Business Press celebrates youth, success at 40 Under 40

40 Under 40: The Ridglea Theater (Photo by Amber Shumake)

Some of Fort Worth’s best and brightest young business men and women were once again celebrated as the Fort Worth Business Press held its annual 40 Under 40 event at the Ridglea Theater Thursday night.

The name of the event, it turns out, was slightly misleading this year since there were more than the customary 40 honorees – there were 42. It’s not the first time this happened, said Business Press President and Publisher Richard Connor, who was both host and master of ceremonies for the event. Sometimes, it’s just too difficult to cut the list of deserving nominees all the way down to 40, he said.

Besides, Connor told the crowd of 300, “It just shows journalists can’t count.”

The 40 Under 40 awards were first presented in 1994, for the purpose of singling out emerging leaders under the age of 40 for their success in business and in life, and for their contributions to the community. Over the years, many of the honorees have gone on to rank among the area’s most accomplished, influential and recognizable citizens.

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This year’s event featured an inevitable “first” for an event that’s been going strong for 28 years: 25-year-old Reilly Freeman, director of business administration for Steele & Freeman, Inc. became a second-generation honoree, following in the footsteps of his father, Mike Freeman, a member of the 40 Under 40 class of 2003.

“This was bound to happen,” Connor said.

Also making history: The honorees included three married couples:

  • Sarah Bowden, 31, chief operating officer of The Net and co-founder of The Net’s The Worthy Co.; and Ty Bowden, 29, associate director of The Net.
  • Franklin Moss Jr., 39, owner/clothier/designer of Franklin & Anthony; and Mia Moss, 38, owner of Black Coffee.
  • Chandler Wallace, 34, director of marketing and business development for the Shops at Clearfork, Simon Property Group; and husband Gavin, 39, senior vice president of IMA Inc.

Connor encouraged the audience to do the exact opposite of what they are asked to do at most gatherings. Instead of telling folks to turn off their cellphones, he asked the audience to keep them on, take plenty of pictures and post like crazy on social media.

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Connor noted that the event featured a number of honorees representing nonprofit organizations, saying, “We have never had so many winners who are in the nonprofit world as we have this year.”

One such winner was Shakita Monique Johnson, 39, executive director of  United Way of Tarrant County’s Area Agency on Aging County, whose 7-year-old son Jeremiah Johnson grabbed the spotlight.

“Get that kid off the stage before he steals the whole night,” Connor quipped. “He liked the limelight. He did not want to get off the stage.”

Connor also referenced Jeremiah later in the program when he noted that honoree Walter Kinzie, 39, CEO of Encore Live/Encore Nights, started his first business at age 7 – a revelation that suggested a new event honoring an ever-younger generation of entrepreneurs: “Maybe we’ll call it 10 Under 10 and we’ll get Jeremiah up here for an award.”

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Prior to presentation of the 40 Under 40 awards, four members of the 2022 graduating class from Cristo Rey Fort Worth College Prep were recognized: Amy Arteaga, who will be attending Augustana College in Illinois; Kevin Gonzales, who is headed to Texas A&M; University of Texas-bound Jocelyn Garcia; and Leon Kimani, who will be attending Baylor.

The Cristo Rey program and its inaugural graduating class were featured in the cover story in the Aug. 8-21 issue of the Business Press.

The complete list of 40 Under 40 honorees for 2022 follows:

FWBP 40 Under 40 hnorees for 2022 (Photo by Amber Shumake)

Sarah Bowden
The Net

Ty Bowden
The Net

Dr Whitnee Boyd
Texas Christian University

Joe Brown
HF Customs Solutions

Kris Canfield
Girls Inc. of Tarrant County

Allan Cardozo
PAVLOV Advertising

EJ Carrion
Student Success Agency

Kimberly Casarez-Haro
Goodwill North Central Texas

Ariel Davis
Love Texas Art by Artspace 111

Anthony DeFelice
Amplus Agency

Taylor Dukes
Taylor Dukes Wellness

Sara Fairley-Luna
Leadership Fort Worth

Reilly Freeman
Steele & Freeman Inc.

Dr. Catherine Harrell
Dermatology Specialists of FW

Katelyn McFarlan Hellman
Chronicles of Frivolity

Andy Hines
Whitley Penn

Katherine T. Hopkins
Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP

Kate Jennings
The Bug and Bee PLLC

Shakita Johnson
United Way of Tarrant County

Christian Jones

Dylan Jones
Animal Cloud Device Connectivity

Walter Kinzie
Encore Live/Encore Nights

Shawn Lassiter
Brave/R Together

Jeanette Martinez
Tarrant County

Franklin Moss
Franklin and Anthony

Mia Moss
Black Coffee

Kate Murphy
Nanda Yoga

Drew Neal
Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP

Brandon Nelson
The Parenting Center

Kam S. Phillips-Sadler

Erika Ramos
Game Theory Restaurant+Bar

Melissa Rankin
Edward Jones

Dr. Kristina Reed
Cook Children’s Healthcare System

Juan Rodriguez
Magdalena’s Catering & Events

Trey Schuler
IMA Financial Group Inc.

Dr. Veena Somareddy
Neuro Rehabilitation VR

John Stevenson
The Projects Group

Lexi Summers
Worthington National Bank

Ashton Theiss
The Ashton Agency

James Thorne
Quirk Growth

Chandler Wallace
Simon Property Group

Gavin Wallace
IMA Financial Group Inc.