August 21, 2018
Class of 2018: Behind the scenes

40 Under Forty: The ax-throwing, rope-swinging warriors of Marlborough

Photo | Erika Sidor
WBJ 40 Under Forty winners and members of Team Apex: Michael P. McDonough, Meredith Harris, Nathan Oriol and Laura Marotta.

It took a special kind of 40 Under Forty winner to want photos taken at the Apex Center in Marlborough.

Here, we had people who were accepting probably the most prestigious award of their young careers, and I was asking, "Hey, for the most visible photo of you for the most-read WBJ print issue, do you mind if we dangle you 20 feet in the air above an arcade?" No wonder the Apex Center was the one location where the most 40 Under Forty winners used their single veto as the photo shoot they definitely didn't want to do.

It was also the most fun.

Team Apex – Michael P. McDonough, Meredith Harris, Nathan Oriol and Laura Marotta – jumped headlong into the shoot, excited to take advantage of the many offerings Apex Entertainment had to offer. Harris, the executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., already knew the lay of the land, so she steered the ship and smoothed things over with any wary employees.

Photo | Erika Sidor
Although Team Apex made it look effortless, standing still on a tiny rope obstacle while holding yourself up for 15 minutes is not an easy task.

First came the ropes course, an intricate system of orange poles and blue rope obstacles usually only meant for one adventurer at a time. All four ascended the course with gusto, particularly Marotta, who rock climbs recreationally. Team Apex hung precariously as photographer Erika Sidor took various shots from below, as the team shuffled through various obstacles. They were completely unphased by the physical strain, with natural athletes like Oriol (a nationally ranked obstacle course runner) and McDonough (a volunteer youth sports coach). In one moment, as I stood on the ropes course just out of the camera shot, shouting directions at the four winners and Sidor, I thought, "This job is so cool."

Next came the light-up bumper cars in the mirrored playground after McDonough, Harris, Oriol and Marotta switched out of their athletic gear into more professional attire. Even though they had met beforehand and developed a camaraderie with each other, they were still too polite to go full-on bumper car and knock each other into oblivion. Still, they spun in dizzying circles like they were little kids instead of 40 Under Forty winners.

Photo | Erika Sidor
Braveheart face!!

The last shoot of the day came at the indoor ax-throwing funzone Half Axe. Tentative at first with the edge weapons, they embraced their inner Middle Ages warriors and unleashed battle faces to put the extras in the movie "Braveheart" to shame. Afterward, they had a little ax-throwing competition, with all of them eventually nailing the targets.

All the 40 Under Forty photo shoots generally are a good time, with plenty of energy and excitement to go around. Team Apex, though, took it to the next level, loving every minute of it.

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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