The 10 professionals, honored Thursday, will be recommended for Georgia Trend magazine’s 40 Under 40 edition, a similar program recognizing young professionals across the state. The professionals range from lawyers to city employees, and all are active in their communities and civic organizations.
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, a past 40 Under 40 honoree, said programs such as the Augusta chamber’s Top Ten in Ten Young Professionals to Watch are vital to Augusta’s growth and improvement.
“We want to focus on developing a city where we can recruit and retain the best and brightest young minds,” Copenhaver said. “I believe this event is critical to the success of the city.”
Shizuo Kuwahara, of Symphony Orchestra Augusta, a previous Augusta chamber honoree, agreed that quality of life and professional opportunities were at the top of the list of what Augusta has that attracts young professionals and what it can improve in order to attract and keep more.
“We all need to take responsibility for where we live, and look for ways to give back that are within our own talents,” Kuwahara said.
Robert Bennett, the project manager at the Augusta Economic Development Authority, said that he was honored to be recognized as one of the top professionals to watch and that the program encourages and validates young Augustans.
“Involving young professionals and getting them energized is extremely important,” he said. “Recognizing them is one way to do it.”
Sue Parr, the president and CEO of the chamber, said the Top Ten in Ten continues to encourage not only those recognized but also members of the community in general.
“It’s a fun process, and we really enjoy it,” she said.