Hamilton-Halton's Top 40 Under 40 are young business professionals making an impact on local business and their communities. They will gather Thursday to receive their awards.
The top 40 were selected by the Business Link newspaper.
CBC Hamilton posed two questions to nine recipients — representing nine different industries — about Hamilton and how to make it better.
First, what does Hamilton need to do to improve? Second, how will your industry play a part?
Click play on the SoundCloud audio links at the bottom of this page to listen to what each one had to say.
Industry: Media and Photography
Job: Owner and Founder, Banko Media
Daniel Banko was raised in Hamilton, his parents are of Croatian descent. He's owned a media-based business in the city since 1996.
Industry: Arts and Entertainment
Job: Artistic Director, Hammer Entertainment
Jason Dick was born and raised in Hamilton. He moved to Toronto for a short while to pursue professional acting which he called the most stressful years of his life. He founded Hammer Entertainment in 2007.
Industry: Hospitality and Culinary Arts
Job: Owner and Chef, La Piazza Allegra
Mark Farrugia was born and raised in the lower city. He went to Brock University to become a teacher, but stopped attending with one semester to go and opened a restaurant with his dad.
Industry: Not-for-Profit and Aid
Job: Executive Director, Medical Ministry International Canada
Leanne Ferris knew she wanted to be involved in medical aid work from the time she was a kid after a volunteer trip to Mexico with her optician parents. Her family owned Skinner Opticians on John Street North.
Job: Partner, Simpson Wigle Law LLP
Hussein Hamdani's family came to Canada from Uganda as refugees in 1979. He's lived in the Hamilton-Burlington area for the past 10 years. He started with his current firm as an articling student.
Industry: Creative Marketing
Job: Founder and Web Designer, Serious Monkey
Melissa Height was born and raised on Hamilton Mountain. She has a twin sister who runs the Green Smoothie Bar on James Street North. She says they are serial entrepreneurs.
Job: Founder and Manager, Kajotec Inc.
Joel Kaleu started his company 14 years ago and says his major developments happened in Hamilton where he found more resources and support to expand. Kaleu was born in Cameroon, but grew up in Germany, France and Japan.
Job: Owner and Chiropractor, Hamilton Back Clinic
Anthony Lombardi opened his clinic at 25 and has been serving the Hamilton community since. He runs a successful coat drive each winter. Last year, the clinic collected more than 900 coats.
Industry: Innovation and Entrepreneurs
Job: Creative Manager, Innovation Factory
Stephanie Shuster fell into her current job. She was working a Theatre Aquaris when a friend recommended her for the position. Originally from Vancouver, Shuster went to McMaster University and has never left.