My journey to this endeavor began when I migrated from Athens, Greece in 1974 with my father George, my mother Maria and my sister Dimitra. We settled into a two bedroom apartment on Washington Street in Lynn. My family and I lived there for about a year before we moved to Vine Street. Both of my parents were factory workers. Both my parents took second jobs to make ends meet. Dad worked at Star Sportswear and Mom worked at Domenico’s like so many immigrants did. These times taught me the value of hard work and humility. Regardless of what else was going on, Sundays were spent at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. It was the most important day of the week and it provided a community for my family. Suit and tie, no options. I sang in the Church choir with my sister and, unbeknownst to me, the girl who would eventually become my wife, Linda Spyropoulos (we were seven years old when we met!)
In 1978, only four years after moving to the United States, my parents bought their first home in West Lynn. My family and I grew up in that home on 42 Robinson Street. My brother Peter was born in 1975. We called him our “little American.” We all attended Sacred Heart School. It is awe inspiring as I look back on this time and realize that my family represented the “American Dream.” This dream is something that I will constantly strive to honor and reinvigorate as much as possible by pursuing a role in public service.
In 1981, my family opened up our first restaurant on the Lynnway called Harbor Beef and Seafood across from the Connery Skating Rink. I recall my father having his first of two heart attacks while working there. I also recall having to work the restaurant with my mother and older sister while my father was in intensive care. It was a pivotal moment in my family’s life and my own. I observed the strength of a close knit family and also learned the true meaning of hard work.
1984 was a big year for me and my family. We purchased a popular eatery named John’s Roast Beef on Western Avenue in Lynn and have owned it ever since. This is when I entered St. Mary’s along with my sister, Dimitra. I began playing soccer as a freshman but later turned to football to play with my friends and ended up as the starting nose tackle on varsity in my senior year. The educational and social experiences I had there mean so much to me even today.
In 1988 I entered St. Joseph College in Rutland, Vermont. During my freshman year I was elected class president. Sophomore year I walked on to play varsity soccer for the Saints and in my senior year I was named Co-Captain with my best friend, Jim Van Note, who I’m still close with today. I majored in political science and Diplomatic History and graduated in 1992.
A month after graduation I began an internship with then State Representative Chip Clancy. Three months later I was able to work for the Committee of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Senior Research Analyst. My responsibilities were overseeing a transportation bond bill, Chapter 90 Fund, Mass Highway Department and MBTA legislation.
In 1995, I began working for Sverdrup Civil, Inc., an engineering and design firm credited for The “Ted Williams” Third Harbor Tunnel, Old Colony Railroad Project and the Central Artery Project.
In 1998 I purchased the family business from my parents when they decided to retire. That same year I married my childhood friend, Linda. In the year 2000 Linda and I had our first child named Maria “Mia.” She was named after my mother. And in 2003, we were greeted by a New Year’s Baby boy, George, named for my dad.
In July 2005, my family and I experienced a tragic fire that burned our business to the ground. I never felt more helpless and demoralized. It was my wife and my family, especially my brother that gave me the strength to keep it together and keep moving forward. The family business is more than a home. To me it was the community’s home. I was overwhelmed with the support from the Lynn community. I had to start from scratch. Without the help of the Mayor’s office and EDIC I wouldn’t have been able to rebuild. But, rebuild I did. Within nine months we were up and running and the Lynn landmark continues to serve the community.
It was the tragic fire that inspired me to get more involved in the community.
In 2006, in cooperation with legendary Sports TV Host John Hofmann I began an annual awards program for outstanding Lynn high school athletes. We teamed up with Kevin Harrington of Harrington Trophy to expand the Banquet to the City’s top 100 Athlete’s. In 2013 I received the Agganis Community Service Award in connection with this work.
I have served as Vice Chairman of My Brother’s Table, a group that I hold in high regard for its mission. In 2012 I received The Knights of Malta Award from My Brothers Table. In that same year I became the Vice Chairman of My Brothers Table.
In 2012 I was also appointed to the Off-Street Parking Commission where I served as Chairman until 2014.
In 2013 I was named Vice Chairman of the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce and then went on to serve as Chairman of the Board from 2014 and 2015. My time with the Chamber was one of the most rewarding and educational experiences that I have had throughout my whole career.
I am now turning my focus to a larger goal of representing the community at-large as an elected official on the City Council. I want to use my experiences as an immigrant and small business owner, as well as what I learn through my civic engagement efforts towards bettering the community that has given my family and I so much. I look forward to meeting the various groups in the city to learn about their concerns and what is important to move us forward. I believe that Lynn is an important community of hard working, diverse people and I would be honored by the chance to serve it as a councilor at large.