by Gwen Moritz
Posted 6/23/2014 12:00 am
Updated 4 weeks ago
Man, they get younger every year, don’t they?
This week, Arkansas Business presents its 21st class of 40 Under 40 honorees — the 15th that I’ve overseen as editor. As you read the short profiles that follow, perhaps you, like me, will be both amazed and humbled by the accomplishments of so many who are still so young.
Every honoree is impressive, of course — that’s why they’ve been picked — but there are a couple of members of this year’s class who particularly stand out in my mind. One is Breezy Osborne-Wingfield, who many of us first knew as the privileged daughter of businessman-philanthropist-Christmas light aficionado Jennings Osborne. After he died in 2011, leaving an estate in shambles, we learned what kind of strong Breezy was, and now she’s opened her second yoga studio.
Another is Little Rock attorney Matt Campbell, whose dogged (and, yes, partisan) reporting for his Blue Hog Report blog has been a game-changer in Arkansas politics and journalism.
This year’s honorees represent our state’s geography — Pine Bluff, England, Jonesboro, Conway, Fort Smith, Rogers — and the diversity of our business community — farming, finance, medicine, academia, nonprofits.
Keep in mind that this year’s class was selected from more than 300 new nominations plus dozens of still-eligible nominations from earlier years. Having so many nominees helps assure the overall quality of the class, just like a bigger school tends to have a better football team.
But there is a common drawback: The starters tend to be upperclassmen. Not one of this year’s honorees is a 20-something; the youngest are 32 and a couple have actually turned 40 since the June 1 cutoff. This problem is the very reason Arkansas Business introduced a 20 in Their 20s feature five years ago. We’ll be featuring those New Influentials in the Sept. 22 issue, so don’t forget to submit your nominations by Aug. 22 at ArkansasBusiness.com/20. (Don’t worry: Nominees for 40 Under 40 who are still in their 20s will also be considered.)
A luncheon recognizing this year’s honorees will be held at the Embassy Suites in west Little Rock on Wednesday, June 25. The luncheon is open to those of us who never made the cut. For more details, go to ArkansasBusiness.com/40Lunch.