Local Economy

Hamilton's top young professionals talk about how to make the city better

Hamilton's Top 40 under 40 will be recognized Thursday. CBC Hamilton asked nine of them how to improve the city.

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.

Daniel Banko


Age: 38

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.

Jason Dick


Age: 33

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.

Mark Farrugia


Age: 39

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.

Leanne Ferris


Age: 33

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.

Hussein Hamdani


Age: 40

Industry: Legal

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.

Melissa Height


Age: 27

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.

Joel Kaleu


Age: 38

Industry: Environmental

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.

Anthony Lombardi


Age: 35

Industry: Medical

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.

Stephanie Shuster


Age: 27

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.