2022 4 Under 4 Award Finalists - Rising Star

Posted By: David Jackson Chamber News,

Meet the finalists for the 2022 Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 RIsing Star Award.

They will be honored along with finialists from the Business Owner, Non-Profit Business Professional, and Education Professional catagories at the 2022 4 Under 40 Awards ceremony. The event takes place Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 5:30-7:30pm, at The Mill at Rock Creek.


Jaco Gerbrands has lived in the Boone area for the past 10 years and has been a local residential real estate broker since 2017. He originally moved from Johannesburg, South Africa to California and then to Colorado where he graduated from Colorado Mesa University in 2011. During his time at CMU, Jaco was the captain of the collegiate tennis team, Assistant Coach of both men's and women's tennis programs and held leadership roles with several campus organizations. 

Jaco moved to Boone for graduate school at Appalachian State University and quickly became involved with leadership opportunities on campus and in the community. He is a member of the Boone Business Exchange, serving as the chair for the business leads group from 2019-2022. Jaco also serves on the board directors for the High Country Association of Realtors. 

As his impact on the local real estate community continues to grow, Jaco received the Barbara Tate Legendary Service Award from the Allen Tate Organization. The firm recognized him for his commitment to his community, advocacy for home ownership, passion about High Country mountain living, support of local businesses, and volunteer commitment to service projects through Habitat for Humanity and other faith based organizations. 

Megan Mason is the Director of Marketing, Communications, and Community Outreach at Lost Province Brewing Company (LPBC). Truly a family owned and operated business, Megan works closely alongside her husband and in-laws each day as they operate three restaurant locations in the Boone community.

Upon graduating from Appalachian State University in 2014, Megan immediatly sought professional opportunities that would allow her to remain in the High Country. Over the years she has worked various positions in hospitality, from a bed and breakfast in Blowing Rock, to helping open the Horton Hotel in downtown Boone, to freelance digital marketing and content creation.  

Megan is President of the Downtown Boone Development Association, serving on various committees for the organization and part of the team helping plan the Boonerang Music and Arts Festival. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, serving on the fundraising committee and assisting with marketing. Megan also coordinates Lost Province's Get Lost for a Cause, a  program which spotlights a different nonprofit each month and offers customers the opportunity support these organizations through purchases and donations. 


Danielle Neibaur was born and raised in Homestead, Florida. Upon graduating high school she relocated to the High Country to become an App State Mountaineer.

She graduated from Appalachian State University in May of 2018 with degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Marketing, and a minor in Dance. As an undergrad, Danielle held leadership roles in several campus organizations and completed an internship with The Walt Disney Company. It was through the Disney internship that she discovered a passion for customer service and landed a position with The Inn at Crestwood, where she started as a front desk associate and worked her way up to the role of General Manager. Danielle coordinated a remodel of the facility and worked tirelessly to keep the doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also found time to complete her Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Leading and Human Resource Management at Appalachian State, graduating in 2020. 

In February of 2022 she accepted the role of General Manager at The Horton Hotel in downtown Boone. Danielle continues to seek opportunities to engage and volunteer with organizations throughout the High Country.

Nicole Norman is a fixture in Blowing Rock, serving as Finance Director for the Town since 2007. Serving the public for 15-years, she has demonstrated a dedication to providing a positive impact for organizations and individuals throughout the High Country.

A graduate of Appalachian State University's Walker College of Business in 2007, Nicole began her career in the finance industry while still in school. Time spent in the banking and tax sectors gave her a broad array of skills as she entered local government. Today Nicole manages all financial transactions, loans, and investments for the Town of Blowing Rock and maintains the general ledger. She provides the Town Council and the Town Manager with financial and revenue updates for multiple agencies, while also coordinating the budget forecasting process as part of her fiscal responsibilities. Nicole has completed several trade courses through the UNC School of Government and is a graduate of the Public Executive Leadership Adademy.

Nicole's belief thar it's simply "not enough for me to merely clock in and out of a job”, has driven her to make a difference and a positive impact on others. She led a town-wide customer service training iniative, hosting stakeholder groups that provided valuable feedback to Blowing Rock businesses. She is an active member of Liberty Grove Baptist Church, and has led volunteer projects for the church community along with fundraising for organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer's Association. She works tirelessly to examine not only financial impacts but also the human aspects of the people and organizations she serves.