Event Date & Time

Friday, March 8, 2019
6:00pm - 10:00pm

Event Location

Cape Fear Botanical Garden
536 N Eastern Blvd, Fayetteville, NC 28301
Get Directions

About 2019 40 Under 40

Each year, The Fayetteville Observer recognizes 40 of the area's top business professionals and community leaders at the 40 Under 40 awards ceremony. Those selected are featured in a special 40 Under 40 publication and at fayobserver.com.
We understand the impact this hard-working group has on the future of our community. It is important for The Fayetteville Observer to lead this charge because we identify and work with these future leaders every day.
Honorees are nominated by their peers and selected by a panel of judges. They are dynamic professionals who reached unbelievable heights early in their careers. All of the honorees have extensive records of community service and giving back to others through their time, talents and treasure.

Clicker here for 2019 40 Under 40 Nomination Form.
Clicke here for 2019Rising Star Nomination Form.


Click on a year to see the full list of 40 Under 40 alumni:
2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018


Special Guest

Keynote Speaker: Ralph Huff, Co-founder H&H Homes

D. Ralph Huff, III graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1972. In 1979, he received his North Carolina Real Estate License and began his career in real estate sales. He is a partner in Coldwell Banker Advantage and has more than 34 offices from Fayetteville to the Virginia line and from Chapel Hill to Wilmington and to Myrtle Beach, making it the largest real estate brokerage in the region. In fact, its 15,000 transactions and 1100 agents and $3.4 billion in volume for 2017 rank it as the 3rd largest Coldwell Banker in the nation.

In 1991, Ralph acted on a lifelong passion to build homes by forming H&H Homes with his wife, Linda. H&H Homes has 160 employees and has built and sold over 6500 single-family homes in the Carolinas. The corporate office is in Fayetteville with division offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, Greensboro, and Charleston SC. Home sales for 2017 were over $180 million. H&H Homes was ranked the fastest growing builder in the US in 2010 and is consistently ranked as one of the top 100
builders in the country by Builder Magazine since 2008.

Huff also has developed extensive multi-family and commercial developments to include ten condominium communities, over thirty 40 subdivisions, apartments, and numerous shopping centers. He is currently working on a mixed use project in Wilmington with 145 single family detached lots and 228 traditional apartment units.

Ralph has received numerous awards for his contributions to the community. In 2012, Ralph received the Fayetteville Home Builders Association "Pillar of the Industry" award. In 2015, the Order of the Longleaf Pine was bestowed upon Ralph & Linda Huff. In October 2016, Ralph received the celebrated Coldwell Banker "Hero of the Year" Award after being nominated by his peers and selected from more than 84,000 professionals worldwide. Ralph's local economic development efforts were recognized on a state level when Business North Carolina Magazine named Ralph as one of the Top 100 Influential Business Leaders in North Carolina.

What is The Fayetteville Observer's 40 Under 40?
It is an annual program where members of the public nominate people who they believe are our area's rising leaders under the age of 40.

What is The Rising Star?
The Observer's Rising Star Award is in its second year and recognizes a young person, 21 or under, who demonstrates strong leadership potential, character and a genuine interest in making his or her community a better place. In addition to an award, the recipient will receive a $500 scholarship.

When are the nominations?
Nominations for the 2019 class will begin in Thursday, November 22, 2018 and close on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

What are the nominee qualifications?
40 under 40 nominees must not have turned 40 before the awards gala (March 8, 2019). Nominees should have professional success, make an impact in our community and be a leader. The nominees are judged on their achievements as an active member of our community. Rising Star nominees must not have turned 22 before the awards gala (March 8, 2019). Nominees should demonstrate qualities and achievements as a youth leader in our community.

How can I nominate someone?
40 Under 40 Nomination Form.
Rising Star Nomination Form.

Who can be nominated?
You can nominate yourself, a client, a friend, a peer, student, your boss -- anyone who meets the criteria.
Can I be nominated if I am in the military?
Absolutely! We encourage the nomination of our military leaders.

What do I need to submit with a nomination?
You need the nominee's name, job title, contact information and date of birth. You also need to detail his or her community involvement with dates, and tell us why you believe the nominee deserves this honor. Please remember, your nominee will be judged based on the information you supply.

Does it help to have several people nominate the same person?
No. We ask that nominations be true nominations and not an organized campaign.


I have some great young leaders in my company. Can I nominate more than one person from my company?
Yes. You can nominate multiple managers/executives from one company. However, we will urge the judges to choose only one unless the managers/executives are from separate divisions/departments of a larger company.

The leader I want to nominate will turn 40 before the event date. Can I still nominate him or her?
No. The nominees cannot be older than 39 on the event date. We will verify the age of all the finalists. We no longer have a minimum age.

What happens to my nomination after I send it?
The nominations are reviewed by The Fayetteville Observer staff to ensure eligibility and are released to the judges. The judges will review and make a final decision.

Who are the judges and what are they looking for in a nomination?
The nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges from a cross-section of our nomination area. They look for involvement in our community and how the nominee's involvement betters our community. They take into consideration the nominee's involvement in our community outside of their career but may also look at how professional successes make an impact in our community.

Is a Nominee judged on the nomination alone?
The nomination form asks for a LinkedIn page and encourages any other online resources that might be available (links to articles, online bios, organization websites where they are listed as a committee or board member, etc.). Judges primarily take your nomination into consideration but may also choose to visit the nominee's LinkedIn page and any other online resources provided. In cases where a judge happens to work directly with a nominee, has a personal relationship with a nominee or some other conflict of interest, judges will recuse themselves.

What is required of those who make the cut?
Those who are selected must provide proof of age, answer a questionnaire and make themselves available for a photo shoot. Attending the gala is not required but highly encouraged.

If someone I nominated was not chosen, can you tell me why, and can I nominate them in the future?
If your nominee wasn't selected, it won't be because of one particular reason. You are encouraged to nominate the person next year as long as they still meet the requirements.