January 2006 - Here are our choices for the 26 people under the age of 40 we think are going to do great things in 2006. They’re local artists, politicians, entrepreneurs, students, athletes, and more. Some faces you might already recognize, some you might not. But now’s your chance to meet these up and comers, find out what they’ve accomplished so far, and get a sneak preview of what they have planned for the future. Then keep your eyes and ears open ~ we’re sure you’ll be hearing their names a lot more in the coming year…and beyond!
Age 27 :: Hip-hop mogul :: Worcester
Jimmy Kang is a difficult guy to get in touch with these days. He’s barely able to squeeze in a quick phone interview before he heads to Germany to set up a tour and do promotions overseas. The founder of Str8Up Entertainment is jet-setting across the globe in his effort to put Worcester’s hip-hop community on the map. Based on the belief that management should be “straight up” with its clients, Kang and company have been working with artists ranging from seasoned vet Edo G to up-and-coming rapper/producer J. Sayj. They do it all from releasing the hottest jams to recording, mixing and mastering as well as distributing and promoting. After making their way through the local club scene from Red to the Atrium, Kang and his colleagues are bracing to blow up big in ‘06. Str8Up Entertainment will be putting their efforts behind the Special Teamz! album, L Da Head Toucha’s next release, and J. Sayj’s mix tape due out next year. What’s the goal? “I’d like to see a platinum album; we’re just going to funnel everything back into Worcester. I want to get New England known like the South did. Let artists in New England eat.”
Age 31, “Not exactly young in my book.” :: Multimedia Designer, musician :: Worcester
If it’s happening in Worcester, chances are Duncan Arsenault knows about it. He’s the founder of volcanoboy.com, a site designed for culturally-inclined individuals to network and expose local artistic achievements in the same light as is shone on national headline makers. But he does more than just administrating forums and linking to news stories. Arsenault keeps himself busy maintaining several other hot sites on the net including pages for Lucky Dog, Roger Lavallee, and the Pet Rock Festival. His contributions reach far beyond cyberspace, too, as he plays drums full-time with three bands ~ The Curtain Society, Jim Carroll and the Catholic Boys, and Collapsible 3. When he’s not banging on his drums, however, he’s improving volcanoboy.com, adding an mp3 jukebox and podcasting. ”There’s a lot of great stuff happening in Worcester and it’s in everyone’s best interest to tie it all together.”
Age 23 :: Founder and Artistic Director, Acting Up Theatre Company :: Worcester
Replacing a cast member within 24 hours, worrying about costumes arriving on time, securing a last-minute program designer ~ and that was just last summer. After graduating high school, Michael Gremo went right to work building a non-profit theatre company from the ground up. Since 2000, Acting Up Theatre Company has produced several shows including “Cabaret” and last summer’s productions “Swing!” and “A Chorus Line.” The stresses of putting on a successful production, while striving to bring “New York or Boston quality theatre at a community theatre price” to Worcester area audiences, are par for the course for Gremo, part of doing what he loves. “There’s a reason I do this, I don’t make any money off this. I do this because I truly care about it.” Despite difficulties getting sponsorship from local big businesses, Gremo is still planning major changes for next summer’s season. In addition to looking for a venue with air conditioning, Gremo is also hoping to set up a post for Acting Up in the City of Sin itself, Las Vegas. While he plans to still maintain the Worcester chapter, Gremo is making sure Acting Up is constantly getting bigger and better. “If you’re not being forced to do something different that breaks you out of your shell, what’s the point?”
Age 32 :: Worcester Police Gang Unit :: Worcester
Nate Reando wants to see more than just licenses and registrations, he wants to see change in Worcester’s youth. Going into his tenth year on the job, Reando has made his mark on the community by helping to stop crimes before they start and by helping kids through setting them up in positive environments. After being picked (through a very selective process) to join the Gang Unit, Reando started working on several programs with the Boys’ Club. One program, Give Kids a Fighting Chance, has quickly become an eagerly-anticipated annual event since its inception three years ago. The celebrity boxing tournament has grown by leaps and bounds, raising $250,000 last year ~ all of which was donated directly to the Boys’ Club. Reando also worked on a three-week summer program called Gang Awareness for the Next Generation. With the help of guest speakers, “G.A.N.G” showcased the positive results of working towards goals and making positive decisions vs. the consequences, including a trip to prison, of making less healthy decisions. The effects have been apparent to Reando, who said kids on the street no longer call him “Officer” but instead refer to him as “Coach.” By continuing these programs into 2006 and maybe implementing some new ones, he hopes to steer youth in the right direction.
“We can’t watch these kids 24 hours a day, but we can get them to positive places to meet positive people.”
Age 29 :: Vice President, Principal Sullivan Insurance Group :: Worcester
At the age of 29, A.J. Andreoli is not the archetypal businessman with an Ebenezer Scrooge mentality toward community service and charity. A graduate of Saint John’s High School and later Assumption College, Andreoli studied marketing because he was attracted to the notion of being self-employed in a sales profession. Even though he became one of the youngest partners in his firm in 2000, he still hasn’t forgotten where he came from. He serves as a board member for the Central Massachusetts Conference of Football Officials and volunteers with several nonprofit organizations in the area, including working on a golf tournament to benefit Saint Francis Home. Don’t let his softer side fool you, though. Andreoli is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and prides himself on his competitive nature, saying it helps compensate for the stigma attached to his youth in his career. When looking forward to next year, however, he’s got more volunteering in mind. Andreoli said he is hoping to get involved with more organizations that work with children in the community and to also get involved with his alma mater, Assumption. I was born and raised in this community and it has done a lot for me. I feel the need to give back to the community I grew up in and live in.”
Age 28 :: Founder and Director of Concerts for Charity :: Worcester
Kaleem is the kind of guy you just want to thank for being alive. At night he works as a crisis stabilization counselor, drawing upon his health science degree from Worcester State College. During the day he operates a non-profit organization that he started himself in 2001 and now maintains tirelessly: Concerts for Charity plans events for other non or for profit companies that emphasize music, philanthropy, and art. Among those causes that have benefited from C4C’s services are Toys for Tots and Youth4Outreach, a program begun by C4C right here in the city that shows kids their own potential through musical and other creative outlets. With its home base right here in Worcester, the town that Kaleen now calls home, Concerts for Charity has expanded to include chapters in California, Michigan, and Maine. Has a man who is doing so many great things ever had a low point in his professional career? Of course. “I worked at Wendy’s for one day at sixteen, that was really bad.”
Age 26 (both) :: Singers, Musicians, Comedians :: Worcester
What do you get when you mix music, comedy, and sex appeal? You get the Steamy Bohemians. After spending the last 2 years playing comedy festivals and clubs like the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, The Comedy Connection in Providence, and Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway, and racking up awards from the Lizard Lounge Comedy Contest and Laugh Across America, The Steamy Bohemians finally have their own show, “Circus Jerkus.” Lainey and Nicole met in college when both were studying voice and performing solo as stand-up comedians. They collaborated on a jingle for a massage parlor and immediately realized that two Bohemians are funnier than one. Just listen to songs “The Less You Talk, the More I like You,” “Is that Okay? (The Stalker Song),” and “My Love for You (The Mayonnaise Song) and you’ll agree. With original humor that ranges from the raucous to the marvelously silly, and playing an assortment of instruments including piano, guitar, voice, tambourine, banana shaker, finger cymbals and washboard, The Steamy Bohemians are single-handedly bringing back a nearly-lost form of entertainment, the variety show ~ and they’re bending, perverting, expanding, and Bohemianizing it with no apologies. When you come experience the SB’s for yourself (catch them every third Thursday at Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner), remember that “Yes, you can buy us a drink… but no, we won’t split it.”
Age 24 :: General News Reporter, Worcester Telegram and Gazette :: Worcester
If tragedy leads to the greatest art, then Taryn Plumb’s stories for the T&G have been masterpieces. Telling heart-breaking tales like the one about an adopted woman trying to get in touch with her birth-family, or dressing up as a panhandler to show readers what life is like is on the other side of the car window, has given Plumb an opportunity to tell a different kind of story. Plumb, whose been working at the T&G since the summer of 2004, does write lighter pieces as well. Over the summer, she covered the Summer Nationals and got to ride in one of the flame-throwing cars ~ a moment she recalls as a highlight of her last year. With the quick- changing nature of news, Plumb doesn’t have many set projects for 2006, but hopes to continue her work probing deeper into the personal stories of Worcester’s population. “The best writing I do is about people, long-range projects where I get to know people and what they’re situation is like,” she said. “People in Worcester are interesting, there’s just a lot of interesting stuff going on in Massachusetts.”
Age 24 :: Marketing Consultant PIKE 100 FM, Oldies 98.9 FM :: Worcester
After hitting a home run as Promotions Manager of the Worcester Tornadoes, Miriam Hyder is hoping her success can transcend the diamond and carry over to the radio airwaves. Heading into 2006, she’s planning on a career shift from the Tornadoes to Marketing Consultant for PIKE 100 FM and Oldies 98.9 FM. The Worcester native joined the Tornadoes after working as an intern at the St. Louis Cardinals and at the Florida Marlins’ spring training facility. She spent 2005 handling everything on the field for the Tornadoes that didn’t involve playing the game itself ~ from writing scripts to handling the National Anthem and coordinating corporate and group outings. And all that was in addition to selling tickets for a team whose field was built in an inexplicable eight weeks. She worked with the team through their unbelievable inaugural season that culminated with the Can-Am League Championship. Now, however, she’s looking forward to a career that doesn’t split her time between a hectic season and an idle off-season. She’s hoping to indulge her love of traveling by being out on the road doing sales for PIKE 100 FM/Oldies 98.9 FM. Most of all, she’s excited to help small business flourish through working with the radio stations and contributing to Worcester’s growth. ”Right now, Worcester is truly on the move. It’s motivating to see people move to Worcester, come back to Worcester like they go to Boston. My excitement right now is to be part of Worcester’s growth.”
Age 37 :: Mayor of Worcester, running for Lieutenant Governor :: Worcester
Tim was elected mayor in 2001 and is now hoping to move up the governmental ladder by landing his ideal job as Lieutenant Governor. Tim learned from a young age that who you vote for matters while he was surrounded by various older family members who worked on congressional campaigns in the post Vietnam Watergate era. He took the importance of political involvement to heart and believes in the power of strong leaders. His work on the revitalization of downtown helps us believe in them too as the $560 million City Square project is well on its way to becoming reality. You might think that all government men are smooth talkers, and while Tim is incredibly personable, even he has moments whenhe is left wondering why he just said that. “Once I was in an elevator,” he says, “and there were a couple of women who said ‘Are you the mayor?’” Tim replied, “No I just play one on TV.”
Photo courtesy of Worcester Magazine
Age 32 :: Project Coordinator Greater Worcester Land Trust, “Titles don’t matter too much in non-profits; Chief Apple-picker works just fine.” :: Worcester
Colin Novick bleeds green. The 32-year-old Project Coordinator has been working for about five years with the Greater Worcester Land Trust (GWLT), protecting the parks and open spaces in our area. Novick grew up in Worcester hiking and camping with his family. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a political science major and a geology minor, he returned home to Worcester and to the open land he valued so much. Over the last year, Novick has worked on closing an 11-year process to secure the 84 acres of Bovenzi Park for conservation. He also helped in acquiring and thus protecting Cascading Waters, a property including a great waterfall, and Nick’s Woods, a 60-acre piece of land. For 2006, Novick has several projects in mind. As he explains, “We keep six to 12 irons in the fire, so we’ll be tending the fires to see what shapes up for 2006.” While the details are difficult to pin down, Novick is committed to continuing to preserve the city he grew up in ~ a city where he still has the opportunity to hike and explore nature all around him. ”It was great to grow up in a city and still have the opportunity to do that kind of thing. I want to make sure that kind of thing exists for others growing up.”
Age 29 :: Worcester State College Multicultural Affairs, Musician :: Worcester
In his efforts to change the perception of black males, Domingo Guyton feels it is imperative to go through the youth. “I just feel a lot of adults are stubborn. If you get with the youth, you have a better chance to get them to make better decisions. The youth are the future.” Originally hailing from Boston, Guyton came to Worcester to attend Worcester State College in 1993. During his time here, Guyton has focused his work on youth-oriented programs. He served as Teen Director at the Greendale YMCA for five years up until this last year, when he left for Worcester State College (though he remains very involved at the Y). Throughout 2005, Guyton was busy working on events like the Fourth Annual Teen Overnight at the YMCA (which drew about 300 kids), two major parties at the Worcester Youth Center and a trip with 44 students to Atlanta for a tour of universities. He spent the latter half of the year acclimating to his new position at WSC, where he works on recruiting and getting students serious about academics before their senior year. In the midst of his volunteer work and career change, he also finished his sixth hip-hop album, which he says he will release “…when God allows it.” For 2006, he’s looking to get deeper into WSC and to retain more students in Worcester. He’ll also continue to collaborate with Zone 5 Pictures on film projects and music videos. Most importantly, however, he hopes to continue to be a role model for the kids with whom he works. “It’s more important now to show them you can be a person of color and go to college and get your Master’s. It’s good to see a person of color doing something other than what you see on MTV or BET.”
Age 36 :: Cultural events producer and founder of ANT (Arts-n-Things) :: Worcester
When Doug is not off designing ads at an advertising agency in Westborough, he is saving the Worcester Art Scene one art festival, show, or sale at a time. He is the founder and one man show behind ANT, which helps local artists by coordinating local, saleable art shows. This type of show is an important way for artists to live off their work, one that was terribly neglected in Worcester before Doug stormed in. He coordinates events such as stART on the Street and ART: Gone to the Dogs, an art sale at Coney Island Hot dogs which is coming up on Saturday, March 11, 2006. Doug is a really great example of the man who has worked his way up by the sweat of his brow and the strength of his passions. He claims that in life it is “…not necessary to have formal training, it is just important that you get something done.”
Age 35 :: Jazz Coordinator for WICN 90.5 FM :: Just South of Worcester
Tyra’s voice is as smooth and sultry as her sophisticated walk, although many more of you are probably familiar with her voice. She is WICN’s host for “A Tasteful Blend,” which airs Monday through Thursday from 6-10 am, and for “Jazz New England,” which airs Monday through Friday from 1-2 p.m. She is persistent and determined, having applied for two years before she was hired at WICN, New England’s Jazz and Folk Station. Since then she has moved up to her dream job, one where she plays the music she loves and serves as “an advocate for music that doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves.” But this woman is not just behind the music, she is also center stage as the vocalist for the Tyra Penn Middle Eastern Jazz Ensemble, The Red Riders Swing Band, and The Paul Combs Pocket Big Band. What made a woman who once hosted a punk rock station at the University of Hartford turn to jazz? “Jazz is the same as punk rock,” she says, “It’s the music of heroin addicts and fallen women.”
Age 27 :: Owner and Chef, Castellana’s Restaurant :: Worcester
You'd think that after having fed over 6000 game day fans as club chef for the New England Patriots (overseeing a staff of 50 chefs), opening a 120-seat restaurant at the burgeoning Canal Marketplace wouldn't be a challenge. But Chase, a Johnson & Wales graduate who resigned his post with the Patriots in early 2005 to start his own restaurant ~ missing out on a Super Bowl ring by two weeks ~ isn't going to settle for ordinary when his Italian eatery ("More southern than northern; my heritage is from Sicily and I'll definitely do some Sicilian food," he explains) opens in early spring. Chase spent his college years working under Kenny DeFazio at Mansfield's Trattoria Della Nonna, whose standard of excellence he'll follow at Castellana's. "We made everything there from homemade gnocchi to homemade pasta and raviolis," he says. "Everything there was made from scratch and we're going to do that here as well." And all signs point to Chase gaining as loyal a following at Castellana’s as the Pats have at Gillette Stadium. "I plan on putting Worcester on the map."
Age 30 :: Founder and Broker of Mortgage Dreams :: Worcester/Charlton
Chris and his wife Julie opened Mortgage Dreams with the idea of creating a company that catered to all of its customers needs ~ one-stop shopping for mortgage, real estate, and financial needs. Already it’s become a wildly successful company with a loyal client base – a lot of this due to Chris’ personal charisma and dedication to his customers. But this is just the beginning for Mortgage Dreams. Chris wants to continue expanding the number of services he can offer to his clients; he sees his representatives becoming originators, agents, and financial advisors all wrapped up in one. Look for Mortgage Dreams to expand not only the breadth of the service it offers, but also the territory it covers. Ultimately, Chris sees the company spreading across the country. Even with all his success, though, Chris always makes time to stay involved in charity work and the community. Teaming up with the Red Sox and Patriots, Chris has helped raise money for The Jimmy Fund and Juvenile Diabetes research. Most recently, he visited children in hospitals with Kevin Millar, helping brighten some days.
Age 28 :: President, 3000K :: Worcester
There’s little doubt that 2006 has big things in store for Eric. He graduated from WPI in 2001 and started his web development company ~ 3000K ~ around the same time. Since then his company has grown rapidly, doubling in size almost yearly. Today he has a staff of six helping him sell, market, and design acclaimed interactive websites for a host of companies throughout the area. In his personal life, though, Eric had to overcome serious health complications in 2005. Making the most of the experience, he documented his ordeal on-line in hopes of providing comfort and a learning tool for others going through the same thing. Eric also sits on the local board of the Red Cross, donating his time and energy as a way of giving back. In the wake of the Katrina tragedy, he engineered a fundraising website that allows donors to create their own calendars with vintage Red Cross posters and photographs. Thankfully, a now healthy Eric is ready to tackle the new year on all fronts, volunteerism to business to personal.
Age Twenty-somethings :: Musicians :: Worcester
Alex Attella, Lead Guitar
Kev Hennessey, Keyboard and Vocals
Brendan Mahoney, Guitar and Vocals
Aaron Tringuk, Drums
Jeff Burch, Bass
OSB spent most of 2005 headlining sold out shows in Worcester, Boston, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and even New York. But they also managed to find time to open for Gavin DeGraw, The Samples, Entrain, and Guster, appear on the Fox 25 Morning Show, and play on Sirius Radio. And, oh yeah, this month they’re opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd and 38 Special at the DCU Center, too. Wherever this band goes, a crowd follows. Their music has that same infectious feel of Dave Matthews Band ~ so it’s no surprise that they have developed such a loyal fan base. Early next year the band hits the studio to work on their second album which, if it’s anything like the first, will be radio bait. Major labels ~ including Virgin, Sony J and Island Records ~ have started auditioning these local talents for a possible record deal. If you haven’t seen this band yet, go soon, before it’s too late to say “I saw them before they were mega-famous.”
Age 32 :: Comedian :: Worcester
For the very few of you who don’t already know, Stephen J. Donovan is the World’s Funniest Human ~ and he lives right here in Worcester. He can be heard every morning on the Zito and Jen Morning Show on WXLO radio, entertaining listeners with his wacky and creative segments. He’s even gotten to do celebrity interviews with Alan Alda, Don King, Sylvester Stallone and Cher, too. With an ever-growing fan base, Steve plans to build a major live comedy scene here in the Worcester area. Meanwhile, he uses his wit not just to entertain, but to help, too ~ this year he joined up with Rotman’s Furniture to help raise money for breast cancer research and will participate in the fundraiser again next year. Starting 2006 off with a bang, Steve will be performing once again at Mohegan Sun on January 6. He’ll also continue to make his mother proud by eating his vegetables and leaving the house with clean underwear. So in addition to more live stand-up comedy, is there anything else that Worcester needs?
Yes. “More cowbell.”
Age 17 :: National cyclo-cross champion :: Worcester
Despite what we’ve been led to believe, the sport of cycling is made up of more than one person. While Lance Armstrong racing might attract millions of viewers, he’s far from the only champion. Worcester’s Arielle Filiberti took home first prize in the women’s 17-18 division at the 2005 Liberty Mutual US National Cyclo-Cross Championship at Providence’s Roger Williams Park. In December, under weather conditions worthy of the “Survivor”
finale, she endured a competition that’s a mixture of road and off-road cycling over a tightly-arranged course dotted with hurdles and steep slopes. "You just have to go at it and be ready to give everything you have and do whatever it takes," she says. "You're definitely going to be suffering during a race." The title is more amazing when you consider this was only Arielle’s first year of cyclo completion; she recently joined the Hot Tubes team after having ridden with Team Bicycle Alley and will now be competing against the nation’s best riders - that is, when she’s not competing with the field hockey and ski teams at Phillips Academy in Andover, where she’s a member of the class of ‘07. Beijing 2008 anyone?
Age 21 :: Student and Community Volunteer :: Worcester
Recognizing the importance of connecting her college to the surrounding community through volunteerism, this Clark University senior created CARE – Community Action, Reform, and Education. In addition to providing home-cooked meals for the “Food Not Bombs” program, Becca and the other students involved in CARE make weekly trips to the PIP shelter and to Frances Perkins, serving food and playing with the children. They also help with winter clothing drives, planned and hosted Hungerpalooza, a concert designed to bring awareness to the growing hunger situation and to raise money for the cause, and were the driving force behind Clark’s “Global AIDS Awareness Week.” Becca is also a student teacher in the art department at the All School and has had her mixed-media artwork displayed at the Aurora Gallery’s First College Art Show. Becca plans to graduate in May of 2006 (with a major in Studio Art, a Minor in Sociology, and a concentration in Urban Development) and then enter the Masters for Teaching program at Clark. “I am planning to be a teacher, but I will always be a part of community and neighborhood efforts. I know I will keep being an active volunteer as well as an organizer, either professionally or not.”
Age 36 :: President and CEO, World Energy :: Worcester
Looking to provide superior service in the natural gas industry through innovation and technology, Rich Domaleski helped co-found Oceanside Energy in 1993. As the energy deregulation drumbeat got louder, he formed World Energy Exchange, an online electricity and oil energy procurement platform that has allowed its customers - mainly commercial and industrial companies and local governments - to save millions of dollars since incorporating in 1999. With corporate headquarters at 446 Main Street in Worcester, the company runs thousands of energy auctions, paying close attention to the rapidly changing energy supply marketplace and its territorial boundaries, tariffs, and retail pricing and regulations. They also keep an especially close eye on “green credits” - governmental incentives to develop wind, solar and biomass sources of clean energy. Their efforts earned them the National Association of State Facilities Administrators 2005 Innovation Award, who called it “the single most effective program of any kind in the US.”
Age 33 :: Senior Director, Government Relations, O’Neill and Associates of Boston :: Worcester
While the son of outgoing Worcester City Councilor Dennis Irish earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from UMASS Amherst and Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at UMASS Boston, he doesn’t plan to run for office himself. However, Matthew Irish is never far from the action. After spending two years in Washington, DC as US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’’s press assistant, he returned home to become State Senator Steve Tolman’s chief of staff and media spokesman. Today, he still sets his watch according to the state legislature’s schedule as a lobbyist for O’Neill and Associates, where his clients include Pepsi, Hewlett-Packard, and the Head of the Charles Regatta. When his work is done, he’s happy to return home to run the paths on Newton Hill. “The best thing about Worcester is the character of its neighborhoods,” says Irish, who sits on Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc.’s Board of Directors. “At the end of the day, it’s a great place to live and a great place to raise a family.”
Age 28 :: Broadcast journalist :: Worcester
For Julie Tremmel, her job as 10 o’clock anchor on Worcester News Tonight truly was her lucky break. In an industry where, as Tremmel says, “You don’t pick where you work, it picks you,” she’s thankful to be back in her hometown with people to whom she can relate. Tremmel began her career working in print journalism with a column for Florida’s The St. Petersburg Times, but after an internship at Fox 13 in Tampa she fell in love with broadcast for its sense of urgency. For her, it was “…watch it tonight or read about it tomorrow.” After heading to Illinois to get her Master’s Degree, Tremmel went back to Florida, where she worked as a weekend anchor and weekday reporter at SNN Channel 6 in Sarasota. It wasn’t until she lost her boyfriend in a motorcycle accident that she returned to her roots, moving in with her parents in Marlborough. She took 6 months off to work with her father painting houses before landing her gig on Worcester News Tonight. Now she’s covering such powerful stories as the death of 25-year-old soldier Eric Hines who was shot in Afghanistan but was able to kill two high-level Taliban leaders before he died (Tremmel’s voice still quivers as she retells the story over the phone). She’s looking forward to some hard-hitting pieces next year, including covering the race for governor and doing a follow-up story in which she spends an entire night in the Worcester County House of Corrections. But whatever news breaks over the next year, Tremmel plans to be there to capture it. ”If something is going on in Worcester, I want people to know they can see my show and know what happened.”
Photo courtesy of Genesis Studios
Age 36 :: Cinema enthusiast, filmmaker, comedian :: Worcester
The year is 1977 and an 8-year-old Robert Newton is in awe of Star Wars. The all-around sense of adventure and the way it told a story really captivated me,” he said. “Plus, TIE Fighters are really cool.” Whether it was the cinematography or the TIE Fighters, Newton became hooked on film from that point on. Long after that fateful day in a galaxy far, far away, Newton and his wife founded the MassBay Film Project in 2002 to promote film culture. The group’s largest event, last year’s MassBay Film Festival, featured 50 films spanning 18 days and 13 venues. Newton promises that next year’s festival, scheduled for March 17 through April 2, will be even bigger. His schedule won’t ease up after that though, as he hopes to begin shooting his own documentary about Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry, next summer. He’ll also follow up his last novelty CD of parody songs, Monkey Business (which won Best Novelty/Comedy Song and Best Novelty/Comedy album at the 2004 Just Plain Folks Awards, described as “The Grammys for unsigned acts”) with his latest work Mock Me Amadeus. After speaking at Arisia, an annual sci-fi convention in Boston, next month, Newton will be coordinating a writer’s retreat in NH for the spring and possibly a review-writing workshop for high school age kids this summer (through MassBay). Newton said he hopes all of his hard work with cinema will help inspire others to express themselves as well. “I hope it gives people a perspective on making film and encourages people to maybe pick up a camera shoot and a movie of their own someday.”
Age 35 :: Co-Owner of Struck Catering :: Worcester/Shrewsbury
Derek Grillo understands the importance of hard work and family. He graduated with a degree in Business from NYU in 1996, moving back to Worcester ’97 to help him mom expand her catering business. At the time, he wasn’t sure if he’d wind up sticking around, but the gig proved to be a great opportunity for him to learn hands-on about the business world. Now he runs the operations of Struck Catering, maintaining everything from payroll to all the managerial tasks involved in running a successful enterprise. His entrepreneurial spirit has led to an exponential increase in business in the short time that he has been at the helm. In fact, Struck Catering had to relocate from its small West Side space to a much larger building on Hamilton Street to accomodate the increase and additional personnel. Where can you find a man who runs his own business and is currently building and designing his own house in Shrewsbury in his “free time?” Derek likes to “…hang out at lot of dive bars with friends, not the hip spots, just quiet, sedate spots in the city.”
We checked in with a few of Worcester’s up and comers to see how their past year had gone.
Joffrey Smith, 25, was promoted and became the youngest partner in the Boston General Office of New York Life. He also became the youngest ever Worcester City Councilor, winning the District 1 Council seat on November 8.
Andrea Ajemian, 30, helped release Freedom Park on DVD, co-produced the film Still Green, and acted in a spec television pilot. She also started performing on Friday nights in Hollywood with an improvisation group. Currently, she’s meeting with potential investors for 3 Souls Films’ next movie We Got the Beat, to be shot in Massachusetts during the summer of 2007.
Monica Maldonado, 23, moved to Paris to pursue her modeling career.
Senator Ed Augustus, 40, became the first “freshman” in a generation named to the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee. Among his achievements during his first year as State Senator, Augustus helped steer $25 million in state funds to the CitySquare redevelopment project. He gets bills through the Senate to drive the clean-up of toxic brownfield sites and crack down on illegal dumping in Worcester. Also, as the Chairman of the Election Laws Committee, he spearheaded a bill to crack down on signature fraud in the initiative petition process.
Milton Valencia, 26, covered many news assignments for the Telegram and Gazette’s City Desk, including the closure of the Paris Cinema, the indictment of two police officers, the OxyContin investigation into several firefighters, and the ongoings at the Worcester County Jail. He was also part of a team that won an award for coverage of the fifth anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. fire.
With his Downhillbattle.org co-directors, Nicholas Reville, 26, began a new organization, the Participatory Culture Foundation, which released the Mac version of a free, open source internet TV application (see dtvmac.com) and is about to launch the Windows version. He also got together with some friends and bought a big old house off of Lincoln Street and started a band called This Was Hypersection.
Joe Scully, 22, ran Mayor Tim Murray’s successful campaign for reelection this year.
Michael Lanava, 27, had a very busy year as the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Resource Manager. He helped introduce new community programs and business events, strengthen partnerships, and work to make Worcester more vibrant.
Jennifer Agbay had a successful year directing the dance program at the Performing Arts School of Worcester and the professional dance group Company X. She is expecting her second child in May and, as of February 1, will be opening and running Ballet Arts Worcester, a school dedicated to providing quality training and education in dance.
Antonio Savino, 22, had to close his restaurant, Opia 1541, this past summer. ThePULSE has heard rumors that he’s been cooking at one of his favorite restaurants (and former workplaces) ~ Armadillo Depot on Park Ave.
Tim Smith began teaching acting classes at Holy Cross. He also performed as Mr. McQueen in “Urinetown the Musical” at Lyric Stage in Boston and began rehearsals for the New England Premier of “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” in which he’ll be playing the Narrator, John.