The Delaware Business Times hosted its first event last month, honoring 40 of the state’s young achievers and innovators who comprise the 2014 class of DBT40.
Nearly 250 people attended the evening reception at the Delaware Art Museum, including parents, spouses and coworkers of the honorees, who were selected based on their work in business, civic and nonprofit organizations—all are under 40 years old.
“We selected this project as our first because we understand the impact this group of innovators and achievers will have on the future of our community,” Michael J. Mika, executive editor, told the crowd.
DBT, a division of Today Media, launched in September offering a biweekly tabloid publication, an online presence and twice weekly email newsletters. Events like the DBT40 provide a forum for celebration and discussion of the state’s news and newsmakers.
The compressed time frame from launch to DBT40 selection meant nominations were taken by phone interviews from more than 25 sources throughout the state.
“They’re involved in technology, yes, but also business, finance, fitness, health care, nonprofits, professional services, marketing, real estate, education, legal, and the arts,” said Mika. “They are entrepreneurs creating new products and services.”
Honorees, made up of 21 men and 19 women, also included a chamber president, two mayors and a city councilman. Their average age is just 33.
“Any of us ‘more senior’ business and civic leaders who may be inclined to fret a bit about the future of our community can enjoy a healthy dose of reassurance that our future is in good hands when we meet a group of sharp rising young leaders like those among the DBT40,” said Sam Waltz, DBT publisher.
“I’d known a few of the honorees, I’d heard of some of the rest, and about half I met for the first time. This group of DBT40 honorees is people of enormous promise in growing our community to the next level! They are smart, hard-working, focused and energetic, and genuinely nice people.”
“It’s such an inspiring group of people,” said honoree Jen Sheridan, who works at Gunnip & Company and volunteers for the Miracles for Molly Dunne Foundation.
“For me, getting exposure for Camp Molly is the biggest reason why it’s such an honor—we’re a small foundation and to get them publicity is huge.”
For Stephanie Adams, communications specialist at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, the size of the reception was a surprise. “I was very impressed by how many people turned out,” she said. “It was an exciting night, humbling.”
Mika called the honorees ambassadors for creating new events for Delaware’s 2015 calendar. “They’re all disrupting their workplace and making a difference —and they’re all just getting started.”