A new contest, magazine and celebration event will soon give Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties the chance to recognize and honor young professionals and community leaders.
Nominations for the 2018-19 Top 20 Professionals Under 40, a partnership …
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Nominations for the 2018-19 Top 20 Professionals Under 40, a partnership between The Sumter Item and the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, will open on Monday at www.TheItem.com/20under40, where anyone can name someone he or she thinks is striving to make the community a better place, whether through the person's career or volunteerism.
Jake Cline said he wanted to bring a 20 Under 40 to Sumter when he realized surrounding and other counties in South Carolina were holding similar programs and have been more successful in recruiting professionals in the age group to move here and stay here.
"When I was in Young Professionals of Sumter, I would go to all these events, and all the business and community leaders would say, 'Where are all the young people?'" said Cline, who joined YPS in 2013 and served as president from 2014 until July 2017.
Nominations will be open through Aug. 12. Voting will begin that day and last through Aug. 20. Contest officials will approve nominations daily.
Winners will be chosen based on a split between readers' choice and a selection committee.
Cline said he is used to attending community, business and industry events and being the youngest person there.
"For the older generation, we're the ones who will eventually replace who's there today, so they should want to see what's out there," he said.
The retention of the young-professional generation has been a focus of the Chamber, the umbrella organization for YPS.
Chris Hardy, president and CEO of the Chamber, has said getting younger generations to want to move here and to get Sumter natives to stay here is a priority for the Chamber.
The Chamber will host an event this fall where the 20 professionals being honored will be officially announced and recognized. The event will also coincide with the release of a magazine featuring the winners.
Vince Johnson, publisher of The Sumter Item, said the nominations and voting process is user-friendly and open to anyone.
"We're excited to see what kind of people we hear about," Johnson said. "We're going to recognize these winners in our magazine and at the event, but even after this is over, these winners will be representative of what our region is all about for the coming year, and we'll highlight them that way."
Anyone can nominate a person to be a 2018-19 Top 20 Professionals Under 40. To be eligible, those nominated must be under 40 years old and live and/or work in Sumter, Lee or Clarendon County.
When nominating someone, you will be asked to give the name of the person, submit a photo of him or her and answer why you think he or she should be considered for this honor.
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