Update: Megan Quigley, a Lego fan and amateur builder extraordinaire, won this past weekend’s Brick Factor competition. A panel of judges chose Quigley, 26, to become the Legoland Discovery Center Boston’s newest Master Builder. Metro spoke to Quigley last week about her passion for the building blocks.
Fifteen of the area’s most passionate amateur Lego builders will get a shot at the big leagues this weekend.
For the second time, the Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville will hold a competitive build-off on Saturday to pick its next Master Model Builder, a job title whose awesomeness the kid in all of us can appreciate.
“It’s the best and most exciting job interview that no one else does in the world,” said David Gilmore, general manager for the building block-inspired mini-amusement park. “We think it’s a great way to find the attributes we’re looking for.”
Entrants, handpicked through an application process, will compete against one another to build the most impressive model in 30 minutes, based on a randomly selected theme. Then, the top five square off for the top spot. "Brick Factor" is what they're calling the contest.
The position of Master Builder opened up when the most recent one, who worked previously in the New York State Senate, left for another job. He won a similar build-off in 2014 at the Boston Public Library.
The job requirements include designing, building and maintaining the center's many models, big and small, while alsointeracting with kids at the center. Remember, this is the placethat features a giant, intricate replica of Fenway Park.
The competition is steep in Boston, with its flock of college grads and reputation for churning out engineers, Gilmore said. There is also a pretty high concentration of Lego stores in the area, with mall locations in Natick, Burlington, Braintree and Peabody.
“We have the biggest contingency of adult fans of Lego” in the country, he said.
One of them is Megan Quigley, 26, a Legoland staff member and building block ultra-fan who said she’s been working with the toys, at the pro and amateur level, her whole life.
It started with her first pile of blocks as a child (technically they were Mega Bloks, a competitor). Later, as a teen, she built a to-scale Lego model of her house.
Her Lego resume is long. She has worked at the Lego Store in the Burlington Mall, taught Lego afterschool classes and hosted Lego birthday parties for a Tyngsboro company called Brickapalooza.
In her time off, Quigley said she and her fiance unwind by piecing together intricate models — their bookshelf, she said, boasts a “Star Wars” Super Star Destroyer (which sells for $940 on Amazon and is 4 feet long), a three-piece town square set, a “Back to the Future” DeLorean and the Mystery Machine from “Scooby Doo.”
“We build all the time,” she said. “We get sets and we do date nights when we have enough money to splurge.”
Smart money says she places high on Saturday, though she does have a competitive advantage — after all, the judges for the contest are three of her bosses: the center’s general, marketing and operations managers.
“I still need to compete. That was made very clear,” she said
The first round is scheduled to happen indoors, meaning spectators will need to bring a child with them and pay for admission to get in, but the finals are a free-to-all spectacle in Assembly Row, across the street from Legoland’s 20-foot giraffe.
In other Legonews, LegoEducation North America, the part of the company that makes toys geared toward classrooms, planns to move its headquarters to Boston soon, Mayor Marty Walsh announced in a speech to the business community on Thursday.
"Lego Education North America selected Boston based on the city’s reputation for growing world-renowned education companies, its unique education industry ecosystem and the unmatched education partner network," said Colin Gillespie, the Lego off-shoot's president, in a statement.
This article has been corrected to reflect the following facts: there were 15 contestants in this past weekend's Brick Factor build-off, and Ian Coffey, former Master Builder for the Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville, worked previously in the New York State Senate. Coffey was a desk clerk.