Members of the 2015 South Sound 40 Under Forty group have been notified of selection for this 13th year of individual recognition. Each Daily Biz Brief for the next month will reveal two of the remarkable honorees.

Liz Davis was described by her nominator as “a force in the Olympia community and beyond” with her passionate advocacy for education and the welfare of children and youth that clearly merits inclusion as a 40 Under Forty 2015 honoree. As a first-year high school English teacher, Liz began to realize that many of her students experienced traumatic events in their lives outside of school that greatly impeded their success in school. She cared so much that, after six years in front of a classroom, a professional crisis of “compassion fatigue” prompted her to move into training at a Fortune 50 insurance firm. She had also joined Junior League of Olympia, a service organization that later elected her as president, with continuing service on the international JL board

Today, Davis leads Northwest Venture Philanthropy, an organization she co-founded to help social-purpose groups build capacity and improve the lives of children. She is also fund-raising chair for United Way of Thurston County, along with service on a number of government, community and non-profit boards. “I’m still fighting for the needs of children,” Davis says, “just doing it in a different way.”

As chair of Gig Harbor’s Planning Commission, Reid Ekberg commits hours of service to his hometown's future. On the job, the vice president of Pilkey-Hopping & Ekberg Inc., a Tacoma-based insurance firm, is leading a family-run business that dates back 119 years – clearly his roots are deep in South Sound heritage. A fourth-generation insurance agent himself, he chairs the statewide association of independent agents and brokers and will become president of PK&E this fall.

Ekberg also actively works on behalf of the Strong Kids campaign at YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties and other causes. Asked in the evaluation process to name a lesson learned that would have helped him earlier in life, he said, “Enjoy the present and find joy in everyday. It’s important to have goals and look to the future, but if one doesn’t appreciate today, (then) tomorrow will not be any better.” Insightful wisdom from another great example of 40 Under Forty that deserves recognition.

Both Liz and Reid will be on the baseball field with 38 other “All Stars” as co-workers, family and friends gather August 4th for the evening celebration of 2015 40 Under Forty. Timberland Bank sponsors this Business Examiner recognition program. Ticket information is available at this link.