Age 32 | Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC

Lawrence Cunningham believes that a business is only as successful as the community it serves.

That’s the philosophy that has guided him throughout his career. As a result, he has found himself working in companies that encourage community involvement.

“At the end of the day, if we’re good people, and treat people right, and make good decisions, everything else will fall into place,” Cunningham said. “Take care of people, and people will take care of you.”

That attitude was instilled in him in part by his parents, he said, and in part in his first job out of college at Sigler Cos. It is now prevalent in his current job at Catchfire Media LLC.

His job at Catchfire, which produces mobile, Web and social platforms for businesses, involves helping new customers. The company also works to make it easier for employees to be involved in the community, something he believes is unusual for a small company.

Cunningham has felt a particular passion for working with young professional organizations. As a graduate of Iowa State University who got his first job in Ames, he found himself struggling to distinguish himself from college students as a young professional. He co-chaired the first Young Professionals of Iowa Statewide Conference in Des Moines and founded a young professionals group in Boulder during a stint working in Colorado.

“I love going in and seeing a need and helping create something that doesn’t exist,” he said.

Currently, he and his wife are chairing the Science Center of Iowa’s Annual Event & Auction Fundraiser, something he feels thankful that they can do together.

A South Dakota native, Cunningham has lived in Missouri and Colorado, but came back to Iowa because Des Moines provides opportunities to be a professional and get involved in the community without sacrificing the opportunity to raise a family.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• He’s responsible for adding $2 million a year in new business at Catchfire.

• Cunningham has been heavily involved with a number of young professional organizations in Des Moines, Ames and statewide.

• He successfully grew digital account revenues in excess of $2.5 million at Stamats Inc. in Cedar Rapids.

• “He is a natural leader, expertly balancing professionalism with personality, drive with compassion, and ingenuity with veracity,” said Jon Troen, founder and managing partner, Catchfire Media.

• “When I think of Lawrence, these words come to mind: values, trust, compassion, giving, creativity, problem solving, energy, personality, approachability, professionalism, action-driven, results-driven and customer focus,” said Pete Petersen, who works for Jensen Consulting.

Mentor: Jon Troen, founder and managing partner, Catchfire Media

Fun fact: During his college days, Cunningham was Cy, the mascot at Iowa State University. One year, at a football game in steamy August, Cunningham posed in a photo for a family’s Christmas card in his mascot costume.