40 Under 40 in Economic Development: Winners By the Numbers 

April 04, 2023

In January, DCI and Jorgenson Consulting gathered in Tucson, Arizona to celebrate the 40 individuals’ hand-chosen by our selection committee as the economic development industry’s best and brightest for the bi-annual 40 Under 40 awards. These young professionals have shown time and again that they are committed to making their organization, community and industry the very best it can be.

After celebrating our winners for their achievements, we took a deep dive into what sets these individuals apart from the rest. As we dove into the numbers, searching for comparisons and insight into their accomplishments, we discovered five interesting takeaways.

While it might seem more likely that most 40 Under 40 in Economic Development winners reside in big metropolitan areas with investment from household names, the numbers show this is quite the opposite. Nearly one-third (32%) of our winners represent midsize communities in the Southeast, while another 30% of this year’s 40 under 40 reside in the Midwest.

Community Size 
Despite being primarily located in the Southeast and Midwest, over 50% of these individuals represent and work for communities of 500,000 residents or more.

For the first time in 40 Under 40 history, more women were chosen by the selection committee as winners than men. We are beyond excited to see more women entering the economic development industry and paving the way for other young female professionals. Some of these women were hired as the first female CEOs of their company, some are leading projects to support job opportunities for women and some are getting involved in their community to be a mentor to future young professionals.

DCI is committed in our pursuit to support the economic development industry in becoming a more diverse, inclusive and equitable place for all. This year, 35% of the class of 2023 selected by the judges are people of color advancing their communities and the industry as a whole. We still have a long way to go, but we are encouraged by this progress and representation.

Job Creation
Combined, our winners helped create and retain over 115,000 jobs through billions of dollars’ worth of projects that funneled opportunity straight to their communities. In the few months since we announced our winners, hundreds more career opportunities have been supported by these economic development stars.

We love watching our class of 2023 make big things happen across the country and the economic development industry, and are already looking forward to when nominations open for the class of 2025 in Fall 2024. Learn more about our 40 Under 40 in Economic Development Awards and the class of 2023. 

Julie Curtin headshot
Written by

Julie Curtin

President, Economic Development Practice