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July 24, 2009

40 Under Forty WInners 2009 M-Z

Frank R. Milano

Age: 35
Title: Partner
Company: DeLoitte & Touche LLP
Company location: Hartford
Residence: Sandy Hook

Career Highlights: I have worked in professional services my entire career where I have spent the majority of my time serving large multi-national corporations in the areas of information technology, risk management, and corporate governance. I was admitted as a partner at Deloitte & Touche at the age of 32, and currently serve as the marketplace leader for our Enterprise Risk Services group. I have authored several articles and am a frequent speaker on the topics of Enterprise Risk Management and Corporate Governance. I currently serve as the lead partner for several of our largest clients in Connecticut, and am responsible for the delivery of services by hundreds of Deloitte professionals around the world.

Community Involvement: I currently serve as the co-chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) corporate committee in West Hartford. In that role, I help lead the planning of our annual fundraising efforts, highlighted by the annual JDRF Promise Ball which has raised over $3 million in the last three years. I am the founder and current sponsor of the Hartford Youth Scholars Mentoring Program. The program matches professionals from the Greater Hartford business community with scholars in the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation (HYSF) program, providing a support system for the students as they progress in their academic careers. My firm has provided a multi-year grant to HYSF to support the funding of this program, which includes purchasing new laptops for all of the students who participate. I currently serve as the partner in charge of community involvement matters for Deloitte Hartford, helping to align the outreach efforts in our office with the needs of the community.

Musical Inspiration: For me, U2 is it. Whether or not you like their music, or agree with their causes, you can’t argue with the passion they bring to both. I’ve seen them live over a dozen times, and each show is better than the last.

Person you most admire and why: My wife, Lauren. The list of people who can be a remarkable mother to three boys, all under the age of five — Lucas, Alexander and Tristan — compete in triathlons, and maintain a part-time career all at the same time, is pretty short, and she is at the top of it.


Fernando J. Muñiz

Age: 34
Title: Program Director, Division of Planning & Program Development
Company: Department of Children and Families
Company location: Hartford
Residence: Hamden

Career Highlights: Prior to joining DCF as executive assistant to the commissioner in 2005, I served as executive director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance where I was responsible for an advocacy campaign designed to improve the juvenile justice system. I also served as deputy director of ASPIRA of Connecticut, a Latino non-profit organization, where I was responsible for the agency’s internal operations, including fundraising and human resources. During my career in the public sector, I have also served as co-chair of the National Juvenile Justice Network and the National Youth Network. As a result of my involvement in youth policy issues, I was twice invited to attend policy conferences at the White House. I am currently a program director in DCF’s Bureau of Continuous Quality Improvement, where I oversee the Division of Planning and coordinate the Department’s federal Program Improvement Plan.

Community Involvement: While studying at Fairfield University, I served as an AmeriCorps member in Bridgeport. My AmeriCorps assignment was to coordinate youth programs at RYASAP, a community development coalition where I volunteered in high school. I have served on a number of boards including the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, Connecticut Renaissance, Escúchenos Conference and Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters Latino Advisory Board.

Musical Inspiration: My musical inspiration is the album, “The Low End Theory,” by A Tribe Called Quest. It is a watershed album in hip-hop history in that it incorporates jazz horns and upright bass into the tracks. It is an inspirational album for me because it got me interested in jazz, showed that hip-hop could cross boundaries and, years after it came out, still stands as one of the masterpieces in the genre.

Person you most admire and why: The people I most admire are Alma Maya and Bob Francis. Both were my bosses and mentors during critical junctures in my career and they helped shape my desire to work in the public sector. I admire them because they have dedicated their professional lives to public service, community development and mentoring younger professionals.


Michael S. Nappi Jr.

Age: 32
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Company Name: InterCommunity Inc.
Company Location: East Hartford
Residence: Middletown

Career Highlights: I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector since 2001, and joined InterCommunity in March, 2004. In January, 2008, I was named the organization’s chief operating officer at age 31. I have researched and written over $1.5 million dollars in grant proposals, developed and implemented many new initiatives and programs, including an animal assisted therapy program and Friend-to-Friend program. I spearheaded InterCommunity’s venture to obtain the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities’ (CARF) accreditation and ultimately led the organization to receive a full, 3 year accreditation, the highest possible, making the organization one of a select few in the State to be dually accredited. Following this process, I was selected by CARF to become a lead surveyor. I visit organizations across the country to review their operations to ensure they are implementing quality standards of care. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Education. I am currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford, with graduation expected in May 2010. I am also certified in psychiatric vocational rehabilitation through Boston University.

Community Involvement: I am a volunteer head coach for the Gallitto Youth Basketball League in Middletown, an annual volunteer for the Old Wethersfield 5K/10K Run & Family Walk, and serve on the board of directors of Help Willy’s Friends (Animal Welfare). I am a past board member of the United Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) Connecticut Chapter.

Musical Inspiration: Bob Marley was truly an inspirational lyricist/singer. His music transcends cultures and time. Many can relate to his lyrics and feel a sense of inspiration from his works. Even with such a short lived life, his powerful works preached peace, hope and an overall positive outlook on life and the future.

Person you most admire and why: I truly admire single parents who work as hard as they possibly can in order to provide a solid upbringing for their child. These parents demonstrate, teach and instill responsibility, determination, resilience and dedication.


Jeremy D. Race

Age: 29
Title: Director of Development
Company: Junior Achievement of Southwest New England Inc.
Company location: Hartford
Residence: Rocky Hill

Career Highlights: My career at JA began as a program manager seven years ago after completing a master’s degree program at Central Connecticut State University in elementary education. I am now JA’s director of development, responsible for raising all contributed income from corporations, foundations and individuals — roughly $1,000,000 last year, to support JA’s school-based programs that teach children in grades K-12 about financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurism. After two years in this role I can’t picture myself doing anything else. Especially in this difficult economy, it is truly rewarding to meet so many generous people and know that their philanthropy directly impacts young people in the Hartford region.

Community Involvement: In addition to my community involvement thanks to JA, I’m also involved with several other organizations. I currently co-chair the New Britain Youth Network’s dropout prevention taskforce and also serve on the board of directors for a non-profit called Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), an organization that provides employment training for youth and adults in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency. Additionally, I recently joined the MetroHartford Alliance’s effort to launch a program called “Graduate Connecticut,” which aims to encourage and assist adults in the Hartford area who started, but never completed their post-secondary education, to finish college and potentially advance their careers.

Musical Inspiration: I’ve been a lifelong fan of Pearl Jam and lead singer, Eddie Vedder. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed respect for Vedder’s willingness to speak his mind about the problems of today’s society. Though I may not agree with everything he says, I think it’s important that people speak openly and freely — sparking important political dialogue is the only way we’ll ever achieve true progress.

Person you most admire and why: My late grandfather was a perfect example of a man who let his actions speak louder than his words. He came home from WWII and went to work at Stanley Works. He was a hard worker and at times worked long hours in grueling factory conditions. I never heard him complain, he always provided for his family and he had a wonderful sense of humor.


Cathryn A. Reynolds

Age: 36
Title: Partner
Company: Robinson & Cole LLP
Company location: Hartford
Residence: Hamden

Career Highlights: My practice area is general corporate and business transactional. This involves assisting clients with their day-to-day legal needs and advising on their larger and less routine transactions. In this way, you learn a great deal about your client and the ins and outs of their business, and feel like part of their team. I enjoy building a relationship with a client and being viewed as a trusted advisor and problem solver. I feel a real sense of accomplishment each time I close a deal, or help navigate a client through a thorny issue. For me, the adrenaline rush of closing a deal still outweighs the long nights that go into making it a reality.

Community Involvement: My parents have led by example and instilled in me a commitment to volunteering and community involvement. My community involvement is diverse, ranging from service on the board of trustees of the Mark Twain House & Museum during one of the most challenging times in the House’s history, to pro bono work and board service for CT AIDS Resource Coalition. I was born in and grew up just outside of Hartford. I chose to build my career here, and I feel compelled to do my part to preserve Hartford’s institutions and bring back a sense of vitality. Hartford is lucky to have a dedicated corps of individuals who are committed to this objective and very generous with their time and resources. But I think most of us — myself included — could be doing more.

Musical Inspiration: During the last five to 10 minutes of my commute to work, I turn off the news channel and pop in a CD or my iPod and listen to something upbeat to set a positive mood for the work day. Many of the titles are too ridiculously cheesy to put in print … but since I’m not a natural morning person, they are a necessary therapy to start my day.

Person you most admire and why: I have seen friends and family members show amazing courage and strength in the face of great personal challenges or tragedy. Their fortitude and resilience inspires me, and humbles me when I consider my too frequent trivial complaints or annoyances. I admire patience, optimism, determination and a good balance of candor and diplomacy in others.


Felix Manuel Rodriguez

Age: 34
Title: Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner
Company: Department of Children and Families
Company location: Hartford
Residence: Waterbury

Career Highlights: From 2003 to 2005, I served as outreach coordinator for Congresswoman Nancy Johnson. From 2003 to 2006, I also served as an undercover operative for the Connecticut Liquor Control Division combating underage drinking. In 2006, on behalf of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, I represented Connecticut at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. I served as selection committee chair for the DCF Quinceañera Program, a Latina rite of passage program from 2007 to 2008. Since 2007, I have served on Escuchenos Latino Youth Conference Committee, an educational conference for Latino youth in DCF care. As a professional boxing inspector (2005 to present), I participated in boxing events that were televised on Showtime, Univision and ESPN. I am the author of Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali.

Community Involvement: I served as an assistant youth coach from 2001 to 2008. Since 2007, I have been the co-chair of the steering committee for the Greater Hartford Male Youth Leadership Program, designed to empower male youth to achieve higher goals through education and community awareness. I am currently serving as the acting president for a human service nonprofit organization in Waterbury. In 2008, I was appointed police commissioner for the City of Waterbury.

Musical Inspiration: Marc Anthony. When I listen to his music, it ignites my sense of pride being Puerto Rican.

Person you most admire and why: Muhammad Ali has been a huge inspiration for me. As the sixth child of seven in a fatherless home, growing up in the public housing projects, I had no positive male role models in my life. I was surrounded by drugs and violence and saw too many friends incarcerated, killed or using drugs. Without a role model in my life, I looked up to Ali. He was a great boxer, but even a greater humanitarian. Ali impressed me more by what he did outside the ring — he gave people of color a sense of pride and inspiration. He gave voice to the voiceless, stood up against the odds, and never backed down from challenges. As a fatherless child, I personally know the struggles and challenges of a single parent home. That is one reason why I wrote Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali. I want to inspire and empower the fatherless youth in America to dream big and learn more.


Jim Sanders

Age: 37
Title: Owner
Company: Sanders Contracting and Installation
Company location: New Britain
Residence: New Britain

Career Highlights: I began learning the material handling business in 2000, installing specialized material handling systems across the United States. Some of the larger clients we serviced included United Technologies Corp., Stanley Works, Bristol, Meyers Squibb, Procter & Gamble and Sam Adams Brewery. In 2001, I traveled to Naples, Italy to install a specialized HAZMAT storage system for the U.S. military. This was Sanders Contracting’s first international job. In 2004-05, business expanded to include commercial renovations. We forged new relationships with several local property management companies, which led to the addition of 14 new employees.

In the spring of 2008, I purchased a large commercial property, formerly an old school building, a structure housing over 88,000 square feet of commercial space. I have been slowly converting this previously unused real estate into office and warehouse space for small businesses in the New Britain community. This led to the creation of Chamberlain Square LLC (a sister company of Sanders Contracting), which realized a longstanding goal to expand the business into property management.

Community Involvement: Sanders Contracting supports several local charities and community events. We actively support the local New Britain public schools, participating in fundraising activities and events. Recently we held a community car wash at our facility to help raise money for an 8th grade activity. As a member of a local social club, I am chairing a committee to organize a charity bike run to benefit a selected member of the community in need. I am also an active member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Through classroom and emergency training exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available.

Musical Inspiration: I find all types of music to be not only an inspiration but a motivation as well.

Person you most admire and why: There are many people that I have admired over the years, but the one that stands out the most (besides my father) is a man by the name of Kenny Gordon. Since the age of 11 Kenny has told me that if I ever wanted to go any where, be anybody, or get anywhere in life, I would have to work for it, and that I did. I still see Kenny today, and every time I do, I quietly, in my heart, thank him for helping make me the man I am today.


Doug Sudell

Age: 33
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: Hands On Hartford Inc.
Company location: Hartford
Residence: Rocky Hill

Career Highlights: My career has been a product of luck, persistence and an enduring belief that individuals — and nonprofit organizations — can significantly change their own trajectories when their entrepreneurial spirit is strong and basic tools are available. I’m putting this belief into action as CEO of Hands On Hartford, an incredibly entrepreneurial social service agency addressing the needs of the Hartford community. Previously, I served as director of social franchise ventures, a subsidiary of Community Wealth Ventures, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm empowering nonprofits to strengthen their mission and generate revenue by purchasing franchise businesses. This allowed me to travel the country as a liaison between forward-thinking nonprofit leaders and franchisors. In younger, more adventurous days, I served as an economic development volunteer in the Peace Corps. One memorable accomplishment was persuading a local entrepreneur to open the first pizza restaurant in an area of Honduras accustomed to eating exclusively rice, beans and tortillas. I also worked with women’s groups in rural communities who successfully began to produce and sell all-natural paper products. I helped them ramp-up production of the paper for exportation.

Community Involvement: Outside of “regular” work and time with the Peace Corps, I’ve enjoyed volunteering for programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City. I also had the rewarding opportunity of working with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans, helping to rebuild after the hurricanes.

Musical Inspiration: You might expect me to say I’m inspired by music created to promote social change in society, like We Are The World. But, to me, music inspires mood, regardless of how profound the lyrics. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son is adrenaline, getting me up and ready to face the day. Anything by James Taylor is the counter indication, for relaxing, reflecting and clearing my mind. Besides, I always thought We Are The World was a little cheesy. And what’s Huey Lewis doing in there?

Person you most admire and why: Billy Shore has dedicated his life to fighting childhood hunger. When he founded Share Our Strength in 1984, he wanted to start an organization that was not dependant on the state, foundations or individuals for operating revenue. Since then, his model for a self-sufficient nonprofit has raised over $240 million by helping bridge the gap between the needs of businesses and those of nonprofit organizations that make societal change at street level. He’s an inspiration.


Robyn Swanson

Age: 36
Title: Senior Vice President, Member Experience
Company Name: Seasons Federal Credit Union
Company Location: Middletown
Residence: Cromwell

Career Highlights: Seasons Federal Credit Union was my first “real” job after college. The organization at the time had less than 10 employees. During my tenure, we’ve more than quadrupled our employees and assets. I have had the opportunity to do many exciting things like launch new products and programs, open new branches and develop a brand. In 2002, our credit union was awarded a prestigious marketing award, and Credit Union Magazine recognized me as one of the industry’s “top marketers.” After a decade with the Seasons, I decided to spread my wings and took a position with a Fortune 250 company. However, that organization fell victim to the economic crunch, and I was downsized. I reached out to the CEO of Seasons, Keith Wiemert, to ask if he would give me a reference. Instead, he asked me to return to the credit union. This is probably one of the biggest highlights of my career; that my contribution to Seasons was so valued that they wanted me back. I’ve been back for over six months, have taken on many new responsibilities and am still learning every day.

Community Involvement: The most rewarding community involvement has been with the Middletown Mentor Program. I started mentoring a 9 year-old girl in 1998. Crystal and I met once a week throughout the school year and did so through high school. Crystal is now 20 and we still speak and see her regularly and I’m proud of how she’s grown and matured and like to think I played a small roll over the years.

Musical Inspiration: My musical taste is pretty random. When I need to be creative, I throw on some Tori Amos or Jewel. When I need a pick me up, it’s Broadway show tunes. The most inspirational are two mixes I made, one while pregnant with my twin sons and one I made for my daughter. Each song is a message from me to them, and listening to these mixes reminds me of how lucky I am to be their mother.

Person you most admire and why: The person I admire the most is my mother. She has taught me how to be a strong, independent woman who is not willing to settle for second best. I’ve been able to apply the life lessons she’s taught me in my professional and personal life.


David Wilkie

Age: 39
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Harrington Engineering Inc.
Company location: Old Saybrook, Rocky Hill, and Providence, R.I.
Residence: Old Lyme

Career Highlights: After graduating from Babson College, I was recruited for the training program at Connecticut National Bank in Hartford (now Bank of America) in order to work in a specialized lending and cash management group. Through my years of working in this group I was fortunate to work with an incredible team of individuals who took the time to mentor me in finance and cash management. This strong background made my transition to Harrington Engineering a logical step in my career. Harrington is constantly diversifying and evolving within its markets. I am continually drawing on the skill sets developed in business school and my banking career to encourage the team at Harrington to operate under the pillars of innovation, reinvestment, and excellence.

Community Involvement: I was mentored quite extensively during my banking career and have tried to pass on that generosity by providing internships to young college students looking for careers in our organization. Additionally, I am extremely supportive of organizations that are committed to our youth. Among these are The Whole in the Wall Gang, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Meeting House.

Musical Inspiration: I enjoy a pretty wide range of music. From Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Steve Tyrell, and Michael Buble to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones, and U2. The type of music I play depends on whether I’m exercising or just relaxing with family and friends.

Person you most admire and why: General George Patton. He had a great determination and ability to lead his soldiers and was willing to continually fight alongside them. This is evidenced by his quote, “Do everything you ask of those you command.” This is a great reminder for leaders today. He also expected the highest standards of excellence and was willing to experiment with modern technologies to give his soldiers an advantage. He once said, “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking,” food for thought for today’s leaders that success does not come through the status quo.

Click HERE for winners A-F

Click HERE for winners G-L


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