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Twenty Under 40 awards showcase East Idaho’s talented young people

April 9, 2018 GMT

Spencer GilbertDoug Lindley/Idaho State Journal

By Shelbie Harris, sharris@journalnet.com

POCATELLO — It’s often been said that one of East Idaho’s largest exports is its young people.

But the more than 30 nominees for the Idaho State Journal’s third annual Twenty Under 40 awards can make a strong case that young adults can remain in the region and be successful.

Make that very successful.

Hosted at Idaho State University’s Stephens Performing Arts Center, a total of 32 East Idaho professionals under the age of 40 were recognized Friday for the talent and energy they bring to the growth and success of our region. Twenty of those nominees received Twenty Under 40 awards.

One of the award recipients has been the chief executive officer of 62 companies and says he’s running for Idaho governor in eight years. Spencer Gilbert of Pocatello is currently the CEO of two bioscience companies, NellOne Therapeutics and Enzerna BioSciences. He studied at Idaho State University before attending Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the University of Oxford in England.

“I’ve worked in the White House, the U.S. Senate and advised governments both large and small,” Gilbert said.

Originally from Idaho Falls, Gilbert recently moved back to East Idaho last year from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A successful CEO and investor in the technology and agroscience sectors, Gilbert said his goal is to create a research and development parkway stretching from Rexburg to Twin Falls.

“Our partners had the idea to purchase agricultural farms in Idaho,” Gilbert said. “And the longer we stayed here, the more we started to see the wage and educational problems. We decided to stay and bring as many companies as we could into the state. I have worked with giant investment firms — not a hundred million, we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars — to try and create a Silicon Valley-type culture in Idaho that is Idaho unique.”

Gilbert said as a child he worked on a potato farm helping out with the harvest.

”You fall in love with that life,” he said. “If you ever farm you fall in love with it. I went to business school and got a fancy investment banking scholarship. I worked at a giant fancy investment bank. I knew numbers and the more I saw people struggling the more I wanted to come home. We are one of the lowest in wages and one of the lowest in education (in Idaho) but we’re something like second in hours worked. What does that tell me? These are not bad people. These are hard working, ambitious people and I don’t see many looking out for them.”

Another successful professional under the age of 40 to receive recognition at Friday night’s awards event was Blaire Zikratch, a physical therapist who owns and operates Streamline Sports Physical Therapy in Pocatello. Zikratch was born, raised and currently resides in Pocatello and obtained a doctorate in physical therapy and master’s degree in athletic training from Idaho State University.

“Getting to know people and seeing a result from helping people is a big thing for me,” Zikratch said. “But the work environment that we foster is very open and social and everybody has fun. Everybody has good and bad days and junk that goes on that you don’t know about, so getting the time to get to know people and developing personal relationships with people is so cool.”

Outside of the clinic, Zikratch works closely with ISU athletes, particularly in developing training regimens for the school’s football, women’s soccer and softball programs.

The Twenty Under 40 awards are sponsored by the Idaho State Business Journal, Idaho Power, Portneuf Medical Center and the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to Gilbert and Zikratch, the other 18 professionals to receive Twenty Under 40 awards were Benjamin Hirschi, Cassey Leatham, Clarissa Alexander, Daniel Russo, David Gorham, Dustin Manwaring, Gustin Blad, Heidi Buck Morrison, Jace Katseanes, Jamie Anthony, Joshua Swift, Kellee Kirkpatrick, Lisa Adams, Natalie Thomas, Ric Boyce, Paul Romriell, Russell Davies and Shantay Bloxham.