Editor's Notebook: Congratulations to the 2020 40 Under 40 Honorees

Aug. 18, 2020
If you need a shot of good news, look no further than the 40 bright young professionals who are working to improve the transit industry in North America.

Our magazine has been honoring a selection of 40 bright individuals every year since 2008. This is our twelfth year presenting the 40 Under 40 list and ‘outstanding’ is an apt description for the 2020 honorees. We received a record number of nominations for the 2020 recognition. Believe me when I say, there wasn’t a single dud in the entire nominee pool. We could dedicate every page in every issue we will publish from now through the end of the year to the nominees and not scratch the surface of excellence.

An embarrassment of riches is a good problem for our industry as we will need to tap into innovation, creativity and new ways of thinking to help see the current crisis brought on by the pandemic through to the end and, ultimately, to recovery and revival. The 40 individuals highlighted within this issue will help bring that vision to reality.

When viewed as a whole, I’m struck by the diversity of thought and disciplines represented in this group of 40 Under 40. We have transit system leaders and top managers from rural, suburban and urban agencies and municipalities. We have researchers, urban planners, engineers, sales and marketing professionals, lobbyists, government officials and an association head.

This group is impressively educated with nearly 40 percent holding master’s degrees, three with juris doctorate degrees and three who have earned their Ph.D.

Close to 10 percent of this year’s honorees began their careers as operators before transitioning to management and, while I didn’t tally a percentage, there are more than a handful that began their careers outside of the transit industry but have found it to be a place to thrive.

Outside of work, you’ll find this group to be comprised of musicians, cooks and bakers, sports fanatics, a personal transit museum curator and a set of best friends. We didn’t know about the best friends until after the selection process was complete and it was a nice surprise.

What all honorees share is an unwavering belief in the value transit brings to their communities and a dedication to supporting transit service in both their professional and personal actions.

The entire Mass Transit team is proud to be able to present the 2020 Class of 40 Under 40 honorees. We hope you take the time to get to know them beyond the pages of the magazine by visiting the 40 Under 40 page on our website, masstransitmag.com/40-under-40; where you’ll find additional fun facts, deeper first person viewpoints and more information about their accomplishments. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.