BOONE — Sixteen members of the High Country community have been selected as category finalists for the 5th annual Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards. This showcase of emerging leaders is presented by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate.

Winners will be announced at the annual awards ceremony, set for May 11, at 6 p.m., at the historic Appalachian Theatre in Downtown Boone.

Nominations were received in four categories: Business Owner, Education Professional, Non-Profit Business Professional and Rising Star. The finalists for each category are:

Business Owner

  • Charlotte Baxter, Shear Shakti
  • Elise Sigmon, Sole Impact Studios
  • Jessica Stansberry, Hey Jessica
  • Matt Vincent, VPC Builders

Education Professional

  • Brian Bettis, Bethel School
  • Amanda Combs, Watauga County Schools
  • Dr. Alex Howard, Appalachian State University
  • Jason Marshburn, Appalachian State University

Nonprofit Business Professional

  • Jenn Bass, Hunger & Health Coalition
  • Mollie Furman, The Mediation & Restorative Justice Center
  • Emily Neff, W.A.M.Y. Community Action
  • Ashlee Yepez, Watauga Humane Society

Rising Star

  • Amber Bateman, Watauga Arts Council
  • Neil Brunson, Mountain Lumber Company
  • Richard Campbell, Boone Rent-All & Parties Too
  • Spencer Hodges, Boone Drug, Inc.

“This year’s 4 Under 40 class is among the most decorated and accomplished groups we’ve had in the five years this program has been in existence,” said Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO David Jackson. “It has been exciting for us to see our past honorees and winners progress along their leadership journeys, and many of those people have played prominent roles in keep our community moving over the last year. This year’s class adds to the roster of emerging leaders that are eager to use their talents to help make Boone, Watauga County, and the entire High Country as strong and vibrant as possible as we move forward.”

All finalists will be recognized at the 5th annual 4 Under 40 Awards ceremony. A limited audience will be allowed inside the Appalachian Theatre for the event, but no public ticket sales are available at this time. A live stream of the event will be available, and access can be purchased at

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 Beech Mountain Resort.

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