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Heading up Central Illinois Business Magazine’s 13th Forty Under 40 class:

Woman of the Year Gianina Baker, the associate director of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment and vice president of the Unit 4 school board who helped pass a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.

Man of the Year Christopher Brooke, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois who helped expand COVID-19 testing on campus and across the state.

The awards recognize young professionals for their achievements, experience, innovation, leadership and community involvement.

While they would normally be celebrated at a luncheon, which unfortunately is not possible this year, they will be honored on the radio, and in the next issue of the Central Illinois Business magazine.

Also, we will introduce the class on the cover of Sunday's News-Gazette.

The rest of the Forty Under 40 class:

— Justin Cross, 37, accreditation and ISO coordinator, Carle Foundation Hospital

— Andy Graham, 40, assistant recreation director, Village of Rantoul

— Orin M. Hutchcraft, 37, chief operating officer, Hutchcraft Van Service, Inc.

— Peter Goodspeed, 29, director of natural resources, Champaign County Forest Preserve District

— Geri Melchiorre, 36, senior director of investments, University of Illinois System

— Subhalakshmi Kumar, 35, senior research engineer, Inprentus, Inc.

— Toni Delporte, 37, vice president and credit officer, Hickory Point Bank & Trust

— Abbie Osterbur, 36, vice president and senior financial advisor, Merrill Lynch

— Megan Hunter, 39, principal, Mahomet Lincoln Trail Elementary

— Kenna Dunlap Johnson, 37, director of admissions/intake, Pavilion Behavioral Health System

— Carrie Wells, 37, assistant vice president and creative services manager, Busey

— Mitch Wilson, 37, P.E. teacher and head track coach, Rantoul Township High School

— Antonio Serna, 36, registered nurse, Carle Foundation Hospital

— Kyle Meece, 36, farmer and agronomy manager, United Prairie

— Dana Cohen, 34, assistant director of the Dual Career Program, University of Illinois

— Bryan Vayr, 28, associate, Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C.

— Shawna Patterson-Stephens, 38, associate vice chancellor of student affairs, University of Illinois

— Kyle Patterson, 32, case manager, Cunningham Township

— Mary Surprenant, 31, co-owner and agent, Re/Max Ultimate

— Laura Davis, 40, co-owner and manager, Vintage Karma

— Mariana Ortega, 32, director of La Casa Cultural Latina, University of Illinois

— Mariel Huasanga, 29, International Trade Center director, Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Champaign County EDC

— Rebecca Ries, 26, membership and meetings manager, Poultry Science Association

— Brandy Diggs-McGee, 37, research mechanical engineer, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

— Ann Peedikayil, 39, senior digital analytics project leader, Caterpillar

— Daly Andersson, 36, senior vice president, director, Private Wealth Advisory, Busey Wealth Management

— Brett Anderson, 30, portfolio manager and financial advisor, Cozad Asset Management.

— Ronald Baker, 39, registered nurse anesthetist, Carle Foundation Hospital

— Dionne Clifton, 39, lecturer, Department of Advertising, University of Illinois, and designated managing broker owner, LIVE Real Estate Group

— Renae Cory, 29, director of development, Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club

— Elizabeth Holder, 38, attorney, Holder Law Group

— Noah Isserman, 35, visiting assistant professor, Gies College of Business and School of Social Work, University of Illinois

— Kara Johnson, 38, associate director for administration, University of Illinois - Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

— Dan Kirby, 36, manager, CliftonLarsonAllen

— Melissa Sotelo, 38, collections and exhibitions coordinator, Spurlock Museum

— Emily King, 31, manager, Ten Thousand Villages

— Andy Nelson, 39, senior vice president and regional credit officer, Busey

— Matthew Hutchens, 36, lecturer, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois


Ben Zigterman is a reporter covering business at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@bzigterman).

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