Austin Under 40 winners unveiled, including Austinite of the Year

By ABJ staff

Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, a pediatrician focused on righting social ills and aiming for a congressional seat, took the top honor May 18 at the 21st annual Austin Under 40 Awards gala by walking away with the title of AU40 Austinite of the Year.

Fourteen other professionals under the age of 40 across a variety of industries — plus a mentor of the year — were honored.

Gandhi is the associate chief medical officer at People’s Community Clinic in East Austin, which is devoted to serving the uninsured and low-income residents. He also is a clinical assistant professor in population health and pediatrics at the University of Texas’ Dell Medical School. In 2020, he hopes to unseat Republican Rep. Michael McCaul in the 10th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“When I was 5 years old I had a severe stutter, and at the time our heath insurance didn’t cover speech therapy, and I couldn’t speak — at all. And so my dad took two jobs to pay for me to go for speech therapy, and my mother commuted back and forth from Houston,” Gandhi told the crowd of more than 700 as he took the award. “Fifteen years later I overcame that, and I promised myself when I was young growing up — I promised, damnit — I would spend the rest of my life fighting for people who don’t have that voice.”

Here are the other 2019 AU40 winners:

• Architecture. engineering and construction: Katie Coyne, a certified ecologist at Asakura Robinson Company. Read more about her here.

• Arts and entertainment: Writer and actor Tarik Daniels, who also is founder and executive director of the mental health-focused nonprofit Whatsinthemirror? You can learn more about him through his LinkedIn profile.

• Civic, government and public affairs: Christopher Rios, the community development officer at Texas Capital Bank. You can read more about him via his bio on the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s website.

• Culinary arts, events and hospitality: Kendall Antonelli, co-owner of Antonelli’s Cheese. Read about her here in this 2018 story when she won a Profiles in Power award.

• Energy, mobility and transportation: Mica Crouse, air quality communications director for the Environmental Defense Fund. Her bio can be found here.

• Financial and insurance services: Donald Park, senior vice president at private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. His bio is here.

• Innovation and start-up: Erin Mays, CEO and co-founder of business consultancy The Ebco. Read more about her in her LinkedIn profile.

• Journalism, marketing and public relations: Jessica Scanlon, founder and managing director of Hot Dog Marketing. Her bio is here.

• Legal: Elizabeth Henneke, executive director of the nonprofit Lone Star Justice Alliance. Learn more about her in this bio.

• Medicine and healthcare: Pritesh Gandhi of People’s Community Clinic, who went on to win 2019 Austinite of the Year.

• Mentor of the year: Gayle Reaume, founder and CEO of Moolah U, a company that teaches children financial and entrepreneurial skills. Her LinkedIn page can be found here.

• Nonprofit service: Meme Styles is a mother of three and works for the state of Texas, but she’s also founder and president of the nonprofit Measure Austin, which is focused on eliminating social disparities. Read more about her here.

• Real estate: Brittany Byrd Morrison, commercial business development officer at Heritage Title Company. The Austin American-Statesman chronicled her philanthropic efforts — and what drive them — in this 2018 article.

• Sports, wellness and fitness: Professional speaker Courtney Clark of Accelerated Resilience. Her online bio explains her work, philanthropy and the notable obstacles she’s overcome.

• Technology: Jason Ballard, CEO at Icon Technology Inc. His company uses a giant 3D printer to construct homes quickly. Read more about the ambitious endeavor here.

• Youth and education: Anneliese Tanner, director of food services and nutrition at Austin Independent School District. Austin Woman magazine profiled her in this 2017 article.

The annual gala was hosted by the Young Women’s Alliance and the Young Men’s Business League. More than $300,000 was raised for Austin Sunshine Camps, which operates summer camps for low-income children, and the YWA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Young Women’s Alliance, which has given out more than $160,000 in academic scholarships since 1997.

See the list of 80 finalists here.


Read on: Austin Business Journal