Sixteen members of the High Country community have been selected as category finalists for the fourth annual Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards. This annual showcase is presented by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate.

Winners will be announced at an awards luncheon at Harvest House in Boone when deemed appropriate based on locally guided social distancing standards, the chamber said. The luncheon has taken place in April in past years.

“In what has been a difficult couple of weeks for so many in our community, the opportunity to name our 4 Under 40 finalists gives us much-needed positive news to share about emerging leaders in our area,” said Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO David Jackson.

Nominations were received in four categories: Business Owner, Education Professional, Nonprofit Business Professional and Rising Star. The finalists for each category are listed below:

Business Owner

  • Bill Aceto, Blue Ridge Realty & Investments, LLC
  • Madelyn George, The Lavender House
  • Ben Harmon, Clean Eatz
  • Seth Sullivan, The Cardinal & Lily’s Snack Bar

Education Professional

  • Laura Barry, Watauga High School
  • Lauren Foster, Lees-McRae College
  • Rob Gelber, AppTV
  • Olivia Tarnowski, Watauga High School

Nonprofit Business Professional

  • Nick Eichen, Watauga Humane Society
  • Ashley Galleher, Valle Crucis Community Park
  • Molly Jones, Hope Pregnancy Center
  • Lane Moody, Downtown Boone Development Association

Rising Star

  • Brady Combs, Combs, Tennant & Carpenter, PC
  • Mark Mashburn, Century 21 Mountain Vistas
  • Andrea Morton, The Horton Hotel
  • Danielle Neibaur, The Inn at Crestwood

“Boone and the High Country will need strong community leadership more than ever as we deal with, and eventually come out of the COVID-19 crisis,” Jackson said. “We are fortunate that many of the leaders that have helped us out of tough times before are still active in our community today. These 4 Under 40 finalists join our previous honorees with their eagerness to collaborate with current leaders and build off their own talents to help make our community stronger and more resilient for decades to come.”

When the event is scheduled, tickets will be sold for $20 for chamber members and $25 for the general public. Corporate tables will also be available and will include special recognition at the event.

In addition to Appalachian Commercial Real Estate, additional sponsorship support for the 4 Under 40 Awards Luncheon comes from Mast General Store, BB&T (Now Truist) and Boone Drugs Inc.

If you have questions, contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 828-264-2225 or email

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