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.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

With the ongoing retirement of the massive baby-boom generation underway and gaining strength, it’s increasingly important to pass the torch to younger generations of business leaders, and the Greater Madison business community appears to be in good hands.

With a youth-be-served spirit in mind, this publication has highlighted Madison’s most promising young professionals in its annual 40 Under 40 presentation. Every year for the past 18 years, we’ve solicited nominations for a new class of outstanding young professionals under the age of 40, and each year we’re delighted to find that Greater Madison is fortunate to have dozens of accomplished young leaders preparing to take the helm.

The 2018 class is no exception, and not a moment too soon because in the forthcoming years they will be needed to help fill thousands of local executive roles. Their growing professional and civic contributions are detailed in the following pages, from Rafeeq Asad of Flad Architects to Erika Young of Wipfli Hewins Investment Advisors.

Best of all, their achievements, along with those of past honorees, will be celebrated at our annual 40 Under 40 networking reception, which will be held on Wednesday, March 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Madison Club, 5 E. Wilson St.

Luke Hutchins

Senior Project Manager
J.H. Findorff and Son Inc.
Age: 38

For whatever reason, Luke Hutchins’ achievements are associated with tall things. Whether it’s successfully climbing Mount Rainier and Mount Baker in Washington State, or serving as project manager for some of Madison’s most attractive new buildings, he takes one bite out of the mountain at a time.

When you think about it, both can be strenuous climbs, especially the mountains. One evening at Camp Hazard, elevation 11,300 feet on Mount Rainier, heavy katabatic (downslope) winds hurled his party’s tent off the side of the mountain on a freezing night. Three quarters up Mount Baker, a massive blizzard hit, but they pushed forward to a spot with enough shelter to wait out the storm.

His can-do attitude has paid dividends on the challenging projects he’s managed. They include two mixed-use student projects — The James (340,000 square feet) and Hub Madison (495,000 square feet).

Leigh Myers

Director of Marketing
Exact Sciences
Age: 37

If you were presented with the challenge of designing an effective, national marketing campaign for an at-home colon cancer-screening test, could you do it?

Leigh Myers did. Myers led the marketing vision for Exact Sciences’ Little CG, “a friendly, animated box” that waits on bathroom countertops to help eligible adults become more comfortable with screening.

The campaign focuses on the ease of Cologuard’s non-invasive, at-home test and mail-back efficiency with the product’s “get, go, gone” simplicity, and it appears to be working. Exact Sciences data shows that nearly half (48%) of Cologuard users report never having been screened before.

It wasn’t the first time Myers faced a tough marketing challenge. At Kraft Foods, she was named brand manager for Oscar Mayer bacon, a mature product that was losing shelf space to competitors. Her ability to collaborate turned around the product’s revenues and profits in just one year.

Angela C. Thomas

General Accounting Section Chief
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Age: 37

Angela Thomas was working as a pharmacy technician when she realized from discussions with a career advisor that she was better suited for an accounting career, so she took the leap and went back to school. “I learned it is never too late to change directions or go after a goal,” Thomas relates.

Now at the DNR, Thomas excels at streamlining processes. The efficiencies allow her to manage her workload with five fewer employees. That, she says, translates “to over 10,000 hours in salary and wage savings, exceeding $200,000 annually.”

On her own time, she’s also lobbied state legislators on a bill affecting her profession that awaits Gov. Walker’s signature.

Thomas has been an active member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary – Civil Air Patrol since the age of 13, receiving countless awards and commendations throughout the years. Her current rank is lieutenant colonel.



Krista Laubmeier

Director of Marketing and Membership
The Madison Club
Age: 37

While Krista Laubmeier is proud of the marketing and membership-relations work she does at the Madison Club, it’s a secondary endeavor that has provided her with the greatest personal and professional satisfaction. That endeavor is her work to build the Madison Club Charitable Foundation. 

Laubmeier has championed 13 annual charity galas, each benefitting a different Dane County nonprofit. The Foundation has now raised more than $1.1 million for community projects through its annual gala, with record-breaking fundraising numbers over the past three years. This includes gifts of well over $100,000 to Simpson Street Free Press, 100 Black Men of Madison, and Centro Hispano of Dane County.

In addition to providing leadership for the Charity Gala, Laubmeier has helped the Foundation initiate and fulfill a multi-year commitment to funding projects that impact educational achievement disparities.

Justin D. Goninen

Financial Advisor
The Witt Goninen Group, Morgan Stanley
Age: 33

As a certified financial planner, Justin Goninen spends his time helping clients address the most important challenges in their financial lives, including retirement planning and investment management. More recently, he took on a marketing role, leading an effort to cross-market the business with other professionals such as attorneys and accountants. Not only did this educate clients about tax and estate-planning professionals, it led to growth in the Witt Goninen Group.

For Goninen, it helped demonstrate his business development chops because the biggest obstacle he’s overcome is age. The UW–Madison grad has worked full time in the financial services industry for nearly a decade, but it’s a challenge to earn the trust of clients and prospective clients who are older and highly successful. “Money is a very personal matter, and trusting someone, especially someone my age, is difficult for people to do,” he explains.

Melissa Turczyn

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Age: 35

Melissa Turczyn has a fan in EatStreet CEO and Co-founder (and client) Matt Howard. “Melissa has provided legal advice and guidance through five rounds of equity financing representing over $40 million in total venture capital raised,” Howard states.

Turczyn is the first in her family to attend college and considered graduating one of her greatest achievements, but it’s clear she’s on track to accomplish much more. After just 18 months, Turczyn made equity partner at Michael Best, and recently she was appointed to chair of the firm’s venture capital practice group and startup and emerging businesses practices group. “I identify with the young entrepreneurs who work unbelievably hard to make their visions a reality, and I enjoy learning what keeps them up at night,” she states.

Turczyn’s favorite piece of advice came from a fortune cookie: “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”



Kate Dale

Senior Marketing Manager
Madison Area Sports Commission
Age: 35

Credit Kate Dale for leading the charge to bring the Reebok CrossFit Games to Madison in 2017, as well as 2018 and 2019. Dale was part of a team at the Madison Area Sports Commission that put together the winning bid to host the games and developed a comprehensive marketing campaign to welcome athletes and fans.

That campaign — “The Fittest City Welcomes The Fittest on Earth” — featured large-scale signage in downtown Madison storefront windows, the airport, and hotels, and custom coffee sleeves in coffee shops all over Madison. It proved successful, as the CrossFit Games resulted in over $12 million dollars of economic impact.

Dale has also spearheaded Bucky on Parade, which will see up to 100 life-size Bucky Badger statues descend on the streets of Madison and Dane County this spring. Bucky on Parade is a public art event, and the proceeds will benefit Garding Against Cancer and other local charities.

Erika Young

Principal, Director of Employer Plan Services
Wipfli Hewins Investment Advisors LLC
Age: 38

When Erika Young first joined Wipfli Hewins in 2014, the firm didn’t have a job description for her because it had primarily functioned under a financial planning and investment management umbrella.

Young was hired to rebuild the company’s retirement plan services offerings from scratch. “In other words, I took the job knowing that I had a blank slate in front of me, which was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying,” she admits.

Since then, she’s implemented an interactive employee education program encouraging long-term financial goal setting, and her overall efforts have grown the company’s retirement plan assets under management by 60%, from $556 million to $892 million.

Last year, Young was promoted to principal after just two-and-a-half years with Wipfli Hewins — one of the youngest partners the firm has ever had.

Stacey Z. Keller

Senior Project Architect
Mead & Hunt Inc.
Age: 39

Since joining the architecture and engineering firm Mead & Hunt, Stacey Keller has been a rising star, and as a travel enthusiast, her career is going places.

In 2015, Keller took part in an engineering industry Leadership Institute, and she’s been taking the initiative in several ways. Keller not only serves as a leader in the firm’s government architecture group, where she directs the design process for the company’s most diverse set of projects types, clients, and locations, she recently developed a historic preservation architecture market sector. This allowed her to devote more time to a personal passion.

In so doing, Keller has won over skeptics as a young female leader in construction. “These experiences have taught me the importance of remaining level-headed,” she states, “while standing my ground, continuing to show up despite the obstacles, and bringing a high level of dedication and expertise to each project.”

Daniel Petersen

Chief Operating Officer
Applied Tech Solutions Inc.
Age: 38

The best is yet to come for DanielPetersen, says Kurt Sippel , founder and CEO of Applied Tech. Petersen has worked his way through the ranks over the past 18 years, and he now runs the day-to-day operations of a 70-employee business with sales of nearly $10 million.

Promoted from vice president to COO in 2016, Petersen has brought a more formal business and budgeting structure into the company’s operations, including moving several employees (and formal peers) into different roles — some lateral, some even downward.

The company is now on track to meet budgets and is doubling profits, he reports, relative to last year.

Best of all, no employees left as a result of the changes. “The company is doing better having people in the right roles, and the individuals are happier and more satisfied with the work they are doing,” Petersen reports.

Kati Whitledge

Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author, Podcaster
Inspired Enterprises Inc., Be Inspired Salon
Age: 35

Describing Kati Whitledge as a salon owner doesn’t crack the breadth of her impact. “She builds strong people,” clarifies Mike McKay of ActionCOACH of Madison. For example, Whitledge instituted a leadership-accountability program in the form of a book club that allows managers to choose business books for personal and professional development.

Salons nationwide are using her “Meet Your Stylist” software platform, designed to improve client retention. Its implementation earned the “Best Marketing Campaign 2017” award at the Business Excellence Forum in Houston. 

Whitledge also is one of the founders of the Real Women Real Faith organization. Prior to the birth of her son last year, completing of the Madison Half Marathon was among her proudest moments. The fitness fan also claims to wow friends with her one cooking specialty: “I promise you I make the very best omelet you’ll ever eat!”



Eric Salzwedel

Marketing Director
Age: 29

REACH-A-Child (RAC) helps first responders comfort children in crisis with children’s books. Between 2016 and 2017, the Madison nonprofit saw a 25% increase in funding and comforted over 12,000 children, up from 9,000 the year before. As marketing director, Eric Salzwedel is especially proud of its trajectory.

In his first six months at RAC, he helped raise more money than the entire previous year. “What I’ve learned is that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no,” Salzwedel states. His positive track record extends well beyond Madison. In Oshkosh, an MDA Bowl-A-Thon Salzwedel launched 10 years ago developed into an annual event that’s raised $117,000 toward MDA’s efforts.

Salzwedel visited Haiti three times with another nonprofit to help build a medical clinic and celebrated its grand opening in January 2017. He credits his dad for teaching him that the best way to achieve things in life is to earn them.

Neil Dinndorf

EnRich Financial Partners
Age: 36

Neil Dinndorf’s career has come full circle. While enrolled at UW–Madison, Dinndorf interned at EnRich Financial Partners. After graduating in 2005, he worked for a firm outside of Chicago until he moved back to Madison in 2008 to work for a larger local wealth management firm. He ended up re-joining EnRich Financial Partners in 2013. “We joke that I graduated and went on an eight-year training program with two other firms before returning where I belong,” he says.

Early in his career, Dinndorf used a lot of technical terms and financial jargon to overcome his young age so that clients would trust his advice. Now he recognizes that most clients just want to know if they’re going to be okay financially. “I try to simplify my message to clients every time I talk with them,” he notes, something he also imparts on students at UW–Madison, where he now teaches personal finance in the same classrooms he sat as a student.

Megan Cooley

Director of Strategic Partnerships
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)
Age: 39

Megan Cooley knows all about the high burnout rate for people working in fundraising, so she applies the same principles for keeping herself healthy as she does her organization. During her time with DAIS, Cooley has worked to align the organization with the best standards in fundraising to optimize its sustainability for years to come. This has really set DAIS on the right path to success, which allows the organization to care for more clients.

Cooley’s biggest career challenge is that she can’t help everyone in need. “Being in fundraising means the organization’s ability to fund those in need rests heavily on you, and it’s hard to not feel responsible at times,” she says. “What I’ve learned is to work with your organization to set realistic and obtainable goals, which allows for proper budget management and builds a healthy organization. An unhealthy organization, just like an unhealthy human, is not much good to anyone.”



Jake Peters

SVA Certified Public Accountants
Age: 39

According to SVA president/CEO Carl Schultz, Jake Peters had an epiphany about three years ago “when he grew from a tax professional into a true business consultant.” That change was also one of the most challenging, admits Peters, because it meant changing gears from what he knew to what he proved to be very talented at — consulting and business advising.

Peters recently launched a new line of business for SVA that is based on innovation consulting, and he was proud to be hand-selected for two internal groups targeted for grooming both in sales and in helping to lead SVA’s future growth.

In the community, Peters serves on the board of Community Coordinated Childcare. He runs marathons and is an accomplished musician with his band, The Field. Peters, a ballroom dancer who has competed in regional competitions, would love to compete on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Brian Gaumont

Senior Manager
Wipfli LLP
Age: 30

In his time at Wipfli, Brian Gaumont has not only been productive — securing over $1 million in gross revenue in FY17 — he has learned a few things:

  • Never judge a book, or a CPA firm, by its cover.  Wipfli, he states, is an amazing organization with dynamic individuals, visionary leaders, and close to 50% of its revenue from consulting services.
  • Focus on making the most significant impact possible, even when feeling like a fish out of water. The UW–La Crosse graduate majored in sports management, but his minor in business administration has proved to be more professionally fruitful.
  • Being different is awesome. Coming to Wipfli with a business development background gave him a rare opportunity to help associates improve their sales and marketing competencies. Notes Gaumont: “Most sales environments ask only one thing of you — sell!”

Nicole Gralapp

SVA Certified Public Accountants
Age: 34

Nicole Gralapp’s role in diversifying SVA’s management was accomplished in large measure through her professional contributions. You can’t break the glass ceiling without being a top performer, so when it came time for the accounting firm to provide a more comprehensive approach to exit planning, it was Gralapp who took the lead.

Over the next decade, statistics show that 79% of business owners plan to exit their business, yet only 18% have talked to someone who has expertise in exit planning. By its own client research, SVA knew that the first expert businesspeople turn to when they contemplate selling or succeeding their business is their CPA. So Gralapp developed the firm’s “exit strategy” by researching options for a consulting methodology and software platform. The UW–Whitewater grad and Doyenne Group ambassador is in the final stages of earning a certified exit planner designation.



Allison Martinson

Program Manager – STEM
Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council
Age: 35

When Allison Martinson was hired at Girl Scouts, she set out to improve the organization’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming for young scouts. “We were not growing the next generation of women leaders in those fields,” she reflects.

Recognizing a need to promote STEM careers like biotech, innovative tech startups, food science/agriculture, and manufacturing — careers that Martinson knew could help propel the state forward, she set out to change things. Under the guidance of her program director, Martinson instituted new career programs like EngineerGirl and STEM Sisterhood, each designed to connect young girl scouts with women in STEM careers.

Martinson, a young mother, is also on the team of 1myVote, a local startup and polling company, and involved in organizations like Madison Women in Tech and Million Women Mentors of Wisconsin.

Will Harris

Interim Executive Director
Working Capital for Community Needs
Age: 38

Sometime this summer, Will Harris might have the “interim” tag removed from his current title with WCCN, but his background is perfectly aligned with the organizational mission.

WCCN is a social impact investment firm that raises investments for microfinance in Latin America. Harris embraces the concept of impact investing for social change, and he’s been preparing for it since graduating from Mineral Point High School. He not only earned a master of arts in international relations from Universidad del Salvador and a master’s of business administration from the University of Arizona, he’s traveled to 45 countries, impacting his view of what it means to be a good global citizen.

While helping others, Harris is an entrepreneur in his own right. He brought a new type of yoga to suburban Madison with Dragonfly Hot Yoga, and he and wife Iza recently opened Esperanza Wine Bar in Mineral Point.

Jeff Moyer

Moyer’s Inc.
Age: 33

Eleven years after taking over the family landscape business, just as the Great Recession was beginning, Jeff Moyer has proven that he’s also got a green thumb in business. The company has grown from a handful of family members to a full-time team of 48 professionals and company sales have multiplied from about $500,000 a year to $4.5 million. The decision to expand the company by acquiring Concrete Flatwork Co. added $1 million in sales.

Just as impressive is Moyer’s ongoing commitment to Stoughton, particularly with Rotary, where he is a recognized Paul Harris Fellow and a three-time “Service Above Self” presidential citation winner. Moyer championed the Rotary Garden efforts and is working with the Stoughton Hospital Foundation to create a Healing Garden courtyard area. For good works and good business, Moyer was named Stoughton’s “Business Person of the Year” in 2017.



Anne Neujahr Morrison

Development & Corporate Leasing
Urban Land Interests
Age: 39

Some might assume that as the daughter of Tom Neujahr, one of the founders of Urban Land Interests, Anne Neujahr Morrison may have simply assimilated into the Madison family business.

In fact, she fought it every step of the way. Morrison left town in 1997 thinking she’d never return. “I grew up in Madison and spent my childhood living, playing, and working within a small footprint.” She went on to live and work in Minnesota, Illinois, and New York, and even got married and had a child before deciding to move back. “Living away had impacted my identity and broadened my perspective,” she notes.

Today, Morrison is entrenched in commercial development for ULI and making a name for herself on projects like The Yards, a 350-unit residential community downtown. Her proudest achievements forced her out of her comfort zone, including one deal that preserved 1,075 affordable housing units in mostly rural parts of Wisconsin.

Amber Bovenmyer

Director of Sales and Marketing
Web Courseworks
Age: 24

Just 24, Amber Bovenmyer may seem a little young to be leading the sales and marketing efforts for Web Courseworks, but with her youth also comes a fearlessness that’s yielded dividends for the Madison learning technologies company.

Bovenmyer, who at 18 left the country to pursue modeling in Istanbul and Paris, jumped in during her first month on the job to research and implement a new CRM system. Under her direction, Web Courseworks has seen an increase in leads by 25% and product demonstrations by 17%. The company is increasing its marketing efforts and expects more growth in 2018.

Bovenmyer is an active member of CONNECT Madison and YP Week, both efforts aimed at building up the network of young professionals locally. “Modeling taught me communication skills with different cultures and an understanding of how to ‘win people over’ with poise and knowledge,” she notes.

Jacy Imilkowski

Owner & Executive Communication Specialist
Building Balance LLC
Age: 39

As a childhood victim of domestic violence, Jacy Imilkowski often had nagging doubts about her value and her abilities. That nagging came in the form of a limiting voice she called “Not Enough,” and no matter how small or enticing the job opportunity, it was always present. Fortunately there was another voice telling her she could do more, which was validated by eventual success in her endeavors.

In time, Imilkowski discovered that the louder that limiting voice was, the more she was on the right track, especially as she contemplated something important and challenging. At that point, “Not Enough’ was no longer a deterrent; it became her guide and it’s guided her right into an entrepreneurial endeavor called Building Balance. In 18 months, she’s grown it from a two-client life coaching practice to a professional speaking, training, and coaching business. Best of all, she’s better positioned to help other victims of domestic violence.



Zach Blumenfeld

Co-Founder/COO, ThirdSpace
Founder/Executive Director, CultureCon
Age: 26

Zach Blumenfeld remembers that early in his entrepreneurial career, someone told him startup life is a grind. “They told me it’s going to be a rollercoaster ride — every day is a new challenge,” he says. “I agree it is a rollercoaster ride, but instead of days it’s more like hours.”

Blumenfeld made the leap into the startup life in April 2017, when he left the relative safety of his job at Total Administrative Services Corp. to focus on his startup, ThirdSpace. “Being on the ground floor and founding team of ThirdSpace, I’ve been able to see it grow from an idea to a platform that is helping engage employees, enhance company culture, and fix the broken workplace,” Blumenfeld says.

While the startup life means he’s sometimes working at all hours of the day, Blumenfeld still finds time to give back, including coaching basketball with Madison Memorial Youth Basketball, where he also oversees the Memorial freshman team.

Jeff Dalsin

Founder and Partner
Arcanum Partners LLC
Age: 39

Jeff Dalsin is firmly committed to the startup life. He founded Arcanum Partners in 2013, shortly after the sale of Madison medical device startup Nerites Corp., a company he was a technical principal in.

Since October 2016, he has also served as vice president of product development for Imbed Biosciences in Fitchburg, where he’s been leading the manufacturing, product development, and quality control process related to the company’s FDA-cleared antimicrobial wound dressing product. Since his arrival at Imbed, the team has increased the manufacturing throughput approximately 20-fold and reduced production scrap rate by 40%, all without increasing manufacturing headcount.

Prior to Imbed, he also served as CEO of Echometrix, which closed in 2017. Dalsin credits the challenges he faced at Echometrix with making him better equipped to lead future organizations.

Kari Davis

Vice President – Human Resources Director
State Bank of Cross Plains
Age: 39

Human resources might not be the most popular department in the workplace, but it’s a vital one for ensuring employees are educated about the company and its benefits, as well as securing buy-in for any new initiatives. Kari Davis saw this when State Bank of Cross Plains executed a new strategic plan.

“Rather than ‘telling’ people what needed to be done, I helped show our bank family what went into each decision and why we chose this direction,” she explains.

Davis is also largely responsible for the creation of a Learning Development Manager position at the bank. That’s not a common position in the financial industry, but the bank’s leaders felt was important to prioritize professional development within the organization. “We’ve chosen to make leadership an attitude, rather than a title,” Davis notes. “Personal leadership opens up opportunities for innovation, as well as personal and professional growth.”



Rafeeq Asad

Architectural Associate
Flad Architects
Age: 37

Rafeeq Asad learned early on that to be happy at whatever he chose to do for a living, he had to access his creativity. His first job was at the Port of Miami working in cruise operations, where he performed general data entry — not exactly creative work. “It was this job that changed my career trajectory from business related to a more creative field,” he says.

It’s been a productive career move for Asad, who is currently working on a local lab project that is entering the construction phase. Asad will co-lead Flad’s construction administration efforts on an approximately 216,000-square-foot facility. He also is an appointee to Madison’s Urban Design Commission, which allows him the opportunity to have a hands-on role in the growth and development of the city.

Asad is working to expose minority students to architecture as a profession and establish a Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Lisette Khalil

Operations Director
Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation
Age: 39

Lisette Khalil considers it an incredible opportunity to have been involved in the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation’s First Breath smoking cessation program from its inception to statewide expansion.

The opportunity presented itself 18 years ago when Khalil, who has a law degree from Marquette University, found the organization in the phone book and inquired about an internship. It was around the time Wisconsin received tobacco settlement funds, and once aboard at WWHF, Khalil helped write the grant application that created the First Breath pilot program, which enables women to receive free help to quit smoking, a leading risk factor in negative birth outcomes. First Breath went on to serve 20,000 women.

When it came time to balance work and family, Khalil sought the advice of WWHF Founder Sue Ann Thompson, who told her it’s okay to be a parent and a professional.

Jeff Davis

Vice President, Principal Architect
Angus-Young Associates
Age: 34

Jeff Davis took a leap in 2014 when, with little connection to the Dane County and Madison markets, he volunteered to lead a new Madison office of Angus-Young Associates.

“With zero business development experience or training, I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could grow our business effectively and efficiently through building strong relationships,” Davis says. It’s been working out well so far, as in the past 12 months Davis has been the lead architect on many development projects in Dane County, as well as several smaller scale but impactful local projects including restaurants, retail, and office spaces.

Davis also helped develop AYA’s in-office “Innovation Workshop,” which gives designers of all disciplines a platform to collaborate on projects. One of his roles is to push the envelope “to keep the culture in the office challenging, energetic, and creative.”



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.



Leif Erickson

Vice President
HUB International
Age: 37

Thanks in part to sound advice from his father, Leif Erickson often thinks of others.

As an executive with HUB, an insurance brokerage in Waunakee, he’s taken on the role of developing new brokers and serving as a mentor with regard to business development, community involvement, and leadership. He pays particular attention to the culture within the Waunakee office, making sure both individual successes and office triumphs are celebrated.

As a son, Erickson made one of his father’s bucket list items, experiencing the famed Kentucky Derby, come true. When the elder Erickson had health issues, Leif figured out a way to leverage personal and professional connections to take him to Louisville for the big event, and it was an experience neither would forget.

It was all in keeping with something Leif’s dad once told him: “It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.”

Melissa Cover Selinger

Attorney and Founder
Selinger & Brunette LLC
Age: 39

As an attorney who left a large firm to form her own boutique estate planning firm with a business partner, Melissa Cover Selinger has a unique take on career fulfillment.

“In my job, I help very high net worth clients reduce their potential tax exposure and transfer wealth to lower generations and charities in quantifiable amounts. This work, while it generates revenue for my family and teammates, does not lead to satisfaction. When I want to feel proud or humbled, I open a drawer where I keep the handwritten thank you notes I have received over the years. The part of my job that makes me proud is the part that makes me feel like a human helping humans.”

She also believes in helping people away from the office as a board member with the Madison Public Library Foundation. “I place a high value on reading and access to reading. We are so lucky to have such a strong, well-run library system here.”

Aaron Osten

Assistant Vice President
First Business Trust & Investments
Age: 32

With a decade of financial experience behind him, Aaron Osten has been called a kid more times than he can count. Others might balk at his youth, but Osten sees it as an opportunity to remind clients that he’s in it for the long haul.

Thus far, his efforts have been rewarded. Over the past five years with First Business, he’s established more than 35 retirement plan relationships, directly contributing to the company’s success and committing himself to growing its employee benefits services. Osten’s interest in earning interest was likely sparked by a ledger book his parents gave him as a young child to keep track of his money, and it’s now paying back in dividends for the community.

The father of three coaches youth sports, volunteers with United Way, and mentors at UW–Whitewater, crediting business advice he once received: “Watch colleagues, emulate what you like, but more importantly, know what you don’t want to be.”



Nolan Brown

National Account Manager
Springs Window Fashions
Age: 38

When Nolan Brown first came to Madison from St. Louis seven years ago he was leaving almost everything he knew behind. He credits his wife, June, with inspiring him to attend networking events to find out more about the city. “Now I wouldn’t change anything about where I am,” Brown says. “My career has taken off since moving here and I feel the impact that I’ve been able to make through volunteering in our community.”

Brown’s role with Springs Window Fashions is focused on the growth and retention of some of some of the largest retailers and organizations in the home décor sector. But it’s his work with United Way of Dane County that Brown remarks is one of his greatest personal achievements. As co-chair of United Way’s Community Engagement Capacity Building Team, Brown has helped spearhead a training program for those underrepresented at the decision-making table on how a board of directors operates.

Shayna W. Borakove

Managing Partner
Borakove Osman LLC
Age: 37

Shayna Borakove is not easily deterred. The managing partner of estate and business planning law firm Borakove Osman, Borakove wanted to be a lawyer from the time she was 5 years old. She started her career as an insurance defense litigator in Massachusetts, but moved to Madison in 2007 just as the Great Recession hit. She got her license to practice law in Wisconsin but firms stopped hiring and then she was involved in a devastating car accident, which immobilized her for months and left her with life-altering injuries.

No longer able to litigate, Borakove started over as an associate attorney with another estate planning firm. Working her way up and gaining experience in a new practice, Borakove opened her firm with a simple mission: “Honor where I came from, never compromise on what is right, be my authentic self at all costs, and practice law in a manner that honors every woman … by showing them you can do it all.”

Patrick Flesch

Vice President of Sales–Western Region
Gordon Flesch Co.
Age: 38

As someone who works in the family business, Patrick Flesch is determined to prove he belongs for reasons other than his surname. He started with Gordon Flesch Co., a provider of office technology, in a sales territory that hadn’t reached its annual quota in five years, and he wanted to prove his value. In his first full calendar year (2007), he was able to reach the annual quota and secure his first awards trip.

In the ensuing decade, he hasn’t stopped using the family business as a proving ground, but that initial success reinforced his conviction that respect can only be earned, not handed out. “Those efforts certainly were a challenge, and I’m proud of them to this day,” he states. “It reminds me of what my swim coach once said when I was young: ‘In swimming, it’s you, the water, and the clock. There’s no place to hide in this sport.’ That really had an impact on me, and I think it’s a perfect analogy for my situation.”

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