Boston’s Own Four Heroes
In a world where superheroes are fanboy fantasy, their appeal seems mightier than ever. What started 10 years ago with the gargantuan success of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman trilogy has quickly blossomed into the go-to genre of the blockbuster season. This year alone, record-breaking audiences succumbed to The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman, and the world is now a-buzz with exhaustive praises, criticisms, and obsessions for The Dark Knight Rises.
But why the mass appeal? The superpowers bestowed upon most of these heroes are clearly the flashy draw, but how many times can we watch Thor throw his ax before we grow tired and bored? There’s something more to be said here. In general, people are good. We like being a part of a pop-cultural movement where good triumphs over evil — no matter how illogical. We want to be virtuous and great. We can stop crime, we can rebuild in the face of destruction, and we can spread the wealth and wisdom of the greater good.
But who needs superpowers when we we have figures in Boston making a mark and protecting the city every single day? Without super strength, X-ray vision, or the habit of turning green, they strive to bring our society to all-new heights. These four Boston-based heroes are pretty super:
CARMEN ORTIZ, U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
History: In November 2009, at the nomination of President Obama, Ortiz became the first woman and the first Hispanic to represent Massachusetts as U.S. Attorney. From her post, her main priorities are matters of terrorism and national security, civil rights, and the reduction of violent and white collar crime.
Accomplishments: Though the cases began under the watch of her predecessor, Ortiz has overseen prosecutions for some of the city’s most notoriously corrupt: former speaker Salvatore DiMasi, former state senator Dianne Wilkerson, and former Boston city councilor Chuck Turner. She also oversaw the successful prosecution of alleged Al Qaeda supporter Tarek Mehanna late last year. The next villain on her list? Alleged mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his moll, Catherine Greig.
Superpowers: Unending perseverance, intellect, and an unadulterated taste for justice.
RICH MINER, PARTNER, GOOGLE VENTURES
History: Miner first joined forces with tech juggernaut Google when the company bought Android, the mobile platform company that he cofounded in the early 2000s. Seeing as close to 200,000 Android-powered devices are now sold each day, cofounding the company should be accomplishment enough, but not for a mind like Miner’s. Now the East Coast partner for Google Ventures, he searches the tech world for tomorrow’s hottest product and bestows upon it a hefty, Google-endorsed check.
Accomplishments: Thanks to Miner, Boston has been on Google’s map since he started Google Ventures in 2009. Based in Cambridge’s own tech hotspot, Kendall Square, Ventures has funded today’s most promising upstarts, including Recorded Future, English Central, Scvngr, and HubSpot.
Superpowers: Fiscal ambition, intelligent integrity, and the ability to foresee the next tech trends.
ROBERT KRAFT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
History: A Brookline, Mass., native, Kraft has always been a Northeast man and a champion of all things New England. He attended Columbia University on an academic scholarship, and went on to Harvard Business School for his Masters. He bought the Patriots in 1994.
Accomplishments: Under Kraft, the Pats have won three Super Bowls, five conference championships, and eight division championships, in addition to being playoff qualifiers a whopping 10 times. And he’s not only credited for saving the then-floundering Pats. When the nation’s most popular sport was caught in limbo last year, Kraft was one of the key owners who got the league and its labor dispute back in check.
Superpowers: Business genius and sports savvy.
JOHN FISH, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION
Boston’s Builder and Rebuilder
History: Following in the footsteps of his father, John Fish has been at the helm of Suffolk Construction for the better part of 30 years.
Accomplishments: Fish has turned Suffolk into the largest builder in New England and one of the nation’s most successful — it was recently ranked No. 29 by Engineering News Record. He’s currently overseeing the major construction in Downtown Crossing, and his other notable works include the convention center, the cardiovascular center at Brigham and Women’s, and the cancer research center at MIT. Plus, Fish is as philanthropic as he is business savvy – he’s acting Chairman of the Red & Blue Foundation, Suffolk’s non-profit initiative.
Superpowers: Dogged visionary, helping those in need.
Which Boston heroes do you think should be on this list?