Meet 2018’s Forty Under 40

Introduction by Katharine Carlon
Photography by Brian Draeger, Ben High and Miranda Meyer

The Corridor Business Journal is proud to introduce another remarkable class of Forty Under 40 honorees, selected for the meaningful contributions they’ve made to their businesses and communities in their still-young careers.

For the 14th year running, the CBJ celebrated 40 of the Corridor’s most suc­cessful young profes­sionals at an awards dinner held Oct. 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Cedar Rapids. In all, 114 people were nom­inated, with the final 40 selected by a com­mittee of previous honorees.

The 2018 class is diverse, both by gen­der – 23 women and 17 men – and in terms of their career paths, running the gamut from business and finance to medicine, engineering, gov­ernment service, economic development, publishing and the nonprofit world. Unit­ing them, however, is a dedication to hard work – the average honoree clocked in just over 51 hours a week and slept an average of just 6.8 hours a night – and a passion for their mission whether it’s real estate, banking, law or public service.

“When we believe in a cause, we will work hard to effect change,” wrote Dr. Nkanyezi Ferguson of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, of her generation’s sometimes unfairly maligned work eth­ic. The CBJ’s 2018 honorees spoke often about the need for collaboration, fulfill­ment and a sense of purpose in their work­ing lives, and their drive to work hard for employers and causes that capture both their minds and their hearts.

“When there is a connection between what we’re working on and what sets our souls on fire, we’re unstoppable,” said Meegan Hofmeister, founder of The Dos­tal House and Signed M.

That sentiment was echoed again and again, including by ICR Iowa Director of Talent Attraction Tim Carty, who ex­plained that as an older millennial, “I think it’s important that people under­stand that we’ll be fiercely loyal if we find the right mission and purpose.” If not, said Monica Nieves, vice president of special events and communication for the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, this generation has no problem moving on to an employer who offers the right fit.

“That gives us a bad reputation as job jumpers, but ultimately, we want to work for a company that recognizes and appre­ciates our skills and will give us the oppor­tunity to grow,” she said.

The CBJ’s 2018 class of honorees brings that same pas­sion, sense of mission and willingness to roll up their sleeves when it comes to the caus­es they support, with most citing poverty, inequality and sup­porting children as society’s most press­ing needs.

“I handle our ju­venile docket and I see how people strug­gling with many as­pects of poverty also struggle with their parenting responsibilities,” said Kristofer Lyons, assistant attorney for Jones Coun­ty, who wrote that if he had $1 million to give away, he would ensure every Corridor child had proper nutrition, housing and school supplies. “It’s a cyclical challenge, and if we can take better care of kids now, we can help alleviate other problems in the future.”

This year’s honorees are socially con­scious and focused on fairness, embrac­ing issues from making the region more diverse and culturally inclusive to address­ing gender inequality. Amanda Wendling, partner at GRIT Capital, called for more women in leadership positions in com­panies across the Corridor, while Jordan Grimm, continuous improvement special­ist at Van Meter, said he supports “organi­zations that promote true masculinity and don’t feed toxic masculinity.”

“There is a tremendous amount of heart and passion in this area, but I think we are often surrounded by peo­ple who look and think just like us,” said Hannah White, director of market­ing and operations for the Zach Johnson Foundation. “I would love to see more people placing less blame and reaching across zip codes to see how we could make a difference.”

Iowa City Superintendent of Parks Zachary Hall sums up his generation as “dope and we know it but won’t flaunt it.” The CBJ agrees and congratulates this year’s hard-driving, energetic and socially aware class of honorees.

The 2018 class:

Heath Brewer
Tim Carty
Rose Danaher
Jenn Draper
Nkanyezi Ferguson
Alissa Gardner
Jennifer Goings
Jordan Grimm
Zachary Hall
Cavan Hallman
Casey Hansen
Meegan Hofmeister
Ben Hoover
Margaret Horsfield
Amy Hospodarsky
Tonya Hotchkin
Devon Inman
Stephanie Johnson
Diana Jones
Brandon Kuehl
Kelly Lind-Daufeldt
Kristofer Lyons
Denise Martinez
Sofia Mehaffey
Adam Moore
Bhumika Nayak
Monica Nieves
Anna Patty
Christa Payne
Whitney Russell
Sara Sedlacek
Kristen Shaffer
Andrew Sherburne
Jamie Siefken
Caitlin Slessor
Stacey Walker
Amanda Wendling
Hannah White
Andrea Wilson
Angela Winnike