40 Under 40: The 2014 Class
40 emerging business stars prove that youth — at least in their cases — is not wasted on the young.
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Jason Huett, 36
Owner, Kicks Unlimited, LLC
Jason Huett’s goal is to one day graduate from “president” to “chief entrepreneurial officer” and expand Kicks throughout the Midwest. High points in Huett’s career include working on the movie Public Enemies as a professional stuntman; growing Kicks to become the largest martial arts school in Wisconsin; and establishing the “Kicks Education Center” to teach kids about Asian culture as well as martial arts, health, and wellness.
He’s also traveled to Japan to earn two black belts in kobudo, and he was the first Wisconsinite to win the national forms championship at Diamond Nationals. Now the UW-Madison graduate is launching GymSensei, a DVD-based home study of the martial arts. With all the excitement in his life, you’d think his guilty pleasure would involve death-defying feats, but no: It’s eating ice cream. “I have great self-discipline, but not when it comes to Cold Stone’s ice cream.” Other joys: running, weights, reading, travel, and dining out.
Greg D. Jones, 32
CEO/Partner, Dave Jones, Inc.
Greg Jones started as a warehouse worker and then a field laborer in his family’s business and built on that experience to become the company’s general manager at 24 and its CEO at 32. In preparation for his management role, he earned a master plumber’s license in four states. Now, in hopes of becoming the majority owner of the business, Jones is finishing his degree in business administration at Edgewood College. He’d eventually like to focus on business consulting, writing management books, and starting or investing in new businesses.
A sports enthusiast who enjoys golf, basketball, and hunting, Jones admits that his true guilty pleasure is “reading a book while taking a long bath,” but he’s happiest when he’s with his wife and kids. “I am most proud of the time I spend with my family,” he says.
Nissa Judd, 39
President, Integral Building Systems
Nissa Judd is a determined woman who, without the advantage of a college degree, built three businesses at the start of the recession. In addition to serving as president of Integral Building Systems, she’s president of Affiliated Communications and vice president of KNC Communications. Evaluating new opportunities and taking calculated risks is a way of life for Judd, and she balances business adventures with parenting, traveling, golf, camping with family and friends, cooking, and reading.
Giving back to the community is especially important to Judd. She is board president of Middleton Outreach Ministry, and her companies are among the top donors to Gio’s Garden. She also supports Gilda’s Club, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In her spare time, she likes to build things. “My husband and I have built a deck, finished a basement, and designed and built two large landscaping projects,” she says. “I like to see the final result and feel the satisfaction of having done it myself.”
Jason Kadow, 39
CEO, KMA Bodilly CPAs and Consultants, S.C.
This UW-Whitewater grad’s achievements include raising enough money from investors to buy a small community bank at age 30 and becoming an equity partner in a CPA firm within seven years of his college graduation. His goal now is to grow KMA Bodilly into one of the largest CPA firms in the state. Kadow expects to accomplish his mission with the help of two standout mentors — area businessmen Greg Williams, CEO of Network Engineering Technologies (“my rock”), and financial advisor Jon Goldstein, owner, Goldstein & Associates (“my go-to guy”). Kadow stays busy as a board member for Habitat for Humanity of Dane County and president of the World Dairy Campus Association, and in his downtime he enjoys playing golf. His guilty pleasure makes this numbers guy easy to buy for: He loves to eat Gummy Bears.
Craig (C.J.) Klaas, 30
COO, Director, Klaas Financial, Inc.
The youngest advisor to hit $500,000 in gross production in Klaas Financial’s 37-year history, Craig Klaas joined senior management at age 28. He’s involved with Verona Young Life and is a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. The University of Washington graduate played on the U.S. Under-20 national soccer team that competed in the Youth World Championships in Dubai, UAE in 2004. Klaas also played two seasons of professional soccer with the Seattle Sounders, but he says his greatest achievement was marrying his wife.
Today, he’s a board member for the Madison Area Tip Club and a member of Downtown Madison Rotary. Klaas would like to become president and CEO of Klaas Financial in the next six to eight years and garner more regional exposure in the Midwest. To relax, he coaches his daughters’ soccer teams, hunts, fishes, and volunteers, but his guilty pleasure is “playing bean bags with neighborhood friends on Friday evenings on our sidewalks.”