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    Categories: Lifestyle

Three local men make Top 40 list

Physiotherapist James Dean was chosen for the Avenue Top 40 Under 40 list for his work in helping people who can't afford his services

For one Edmonton lifestyle magazine, a few St. Albertans are tops in their book.

The latest edition of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 list just came out and it features prominent local residents Josh Classen, James Dean and Robert McLeod. They, along with the 37 others, were selected not just for their achievements in their respective careers but also for how they have worked to enhance Edmonton’s community and its profile.

“They exemplify the best of Edmonton’s spirit,” publisher Orville Chubb wrote in a news release. “We are extremely proud to celebrate this accomplished, creative and insightful group of fellow citizens.”

This 35-year-old meteorologist got on the list for using his status as a prominent Edmonton media person to help numerous charities. How many charities? Even Classen himself has lost track.

“I would say almost every charity in the city, at some point, I’ve had the opportunity to go out and emcee an event or be a part of,” he began, listing off the food bank, the Youth Emergency Shelter Society, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Winnifred Stewart Association and the Excel Society among many others.

“I’m missing some, I’m sure, and I’ll feel horrible when I see this in print.”

He and his wife, Kristin, also helped start the Hats for the Homeless campaign that has donated more than 5,000 toques to homeless shelters. A few years ago, he also went to Nicaragua with World Vision and played a key role in that campaign that helped almost 4,000 of the world’s poorest children to be sponsored by Albertans.

“I have a great job. I enjoy what I do, and my job has allowed me the ability to be asked by a lot of community groups and a lot of charities to come out and help.”

Still, he remains humble, stating that he feels like he’s in some amazing company as one of the Top 40.

“I don’t know that I really deserve to be on that list. There are people who have raised millions and millions of dollars for charity. It’s a responsibility, I feel, for someone in my position to say yes to those sorts of things. I don’t really feel like I’m going that far above and beyond.”

Helping people is just a regular part of the job for this active 34-year-old physiotherapist. The people who need his help can’t always afford it, however. He still finds a way to make it work, sometimes, he admits, even working pro bono.

“There’s a portion of the population that have very low income and some of them need physio whether they’re on AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped), whether they’ve got disabilities that just make it even that much tougher for them to earn an income.”

He said that he reserves more than one-third of his caseload every day for patients with low income and those who use coverage from Alberta Health Services, and those who just can’t afford it. About 15 per cent of his work earns him no remuneration.

“We’ll still see them. In my experience, if they’ve got severe disabilities, they need that extra help. I’ll see patients for 15 or 20 visits or even more.”

“I was initially surprised and then quite humbled to see the company I’m in,” he said of being on the list, saying that it is nice to see how much value others place on what you do without seeking out recognition. “I guess I’m very happy that there are people out there who are happy to see what I’m doing is making a difference.”

Robert McLeod has ‘real estate success’ written all over him. The 31-year-old’s business, McLeod Project Marketing, has sold $250 million in projects around Edmonton.

He needed to find his own success so he left his family business with the philosophy of finding the need and filling it. His small boutique firm opened in St. Albert, but he found many builders didn’t know how to sell condos.

That’s where he stepped in with real estate project marketing to bridge the gap. Now, he works with some of Alberta’s largest developers including Abbey Lane Homes and Reid Worldwide. His reputation has now brought him full circle with a new client.

“Just last month I started working very heavily with Landrex Developers. We’re doing nice projects with them and stepping back into the St. Albert market. It’s just naturally coming back.”

His next venture will be doing more of his own construction and developing his own projects.

For now, the Top 40 spot is just another way of knowing that he’s in the right place.

“All of the awards that I’ve received over the years have always been awards from my industry. This is finally an award from the community so it’s in recognition of more than just performance. It’s in recognition of what my vision is as far as being a business builder and leader in the community.”

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.