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40 Under Forty: Bert LaValley, 33

8/20/2018

President; paperwork

Sustainable Comfort, Inc.; deadhorse hill & simjang restaurants, Worcester

Lives: Worcester

Birthplace: Portland, Maine

College: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

When he was a toddler, LaValley built an elaborate system of levees, dams and canals in his family's driveway to manage stormwater runoff properly. By the time he co-founded Sustainable Comfort in 2014, energy efficiency had long been in his blood. At Sustainable Comfort, he and his team rehab 100-year-old triple-deckers around Worcester to make them viable for working-class people. Since its founding, the company has grown an average of 65 percent annually and now employs more than 30. Firmly bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, LaValley partnered with chef Jared Forman and drinks connoisseur Sean Woods to launch the downtown Worcester restaurant deadhorse hill in 2016, followed by simjang in 2018. Because of his experience founding a business and dealing with administrative and regulatory issues, LaValley's title – paperwork – at the restaurant reflects his behind-the-scenes role. Through simjang and deadhorse hill, LaValley is involved in the public mural program POW! WOW! Worcester, feeding the artists who graffiti the city's outdoor walls. LaValley volunteers with the Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester and the children's museum EcoTarium.

From 40 Under Forty judge Milka Njoroge: “Bert is an entrepreneur who loves Worcester's rich history and has invested in the betterment of the city and the community.”

What will the inscription say on the statute they build of you? I would really like the statue to have a full, thick head of hair, which technically means it wouldn't be a statue of me.

Were you a straight-A student? No. Fortunately most of the exams at WPI are graded on a curve, which always reminded me of the joke about when you are running away from a bear, you only need to run faster than your friend.
Read about the entire 2018 Class of 40 Under Forty
Michael Alden - Ascentria Care Alliance
Che Anderson - City of Worcester
Victor M. Archila - VMA Electric Inc.
Allison Beckler, DO - YOU, Inc.
Sam Bitar - Webster Five
Mark A. Borenstein - Seder & Chandler LLP
Kate D. Campanale - Massachusetts House of Representatives
Derek Canton - paerpay
Ryan Canuel - Petricore, Inc.
Jennifer Caron - Body Therapeutics
Danielle J. Clark - Clark Career Coaching
Heidi Cooper - Cooper’s Hilltop Farm
Matthew M. Copeland, P.E. - Copeland Building Envelope Consulting
Pat Davis - The DAVIS Cos.
Efua T. Dufu, MSW, LCSW - Ellite Event Planning
Grace Elton - Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Ursula Furi-Perry, J.D. - Becker College
Jared E. Gentilucci - Nitsch Engineering
David Gilchrist, MD, MBA - UMass Memorial Health Care
Alvara Gjylapi - Santander Bank
Erica Grinkis - The GazBar Sports Grill
Meredith Harris - Marlborough Economic Development Corp.
Erin Jansky - Worcester Housing Authority
Ben Jones - Boston Scientific Corp
Alexis Kelleher - Crust Bakeshop; North Main Provisions
Bert LaValley - Sustainable Comfort, Inc.; deadhorse hill & simjang restaurants
Jennifer Leger - Fidelity Bank
Brian Lemerise - Quiet Logistics, Inc.
Tom Lubelczyk - The Worcester Jazz Collective
Laura Marotta - Creative Hub Worcester
Ryan Matson - Small Business Insurance Agency
Michael P. McDonough, CPA - McDonough, McDonough & Corsini, LLP
Madeline Mendoza - NewVue Communities
Jessica Morris - MCPHS University
Nathan Oriol - Oakdale Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center (Oriol Health Care)
Nicholas Pelletier - Pelletier Properties at Keller Williams North Central
Courtney E. Pelley - Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Lilian Radke - Unic Pro Inc.
Blaine Schnare - Harrington HealthCare System
Bonnie J. Walker - Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Learn how the winners were picked on our judges' page.