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Red Carpet Affair: The 2015 40 Under 40 Class

(page 7 of 8)

Tara Saleh

Director of Business Development and Communications
MIG Commercial Real Estate
Age: 38

After working in sales and events planning for ESPN Radio in Chicago and the National W Club in Madison, Tara Saleh has quickly made an impact in her new job at MIG Commercial Real Estate.

Within her first six months, she developed more than $8 million in commercial real estate transactions (either closed or in progress). Also in her rookie year, she launched the MIG

Legacy Foundation and helped create the MIG Charity Golf Classic, which raised $25,000 and sent half the proceeds to a local charity.
Her mentors include Larry Wert, president of the Tribune Company, where she got her start in sports radio, and UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez. “I admire his confidence and strength,” she said.

Although born without a sense of smell, Saleh enjoys eating (a lot, she admits), which helps give her the energy she needs to raise twin 10-year-olds. “I have four breakfasts before my first of three lunches.”

Movie: Goodfellas, Anchorman, Pitch Perfect
TV show: Seinfeld, SportsCenter
Music: Everything!

Chad Schakelman

Industrial Division Manager
JP Cullen & Sons
Age: 38

Through his development of JP Cullen’s Steel Task Force, which created process improvements in the field by soliciting the advice of the company’s ironworkers and steelworkers, Chad Schakelman has significantly increased the production of JP Cullen’s workforce.

In fact, he’s increased the industrial division’s profits by 90%, effectively doubled the size of the division, and increased the customer base by 50%.

The process improvements Schakelman spearheaded eventually helped the company tackle the largest steel project in the state of Wisconsin, Epic’s Deep Space Auditorium, which recently received the Steel Erectors Association of America’s Top Project of the Year award.

“Chad turned our inadequate structural steel operation around in just a couple of months,” said JP Cullen President Ron Becher.

So what will he do for an encore?

“I would like to make sure I make an impact on whatever I do in the industry,” said Schakelman. “Being respected and having values are important to me as a leader.”

Movie: Top Gun
TV show: Shark Tank
Music: Country, rock

Joe Shumow

Tax Credit and Real Estate Attorney
Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren
Age: 33

Joe Shumow recently represented Forward Community Investments in its new markets tax credit allocation to Milwaukee’s Sojourner Family Peace Center, which provides respite for victims of domestic abuse. It was a complicated legal matter, he noted, but the project has received national attention and is seen as a game-changing model in the industry.

“I aspire to continue to advise developers, nonprofits, and governmental entities on how to best create housing opportunities and economic development,” he said.

Shumow is on the board of directors at Forward Theater Company in Madison and serves on boards for the Jewish Federation of Madison and the Rodney Scheel House Foundation. At home, his guilty pleasure is watching sports in his man cave (on three TVs at once), but his professional goals are loftier.

“Over the next couple decades of my life, I want to be able to drive around Madison and see a skyline of developments that I’ve had a small piece in helping bring to fruition.”

Movie: The Usual Suspects
TV show: Modern Family
Music: Everything!

Meghan Sohns

Crisis Intervention Services Manager
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)
Age: 30

During her time at DAIS, Meghan Sohns has been instrumental in launching the organization’s Law Enforcement Advocate Partnership (LEAP) program.
In the past, when Madison police officers responded to domestic violence incidents, they referred callers to DAIS, putting the onus on the victims. Now, through the LEAP program, DAIS takes the initiative, following up with victims to offer free and confidential support, safety tips, and other resources.

Since implementing the program, DAIS has made contact with more than 55% of the domestic violence victims referred to the organization, many of whom would have otherwise never been in touch with an intervention group.

“I am excited at the prospect of growing this program even further to reach more victims of domestic violence in Dane County,” said Sohns.
While Sohns says she’s already doing her dream job, one day she’d like to serve as executive director of a small rural domestic violence agency.

Movie: Gone With the Wind
TV show: Scandal
Music: Country

Tessa Sokol

Sokol Advanced EyeCare
Age: 35

As the first person in her family to earn a college degree, Tessa Sokol considers herself “self-made.” She owns an independent eye-care clinic and serves as president of the Madison Area Optometric Society.

In September, Sokol received the Wisconsin Young Optometrist of the Year award from the Wisconsin Optometric Association. As part of the WOA Legislative Committee, she’s advocated both in Washington, D.C., and at the State Capitol on issues affecting her industry.

A member of Wisconsin’s Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity and Medical Wings International, Sokol has taken international medical mission trips to Honduras, El Salvador, Cameroon, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, and she will head to Gambia in December. Back home, she’s taking flying lessons — something she’s wanted to do since attending EAA AirVenture as a child.

A self-proclaimed “Madison foodie,” Sokol supports farm-to-table events whenever possible and is known for baking and decorating quirky cupcakes — which she gives away to friends, of course.

Movie: The Pursuit of Happyness
TV show: Grey’s Anatomy
Music: World music


Mar 4, 2015 03:44 pm
 Posted by  JennaWeber

Congrats to all of this year's 40 Under 40 recipients! A special congrats to Ryan Birkicht, Sam Owens, Marisa Menzel and Joe Pometto for representing CONNECT Madison. The rest of this year's honorees should definitely check out CONNECT Madison as well- we love building relationships with other local emerging leaders and helping each other succeed!

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