It’s been quite a year hasn’t it?
America has responded to the worst global health crisis in generations and a subsequent crippling economic downturn, confronted its issues regarding racial equality and equity of opportunity, steeled itself in the fight against historic natural disasters, and even worked its way through a particularly contentious presidential election season – and we still have more than two months to go. It can be enough to fray nerves and test the patience of even the best professionals.
But we’re excited to bring a bit of a respite to all of that swirling around our communities today with our seventh annual DBT 40 list, which recognizes the efforts of 40 of our most promising and accomplished professionals under the age of 40. Many of our honorees this year are already leaders within their companies while others surely will be in coming years.
We’re excited to report that interest in the award program continues to grow and we received more than 125 applications this year, a more than 25% increase over last year’s applications. That means that our competition is also growing deeper and more diverse, as represented in the selection of our honorees found in the next 26 pages.
We’re proud to say that the Class of 2020 features a roughly equal split of men and women, a 20% representation of minority professionals, and 25% of honorees from Kent and Sussex counties. We hope to increase those statistics even further as we grow the brand and awareness of the opportunity to be honored in coming months and years.
What’s inspiring about the DBT40 list every year is that nearly all of our applicants could be selected on the merits of their work accomplishments alone. They’ve started new businesses, dramatically increased sales, solved design problems, secured new patents, and broadened the reach of their products and services.
This year, we also asked about our applicants’ experiences during the pandemic and found that many shared similar challenges in family-life balance, but also very different work challenges depending on whether they were in financial services, hospitality, construction, material engineering, etc.
The one thing that sets our Top 40 apart though, as it does each and every year, is their commitment to community service. Some helped foster children while others preserved historic resources, some raised funds for cancer research while others helped advance educational efforts. Their efforts left us feeling invigorated about the opportunities to lend a hand to someone in need and pride in the fact that such great work is already being done here in our Delaware. We hope their stories leave you feeling the same way.
We also hope that you’ll consider attending our annual DBT 40 awards ceremony from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at The Waterfall in Claymont to meet some of our honorees in person. We are striving to do all that we can to hold a safe event, adhering to state and federal health guidelines as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our communities.
Tickets will be limited to 25% of the venue’s capacity with reduced seating at tables and temperatures will be checked at entry. Custom DBT40 masks will be distributed and required to be worn, and hand sanitizer stations will be present.
Finally, a word to the nominees whose applications have fallen a bit short. Don’t let this year’s disappointment – no matter what award you might have sought – distract you from building your business and fine-tuning your applications for next year. The best applications are the ones that clearly differentiate you. I look forward to seeing you at our awards presentations; it’s a great opportunity to be recognized, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet these outstanding leaders and perhaps make a contact or get an idea that will help you have a terrific 2021.