Photography by Olivia Ross / Carmen O'Hagan

Carmen O'Hagan, a 25-year-old chemical company sales manager from South Pittsburg, Tennessee, offers an interesting self assessment.

"I definitely think I was raised to be an old man," she says.

Come again?

"I feel old, internally," she insists.

Perhaps that's because she has lived her life on fast-forward. O'Hagan worked on a political campaign at 13, earned a college degree at 17, and visited every inhabited continent by the time she was 21 years old.

Now, at 25, O'Hagan's resume includes stints as a journalist, a photo editor, a company recruiter, a sales administrator and, most recently, a regional sales manager for Colonial Chemical, Inc. responsible for eight northwestern states.

Oh, and she's also the president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce?

If that sounds like a lot packed into a quarter century, then welcome to Carmen O'Hagan's frenetic life, where sitting still is simply not an option. "Rising star" might not be the perfect metaphor for O'Hagan; her trajectory has been more like a bottle rocket.

Carmen O'Hagan

* Job: Northwest Territory Manager, Colonial Chemical, Inc.

* Age: 25

* Hometown: South Pittsburg, Tennessee

* Interests: Photography, music, hiking and traveling



The daughter of a Cuban immigrant mother and a journalist-turned-attorney father, O'Hagan says she grew up an adult-centric environment. By her middle teens she was commuting to Chattanooga State Community College to take dual enrollment classes.

She remembers 5:30 a.m. drives to Chattanooga with her dad, which started with coffee and the morning paper at a local Waffle House. By 16, she was answering the phone at the office of a United States congressman and drafting newspaper editorials.

After getting her associate's degree at Chattanooga State at 17, she took a globe-hopping gap year and then enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she majored in communications and produced a radio show.

Of the gap year she says, "I didn't want to be 19 with my bachelor's degree, so I took a year off. It was awesome. I worked. I traveled. I had several different jobs. I think I went to 15 different countries in that year off."

She said it took her about six months after earning her bachelor's degree to land a job through Chattanooga State, a position recruiting students to enroll in engineering programs. That job led her to an association with Colonial Chemical, Inc. a maker of specialty chemicals in Marion County.

In her short time there, O'Hagan has moved up from recruiter to sales administrator to her new job as regional sales manager for the northwestern United States. Her new position requires her to split time between Denver and South Pittsburg, where she remains active in the Marion County Chamber and in a company training program.

O'Hagan says she is the youngest ever president of the Marion County Chamber, eclipsing her brother Patrick O'Hagan's record by a few months. Patrick, who is four years older, is Regional Impact Director at Chattanooga State's Kimball, Tennessee campus.

O'Hagan says she was drawn to her current sales position because she believes in the products in her company's portfolio.

"We do specialty chemicals and we have a big focus on green chemistry," she says. "We make very valuable products. It's easy to go into a meeting and tell someone about what we are making when you have good products."