Oregon business professionals Elyse Smithback and JJ Giese keep finding they have more and more in common.
Both have three kids (including a set of twins), serve on the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and organize sporting events for Summer Fest.
But it’s their commitment to their careers, civic involvement and close age that landed them on the 2017 “40 Under 40” list through Madison-based InBusiness Magazine earlier this year.
Smithback and JJ Giese applied to be selected, and they found out at the end of December and were sworn to secrecy for two months before the magazine publicly made the announcement.
“Nobody really likes to toot their own horn,” Giese said. “It’s a lot easier to give credit to a team … but they really try to get you to focus on what you have done yourself and what’s going to make you appealing as an individual to a committee.”
Smithback, 33, is the vice president of treasury management and private banking at Oregon Community Bank.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater grad has been in banking since 2000 and with OCB for three years, where she aspires to become the bank’s market president.
“At the end of the day I just like to do whatever makes things easier in my clients’ lives,” she said.
She is also the vice president of the chamber board and on the board of the After School Clubs, Inc., Oregon Community Resource Network and the Wisconsin Bankers Association retail banking section.
The great schools and welcoming, “tight-knit community” drew Smithback and her husband to Oregon. And when she’s not working or with her family, she’s training for the Ironman in September.
In the future she sees herself working to help clients at OCB and “continuing to stay active and healthy.”
Giese, who just turned 40 in June, has worked for four years at Thysse Printing Service, which he considers an “exceptional organizational.”
He said his age was a bit of motivation, in addition to the business recognition, for him to apply for this year’s award. He attended Madison College for printing in the 1990s and went back to get his associate’s degree in marketing in 2014.
Giese also serves as the past president of the chamber board and president-elect of the American Marketing Association-Madison chapter board. In both of those positions he gets to know “bright people … in different roles and connect with them.”
He grew up in Union Center, a much smaller community than Oregon, but he said it still “feels like home” – especially with the familiar golf culture and Kwik Trip gas stations. His uncle Oscar used to be a postman in Oregon and his aunt Marcy was a teacher in the Oregon School District, so he would come here every year to visit for Thanksgiving.
He hopes to continue working “as hard as I can” in various sales and marketing roles at Thysse “to make this place as outstanding as I know it can be.”