Albany 40 Under 40 alumni

The 2008 Albany 40 Under 40 reunion
The 2008 Albany 40 Under 40 reunion
Sasha Maslov; submitted; Celeste Sloman; Sean Presley
Rep. Grace Meng [top left]; Rich Azzopardi [bottom left]; Melissa DeRosa [center]; Marc Molinaro [right].
40 under 40

Albany 40 Under 40 alumni

After 10 years, we look back at some standouts from our earliest classes.

Ten years ago, City & State’s predecessor, The Capitol, honored its first class of Albany Rising Stars. We asked all 40 of them everyone’s least favorite interview question: “Five years from now, what’s it going to say on your business card?”

Here’s a look at some of those early honorees, along with where they said they’re going … and where they really went.


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Rich Azzopardi
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Rich Azzopardi
Title Text: 
Rich Azzopardi
Description: 
Rich Azzopardi
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz [then]; Submitted photo [now]
Rich Azzopardi

Then (2009): Director of communications, state Sen. Craig Johnson

In 5 years? “I am happy where I am and hope to remain director of communications for Senator Craig Johnson, or possibly Ambassador Craig Johnson.”

Now: Johnson lost the district to Jack Martins in 2010. That didn’t stop Azzopardi, who’s now Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bulldog spokesman.


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Nick Confessore
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Nick Confessore
Title Text: 
Nick Confessore
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Nick Confessore
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz [then]; Courtesy The New York Times [now]
Nicholas Confessore

Then (2009): Albany reporter, The New York Times

In 5 years? “Given the state of the newspaper business, I’d be delighted if it said the same thing as now.”

Now: He’s on the national desk, breaking stories you’ve probably read on Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s Cabinet and more.


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Grace Meng
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Grace Meng
Title Text: 
Grace Meng
Description: 
Grace Meng
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz [then]; Sasha Maslov [now]
Grace Meng

Then (2009): Assemblywoman

In 5 years? “Hopefully I’ll still be working in the state Legislature – unless I get a fortunate break, like Senator Gillibrand.”

Now: She got that break after all, as a member of New York’s congressional delegation.


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Marc Molinaro
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Marc Molinaro
Title Text: 
Marc Molinaro
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz [then]; Sean Pressley [now]
Marc Molinaro

Then (2009): Assemblyman

In 5 years? “Hopefully, ‘Employed.’”

Now: The Dutchess County executive is the GOP’s pick to challenge Andrew Cuomo – or Cynthia Nixon – for governor this year.


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Jose Peralta
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Jose Peralta
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Jose Peralta
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz [then]; Mike Groll [now]
Jose Peralta

Then (2010): State senator

In 5 years? “Mr. Borough President of Queens.”

Now: After joining the now-disbanded IDC, the state senator isn’t exactly Mr. Popularity in Queens, with some fellow borough lawmakers even endorsing his opponent, Jessica Ramos.


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Melissa DeRosa
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Melissa DeRosa
Title Text: 
Melissa DeRosa
Description: 
Melissa DeRosa
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz [then]; Celeste Sloman [now]
Melissa DeRosa

Then (2010): New York state director, Organizing for America

In 5 years? “Hopefully, it still says, ‘Organizing For America, NY State Director.’”

Now: She left soon after for the state attorney general’s office. Now she’s secretary to the governor, and arguably the most powerful woman in New York.


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Greg Ball in 2009
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Greg Ball in 2009
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Greg Ball in 2009
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Greg Ball in 2009
Description: 
Greg Ball in 2009
Image Credit: 
Andrew Schwartz/The Capitol
Greg Ball

Then (2009): Assemblyman

In 5 years? “Hopefully, U.S. House of Representatives. We’ll see in 2010.”

Now: Ball became a state senator, but then dropped out of politics altogether – after City & State reported he spent $23,000 in campaign cash on clothes.

City & State
20180922