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StarNews, laureates of the Chamber of Commerce


The 40 Under 40 Awards are presented annually by StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

StarNews and the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce recognized the 40 winners of this year’s Under 40 Award at a ceremony Thursday, September 30 at the Brooklyn Arts Center.

The awards, which began three years ago, are designed to recognize young professionals who are making a difference in our community.

With this year’s class, we have now honored 120 outstanding young professionals who not only excel in their careers, but also contribute to countless community organizations.

To be eligible this year, applicants had to be under 40 as of September 30 and live or work in Brunswick, New Hanover or Pender counties.

A six-member selection committee reviewed the nominations and met earlier this year to choose the winners. The panelists were: Natalie English, President and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce; Sherry Jones, news director of StarNews Media; Katelyn Mattox, NourishNC program coordinator and winner of the 40 under 40 in 2020; Edelmira Segovia, director of Centro Hispano at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Linda Thompson, Diversity and Equity Manager for New Hanover County; Woody White, lawyer and former New Hanover County commissioner.

We hope you will join us in congratulating the following recipients of the 40 Under 40 Awards. Click on the links to learn more about each winner.

Jessica Aguilar, 24, Program Coordinator, Juntos 4-H Pender County

Julie Andrews, 30, Marketing Manager, Logan Homes

Sarah Arthur, 34, Community Engagement Manager, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Marissa Bryant Franks, 26, HR partner, nCino

LeeAnn Canady, 31, medical assistant in neurosurgery, Coastal Spine Institute

Jessica Canavan, 32, Assistant Director of Community Family Services, Coastal Horizons Center

Joseph Casares, 37, director of radiology, Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Chris DeHart, 39, Owner, All About Energy Solutions

Daniel Duffy, 37, dentist and owner, Live Oak Dental

Jhaniqua Farrar Palmer, 35, Grandparent Support Network Program Coordinator and Advocacy and Racial Justice Program Coordinator, YWCA Lower Cape Fear

Jarett Gattison, 32, Director, Community Boys & Girls Club

Rashad Gattison, 34, director of adolescent services, Brigade Boy’s and Girl’s Club

Vanessa Gonzalez, 35, President / Lawyer, The Law Office of Vanessa A. Gonzalez PLLC

Chris Hoenig, 36, Yacht and Boat Sales Consultant, MarineMax

Emmanuel Ibarra, 31, owner and accountant, EL Cerro Grande, El Arriero Taqueria, Zocalo Street Food and Tequila and Mi Cabana

Jennie Jackson, 39, market executive, Bank of America

Karin Kassab, 37, psychologist and founder, Clarity Counseling Center

Manuel Lloyd, 27, Cultural Enrichment Program Coordinator, Upperman African American Cultural Center at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Lauren McKenzie, 34, Executive Director, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity

Elliott Miller, 36, Vice President of Finance, PPD

Emmanuel Mitcham, 36, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Chris Montero, 35, Co-Founder and Director of Operations and Sales, Perfect Touch Rental

Justin Parr, 27, Head of Solutions Services, nCino

Narcisa Pricope, 39, professor of geospatial sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Arely Ramirez Diaz, 24, Paralegal and Victims Witness Lawyer, Helen Tarokic Law PLLC

Rob Rens, 36, Chairman, Rob Rens State Farm Insurance Agency and Signal Fire Media Company

Keisha Robinson, 29, Community Programs Manager, Communities In Schools of Cape Fear

Matt Rogers, 39, Regional Vice President, Aramark

Angelica Santibanez-Mendez, 29, Program Director and Outreach Nurse, Manos Unidas at Black River Health Services

Corey Scott, 34, co-owner, On Thyme Catering, On Thyme Catering Food Truck and On Thyme Restaurant

Devin Skipper, 36, President, Salt Air Inc.

Jorey Stanley, 26, Marketing and Administrative Associate, Perfect Touch Rental

Amy Steelman, 39, grade eight language arts teacher, New Hanover County Schools

Barnes Sutton, 28, Director of Planning and Development, Town of Navassa

Andrea Toccia, 38, Head of Market Development, Corning Credit Union

Ramon Villasenor-Castro, 39, business owner and manager, Tequila Comida and Cantina, three Taqueria Los Portales, Los Portales supermarket

Cierra Washington, 24, Strategic Partnerships Coordinator, Northside Food Cooperative

Parker Wilson, 37, Founder and Chief Strategist, Sparked Consulting

Genna Wirth, 25, Executive Director, Travel

Landon Zimmer, 39, Managing Partner, Zimmer Development Company