Two Mecklenburg County Leaders Rank Among Top Young Professionals in Charlotte Area

Dr. Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg County Public Health director, and Shahid Rana, deputy director of the Office of Economic Development, have been named 40 Under 40 leaders by the Charlotte Business Journal, an annual honor recognizing leaders who will set the agenda for the Charlotte area, in business and civic life, for years to come.

Headshot photo of Public Health Director Dr. Raynard Wshington.
Dr. Washington

Washington has been the County’s Public Health director since 2021. Before that, he was the deputy Public Health director. Among many accomplishments, Washington helmed Public Health through its final year of the pandemic and transitioned the community through protocols, best practices and cautions. Washington also navigated the mpox outbreak with the first federal allotment of vaccines for a mass event in Charlotte Pride in August 2022. Under his leadership, Mecklenburg County also launched the Office of Violence Prevention, which addresses community violence as a public health threat.  

“I am honored to be recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards,” Washington said. “Promoting and protecting the public’s health is our reason, it’s our why. I am proud to be Mecklenburg County’s Public Health director and I greatly appreciate CBJ’s recognition.”  

OED Headshot Photo of Shahid Rana

Rana joined Mecklenburg County in 2020 and was named deputy director of the Office of Economic Development in 2023. With his team, Rana strengthens the resiliency of the local economy by attracting new companies and investments to the County, supporting local companies, uplifting small businesses, and encouraging business diversity. In the last year, these efforts have resulted in over $338 million in new capital investments, the creation of more than 900 jobs, over $2.8 million in loans to small businesses, and the training of roughly 200 local entrepreneurs.  

“I’m truly grateful to be recognized as one of Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 awardees,” Rana said. “My journey here at Mecklenburg County has been one of the most rewarding times of my career. I’m excited to continue the mission of creating upward mobility opportunities for residents and business owners, alongside a team of public service champions doing great work every day for Mecklenburg County.”

Washington, Rana and their fellow nominees were selected from among some 200 candidates. Mecklenburg County is one of just three organizations with multiple honorees on the list — a testament to the top talent that makes up the Mecklenburg County team.

“It’s wonderful that two of our team members are honored as 40 Under 40 by the Charlotte Business Journal,” said Mecklenburg County Manager Dena R. Diorio. “These leaders have helped the County to transition and transform the County’s work. Service to the community drives them both and while I am not surprised that they are being honored this way, I am immensely proud.”

The Charlotte Business Journal will celebrate its honorees at an awards event on May 14 at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte hotel, and with a special report out on May 17 that will help readers get to know these local leaders.