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40 under Forty Class of 2017

PHOTO/Erika sidor

For the past 20+ years, cities across the nation have been attempting to revitalize their communities, embracing urbanization and trying to reverse the suburban flight.

The success of these plans varies wildly and usually goes the other way: communities devolve into infighting over competing visions; others come up with grand plans never realized; some have limited success but hit too many stumbling blocks outside of their control.

For the few successful community revitalizations, the positive momentum all comes down to people. People who champion redevelopment plans. People who bring in new investment. People who breathe new life into existing organizations. People who start unique businesses expanding the economy. People who create buzz.

Worcester is beating the odds in its revitalization. The signs are everywhere. Restaurants like deadhorse hill and retail like Crompton Collective have made the city a destination. Manufacturers like Wormtown Brewery are changing the nature of industry. Developments like Mercantile Center, The Grid District and The Edge at Union Station – some still under construction – are raising the value of stagnant properties. New ideas like Creative Hub Worcester in their infancy are embracing the city's historic character while magnifying the arts economy. Hockey is coming. Public murals are popping up. The bridge over Lake Quinsigamond at a main entrance to the city is an architectural marvel setting the tone for a rising community.

Still, success boils down to people. In this year's WBJ 40 Under Forty, you will find the amazing people feeding positive momentum into the city and throughout Central Massachusetts, bolstering the regional economy. They are taking over long-time organizations. They are founding unique businesses. They are using their talents to benefit the community. Some were born and raised in Central Mass. Others come from Boston, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, England, Nicaragua and Albania.

They are creating buzz.

The new Worcester is upon us. The city and communities throughout Central Massachusetts will still hit stumbling blocks, but it doesn't matter. The people who will overcome them are here, and they will make the difference.

- Brad Kane, editor

Meet the 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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