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Design New England

Celebrating Mentors

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Lizzy Flanagan
All from left: 2012 Mentor of the Year Jan Wampler, Alison Iantosca of F.H. Perry and Trish Perry accepting the 2014 Mentor of the Year on behalf of Finley Perry, 2014 Distinguished Mentor Michele Foster, and Design New England Editor Gail Ravgiala.

The design and building industry is one that depends on mentors. So says Ted Goodnow, CEO of Woodmeister Master Builders and, with his wife and Woodmeister president Kim Goodnow, the first recipient of Design New England’s Mentor of the Year honor in 2011. To affirm their commitment to mentoring, the Goodnows and Woodmeister teamed up with Design New England to sponsor the 2014 Mentors in Design (MIDDIES) celebration in order to honor of the next class of outstanding mentors.

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Held at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston’s Fenway section, the gala event, which saw the more glamorous side of the region’s builders and designers who turned up the style meter for the evening, culminated with a presentation in Calderwood Hall, the beautiful auditorium in the musuem’s new wing designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Jan Wampler, professor of architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the 2012 Mentor of the Year, spoke about the value of mentoring in his own life and career and announced this year’s Mentor of the Year recipient Finley H. Perry Jr. of F.H. Perry Builder. Perry, who recently retired after more than 40 years in the residential building industry, was not present (his new-found leisure time prompted him to book a sailing cruise before he was selected for the honor), but Allison Iantosca, his daughter and now a partner at F.H. Perry, graciously, comically, and with heartfelt sincerity accepted for him. After delivering her own powerful speech about a man she clearly loves and admires, she read remarks he had written for the occasion. No one in the room doubted for a minute that the MIDDIES selection panel had chosen the right person for the honor.

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Lizzy Flanagan
Allison Iantosca accepting the keepsake award for her father, Finley Perry of F.H. Perry Builder.

Three other deserving mentors were also honored as Distinguished Mentors. Felice Silverman is an interior designer and partner at Silverman Trykowski Associates, an architecture and design studio with a roster of institutional clients. She is the 2013-14 president of the International Interior Design Association and an instructor and board member at Boston Architectural College. She is a constant advocate for new and established designers. “She has made it her mission,” her nomination read, “to mentor, support, inspire, and educate students and professionals.”

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Lizzy Flanagan
Design New England Editor Gail Ravgiala and 2014 Distinguished Mentor Felice Silverman.


Architect Michele Foster is founder and principal of Foster Associates in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, a small firm that designs mostly residential buildings. Her nomination, from an architect she has mentored for 15 years, read, “Her dedication to her work as well as to charitable causes have taught me things that have made me a better architect and most certainly a better person.” Foster is also an enthusiastic environmentalist and has worked with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Norman Bird Sanctuary, and the Aquidneck Land Trust.

Matthew Johnson is an engineer and partner at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, who was described as a tireless mentor whose door is always open and who always seem to have the time for anyone with a question or concern no matter how much he has on his own plate. As his nomination read, “Being a mentor is embedded into his personality so that as some level I don’t think he can help it.”

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Lizzy Flanagan
2014 Middies Selection Panel member Anita MacKinnon, 2011 Distinguished Mentor and Design New England Contributing Editor Estelle Bond Guralnick, and Jody Guralnick.


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Lizzy Flanagan
Design New England Publisher Molly Campbell, interior designer Mally Skok, and Matt Remeika.


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Lizzy Flanagan
The 2014 Mentors in Design keepsakes were designed and crafted by Masterpiece Woodworks. Evoking the way a mentor supports his or her mentees, the rosewood and teal lacquer base supports a group of ellipses made of aluminum leaf over black lacquer.


Great design is always at your fingertips! Read Design New England's May/June 2014 issue online!