• Top-40.png
  • Top 40 Under Forty is presented by the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO.

    These are 40 people in our community who are doing BIG things. They are thriving in business, entrepreneurship, arts, athletics or are striving to make our city and region a better place to live and work.

    Have a look at our frequently asked questions!

  • 2018-2019 Top 40 Under Forty 2018-2019 Top 40 Under Forty

  • Brandie Andrews & Sonja Miller Brandie Andrews & Sonja Miller

    Brandie Andrews & Sonja Miller are the founders of Key Connections Consulting, a one stop shop for services including: speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, psychology, behaviour services and counselling, all in one agency.

     

    Sonja and Brandie have always had a keen passion to support children and youth with special needs. Early in their careers they noticed the insurmountable challenges that families of Lethbridge were often faced with in attempts to obtain specialized services for their children.

     

    Many families reported their difficulty in obtaining and coordinating their own services. Brandie and Sonja decided to take a risk 10 years ago while in their late 20’s, creating Key Connections Consulting.

    Sonja Miller

    Since opening their doors in 2009, KCC has expanded the supports they provide based on service needs identified in the community. As a result, KCC also started Project ICE to support unemployed youth and young adults with disabilities.

     

    Brandie graduated with BSW and MSW at the UofL. Brandie had the opportunity to work as a job coach, youth mentor, researcher, community liaison counsellour, special needs consultant, etc. placing herself in roles where she could be a voice for those who might not have one.

     

    Sonja graduated with her BA in psychology from the UofL and then went to on receive her MA at Wichita State University in speech-language pathology. As a teen, she volunteered at the Chinook Regional Hospital and from this experience she knew a career working in the health care field would fit wonderfully with her desire to support others.

    Brandie Andrews

    Brandie is known in southern Alberta for supporting the creation of the FSCD/Education “Pilot Project.” The intent of the pilot project was to allow children who accessed specialized services at home to also have access to the same team of professionals in their educational program and other community settings.

     

    She has made a difference for those she works with by providing them with a “voice” through function communications systems even when they are not physically capable of physical speech.

     

    Sonja’s focus on early language intervention has made a difference for young children and families in our community.

     

    Brandie has a young family and has enjoyed devoting her time in educational programs, Lethbridge Recreation Hockey and Southwest Little League. She also believes in the importance of teaching and keeping abreast of new research and as such has enjoyed partnering with the University of Lethbridge supervising MSW leadership students.

    Sonja is an active member of the Croatian-Canadian Club of Lethbridge where she has been a member for over 20 years and supported in a variety of roles. Sonja has volunteered as kit captain for the Canadian Diabetes Association. In addition, Sonja has had the pleasure of participating in a mentorship program to support and supervise many local new graduates from various speech-language pathology programs.

    Both Brandie and Sonja volunteer their time offering community presentations, education sessions, and are representatives at community sector meetings.

    For their dedication to improving the lives of families in need of specialized services, The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Sonja Miller and Brandie Andrews as two of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty.

     

    Shawn Hammond Shawn Hammond

    Shawn Hammond is the Owner/Operator of Big Al's Auto Repair, an independent automotive repair shop in Lethridge.

    In 2012, Shawn and his wife Becky purchased Big Al's Auto Repair from the original "Big Al". Since then the business has grown exponentially. Shawn is dedicated to trying to change the way people in Lethbridge perceive mechanics in the traditional sense. He prides himself on being highly skilled while maintaining transparency and honesty.

    Shawn was born and raised in Lethbridge. He graduated from the Lethbridge College in 2003 with a diploma from the Automotive technician program. Right out of school, he had the opportunity to work at a dealership under one of the most sought after automotive diagnosticians in southern Alberta. He learned as much as he could coming in early and staying late to absorb as much as possible.

    By the time he was 25, Shawn had become shop foreman. This thrust him into a leadership role where he had to sink or swim. It also allowed him to learn leadership skills to run an effective team that is good at what they do. 

    Under Shawn's leadership, Big Al's Auto repair has won Lethbridge Sun Times Best of the Best contest for the last three years. They have also been rated one of the top three local repair shops for the last four years by an independent rating firm. 

    Shawn also spearheaded Big Al's Christmas Vans program. For the past three years, they have given away a mini van (or two) to families in need in our community. With help from their friends and colleagues in the community they are able to fill the vans with groceries and gift cards to help a struggling family have an awesome Christmas, and give them a hand when they are down.

    Shawn is proud to participate in and sponsor a number of community initiatives including Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, The Boys & Girl's Club, Street Machines Weekend, Expressions Dance and more!

    For his dedication to helping the community, and and outstanding work in the automotive field, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Shawn Hammond as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!

    Elisabeth Hegerat Elisabeth Hegerat

    Elisabeth Hegerat is a passionate advocate for public libraries, for literacy and the literary arts, and for diversity and inclusion. She believes in making a personal commitment to making the change you want to see in your community, and loves connecting people with resources—and each other.

    She is the festival director for Lethbridge Public Library’s The Word on the Street Festival, an outdoor one-day event in celebration of literacy and the written and spoken word, with six stages, twenty to thirty presenting authors from across Canada, and an estimated attendance of more than 5,000 people.

    She has organized multiple programs for Lethbridge Pride Fest for the last three years, and was organized and helped out with more than twenty events in the month of June this past year.

    Elisabeth completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, and is a graduate of the University of Alberta's Master of Library and Information Studies program. She has worked in public, school, and corporate libraries.

    She moved to Lethbridge with her wife in 2006 to take a position at the Lethbridge Public Library in 2006, where she has worked in a variety of different capacities ever since. In her current role with the Lethbridge Public Library as Manager: Community and Economic Advancement, she works with grants, fundraising, and community initiatives.

    Elisabeth was thrilled to accept the Celebrate Downtown Event of the Year Award on behalf of the Library for the Word on the Street Festival. In her time as the festival director, the event has expanded to include a comics stage, and an indigenous cultural stage. She has organized a Pride Fest author event since 2016, and worked with the Lethbridge Public Library, and the English and Women and Studies departments at the University of Lethbridge to bring in three different presenters for Pride Fest’s tenth anniversary. She also facilitated a new event for Pride Fest this past year. She was honoured and humbled to accept the Pride Fest 2018 Community Development award.

    Elisabeth has been an active member of the Rocky Mountain Book Award committee since 2006, an Alberta-wide reader's choice program for students in grades 4-8, and reads sixty to eighty books a year as part of the shortlist selection for the award. She has volunteered with Lethbridge Pride Fest since 2016, and is a member of the board of directors for Pride Fest 2019. She is also a regular participant in the Knitting a Revolution’s holiday charity knitting projects, including the 25,000 Toques Project, a citizen-driven spontaneous national knitting movement to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada.

    For her advocacy for public libraries as well as the LGBTQ+ community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Elisabeth Hegerat as one of Lethbridge's Top 40 Under Forty!

    Chance Olsen Chance Olsen

    Chance Olsen is the owner of Chaparral Registry and Insurance which opened this past spring in West Lethbridge.

    Chance has demonstrated a hard work ethic ever since he was a young boy. He is very motivated to accomplish the goals that he has set for himself.

    Chance is loyal, family oriented, trustworthy, and very kind. His staff would describe him as open minded, always encouraging his staff to be the best they can be, supporting them in their career paths and choices.

    He is a great teacher. No matter if he is simply playing a board game, building something, or working in the backyard, he is constantly taking the opportunity to teach his children how to do new things. Balancing his career and family can be challenging, but Chance is constantly trying to find time to spend with his young family. Their favorite family activity is spending time at the lake.

    Being a young business owner is a huge learning curve, but Chance is excited to learn and improve his businesses.

    Chance received his Accounting degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2015. He worked at a local accounting firm before starting a new adventure in opening Chaparral Registry and Insurance.

    In 2007 Chance served a mission for his church in Hungary teaching and serving the Hungarian people in their native tongue. He continues to serve in his church as a young men leader; planning camps, activities, and spiritual lessons. He also helps the young men accomplish their scouting goals and certify in the Canadian scouting program.

    Chance really enjoys working with the youth and volunteers his time in the community as well. Coaching spring league and kids soccer has been a highlight for him. Chance was able to coach his oldest son in soccer this past spring which made it really special. Chance looks forward to coaching more in the future.

    For his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his young family as well as bettering the community, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Chance Olsen as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty.

    Peter Casurella Peter Casurella

     

    Peter Casurella is the Executive Director of SouthGrow Regional Iniative, an economic development alliance of twenty-four south central Alberta communities committed to working together to achieve prosperity for the region.

    Peter is deeply passionate about making life better for everyone in our community and in the region. His occupations and career path have consequently led him towards work that impacts and improves the lives of an increasing number of people.

    At Lethbridge Family Services, Peter was able to positively impact the quality of life of hundreds of new immigrants and vulnerable persons in the City. At the Chamber of Commerce, he was able to work towards the economic prosperity of thousands of employers and employees in the City. Now, at the SouthGrow Regional Initiative, his work has the potential to improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of southern Albertans.

    Peter was born and raised in the small farming town of Didsbury, Alberta where his father was a teacher and a hobby woodworker. He learned how to swing a hammer and worked on farms and framing crews through his teenage years. After graduation, Peter wanted to get out of the small town and see the wide world beyond, so he went to the booming metropolitan city of Lethbridge to pursue post-secondary studies.

    He started his education in the International Management program, graduating 4 years later instead with a B.A. in English Literature. Peter paid for university by working construction jobs, and promptly went into management for a local residential construction company. After a couple of years of supervising framing crews, he quit his job, started a private renovation business, and went back to school at the same time to study Philosophy. Peter graduated again in 2010 with a B.A. in Philosophy (magna cum laude), and went on to earn his Masters in Philosophy at McMaster University, where he studied Probability and Epistemology.

    Since grad school, Peter has followed a fast-paced career path that has led him through rolls that have exposed him to everything that our City, and region, has to offer, arming him with a wide range of connections and knowledge. He worked as a front line worker for Immigrant Services, helping new refugees to settle in Lethbridge, then as a Communications, Government Relations, and Fundraiser for Lethbridge Family Services. He has done a wide range of digital marketing work, and spent a year as the policy and communications strategist for the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. The wide diversity of experiences, education, and connections that Peter has accumulated has served him very well in his current professional role as the Executive Director of the SouthGrow Regional Initiative, where he works to market south-central Alberta to the world and promote economic growth for all of the towns, counties, villages, and cities in the region.

    Peter supports our community primarily by participating in community committees. including Vibrant Lethbridge anti-poverty committee, Intelligent Community Initiative, The Human Subject Research Committee at the U of L and more. Peter and his wife Mackenzie are also strong supporters of the Family Centre, giving monthly to their programs and serving as regular volunteers.

    For his dedication to improving and promoting our city and our region, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Peter Casurella as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!

    Chelsa Larson Chelsa Larson

     

    Chelsa Larson is the owner and senior floral designer at Funky Petals Floral Studio, a flower shop in Lethbridge.

    Chelsa opened Funky Petals in 2015 with a dream to bring big city design to our home on the prairies; re-invigorating the local floral community. Her mission has grown along with the studio to reminding the general public why flowers are so important, and how they have ‘lost their way’ due to over-commercialization by big box stores and online order gatherers. Gifting flowers is a very personal experience, so it was important for her clients know that when they visit Funky Petals, that intimacy and significance is acknowledged.

    With consistent community support, Chelsa has taken the opportunity to direct Funky Petals’ online reach towards raising awareness and education of local non-profit organizations. In addition, she does her best to support and donate florals and/or time to countless annual fundraisers.

    Being a florist means that Chelsa has an eye geared towards beauty, but she knows that the gift of flowers goes beyond pure aesthetics. It is the gesture behind the gift that showcases the flowers beauty. For that reason, the belief in “Flower Power” is integral at Funky Petals – with every new direction she takes her studio, it is to ensure that the compassion BEHIND the flowers go beyond the walls of the studio, impacting our community in a positive, lasting way.

    Chelsa graduated from the Lethbridge College as a Marketing Major with Honors back in 2010, but before that had pursued the Fine Arts in her hometown of Fort McMurray. College provided her with theory and personal growth and gave roots to her teenage dream of someday opening my own studio.

    Her passion for flowers began at a young age and she has had a love affair with them ever since. Beginning her official floral career in 2005, Chelsa observed and learned as much as possible from prior jobs.

    The experience of owning a business has been eye opening and impactful. Losses and gains have turned into powerful life lessons, and she has gained many valuable friendships with other local business owners who inspire her daily.

    For her entrepreneurial spirit and hard work to reimagine the floral industry in Lethbridge, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO are proud to recognize Chelsa Larson as one of Lethbridge’s Top 40 Under Forty!

  •  

     

  • Presented by:

  • BDO-logo-web-e1443650500123-300x117.jpg
  • Chamber-Logo-w407.png