Here are Portland's top under-40 business leaders

After the PBJ staff determines the year's Forty Under 40 winners, one thing we tend to do is look at the ages of the incoming class.

Are they all actually pushing 40? Are they generally in their mid-30s? Or are they youngsters on the rise?

SLIDESHOW: The PBJ's 2017 Forty Under 40 class

While most of this year's honorees fall into the 35-40 category, this year's crop surprisingly features five honorees who are 30 or younger. Generally, the figure is about one or two.

That list includes the likes of Sean McClain, the 27-year-old founder and CEO of AbSci. As is our custom, we asked honorees to bring a prop depicting something about themselves and our theme, which, this year, is "Portland."

McClain, awesomely, brought his barber, Mickey, who keeps his hair shorn and his long beard kempt.

The result is one of the best photos among a crop of great ones that we shot for this year's Forty Under 40 special publication. Click on the link above to see the gallery with Cathy Cheney's shots. We've also featured a bit of the bio information and quotes proffered by this year's "Top 40."

There's Traci Ray, executive director of Barran Liebman, who recalls meeting a past Forty Under 40 winner who changed her life.

"When first practicing law as an associate, I began attending legal industry events," Ray said. "The president of the Young Lawyers Section at the time was Andrew Schpak, and he was the happiest lawyer I had ever met. I distinctly recall asking him where he worked, and he said Barran Liebman. Right then I knew I wanted to work for the firm, and made the switch at the first opportunity."

Another attorney, Tonkon Torp's Anna Sortun, said her career turning point came when she realized "there is no 'one way' to be a trial lawyer," which allows her to be herself both at work and in the courtroom.

Tyler Malek, co-founder of the Salt & Straw ice cream chain, chose, when asked about his career high points, to honor a mentor.

" I spent most of my education and work focused on international business relations in China," Malek said. "But, in my early 20s Trent, my stepdad (and one of my superheroes), passed away. He had this superpower where people just gathered around him. He was bigger than life and our house constantly was filled with friends and family feeding off and adding to that energy.

"In the following years, I learned that cooking great food has a similar superpower. It's fun and energizing, and people gather around a table and just love one another for a moment in time."

Kali Thorne Ladd, of KairosPDX, said she became intrigued with the nexus between mental health and education when working at Portland City Hall.

I had a chance to see how education is woven into the infrastructure and fabric of our community whether we think about it or not," said Ladd, who was Mayor Sam Adams' education director.

Andy is the Portland Business Journal’s digital managing editor, overseeing the daily digital news operation. Sign up here to receive the free news-packed emails he curates every day.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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