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Top 40 under 40 Add to ...

ROBERT PALTER, Financial services executive

POONAM PURI, Law professor

KAREN RADFORD, Telecom executive

ALAIN RAQUEPAS, Aviation services CFO

BRIAN SCUDAMORE, Entrepreneur

SCOTT ARMOUR MCCREA, Real Estate Executive

LINDA MCCURDY, Services company CEO

ERIFILI MORFIDIS, Telecom services CEO

KEITH MULLETT, Aviation executive

SEAN MURRAY, Newspaper publisher

KARIM NADER, Psychology researcher

ANTOINE NOHRA, Financial services executive

STEPHEN SEGAL, Marketing executive

PHILIP SMITH, Investment banker

IAN WILSON, Energy services executive

LORNE ABONY, High-tech entrepreneur

PHILIP ZELAZO, Neuropsychologist

STEVEN JONES, Geneticist

DENNIS KAVELMAN, high-tech CFO

ROMA KHANNA, Media executive

CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER, Diplomat

ISABELLE HUDON, Business promoter

C.J.LOVETT LEWIS, Surveyor

BRENDA BANWELL, pediatric neurologist

CRAIG KIELBURGER, Activist

MARK COHON, High-tech CEO

DOV BERCOVICI, University administrator

PATRICK LUKE, Surgeon

JOSEE DYKUN, HR executive

PAUL CLARK, Banking executive

STEVEN DOUGLAS, Mining company CFO

ANTHONY LACAVERA, Telecom entrepreneur

JAMES DEAN, Alternative energy entrepreneur

DAVID CEOLIN, Business services entrepreneur

RUDYARD GRIFFITHS, Cultural campaigner

JASON CLEMENS, Think-tank director

JONATHAN CARROLL, Travel entrepreneur

NEIL HETHERINGTON, Charity director

JORDAN BANKS, E-commerce executive

JEAN-FRANCOIS COURVILLE, Financial services CEO

This year's awards

This is the 11th year of the Top 40 Under 40, an annual awards event organized by executive search firm The Caldwell Partners International.

The honorees are drawn annually from an initial list of 1,200 to 1,400 nominations from across Canada.

From this year's shortlist of 100, a panel of 29 business and community leaders selected the top 40 based on five criteria: vision and leadership; innovation and achievement; impact; growth/development strategy; and community involvement.

The profiles of this year's honorees were researched and written by Augusta Dwyer, Kathy English, Lisa Stephens, Michael Ryval andSalem Alaton.

Lorne Abony, 36 Chief executive officer, Fun Technologies PLC, Toronto

BY KATHY ENGLISH

As chief executive officer and co-founder of one of the world's most successful on-line gaming companies, Lorne Abony's work is all about fun with a capital F.

Mr. Abony heads Fun Technologies PLC, a market-leading developer of on-line gaming technologies. Traded on the TSX and the London Stock Exchange, the company has built an on-line community of more than 16 million gamers who pay to play games of skill on-line. Among Fun Technologies' games are the popular Bejeweled as well as solitaire, checkers and spelling quizzes. They are played on some of the busiest websites on the planet including AOL, Disney, Virgin Games, MSN and NASCAR.com.

Last November, Liberty Media Corp., controlled by U.S. billionaire John Malone, paid about $194-million (U.S.) for a 51-per-cent stake in the company, giving it a market value of about $480-million. Mr. Abony remains at the helm of this new gaming empire now set to expand into television and wireless hand-held devices.

Mr. Abony puts much stock in the value of hard work. "I'm the hardest working human being I know," he says. "I slept in a hotel room 207 nights last year. I'm a high-energy individual. My mind never stops and I'm constantly thinking of new ideas and new ways to build my businesses."

Mr. Abony, who earned a BA from McGill University in 1991 and a law degree from the University of Windsor in 1994, is an "absolute entrepreneur at heart." He briefly practised law with Aird & Berlis but left in 1998 to launch his first on-line venture: Petopia, a pet supplies company. He sold that to Petco in 2000, just prior to its IPO. In 2002, while working on his MBA at Columbia Business School, Mr. Abony and lifelong friend Andrew Rivkin became fascinated by on-line skill gaming and launched CES Software. The name was changed in 2004 when the company went public and could not obtain the CES symbol on the TSX.

But building the company has not been all fun and games. Like most Internet start-ups the company has gone through trying times -- in April, 2003, it nearly ran out of operating cash. But hard work and perseverance won out.

"You must never give up even when things are excruciatingly difficult and it would be easy to do so."

Linda McCurdy, 37 President and CEO, K-Bro Linen Systems Inc., Toronto

BY LISA STEPHENS

Changing a hotel or hospital's fresh linen may be one thing, but changing the culture of the company that delivers those linens is another.

Linda McCurdy is up to the challenge. She has transformed K-Bro Linen Systems, the supplier of linen services to the hospitality and health-care sectors, from a privately held company into an income trust traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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