40 Under Forty: The Judges


Jeannie Hebert has served as the president and CEO of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce for nearly 10 years, growing it from a small rural association to a well-respected business organization serving the region’s 11 municipalities. 

She has focused on addressing the need for a skilled industry workforce in Blackstone Valley and throughout the state.
Hebert is a former winner of WBJ’s Outstanding Women in Business award. She lives in Shrewsbury and regularly visits her rescued adopted elephant Willy at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, where he was placed after living with her for two years.

Kola A. Akindele is the senior director for community and government relations at UMass Medical School in Worcester. Since starting at UMass, Akindele has been responsible for developing strategic relationships between UMMS and government and community institutions and organizations. He cultivated and managed the institution’s multi-departmental public health collaboration with the Worcester Division of Public Health.
Akindele is a 2016 WBJ 40 Under Forty winner. He previously served as community relations manager in the department of community and government alliances at Hartford Hospital. His proudest achievement is helping to bring a mobile market to neighborhoods designated as food deserts in the city of Hartford, allowing residents with limited or no access to healthy foods access to affordable, high quality produce.

A Worcester native and resident of Douglas, Derek Beahn has 20 years of experience in marketing. His experience includes several years in one of Central Massachusetts’ most innovative marketing agencies, leading the traditional and digital marketing efforts for clients across many industries. Currently, Beahn is vice president, director of marketing at Fidelity Bank, an $800-million community bank with 10 branches throughout the region. In this role, Beahn leads the marketing department and is responsible for supporting the bank’s strategic goals, brand, business lines and financial objectives through the planning and implementation of marketing campaigns and initiatives.
Beahn is a 2008 WBJ 40 under Forty recipient winner. In 2016, he earned the certified financial marketing professional designation through the American Banking Association Institute of Certified Bankers.

Catheryn McEvoy-Zdonczyk serves as vice president for Central & Western Massachusetts at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In this role she is responsible for managing Harvard Pilgrim’s growth strategies and profit/loss for the region. Prior to joining Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, McEvoy-Zdonczyk served as the senior director for government & community relations at Fallon Community Health Plan.
An active volunteer in Central Massachusetts’ political and non-profit communities, McEvoy-Zdonczyk is well-known for her success in the fundraising arena, and has received several awards for her professional achievement and community involvement. She currently serves on board of directors for Discover Central Massachusetts, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, the 495 Partnership and serves as a corporator for both the YWCA of Central Massachusetts and the Ecotarium. She is a 2002 WBJ 40 Under Forty winner.

Julie Crowley, who previously worked in the manufacturing industry, is the former regional project manager for Advanced Manufacturing, Mechatronics and Quality Consortium at Mount Wachusett Community College in Devens. Designed to help meet the manufacturing industry’s workforce needs, about 300 students took credit and noncredit classes through the program in Crowley’s first three years leading the organization.
She is a 2016 WBJ Outstanding Women in Business award winner. She is the former chairwoman of the Nashoba Valley Chamber Chamber of Commerce and its immediate past president.

She is a 2016 WBJ Outstanding Women in Business award winner. She is the former chairwoman of the Nashoba Valley Chamber Chamber of Commerce and its immediate past president.

Asmar N. Akman – Akman Enterprises Inc.
Brendan Aylward – Unified Health and Performance
Greta Bajrami Campoverde – Golden Group Construction Corp.
Kathryn Behan – UMass Memorial Healthcare
Heather Belair – Bay State Savings Bank
Neil Callahan – R.H. White Construction
Michelle L. Cote, Esq. – Law Offices of Richard S. Ravosa
Julianne Dahrooge – Chan & Dahrooge Financial Group, LLC
Patrick J. DiGregorio – Veterans Inc.
Justin Dufresne – VHB, Inc.
Courtney Ross Escobar – Doucette & LaRose, LLC
Robert Fecteau – BirchTree Bread Co.
Hilary Gardner – The Davis Cos.
Ashleigh C. Gelinas, Esq. – Gelinas & Ward, LLP
Avra Hoffman – BirchTree Bread Co.
Maryann C. Johnson – Oak Hill CDC
Kevin G. Johnson – O’Connor, Maloney & Company, P.C.
Heather Mangione – United Way of Central Massachusetts
Jay Merrill – Clifford & Rano Associates
Meghan E. Montaner – The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts
Edward Murphy – Baystate Investment Fund
Joy Rachelle Murrieta – Main IDEA
Dr. Milka Njoroge, PharmD – Century Homecare, LLC
Jim Notaro – Fidelity Bank
Andrew B. Palumbo – Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Kevin Peterssen – United Bank
John T. Pitcavage – Endless Energy
Julia Randall, M.D. – Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Keith Reardon – Commonwealth Consulting Group, LLC
Giselle Rivera-Flores – The Learning Hub & IgWorcesterMA
Patrick T. Royce – UniBank
Jamie Salois – Atlas Distributing
Lindiana Semidei – Raices Latin Dance
Jody Staruk – Consigli Construction Co., Inc.
Francisco Torres – Town of Westborough
Abel Travis – Hanover Insurance Group
Elizabeth Tripp – Hanover Insurance Group
Alexis G. Vallejos – Columbia Tech
David Viens – Bowditch & Dewey, LLP
Ryan A. Wagner – Robert Fine & Associates
Meet this year's judges