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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Forty Businesspeople Deserving of Attention

Our 40 Under 40 special report that hopefully you are reading in this issue of the Business Journal contains a great crop of younger professionals. Once again, we’ve found many up-and-coming businesspeople who haven’t been getting the notoriety that they deserve and that’s probably because they’ve been working really hard to get to their current place not seeking fame and fortune in the Business Journal. How did we find them and in particular how did we choose the 40 people we selected as honorees out of a nomination field of nearly 90 individuals? A few months back, we sent out calls for nominees in a flyer in the Business Journal and on our Web site. Our newspaper’s editorial staff also solicited nominations from business and trade organizations and we contacted dozens of our other sources to gather nominations. While seeking advice and information from readers and others in the business community, I and other members of the editorial staff culled the nomination list down from the 90 to the 40 honorees. We based our choices of the final 40 by getting the answer to such questions as: How high have they risen in their profession and what type of experience do they have in previous jobs? Did they build their own business or if working for someone else, how much impact do they have in their current companies? Are they known throughout the business community as a whole and does it look like they their career is poised for further advancement? Some observations about our group of nominees and the 40 honorees: – We had more people under 30 nominated and ultimately chosen than we have had in this report in the past. And some of these businesspeople started their own companies folks such as Kevin Sproles of Volusion and Ben Marcus and Cyrus Sigari of JetAVIVA. There are guts, creativity and fortitude among the very young in the Valley area. That generation, I think, knows that you can’t rely on any company to take care of you these days. The only way you can truly have control over your own future is to build your own firm. The thought of doing that still scares me though and I really admire these people who are half my age. – One of our strongest banks in the area, Wells Fargo, is run locally by younger professionals. J.B. Abdullah, 36, is district manager for the North Valley and Oliver Ariztoy, 33, runs the South Valley. Their boss, Vince Liuzzi, isn’t much older than that (he’s a former 40 Under 40 honoree). Obviously, their employer knows the value of having strong input from younger people in the organization. Fresh ideas lead to better ways of doing business. – It’s not just tech companies that benefit from young employees. Many of the 40 Under 40 nominees were from so-called traditional industries such as manufacturing and professional services companies such as accounting. There is still plenty of opportunity in these industries, they have found. Congratulations to all the nominees and honorees. It’s a great group. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125 or at editor@sfvbj.com .

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