With an increasingly active construction market on the West Coast and labor shortages looming, it's becoming a top priority again for firms to find and hold onto top talent.

The 20 individuals profiled here represent the cream of the crop working in design and construction. Selected from 75 entries, the recipients of this year's Top 20 Under 40 awards exhibit leadership, optimism and dedication to the industry and their firms.

At the same time, they also enrich their communities through various volunteer activities. Their good deeds run the gamut from an architect who has established a green building council in Pakistan to a structural engineer who has been trained to assist search and rescue first responders. The work ethic of these 20 individuals continues long after business hours end.

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ENR California's 2015 Top 20 Under 40
ENR California's 2013 Top 20 Under 40

Now in its fourth year, the Top 20 Under 40 competition accepted entries through an online system for those under the age of 40 who work in California or Hawaii. Submitters provided information on a candidate's work experience, industry leadership activities, improvements to the built environment and service to the community.

An independent panel of six judges evaluated the entries. The judges were: Danielle Feroleto, president, Small Giants, Phoenix; Matthew Grubb, project executive with R.D. Olson Construction, Irvine, Calif.; Virginia E. Marquardt, architect and senior associate with DLR Group, Santa Monica, Calif.; Mark D. Schull, project manager for Balfour Beatty Construction, San Diego; James Seegert, president, Modern Building, Chico, Calif., and an honoree from last year's contest; and Richard Yates, executive vice president, ACCO Engineered Systems Inc., Costa Mesa, Calif.

Read on to learn more about these young men and women who are expected to make a significant impact on the construction industry.