August 29, 2017
40 Under Forty: Behind the scenes

40u40: The cool kids of Worcester

Erika Sidor
At the public murals behind the WCUW building in Worcester are 40 Under Forty winners (from left) Joy Rachelle Murrieta, Heather Mangione, Abel Travis and Lindiana Semidei.

This story is the second in a series of 11 describing the photos behind this year's 40 Under Forty awards, where rather than shooting all the images in one location, WBJ took the winners to 11 properties around Worcester, showcasing the new developments of a city on the rise. Click here to read part 1 about the Burns Bridge photo shoot.

Imagine a rock band album cover.

One of the four members stares intensely at the camera while the other three look off in various directions, disinterested in the camera – too cool to be in the shot.

These were my instructions to Team Public Mural (Joy Rachelle Murrieta, Heather Mangione, Abel Travis and Lindiana Semidei) in preparation for their group shot.

The effort to showcase the public art throughout Worcester in the 40 Under Forty issue was vital to the concept of a new Worcester, a city coming into its own as a happening place to be. With the help of Che Anderson from POW! WOW! Worcester, we were able to pinpoint the public murals on the WCUW building at the corner of Main and Hawthorne streets to show off Worcester's public art scene while still allowing the four winners to shine in the photo and not get lost in a larger mural.

Erika Sidor
The winners, particularly Semidei, flashed brilliant smiles highlighting their friendly personalities, but when asked to give attitude to the camera, the results were spectacular.

Luckily for the photo, Murrieta, Mangione, Travel and Semidei completely ignored my instructions. I actually have no idea if a rock album cover involves three disinterested band members; I just got the idea from a South Park episode where they shot a Christian rock album. (Yes, my definition of what's cool comes from a 20-year-old TV cartoon. I'm a dork.)

Mangione jumped in first, ditching her more traditional blazer in favor of a sparkly vest. Murrieta made sure her large tattoo of musical notes from a favorite song popped in the photo. Semidei – a dancer and dance company director – exuded so much attitude in her facial expressions, it was cool enough for three photo shoots. Travis was calm and relaxed, looking chill in a suit jacket and shoes without socks as the sun went down on a hot day in July.

Erika Sidor
Editor Brad Kane's idea to have the 40 Under Forty winners look as if they were too cool for the camera wasn't nearly as cool as when the winners did their own thing.

Of the many photos Team Public Mural shot, we did end up trying my concept of a rock album cover, but instead of looking like the cool kids, it mostly appeared they were checking for traffic coming down the street. Instead – and the reason the photo we used in the issue worked – each of the winners was true to themselves and brought attitude to the photo in their own way.

It was cool.

- Brad Kane, editor

Meet the entire WBJ 40 Under Forty Class of 2017

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.

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

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