Power 2016: Family Ties

It takes more than money to build a dynasty. You need multiple generations of wisdom and work ethic to transform humble beginnings into powerful bloodlines. In business, real estate, politics, and more, these are the families shaping our city and our lives.

—Real Estate Development—

The Mugars
Mugar Enterprises

The Mugars shine brightly in the Boston firmament, and have for around a century, starting in the 1910s, when Armenian immigrant Stephen Mugar transformed his father’s grocery store into the wildly successful Star Market chain. To this day, the family name is emblazoned on landmarks all over town—even kids recognize it from field trips to the Museum of Science’s Mugar Omni Theater. Heirs David and Carolyn have continued their father’s philanthropy: She’s executive director of the Cambridge nonprofit Farm Aid, and he’s the head of Mugar Enterprises, which has spearheaded countless charitable efforts. One of the most iconic, of course, is the Fourth of July Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which David, 77, has produced for the past 42 years. This summer’s tribute on the Esplanade will be bittersweet, as it will be his last before he retires.

—Real estate—

The Palandjians
Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation

Founded in 1959 as a construction company by Armenian immigrant Petros Palandjian, Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation now has a major hand in property and investment management, with more than $6 billion in institutional real estate assets and a portfolio that extends from coast to coast. Today, the company is run by the eldest of Petros’s sons, chairman and CEO Peter, who bought controlling interest from his brother, Paul, a decade ago. Younger brother Leon runs Intercontinental’s hedge fund and public real estate portfolio. Representing the third generation, Peter’s daughter Manon oversees marketing and communications for the family biz. Peter credits the firm’s success—and its enduring commitment to employee quality of life—to the standard his father set long ago. “My dad loved people,” Peter says. “He saw a magic in them, almost to a fault sometimes. My father set a culture that, 57 years later, still permeates the company.”


The Shields Family
Shields Health Care Group

In a time of skyrocketing out-of-pocket medical expenses, the Shields’ long-standing approach to healthcare—creating outpatient clinics that offer critical services at lower costs—is being hailed as visionary. Since 1972, the Shields Health Care Group has grown from its humble nursing-home roots into an expansive dialysis center and now into one of the largest independent medical-imaging companies in the Northeast, offering regional MRI, PET/CT scanning, and radiation oncology services that are more affordable and accessible than they are at major city hospitals. When founder and lifelong philanthropist Thomas Shields died in April 2015, his kids, Thomas and Carmel, took the reins and set out to expand his legacy: They expect to add seven new locations this year to the 30 already operating in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.


The Tatelmans
Jordan’s Furniture

Where else can you walk into a store to watch an IMAX blockbuster and leave with a $5,000 dining room set? At Jordan’s, the Tatelmans revolutionized “shoppertainment”—and if you ask CEO and president Eliot Tatelman, the secret was crafting a brand with a huge personality. Four decades ago, Eliot and his brother, Barry, took over the business that their grandfather had started in 1918 by selling chairs out of his truck. Their quirky promotion strategy—built on zany TV ads and in-store gimmicks such as the Motion Odyssey Movie thrill ride—soon catapulted the company to New England stardom. Though Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway now owns Jordan’s, Eliot and his two sons still man the helm (Barry left to produce Broadway musicals). And they’re still inventing new ways to lure consumers into their brick-and-mortars: The latest store, in New Haven, Connecticut, houses the world’s largest indoor adventure ropes course.


The Turners
Turner’s Seafood

In New England, power and seafood go hand in hand—for proof, just look at the Sacred Cod, that ancient emblem of Massachusetts’ fishing history hanging in the State House. But in the 1980s, the centuries-old industry took a hit because of tighter regulations. Sensing opportunity, John Turner took the business that his father started at the Boston Fish Pier in 1920 and created a new wholesaler in Gloucester designed to accommodate tighter supplies and stricter regulations. Now John’s sons (and their wives) run the Turner’s Seafood operation, which includes their own restaurants in Melrose and, most recently, at Salem’s storied Lyceum Hall. “There’s a historic element to who we are,” says co-owner Jim Turner. “Our heritage goes back that far. We can help define what that New England historic seafood experience looks like and feels like and tastes like.”


The Vasallos
El Mundo Boston

When Cuban exile Alberto Vasallo Jr. started New England’s largest Latino newspaper, El Mundo Boston, in 1972, he wasn’t thinking, This is the beginning of my media dynasty. Yet when his son, Alberto III, became president and CEO of the weekly paper in 2012, it cemented the family as a lasting voice for the bilingual and bicultural community in what is now a majority-minority city. Among the many initiatives the Vasallos continue to spearhead is the El Mundo Latino Family Festival, held each year at Fenway.


Elizabeth Williams, President and CEO, Roxbury Technology Corporation After following in her father’s footsteps for nearly 15 years, she’s taken her family business to new heights. / Photograph by Webb Chappell, Styling by Laura Dillon/Team


The Williams Family
Roxbury Technology Corporation

Archie Williams and his daughter Elizabeth always took risks. Fueled by his belief that creating neighborhood jobs was important to Roxbury’s development, Archie, a civil rights attorney, founded Roxbury Technology in 1994 and quickly seized on the emerging recycled-toner-cartridge business. When he died suddenly from a heart attack in 2002, Elizabeth stepped in as CEO, built a manufacturing plant in Hyde Park to make and distribute recycled toner cartridges, and cemented a partnership with Staples that helped quadruple the business’s sales to $16 million a year. When the roof of the company’s building collapsed under the weight of a massive snowfall in March 2015, she decided to take a chance on a new tech venture: LED lighting—a smart business move that dovetails nicely with General Electric’s migration to Boston.


From left, Donald, Andy, Madeline, Linda, Stanley, Bobby, and Lisa Wong are the stewards of Kowloon, the landmark Saugus restaurant. / Photograph by Jason Grow


The Wongs
Kowloon Restaurant

When generations of stars, from Jerry Seinfeld to Dane Cook, continue to roll into your restaurant, you know you’ve made it big. (Anne Hathaway even shot the bachelorette scene from Bride Wars here.) Since 1950, the Wong family has made an indelible mark on the area, expanding Kowloon from a decent place to grab an order of crab rangoon to an entertainment destination for comedy, music, and powerful tiki drinks. Donald, one of four brothers and two sisters who keep the family torch burning bright, even used the business to springboard into politics and now serves as a state legislator. Luckily, their 88-year-old mother, Madeline, still pops into the Saugus restaurant every week to keep an eye on things. “I will never be able to fill the shoes of my father and mother,” says her son Stanley. “They have gone beyond what I could ever imagine being able to do.”

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