40 Under Forty: How the honorees were chosen
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The selection of Albuquerque Business First's 2020 40 Under Forty honorees began with a call for nominations.

Nominees were asked to complete an application with information for our judging process.

A panel of 40 Under Forty alumni who are leaders in the business community evaluated the applicants on professional achievement, leadership and community involvement. Judges recused themselves from voting on any honorees with whom they had close ties.

The 40 applicants who emerged from the process with the highest scores are our honorees.

Meet the Judges

Nyika Allen, director of aviation, Albuquerque International Sunport

Before joining the Sunport, Allen most recently was president and CEO of the New Mexico Technology Council. She is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, women's issues and the economic health of New Mexico. She has served as the "Tech Expert" on Fox New Mexico, chair of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry’s Entrepreneurship and Technology Committee, chair of the TechHire NM business advisory council and a 2015 TEDxABQ main event speaker. Allen holds a BBA in International Management from the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico and the UNM Honors Program. She serves as a board and advisory council member for organizations such as the Small Business Assistance Program (managed jointly by Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories), UNM Anderson Alumni Council, UNM Economic Development Forum, Albuquerque Economic Development, Kirtland Air Force Base Honorary Commander and was a Business First 2016 Women of Influence honoree.

Luis G. Carrasco, director, Rodey Law Firm

Carrasco lives and works in Santa Fe. He is a 1997 graduate of Cobre High School (Bayard), a 2001 graduate of the University of New Mexico and received his Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School in 2012. He focuses his legal practice in public finance, governmental procurement and transparency, administrative law/government relations and other transactional matters. He serves as bond and/or disclosure counsel to the state of New Mexico and other governmental entities. Prior to joining the Rodey Law Firm, Carrasco served as an assistant attorney general in the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. He has trained hundreds of local government officials on Open Meetings Act and Inspection of Public Records Act compliance as a faculty member for the New Mexico Municipal League’s Municipal Officials Leadership Institute (MOLI) and for The NM EDGE (Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the Public Sector). Carrasco was recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 Influencers in Law by The Business Journals.

Chris K. Scott, managing partner, Seasonal Magic LLC, and director of land acquisition and development, Abrazo Homes

Scott is an executive at Seasonal Magic, which owns and operates Spirit Halloween stores in the Southwest. The seasonal retailer sells everything from costumes and wigs to home and yard decor. It's a family business started by Scott's parents, Rob and Noreen, in 1993. Scott became an assistant manager of a Spirit Halloween store when he was in his senior year at Rio Rancho High School, and continued to work as a manager while pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico. When he graduated from college, he became a district manager, overseeing operations for the New Mexico district. Along with climbing the ladder in the family business, Scott has worked with Abrazo Homes for eight years, previously serving as marketing director. His education includes an executive MBA from the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management, and he has volunteered as a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico since 2011.

Dr. Olivia D. Underwood, product realization team lead, Sandia National Laboratories

Dr. Underwood is a native of Brent, Alabama. She is the youngest of seven children and the first to obtain a college degree in her immediate family. She is a principal member of Technical Staff at Sandia. Underwood received her B.S. and M.S. in metallurgical engineering from The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2015, she became the first African-American to receive her Ph.D. from the materials science program at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Underwood is an active member of the Minerals Metals and Materials Society, a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., an alumna of the Gates Millennium Scholars program, a published author and one of two 2017 European Microbeam Analysis Society & International Union of Microbeam Analysis Society winners selected to present their work in Konstanz, Germany. Recently, she was awarded the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year – Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award. In late 2019, she was one of three New Mexican leaders named to The Business Journals' national Influencers: Rising Stars list.

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