40 Under 40: The 2013 Class
Honoring Some of Dane County's Most Promising Young Execs
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For 13 years, In Business has celebrated the successes of rising business stars in our annual 40 Under 40 issue, and each year we have marveled at the vast richness and diversity of the young candidates.
The competition is stiff. Not only are we looking for examples of business success and moxie, but also for people who demonstrate a firm commitment to the local community through board involvement, volunteerism, or other activities.
Every year, we wonder if we’ll find 40 candidates to fill our roster, and every year, the best and brightest continue to impress. This year, we received more than 120 applications for the 2013 class, and it fell to the (anonymous) selection committee to preview and score each one – using outside interests and hobbies as tiebreakers – until the list was whittled down to the final 40 names, presented here alphabetically.
How fortunate we are to have so many fine young individuals making business waves. This is a list of IB’s top 40, but certainly there are countless others who continue on a daily basis to contribute to the vibrant business culture in Greater Madison. We hope to see their names included in our future lists.
NOTE: If you or someone you know would like to be considered for the 2014 class, simply complete an online application no later than Nov. 30 at www.ibmadison.com/40Under40survey.
Sara Alvarado, 37
President, Alvarado Real Estate Group
Spouse/Partner: Carlos Alvarado
If you were to empty Sara Alvarado’s purse, you’d find “notes and random pieces of papers with goals, aspirations, and big ideas,” because her intention is to always be reaching “to be the best I can be in my professional and personal life.”
While building a family realty business with husband Carlos, Alvarado also is a founding member of both Badger Rock Middle School and Neustro Mundo Community School. She’s involved with Habitat for Humanity Dane County and is an active Hispanic and Latino business advocate and an MG&E Green Power business partner.
Beyond spending time with sons Leo, 8, and Alex, 11, Alvarado says a fantasy date with Carlos would involve a bookstore and a cup of tea, “preferably in a different country.”
Closer to home, she’s an active board member with Sustain Dane and past chair of Dane Buy Local, is involved in TEMPO, and is the responsible board member for the Realtors Association Green Committee.
Todd C. Bernhardt, 36
Partner, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
Spouse/Partner: Ronda Bernhardt
Under Todd Bernhardt’s campaign leadership, Baker Tilly’s United Way of Dane County initiative raised more than $525,000 in two years, putting it in the Top 10 giving positions of all participating companies. He’s also a board member for United Cerebral Palsy of Dane County and an active committee volunteer for his church.
Hired by the firm at the age of 22, Bernhardt dreamed of being named partner by 35. His goal now is to remain in that position for the next 25 years, emulating Danny Andersen, a role model at the firm who “even gave a kidney to a stranger a few years back.”
Bernhardt is enthusiastic about the Madison Curling Club in McFarland, and participates in professional challenges. “I’m also an avid baseball fan and have traveled much of the U.S. and Canada to well over 20 different MLB stadiums,” he added. However, spending time with the wife and two young children “still gives me the most enjoyment.”
Angela Brzowski, 37
Design Phase Manager, Mortenson Construction
Spouse/Partner: Dan Brzowski
Angela Brzowski led the preconstruction services for the Fitchburg Public Library and the Madison Central Public Library, and has been integrally involved with a number of UW planning projects, including the Wisconsin Energy Institute. Project work has taken her places, including Oshkosh (Aurora Medical Center), Battle Creek, Mich. (Covance Nutritional Chemistry project), Waukesha (GE Medical Systems), and Wauwatosa (Wisconsin Heart Hospital).
She’d like to see more private/public partnerships with “a collaborative approach to workforce development, buildings, policies, etc.” to set the stage for economic development and sustainable growth for future generations.
In addition to an impressive list of industry-related memberships, Brzowski is an elder mentor for Catholic Charities of Madison, a Lake Mills USTA coach, and a recreation department soccer coach. When she isn’t traveling for work, she enjoys trips to her family cabin in Minnesota, “being a mom,” and fitness training. She prefers an active lifestyle, expressing a fondness for running, soccer, tennis, hiking, and even yard work.
Keetra S. West Burnette, 39
Chief Operating Officer, Urban League of Greater Madison
Spouse/Partner: Troy Burnette
Prior to joining the Urban League, Keetra Burnette prepared the leadership of UW Hospital and Clinics to successfully switch over to electronic medical records, a career highlight for her.
While she still admires the medical profession, she went to a nonprofit because “the adults we serve at Urban League are people like myself and other members of my own family who have hit some type of roadblock and are in need of a hand up, not a handout. They are the people I was put on this earth to help.”
In her current job, Burnette is recognized as one of the highest-ranking African American females in the city of Madison. “When I first learned this, I was shocked,” she admitted. Now her goal is to help the Madison business community become more culturally diverse and gender inclusive, the reason for her event “Madison Black Women Rock! A Celebration of Sisters Who Are Getting It Done!”
Mary Beth Collins, 35
Executive Director and Attorney/Principal, Dane County CASA, Inc. and MBC Legal
After earning an undergrad degree in English from Appalachian State University, Mary Beth Collins went on to earn a master’s and J.D. degree from UW-Madison to further her dual goals of supporting her family and “using a law degree to help individuals and organizations reach their goals.”
She’s helping other families along the way via her volunteer commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters and her work as a child advocate under the authority of the Dane County Courts/Law Practice. In the future, she’d also like “to write and teach about organizational and community leadership.”
Living in Spain and Argentina with her children for periods of time was a lifetime dream and achievement. Now that she’s tied to Madison, the family has taken up snowboarding. Collins added, “I very much enjoy following Wisconsin sports as much as I can fit in my schedule, and spending time at my kids’ activities and sporting events, too.”