Ian Coffey, of Albany, N.Y., speaks with spectators during round third of Brick Factor at the Boston Public Library. Credit: Jeremiah Robinson/Metro
A 26-year-old man with a gusto for Lego is leaving his job at the New York State Senate and building a colorful new future out of the popular plastic bricks.
"It's a very drastic change," said Ian Coffey, whose enthusiasm for LEGOs is impressive to say the least.
The Albany, N.Y., resident was the winner of a two-day Brick Factor building competition at the Boston Public Library, put on by LegoLand Discovery Center.
More than 60 Lego enthusiasts put their skills and creativity to the test Saturday over multiple rounds of construction challenges. Coffey was one of 10 to make it to Sunday's finals. With his victory comes a full-time, salaried job as a Lego Master Model Builder.
"When they called my name and my number, I was elated. I thought, 'How could this be happening to me?' I’m so happy," Coffey said of the win.
"I've always loved building with Lego bricks. They're incredible. My basement is covered with Legos. It’s a Lego city with Lego skyscrapers."
Indeed, that's a lot of Legos.
Clinching the win: Coffey's Lego rendition of "Toy Story" characters Buzz and Woody; Winter Olympic ski jumps and a bob sled; and an easel "painting" of him and his dog.
In two weeks, Coffey will relocate to the Hub and start training for his new job at LegoLand Discovery Center Boston, which opens in May at Assembly Row in Somerville. Part of his responsibilities will include constructing new features, exhibitions and models at the 44,000-square-foot center, which will be the first and only attraction of its kind in New England.
"Honestly, this has been my dream job forever. I applied to [The Lego Group] in Denmark when I was first out of college, but didn't hear back," said Coffey. "So when I heard of this opportunity, bells and whistles went off, and I said, 'This is it.'"