2016 40 Under Forty Class Honored

Young professionals making a significant impact in Albany and Southwest Georgia were recognized at the annual 40 Under 40 Luncheon Thursday at Lee County’s Oakland Library.

The annual recognition is jointly sponsored by The Albany Herald and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re truly happy once again to be partnering with the Chamber of Commerce,” Herald General Manager Ken Boler said. “They’ve been great partners in this throughout its inception. And it’s always good to acknowledge those up and coming in the community under 40.”

Among the honorees were educators, professionals in the financial and medical industry, military personal, as well as city employees. Boler said the 40 recipients are a solid representation of the city itself.

“We touched just about every corner of the market in terms of having representation,” he said. “Which is good because these are some of the game changers that are up and coming in their own right in the industry, as well as helping out in the community. Most of these folks, if not all, are doing things beyond the day-to-day and the work hours to make this a better place to live.”

Chamber President/CEO Barbara Rivera Holmes said the diverse list of recipients shows “it really takes every piece of the puzzle to make it whole.”

“The 40 Under 40 is really one of my favorite events because you really get such a sense of the wonderful people that are doing great things in our community,” Holmes said. “And you can see from the list of the people that were honored this year that we have got incredible professionals doing outstanding things in all sectors that impact our community.”

She added that the longevity of the event itself shows the continuity of vibrant professionals in the community.

“It shows we have a lot of great talent to choose from,” she said. “Every year, it’s tough for our selection committee to narrow it down to 40. So to be able to host this event every year shows that we’ve got incredible talent that keeps regenerating, and we’ve got people coming up the ranks that are doing wonderful things.”

Albany native and Dougherty District Attorney’s Office Investigator Makeba Wright was among the honorees. She said the award comes with some responsibility.

“There’s pressure because I want to meet everybody’s expectations as a future city leader,” she said.

Wright noted that the accolade also serves as a form of encouragement as she continues to try and help her hometown continue to grow.

“I’m from here, and I’ve seen things change from the time that I can remember myself growing up,” she said. “Albany has great potential. And I’m just excited. I want to stay here and be a part of that fulfillment”