For the fourth year in a row, I’m feeling a little old as we shine the spotlight on our 2014 Westchester Wunderkinds: the county’s best and brightest business minds under the age of 30. But my gray hairs seeming more prominent is a small price to pay for being able to share with readers the stories (and “selfies”) of these 21 up-and-comers, who should assure you that the future of business in Westchester County is indeed bright.
This year’s crop of Wunderkinds is a dynamic group representing a wide range of industries and business types, everything from big corporate and big retail to small businesses; entrepreneurs and restaurateurs; design stars; academics—even a LEGO master, an MBA-toting MMA fighter, and a 16-year-old whose company can do wonders with frequent flier miles. Their accomplishments are impressive—how many of you as high-schoolers designed products that landed on the pages of People magazine?—and their ambitions (to continue expanding their businesses; to make partner before the age of 40; to earn advanced degrees) outstanding.
We spend a lot of time putting together our annual Wunderkinds issue—and this year was no different. It’s a group effort among the staff; we all review the numerous nominations and conduct due diligence to whittle the list down; argue over who makes the cut (and who should appear on the cover); divvy up the interviewing and writing responsibilities; and then come together to enjoy the fruits of our labor—and we know you will, too. And I hope you come to toast them in person at our annual Wunderkinds event, which takes place May 20 at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford. (Don’t worry—we’ll make sure someone checks the IDs of the youngest Wunderkinds.)
Our Wunderkinds are also masters at building their brands, a concept we took an in-depth look at in this issue. While anyone running a business knows the importance of branding, properly executing that brand message as the business evolves often proves elusive. Features Editor Amy R. Partridge tackled this topic, speaking to local branding experts and scouring the county for interesting examples of branding in action. The resulting story shows how companies can make sure their brand message is on point throughout the lifecycle of their business.
And if you ever thought golf in Westchester was just fun and games (or a great way to seal a deal), Dave Donelson, frequent 914INC contributor and editor of the Westchester/Hudson Valley Magazine Golf Guide, will change your mind. He investigated the business end of golf here in Westchester County, and found that the nearly $300-million industry generates roughly $13 million in property taxes, employs more than 7,000 people in the county, and raises close to $16 million for charities each year. Plus, it’s a game that can be enjoyed at any age.
I hope you enjoy the issue.