40 Under 40: 2015
These 40 honorees have been chosen on the scope and basis of professional and personal accomplishments as well as their commitment to and overall impact on the Pittsburgh region.
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Damien Gottschalk 
Investment Advisor, PNC Bank
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Damien Gottschalk rose through the ranks at PNC from teller to investment advisor. Along the way, he helped to build his own organization: the Military Employee Business Resource Group, a 1,200-strong cadre of veterans that helps employees to build on their unique strengths and deal with the singular challenges that face veterans. Working with other veteran-assistance groups such as American Corporate Partners, he has helped veterans in the often tricky transition back to civilian life. And those 50 volunteers who cheered on Paralyzed Veterans of America during the hand-cycling portion of the Pittsburgh Marathon? That was Gottschalk cheering the loudest. The person who helped to make me who I am ... It’s no-contest: my father. He taught me the importance of being a man: from how to change your own oil to holding the door for someone. The value of keeping your word, and how to react when others don’t.
Laura Kelly 
Social-Media Manager, Carnegie Mellon University
Innovation Works has become a cauldron of fresh ideas and new starts in Pittsburgh’s tech sector, and one person once was in charge of getting out the message: Laura Kelly. As Innovation Works’ digital communications manager, she placed the Pittsburgh tech message in online and traditional media around the country, while working with city and county government and community leaders to make sure Pittsburgh’s tech entrepreneurial scene is front-and-center as a new generation creates The New Pittsburgh. Officials at Carnegie Mellon University took notice — she started this summer as the university’s social-media manager. Off the job, she mentors pre-release inmates at the Allegheny County Jail with education and job-placement classes that have cut recidivism and given hope for a fresh start. Kelly also has raised money to cover family expenses for a young girl with spina bifida. My life motto would be … Eat, Pray, Netflix.
Kevin L. Carter 
CEO, Adonai Center, Inc.
On the verge of becoming a Pittsburgh School Board member at age 26, Kevin Carter already seems to have packed a lifetime into less than three decades. Raised in Manchester, Carter spent his formative years working at a Boy Scouts camp — he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. A standout at Point Park University, he worked as a community relations officer for state Rep. Jake Wheatley and later founded the Adonai Center, Inc. Adonai guides young African-American men at five different sites. As Adonai Fellows, the young men are taught to be leaders, staying clear of the violence and dysfunction Carter witnessed growing up in the 1990s. Is it working? Among the 14- to 18-year-olds who became Adonai Fellows, GPAs jumped by 72 percent, and 100 percent of them graduated from high school. Ninety percent have specific plans for the future, most of them for college. The person who helped to make me who I am ... I am like a small venture fund: I have a ton of investors. The list of individuals [who] have contributed to my success in some way or the other is long and has yet to be completed.
Julia Erickson 
Principal Dancer, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre; Co-founder, Barre
Seattle native Julia Erickson has mastered the art of balance — on the stage of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, where she is principal dancer, and in the world of business, where she is the co-founder of the slyly named “Barre” for dancers. It’s a nutrition bar that combines Erickson’s love of dance with her passion for health and fitness. In the meantime, she promotes ballet in appearances around the region, holds master classes for aspiring ballet dancers and is working on a degree with a dual major in political science and business at the University of Pittsburgh — all while blogging on health and related topics for the Huffington Post. From a life on stage to creator of a kitchen experiment transformed into a health-food product sold at regional Whole Foods stores, this woman knows how to turn on point and stay upright. You’d be surprised to know ... I deferred from Barnard College with intentions of studying Latin American Public Policy; I wanted to give myself a year to see if I could hack it in the ballet world.