Recently, we realized we hadn’t updated our list of emerging leaders – people you simply must know – since, well, too long. All we can say is, “It’s been a phenomenally busy 18 months.”

During that 18 months, we’ve met hundreds of people at Insiders Meetups and all the events and meetings we attend, and a significant number impressed us with an array of accomplishments.

We hope this will serve as a reference tool — a list Insider Louisville staffers will update regularly per your suggestions and recommendations.

IL staff collectively is meeting more people, so this round, we’re going to take a break from focusing on distinguished business and community leaders – all the Brown-Forman heirs, Joneses and Glasscocks – in favor of a more varied cast of characters. Though it’s imperative to remember a movement of progress has coalesced around prominent leaders like Gill Holland, Mayor Greg Fischer, Ted Smith, Fischer’s economic development czar, and Kris Kimel, the creator of IdeaFestival and president of the KentuckyScience and Technology Corp.

We’re using this list to recognize people who’ve accomplished and inspired recent feats of vision — people with strong views and a future-forward perspective.

And now, in lieu of your usual Monday Business Briefing (which is on summer hiatus, today only), we present our Insider Watch List…

Cliff Ashburner
Cliff Ashburner | Wyatt Tarrant & Combs

Cliff Ashburner: We’d heard about Cliff Ashburner, one of a cadre of Wyatt Tarrant & Combs attorneys, for more than a year because of his work as a zoning attorney and chairman of the Kentucky Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Then we met Ashburner as part of Wyatt’s clever Fight Club of attorneys aggressively courting startups and entrepreneurs. Then we kept seeing him at zoning hearings representing clients, as well as at community events. A guy with fire in his belly but a collegial demeanor.

We were tempted to put all the Fight Club members –Ashburner, Peter Wayne, Steve Hall, Mark Farmer, Lisa DeJaco, Aaron Zibert and Roz Cordini – but don’t yet know the rest quite as well.

Lisa Bajorinas: Given our criticism of her organization, Greater Louisville Inc.’s Lisa Bajorinas probably isn’t our biggest fan. But she is a consensus pick for this list: She’s quick to synthesize information, easy to work with and a personable get ‘er done type. Her part of the June EnterpriseCorp Signature Event was well done, and we believe she, along with new CEO Kent Oyler, could represent the way forward for the chamber of commerce.

Justin Baker: Justin Baker is one of the young brokers at TRIO Commercial Property Group who keep the deals flowing. A few months after TRIO was formed in May 2011, Trio brought Syndey, Neb.-based outdoor retailer Cabela’s to Brownsboro Crossing. TRIO just did a complex deal, finding a major tenant, then a buyer, for the big Central Station shopping center on the south side of the University of Louisville. A good guy to know if you’re buying or selling.

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