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Luke Whitburn

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Luke Whitburn ’98, vice president of operations at Drake & Company Staffing Specialists, is at the top of his class.

The sociology graduate, of Waunakee, has been named to In Business magazine’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. He was selected by the Madison-based magazine from more than 120 nominations based on the highest standards of community involvement, organizational leadership and industry contributions.

The 40 Under 40 award winners are profiled in the February issue of In Business. A special reception for the winners was held Wednesday at HotelRED in Madison.

While a student at UW Oshkosh, Whitburn worked as a teaching assistant for the late sociology professor Greg Olsen. “While teaching class for Professor Greg Olsen, I realized my ability to teach and my ability to lead. Two talents I have been working on since that day,” Whitburn said. “He was not only my professor but also a mentor as I entered the workforce in January 1998.”

At Drake & Company, Whitburn executes strategic planning to increase profitability, productivity and efficiency throughout the company’s operations. He also provides strategic sales and operations support for a variety of the company’s clients.

His previous experience includes working as business development director for Adtec and as a branch manager for ManpowerGroup.

Outside the work day, Whitburn has spent countless hours volunteering for the West Side Coalition on Aging.

“Since 1990, I have been helping out with everything from home chores to shoveling driveways and from helping manage bills and assisting in moving to driving folks to doctor’s appointments,” Whitburn said. “I find that our youth today need to really understand the importance of their elders.”

In addition, Whitburn and his wife, Alicia, have worked on a six-year forest restoration project that has included the U.S. Forestry Service and the Boy Scouts.

“My true passion is spending time with my wife on our 80-acre property in Upper Michigan,” he said. “We harvest more than 1.2 million tons of timber and have planted more than 10,000 trees in the past six years.”