The State solicits nominations each fall to choose 20 professionals younger than 40 from the 10-county area of the Midlands.
Nominations for more than 140 people were submitted for this year's class - a 75 percent increase over recent years.
Three editors at The State - managing editor Steve Brook, business editor Sara Svedberg and assistant business editor Andrew Shain - read through the nominations and selected the 20 Under 40 honorees.
We seek candidates who have been successful both professionally and in the community. We also seek a class diverse in occupation, hometown, gender and race.
Nominations of the 20 individuals selected included specific examples of what they had accomplished.
We often see nominations that read like resumes and then describe a person as "good," "kind" or "hard-working." Providing details and anecdotes makes nominees distinctive.
Here is more advice on how to make successful nominations:
- Don't give up if your nominee was not selected. Some 20 Under 40 honorees have been nominated over several years before they are chosen.
- Letters of recommendation help - especially if they include details about the nominee.
- Write-in campaigns don't help. Six nominations lacking details are no better than one. Almost all 20 Under 40 honorees win with just one good nomination.
Applications for the 2011 class will be taken in the fall.