Two Ascension leaders receive Forty Under 40 award

Brandie Richardson
Forty Under 40 recipients Allison Hudson and Jason Verdigets.

Every year the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report releases their prestigious Forty Under 40 award, recognizing the accomplishments and community service of 40 of the best young leaders in the area.

Two of Ascension's best were among the 40 executive, entrepreneurs, politicians, government leaders and other professionals, who showed great promise in their field, to receive the award.

According to the news publication, there were nearly 400 nominations for 215 candidates this year. The review committee was comprised of community leaders and Business Report staff.

"Forty Under 40 celebrates the best and brightest young professionals who have achieved success and excelled in their field. We’re looking for those who have demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication in pursuing their careers and community service, and who are likely to continue to do so," said the Baton Rouge magazine.

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer (PIO) Allison Hudson, 31, was one of the awardees. Among her accomplishments is being the first PIO for the sheriff's office, being the first African-American woman editor-in-chief of the Donaldsonville Chief and being the youngest president of the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.

“Being a public information officer allows me to be a part of every division within the sheriff’s office, and I love interacting and sharing moments with my co-workers,” Hudson said. “I absolutely love being in the community and serving others on a daily basis."

Hudson also received Xavier’s 40 Under 40 Top Young Alumni award in 2015, the Top 25 Under 35 in business in the Editor and Publisher and has won over 100 awards from the Louisiana Press Association.

She is part of numerous organizations such as the Arc of East Ascension, the Donaldsonville AMI Kids Alternative School, Leadership Ascension and IRIS Domestic Violence Center, to name a few.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jason Verdigets, District Court Judge for the 23rd Judicial District, which presides over cases in Ascension, Assumption and St. James Parishes, was the second Ascension recipient for the Forty Under 40 award.

"It was really nice to be recognized," Verdigets said. "It was a complete surprise. It's just nice to be recognized for my efforts and what I am trying to do for my community around other people who were recognized in the Baton Rouge area for doing things in their community and trying to hopefully make it a better place."

Before being elected as District Court Judge in 2014, he was a felony prosecutor and earned the Drug Prosecutor of the Year award in 2012, an award he said makes him very proud.

He is active in the St. Theresa Knights of Columbus and East Ascension Rotary Club and volunteers at all area schools in his district, where he regularly speaks at 4-H events, conducts mock trials and interviews and reads to Head Start and Pre-K students.

His next challenge he plans to tackle is updating the security and technology at the Ascension Parish Courthouse.

"A courthouse is so vital to a community, and the public deserves to have the best courthouse possible," he said. "I hope to find solutions in fixing these problems in the coming years."