Top 7 Under 40 Award winners announced

By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal

They are the future of business in Bellingham. They are insurance brokers, nonprofit directors, radio DJs, graphic designers and more. They are the top seven young professionals in Whatcom County for this year.

The winners of the new Top 7 Under 40 Award have been decided.

In September community members sent in their nominations, and out of 70 nominees, a panel of judges has determined the top seven for this year. The judges considered each nominee based on their character, community involvement, initiative and tenacity, leadership, professional accomplishments, selflessness and vision.

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Whatcom Young Professionals and The Bellingham Business Journal teamed up to put the new award together.

“I thought we got some amazing nominations,” Chamber CEO and President Guy Occhiogrosso said. The hard part was narrowing it down to seven. “It was a difficult process in that there were a large number of deserving candidates,” he said.

Of these seven winners, one will be chosen for the top prize. The final winner will be revealed at the Top 7 Under 40 Award event, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, 520 Flora St. in Bellingham. The event is free to attend, but tickets are limited. To RSVP, visit

It’s important that college students in the county don’t feel they have to move to Seattle to get a job after they graduate, Occhiogrosso said. This award is one way to demonstrate that.

“Young professionals in our community are the future leadership. We need to invest in our young professionals so we can keep them here,” he said. “We also showcase that this is a place where young professionals can not only survive but thrive.”

To read profiles and learn more about all the winners, pick up a copy the November edition of the Bellingham Business Journal.

The winners of the 2016 Top 7 Under 40 Award are:

Amelia Mendenhall, Rice Insurance

Bradley Lockhart, Faithlife

Emily O’Connor, Lydia Place

Jack Lamb, Aslan Brewing

Mandy Richards, Cascade Radio

Nicole Burdick, Waddell & Reed

Riannon Bardsley, Northwest Youth Services

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