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Everything seemed so normal, months ago, when we put out the call for nominations.
But things were starting to feel ominous by the first week of March, when our internal committee sorted through hundreds of nominations and settled on the 40 members of this 27th class of Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 honorees. Ultimately we had to cancel the photography sessions that would have produced a more uniform look for this feature. (Probably just as well. By April, the shutdown of barbershops and hair salons meant that even the young and beautiful were not looking their best.)
We also had to postpone our usual 40 Under 40 luncheon. That’s now scheduled for Wednesday, July 22, at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Little Rock — Lord willing. But there was nothing keeping us from going ahead with the primary function of 40 Under 40: introducing Arkansas Business readers to 40 impressive young business and community leaders who will give you confidence that our state will be in good hands for decades to some.
When committee members dig into the stacks of nominations, we are looking for professional accomplishments and community service. We are also looking for the potential to do great things in the future. We keep in mind that Arkansas is much more than just Little Rock and Fayetteville, even though more nominees come from the places where more people live. In these pages, you’ll also see promising professionals from Cave Springs and Clarksville, Pine Bluff and Pocahontas, Sherwood and Stuttgart.
We also look for a variety of industries, and we look for diversity in gender and race — which has become easier than it was in the early years of this project. Above all, we look for leadership, that elusive character trait that never grows old and will never go out of style.
The luncheon recognizing this year’s honorees is open to those of us who never made the cut. For more details, go to ArkansasBusiness.com/40Lunch.