Back in 2002, the previous owner of the Vancouver Business Journal decided to start a “40 Under 40” event and recognition, as many of the other business journals in different areas had such events.
For the first few years, the “40 Under 40” event recognized 40 individuals in the Southwest Washington business community every year. John and Steve McDonagh purchased the VBJ prior to the 2004 event, and John said that by that time there was concern that the bar of “accomplishment” was lowering and that some individuals being recognized really hadn’t accomplished all that much.
“So, we changed the event to Accomplished and Under 40, allowing for up to 40 but not tied to 40,” John said. “Once we did that we averaged right around 20 honorees a year and feedback is that the bar increases for ‘accomplishments’ year over year. An additional concern was that in a community the size of Clark County might run out of nominees if we tried to have 40 every year.”
Another change that was made to the Accomplished and Under 40 event after Steve and John took over the VBJ was that they decided to use a panel of former recipients to evaluate the nominees each year.
“That single decision is responsible for the bar being raised because they look at it like the honor it is and ‘not just anybody can be a member of the club,’” John said.
Many current and past leaders in the Southwest Washington community have received the VBJ’s Accomplished and Under 40 award, including former Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes, Port of Camas-Washougal CEO David Ripp, Owner of Johnson Bixby and Integrated Tax Services Heidi Johnson Bixby, BIA Clark County Executive Director Avaly Scarpelli, Vancouver City Council Member Bart Hansen, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Rep. Brandon Vick and numerous others.
Nominations are currently open for the VBJ’s Accomplished and Under 40 Class of 2021. A virtual event honoring this year’s class will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18. Find out more about the event here, and don’t forget to nominate a deserving individual in the community now!