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Help us recognize the top '20 Under Forty': Our View

2:12 PM, Sep. 3, 2013  |  Comments
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We need younger people to want to live here. We need them for many reasons, fiscal and cultural, but here's a straightforward one: They make this community better.

No matter how old or young we are, we want this to be a place where our children and our grandchildren want to live - or, at least, a place they're willing to return to raise their kids. Behind every argument about the need to "attract young professionals" to the Wausau region, that is the underlying, gut-level argument. We want our community to grow and be healthy.

But as a new generation of young people has begun to take leadership roles in the community, we've also seen the ways that having new perspectives, leaders and approaches can benefit all of us.

That's why Daily Herald Media is embarking on "20 Under Forty," its new program to recognize the contributions of young leaders in the community.

We've all had the experience of staring at a difficult problem for so long that it comes to seem insoluble. We think we've thought of every possible angle. Then we set the problem aside for awhile, or we ask a colleague, and suddenly there's an obvious solution, a brand new way of looking at the issue. "Fresh eyes," we call that.

That's what young leaders can do for an organization, whether that organization is a business, a nonprofit or faith organization, a local government board or commission. Institutions, even successful ones, have a way of becoming set in their procedures and assumptions about what is the right way to do things, what is even possible. They can benefit from having those assumptions shaken up every once in awhile.

We can think of some young professional leaders who are making a difference; some we've even featured in these pages. But we also know there are many other great candidates out in the community, and that's why we need readers' help to identify the best.

We have five local judges from the business and nonprofit communities who will pick for recognition 20 significant leaders from among all the nominations we receive.

Nominations are open now and we'll be taking them through Oct. 11. We'll celebrate the winners beginning Oct. 26, and culminating with a party at The Grand on Nov. 15.

We're proud of the partners we've assembled for 20 Under Forty and grateful to the sponsors who are helping make this contest happen - Peoples State Bank, the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce, Wipfli, Ruder Ware, Northcentral Technical College, Rasmussen College, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Greenheck Fan Corp. And we cannot wait to see the nominations we get from the public. If you know a young leader who deserves recognition, visit www.wausaudailyherald.com/20under40 now to make your nomination.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports