Voting for the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 under 40 Class of 2015 is now open. We invite you to cast your vote online to choose the winner of this year’s class.
“There are so many talented young people who are a vital part of Oakland County,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Their innovation, talent, leadership and ideas will help shape this county for years to come. I’m thrilled with the class that was chosen and encourage the public to participate in the online vote for the candidate they think is the best of the best.”
Nearly 500 applications and nominations were reviewed by a panel of judges, looking for the top 40 young professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The 40 honorees have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities. Of that group, the three candidates who scored the highest are placed before the public vote to determine a 2015 winner. Online voters must choose between the three top candidates.
2015 Elite 40 Finalists
- Luke Fleer, 34, Regional Director of Development, Oakland University
Luke has been Oakland University’s regional director of development since 2012, charged with raising money for the Rochester-based university and and is a part of a team that has brought in record amounts of donations for the past three years. A former collegiate basketball player at Rochester College, Luke faced his biggest challenge 10 years ago when he was nearly killed in a traffic accident. Doctors told his family he may never walk again. He spent three months in recovery and two years in physical therapy, learning to stand, walk and run again. His story was featured in Hour Detroit’s 2014 Health Guide. Luke and his wife established an annual scholarship at OU, the David KirkPatrick Scholarship, in memory of a mentor and friend.
- Melody Saroki Arabo, 35, Teacher, Walled Lake Consolidated School District
In 2014 Melody was named 2014-2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year by the state Department of Education. She is an author who recently published her book, “Diary of a Real Bully.” It tells the story of a school bully from the bully’s perspective, with the ultimate goal of helping identify the bully in all of us and making a change. Melody is the founder of Keith Caring Community Club, which encourages upper elementary students to get involved in service-oriented events to teach them about leadership, empathy and generosity. She is also a founding member of TEACH, which helps displaced families in Iraq.
- Andrew Chmielewski, 27, Principal, Dave’s Sweet Tooth | Mitten Crate
Mitten Crate, a company Andrew and a friend began, delivers an ever changing selection of Michigan-made foods to your doorstep each month, giving customers a sample of the increasingly diverse array of edible products. More than 70 Michigan-made food companies have benefited from their exposure through Mitten Crate. Through the Mitten Crate give back initiative, 60,000 meals were donated to Gleaners Food Bank in the first year of business. Andrew and his father also created Dave’s Sweet Tooth, which has become the largest manufacturer of specialty toffee products in Michigan. The toffee is made in Oakland County and available in more than 250 retail stores in the state.
Voting continues through Monday, January 26th and closes at 5:00 p.m. Individuals may vote once every 24 hours at AdvantageOakland.com. Among other opportunities, the candidate who receives the most votes will introduce Patterson at his State of the County Address on February 4, 2015 and get free business classes from the One Stop Shop Business Center.
The complete list of 40 members of the 2015 Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 class can be found here.