KPMG and The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce are proud to present the third group of five recipients of the Top 20 under 40.
The annual Top 20 Under 40, presented by KPMG, Community Futures, City of Vernon-Economic Development and the Greater Vernon Chamber, recognizes the next generation of leaders in the North Okanagan, those under the age of 40 years of age who are making their mark through business success and community involvement.
The recipients were selected among more than 60 nominations, and include:
Andrew Allen – Musician/Director
Allen’s DIY ability and optimistic attitude have served him well. He’s scored five Top 10 hits in Canada, 2009′s I Wanna Be Your Christmas, 2010’s Loving You Tonight (No. 6 for 22 weeks), 2011’s I Want You, 2015’s What You Wanted and 2016’s Favourite Christmas Song. His benchmark single Loving You Tonight, helped put Allen on tour with acts like Bruno Mars, One Republic, Andy Grammer, The Script, Train, Joshua Radin and The Barenaked Ladies after signing with EPIC records, with the official music video garnering more than four million views and over 100,000 copies sold worldwide. As a songwriter, Allen’s written with some incredible writers and artists, including Meghan Trainor, Rachel Platten, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tyler Shaw and is credited with writing songs for Nick Howard (winner of the Voice Germany), German pop icon Mario Novembre, Ronan Parke (Britain’s Got Talent), Italian Superstar Marco Mengoni (Quadruple Platinum Ad Occhi Chiusi) and Latin America’s boy band, CD9 (Gold selling Dime). He’s also written EDM singles for Project 46, Ilan Bluestone and the song Last Chance, which can be found on Kaskade’s Grammy nominated album Atmosphere. Radio play and songwriting aside, Allen is a true live performer with an exceptional voice, incredible songs, some serious live looping chops and limitless energy… not too mention a spatter of comic wit and story-telling ability that helps create a dynamic and interactive live show. He’s definitely an artist that embodies the term live.
Cara Arding – Owner, Pickleball Depot
A product of the Prairies, Arding grew up in Saskatoon where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree at the U of Saskatchewan. After graduating, she moved to Alberta to continue her education, completing a business program at SAIT in Calgary, then moving to Edmonton to work in retail management. She and her soon-to-be husband, Michael, moved to Vernon in 2004 after he was offered a position with a local forestry company. Arding, along with a longtime friend and fellow business student, decided to open a fitness equipment retail store in Vernon after discovering a need in the marketplace. Their business, Urban Fitness, flourished and a second location in Kelowna soon followed. In the meantime her husband had left forestry to start a landscaping company – Nokomis Landscaping. Arding and her partner sold their stores in 2008 after being approached by an interested competitor, and Arding’s daughter was born later that year, followed by a son in 2011. Arding invested as a silent partner in a fitness equipment company in Regina shortly after that, but got involved in her current business, Pickleball Depot, in 2012. Arding’s father started selling pickleball paddles out of the trunk of his car at the Pleasant Valley Gym to his fellow picklers and soon his little business idea grew into a small and somewhat casual e-commerce business venture. After the sport itself and his online store gained traction, he approached Arding to take the business over, which she did in 2014 and her pickleball journey began. In their downtime, Arding’s family is passionate about mountain biking, skiing and travelling.
Laura Code – Regional Agrologist, Ministry of Agriculture
Passionate about food and agriculture, Code currently works as a regional agrologist for the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. She supports farmers and producer associations and liaises with local governments planning for agriculture. Code has been involved with Junior Chamber International (JCI) Vernon since 2009 and is currently the past president. She is also the regional president of the JCI B.C./Yukon region and national vice-president of JCI Canada. Her love of animals and agriculture started while growing up on a mixed farm and going through the 4-H program on Vancouver Island. She studied agriculture in university and her first job out of university brought her to Vernon in 2006. She worked with the Ministry of Agriculture in youth development, impacting the lives of young people and coordinating the volunteers who worked with them. Her dedication to agriculture has led her to receiving her professional designation with the B.C. Institute of Agrologists. Laura holds a dual master’s degree in management of animal resources and sustainable development in agriculture from universities in Italy and France, including a research internship in the Netherlands. Code enjoys travelling and learning about food systems and different cultures.
Alexa Monahan – Director of Marketing, Nature’s Fare Markets
Monahan is an executive team member and co-owner of Nature’s Fare Markets. She has spent her professional career in the natural health industry and is passionate about everything local, sustainable, and organic. She believes that the purpose of business is to foster healthy communities and to be a force for positive change. She uses these principles to create programs at Nature’s Fare that benefit the business, the environment, and the community. Monahan is a long-time Vernon resident who loves skiing, hiking, yoga, and spending quality time with her amazing three-year-old son. She is currently completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training course as a side passion project.
Brett Squair, Associate Lawyer, Davison Pringle
Squair is an associate lawyer at Davidson Pringle LLP. He was born and raised in the Okanagan. Squair completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University and obtained his juris soctor from Thompson Rivers University. After returning to his home town Squair joined Davidson Pringle. He was called to the bar in 2017 and practices in the areas of business law, real estate, and estate planning. Squair is a member of Kalamalka Rotary, a member of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, a director of the North Okanagan Livestock Association and a director of the SKY Volleyball Club, which is the largest volleyball club in B.C. Squair was previously the vice-president of the Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society and a member of Junior Chambers International. When he’s not working, or helping one of these societies, Squair is either spending time with his family, coaching/playing volleyball, or working on his family’s ranch and woodlot. His hobbies include hiking, archery, camping and volleyball.
The final five recipients will be announced Monday, Feb. 25. All recipients will be featured on the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce website and they will also be honoured at a special recognition event on Tuesday, March 12, at Okanagan Spirits.