August 20, 2018
Class of 2018

40 Under Forty: Bert LaValley, 33

Foto: Photo | Erika Sidor
Winners of the WBJ 2018 40 Under Forty award: Kate Campanale, Bert LaValley Alvara Gjylapi and Ryan Canuel.

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.

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