New Media, University of Alberta
Why? "He champions Edmonton art and design to the world through the Edmonton Arts Council, the University of Alberta and his own commercial design work."

-Shami Sandhu, 36, Broker-owner, Re/Max River City
Why? "His brokerage was ranked No.1 in Edmonton in 2009 in total sales volume for a single branch office and was also the top recruiter for all Re/Max offices in Alberta."

-Joshua Semchuk, 35, Communications manager, Citadel Theatre
Why? "He trumpets the success of Edmonton's theatre community by facilitating international press coverage and putting the capital on the map as a hotbed for performing arts."

-Tim Shipton, 35, President and founding member, Alberta Enterprise Group
Why? "He leads high-profile missions to Europe and Washington that profile Alberta as a great place."

-Emmy Stuebing, 35, Executive director, Alberta Emerald Foundation
Why? "Since taking the helm of the Alberta Emerald Foundation, she has doubled its annual funds raised. As a fundraiser for other Alberta organizations, she has earned them sizable contributions."

-Zoe Todd, 27, Ph.D candidate, University of Aberdeen
Why? "She has raised more than $48,000 for social causes and research in the last four years, organized volunteers for local causes and is an advocate for Aboriginal rights."

-Tyler Vreeling, 30, Principal designer and president, Fat Crow Design
Why? "He's an award-winning furniture designer and entrepreneur who won't compromise his sustainable business philosophies for a bottom-line world. He also chairs M.A.D.E. in Edmonton, the city's premiere design organization and collaborates with local architects, manufacturers and web developers to improve the city's esthetic."

-Catherine Vu, 35, Owner, Pro-Active IT Management Inc.
Why? "While running a successful and growing IT company, she volunteers for a variety of charities--running races, rappelling down towers and doing whatever, it takes to raise a buck for a good cause."

-Analea Wayne, 36, President, Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch
Why? "She is the youngest president ever of the organization that serves as the voice of the legal profession in Alberta." (Pictured right).

-Kristina Williams, 34, Director of Investments, Alberta Enterprise Corporation; Swedish Counsul to Edmonton
Why? "She advices the provincial government on venture capital fund investments for technology companies, while acting as a Swedish counsul--the second-youngest person in the world with that title at the time she was appointed."

-Amanda Woodward, 30, Owner and creative director, Woodward Designs
Why? "Her paid and pro bono work for arts organizations helps raise the profile of arts and design in Edmonton, and her design esthetic has made an impact through a commitment to quality."

For more photos of the Top 40, as well as more information on why they were chosen, click on their names, or visit Avenue magazine's page here.

PHOTOS BY CONSTANTINE TANASIUK/ COURTESY OF AVENUE MAGAZINE

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