40 Under Forty: The Goldilocks of food truck operators

BY Brad Kane

Photo | Erika Sidor
Photo | Erika Sidor
Winners of the WBJ 2018 40 Under Forty award and members of Team Food trucks (from left): Heidi Cooper, Pat Davis, Derek Canton, Blaine Schnare.

On YouTube, there are several videos dedicated to movie scenes completely ruined by extras who were looking at the camera. That is the price you pay when hire cheap actors to essentially be scenery in the background.
For the 40 Under Forty photo shoot at the Highland Street food trucks in Worcester, we had a similar problem. In the 10 group photos taken around Central Massachusetts, we were attempting to show off the cultural vibrancy certain locations brought the region. For the food trucks, we were trying to showcase a bustling urban area with creative dining options.

The day of the photo shoot in July, a heavy thunderstorm was predicted for the early afternoon, so the crowds at Highland Street were virtually gone. Because the downpour hadn’t started yet, we did have the opportunity to get more interactive with the food trucks.
The drawback of this was we had to find the perfect food truck operator. The four 40 Under Forty winners from Team Food Trucks – Heidi Cooper, Pat Davis, Derek Canton and Blaine Schnare – would be ordering food from the operator and eating. To pull this off, the operator was a vital part of the photo, but he/she couldn’t be too visible or invisible, not too happy or too sad, and not distract from the focus of the photo, which was Cooper, Davis, Canton and Schnare.

It was an odd situation, too, because we hadn’t told any of the food truck operators we were coming. We were rolling up on their place of business, and I felt weird telling them they had to act in a certain way while we set up lights and put the four 40 Under Forty winners into position.
The first food truck operator was very friendly, but really too friendly. The operator pretended to take the order as the winners hung out around the truck, but when they winners smiled, the operator smiled, too. This would have been a great vacation photo, but for the 40 Under Forty edition, it appeared as if we had five winners, including one food truck operator.

At the second food truck, the operator was grumpy — too grumpy. He sat in the front seat of his taco truck and sulked. Visibly sulked. The yellow truck actually made for an eye-popping visual, but you could clearly see this operator with a dour expression on his face on all the photos. None of those even made the preliminary cut for inclusion in the 40 Under Forty magazine.

The last food operator – from The Dogfather hot dog truck – was just right. He was friendly and helped the winners get their food quickly, but he knew to fade in the background as the winners became the stars of the show. He’s visible in nearly all the photos, but his presence doesn’t distract from Canton, Schnare, Davis and Cooper smiling in the foreground.
And none of us got rained on. I called it a win.

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.