August 31, 2017
40 Under Forty: Behind the scenes

40u40: Jim Notaro is a golden god

Erika Sidor
At The Edge At Union Station in Worcester are 40 Under Forty winners Jim Notaro, David Viens, Edward Murphy and Alexis G. Vallejos.

This is the fourth in a series of 11 stories 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. Check out the first three parts: Burns Bridge, public murals, deadhorse hill.

Of all the sites we used for this year's 40 Under Forty photos, I had the greatest doubts about shooting in the basement at The Edge at Union Station. Out of the 30+ locations we considered for the photos, nothing about the common area of the apartment complex stood out to me, and I knew it wouldn't be immediately recognizable to the reader as a Worcester location, unlike Wormtown Brewery or the Burns Bridge.

Yet, photographer Erika Sidor was most excited about The Edge, particularly the video game room. She had this vision where the four winners would pretend like they were playing a video game, seated in comfy chairs, staring at the camera lens as if it were the TV screen. Her confidence – coupled with the fact we were having our 40u40 cocktail reception at The Edge, making it the most logistically easy shoot – convinced me to give it a shot.

Erika Sidor
When Sidor suggested the winners pick up weights for this photo, a couple of the winners went for the heavier ones. Given the length of the photo shoot, they ended up regretting the decision.

My concerns were further flamed when almost none of the 40u40 winners listed it as one of their top three preferred locations for their Group of Four shot. In fact, it was the location where the most winners used their one veto card as the place where they definitely did not want their photo taken. Luckily for us, three winners (Jim Notaro, Edward Murphy and Alexis Vallejos) listed it as a preference, and David Viens joined the group as his crazy schedule made it impossible for him to make it to any other photo location.

With the great potential for the photos to be duds, Sidor and the four winners knocked it out of the park. Each of them brought great energy to the shoot, understanding exactly the images she was shooting for. Of everyone though, nobody embodied this energy better than Notaro, who was shouting and jumping up as if he had just won the greatest video game fight in history. Even when we moved the photo shoot over to The Edge's exercise room, Notaro was game for everything, doing sit-ups with Sidor's camera in his face while Murphy, Viens and Vallejos cheered him on.

Notaro's joy was evident throughout all the photos (and is his quirky personality in his profile), and you can see the excitement spreading to the other winners.

Erika Sidor
Notaro came to The Edge at Union Station for a 40 Under Forty cocktail reception and ended up getting in both bicep and ab workouts.

The only downside of the shoot came for Murphy. In the photo we ended up using for the publication, we had asked Notaro and Vallejos to act excited as if they had just scored the winning touchdown in Madden NFL, and told Murphy and Viens to act dejected, as if they had lost. Murphy did a masterful job of pulling off this look prominently in the photo, but with the video game controllers downplayed in the photo, I'm not too sure it was abundantly clear to the reader he wasn't just upset about winning the award.

Regardless, Murphy did end up making that image his Facebook cover photo, so it did work out in the end.

- 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.

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


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