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Here comes the future

With a youth-be-served spirit in mind, IB highlights Madison’s most promising young professionals in its annual 40 Under 40 presentation.

(page 10 of 12)

Vanessa McDowell

YWCA Madison
Age: 37

After just three years at the YWCA Madison, Vanessa McDowell wrestled with her desire to throw her hat in the ring for the nonprofit’s top job. She’d been moving up the ranks, but one doubt lingered in her mind: Did she have the stamina required to lead the organization and its vital mission to eliminate racism and empower women?

Her final decision proved both fruitful and historic. Last July, McDowell became the first woman of color to lead YWCA Madison as CEO in the organization’s 109-year history. One of her first moves was relocating the YWCA’s Empowerment Center from Latham Drive to a location on South Park Street, making it more accessible to job training participants and restorative justice programming. “We are now a beacon of light and empowerment in the South Park Street corridor,” she states.

One of her favorite quotes is: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Ryan Hanna

Executive VP of Construction
Dave Jones Inc.
Age: 34

Dedicated, hard working, and well respected are just a few of the labels Ryan Hanna receives from peers and supervisors, alike. In his current role, Hanna is responsible for the two largest segments of Dave Jones Inc., a plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, electrical, and framing company. Those segments consist of 300 employees and more than $60 million in annual revenue.

It was Hanna’s recommendation for the company to move into other trades when the industry found itself with a shortage of framers and electricians. As a result, new framing and electrical divisions have been added, and Dave Jones has an enhanced ability to recruit, retain, and develop new talent. “By doing this, we can continue to grow our organization, add value for our current customer base, and continue to bring younger generations into the construction industry,” states Hanna, also a volunteer firefighter and ordained minister.

Monica Hickey

Ideas That Evoke
Age: 27

With Ideas That Evoke, Monica Hickey is in the fast lane with a fast growing company. She not only leads within her company, but also in her industry and in her community.

At Ideas that Evoke, a digital marketing agency whose client list is 80% within the professional beauty industry, she tends to the nuts and bolts of increasing productivity and business development, and building structural processes and client relationships with detailed, research-driven strategies.

In the community, she is the newly elected board president of Madison Magnet, the community’s largest young professionals organization, and she’s already fast at work connecting them to resources, as well as supporting local businesses that are working with this “YP” demographic. She’s also volunteered to serve The Road Home, Books for the World, Ronald McDonald House, Ironman 2017, and the Social Media Day fundraiser in Madison.

Kendall Kolb

Vice President
1848 Construction Inc.
Age: 39

How does a guy with a bachelor’s degree in education from Edgewood College end up in the construction industry? If you’re Kendall Kolb, it has to do with the ability to wear different hats.

Actually, since he’s now vice president and an owner/partner in 1848 Construction, a design-build general contractor, he’s also mastering some trades. In branching out from business development, project management, and marketing, he has made a successful transition to the executive suite of a growing construction company. A very goal oriented and driven individual, Kolb has learned that ownership means being involved in every aspect of the business.

His competitiveness comes from a love of sports. As a volunteer coach, he wants kids to learn the lessons he has. “What I remember from sports were the highs and lows,” Kolb says, “but what has always stuck with me are the life lessons you learn while being part of a team.”

Truscenialyn (Tru-See-nah-lynn) Brooks

Perkins Coie
Age: 34

Truscenialyn Brooks understands injustice. At Perkins Coie she was a member of a legal team appointed in 2014 to take on the case of Teshome Campbell, who was found guilty in 1998 of first-degree murder. Brooks helped secure the testimony of three witnesses who Mr. Campbell’s original trial attorney never interviewed, and whose testimony conflicted with the state’s version of events.

As a result of the evidence presented during the subsequent evidentiary hearing, a district court vacated Mr. Campbell’s conviction and he was released from prison after serving 18 years of a 55-year sentence.

Her desire to see justice done is also what led her and her husband to take in and raise two of her nephews. They moved in with Brooks hoping for different experiences and a better education. Since then they’ve flourished. The oldest currently serves in the U.S. Air Force, while the youngest will soon be off to college.


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