Steven Elson, 26

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Steven Elson is the youngest account planner at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich. Boss David Hudson, an exec VP, says that among the nearly 100 planners he's worked with over the years, Mr. Elson, 26, is "the best young talent I've [worked] with."

The Schenectady, N.Y., native "was clearly instrumental" in the shop's win of the U.S. Postal Service account within months of his arrival at the agency in June 2002 as a research analyst, Mr. Hudson says. Mr. Elson this June was promoted to VP-account planner on the account.

Before graduating in 1999 from Cornell University with a B.S. in policy analysis, Mr. Elson and a friend incorporated a business that created two directories backed by ad sales. In addition to interning at Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, his experience includes a yearlong stint in Mexico City for Beyond Interactive, Ann Arbor, Mich. There, the Spanish-fluent drummer helped land several new clients.