Public Matters - Class of 2012


CHERYL AMEY was Associate Executive Director for Workforce Development at Community Teamwork, Inc. when she participated in Public Matters. Prior to joining CTI, Cheryl worked on welfare-to-work issues at the national level. She served as executive director of an anti-hunger agency in North Carolina that sponsored the first interfaith, interracial food pantry in that part of the South. That position led to Cheryl’s work at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. She joined CTI in 2008 and has worked to prepare individuals for economic opportunities and to strengthen local businesses by laying the foundation for a new workforce development division. Cheryl is the author and co-author of a number of works on the subject of entry-level workforce investment initiatives, family homelessness, and health insurance and the working poor. Cheryl is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (B.A.) and the University of Florida (Ph.D.). 

Public Matters - Class of 2012

Public Matters - Class of 2012

MARK E. AUGUSTYNIAK is Project Manager at Watermark Environmental, Inc. Mark has more than 13 years of experience in the construction and operation of commercial and residential facilities for federal, state, municipal, and private sector clients. In 2010, Mark founded the Young Professionals of Watermark to provide his colleagues with professional, social, and community connections. The group has participated in numerous professional development initiatives (Young Professionals of Greater Lowell [YPGL] Expert Roundtable; YPGL Business Leadership Forum; and monthly meetings of the Licensed Site Professional Association) and community service events (Salvation Army “Ringing the Bell;” Coats for Kids; and Habitat for Humanity). In 2011, Mark was also named Chair of the Environmental, Safety and Quality Committee at Watermark. Mark is a graduate of Framingham State College with a degree in geography and environmental studies. He lives in Tewksbury.

CONOR BALDWIN is the Chief Financial Officer for the City Of Lowell. In 2012, Conor was the Personnel Assistant in the Office of Human Relations for the City of Lowell. Conor is a graduate of UMass Lowell master’s program in the Economic and Social Development of Regions. As part of his graduate work, Conor researched and assisted in the implementation of the LowellSTAT, a performance based management system. Following graduation, he worked at Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), a non-profit community action program where he settled disputes and improved communication between tenants and landlords in Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester. Conor has held his current position since 2010. He has volunteered for the Lowell Film Festival, the Lowell Folk Festival, and Lowell Special Olympics. Conor is a graduate of UMass Lowell (B.A. and M.A.). He lives in Billerica.

RICHARD BAUMMER was Senior Project Manager at Nobis Engineering in 2012. He was responsible for business development in Massachusetts for the Civil Resource Center (CRC) and management of all CRC projects in Massachusetts. Nobis provides integrated civil, environmental, and geotechnical engineering services for federal, state, municipal, institutional, and private sectors. Richard worked with Nobis clients and the staff members of Lowell’s Planning and Development and the Public Works departments to secure approvals and to realize projects. Richard is a licensed professional engineer and holds professional affiliations with a number of state and national engineering organizations. Prior to moving from the area, Richard was a member of both the Greater Lowell and Merrimack Valley Chambers of Commerce. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland (B.A.) and The Johns Hopkins University (M.S., Urban Planning). 

SANSRA BRINQUINHO is an Assistant Vice President and Commercial Lending Officer at Enterprise Bank. She began her career in consumer banking in the late 90s and currently manages a significant portfolio in commercial loans. Sandra holds a professional affiliation with Young Professionals Committee RMA New England, a subgroup of the Risk Management Association, New England Chapter. The committee offers its New England members (junior to mid-level bankers and other financial services professionals) training opportunities, networking venues, and exposure to senior level individuals in their respective industries. Sandra has served on the board of directors for a number of nonprofit organizations and helped to create the Portuguese-American Network. Sandra is bilingual and bi-cultural. She is currently working on establishing a group called Portuguese-American Moms to ensure that the Portuguese language and culture is preserved and enjoyed. She is on the YMCA Board of Directors, serving on their finance committee. A graduate of UMass Lowell, she lives in Tewksbury.

DIANA (DIANE) BUJNOWSKI was the Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Lowell from 1999 to 2012.  She completed a Professional Development Program which included work in finance and budgeting, human resources, collective bargaining/labor laws, leadership skills, communications, and performance management. Diane was active in the following organizations and programs: Advisory Board Member for Community Teamwork, Inc.’s Senior’s Program; Advisory Board Member for the Greater Lowell Technical High School; and member of the Board of Directors of the Lowell Employee Municipal Credit Union. Among her considerable community volunteer positions is her involvement in City of Lights Parade; Winterfest; Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce; and March of Dimes. Diane is a graduate of Middlesex Community College and lives in Hudson, N.H.

ERIN CAPLES is the Stewardship Officer in the Office of University Advancement at UMass Lowell. Prior to working at the University, Erin was Program Manager, Community and Business Development, for Saints Medical Center. Among her many roles and responsibilities, Erin served as hospital liaison to Greater Lowell community partners, targeting vulnerable populations. She produced events responsible for bringing 80 percent of all community participants to the Medical Center and managed all aspects of Community Benefit program including strategic planning, implementation and reporting. Erin recruited and formed Hospital and Women's Center Patient Family advisory councils. She developed a Medical Center Social Media Strategic Plan. She creates and manages all Saints Medical Center content (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog), increasing Twitter followers by 300 percent since June 2011. The Facebook monthly active users figure increases on a average of 30 percent monthly. Erin volunteers on a number of committees through her work with the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, Lowell Women's Week, Downtown Business Committee, and Girls Inc. She is a new appointment on the Board of Directors of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce. Erin received her bachelor's  and master's degrees from UMass Lowell. She lives in Dracut. 

MEALEA CHAN-POLACRI works for LAER Realty Partners. She was a Mortgage Loan Officer at First Eastern Mortgage, a Division of First Federal Savings Bank of Boston and worked at Eastern Bank in Lowell. Mealea was also Director of Community Investments at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and as Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants. Mealea was a keynote speaker at the 2012 W.I.S.E. (Women Inspiring Success and Empowerment) event, sponsored by the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce. Among the many nonprofit organizations in which Mealea is involved are: Greater Lowell Chamber, Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership, and the Asian American Civic Association. Mealea is a newly appointed member of the Citizen Advisory Committee for the City of Lowell’s Planning and Development Department and has begun to assist Lowell General Hospital with community outreach efforts. She arrived in the United States as a refugee from Cambodia in 1981 and is a graduate of Boston Latin Academy and Wellesley College. Mealea lives and works in Lowell.

SAM GLAVINE is Owner/Operator at Samson Concrete Construction, Inc. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in electronic media, arts, and communication. He continued his studies in film and photography at Maine Media Workshops. Sam received a graduate certificate in sustainable design from Boston Architectural College and followed that with his LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accreditation. Groups and associations in which he is involved include: Boston Society of Architects/AIA; BSA Building Enclosure Council; BuildBlock Building Systems; and Sustainable Construction and Planning. While a resident of Tyngsboro, Sam joined that community’s Economic Development Committee. Sam is an active participant at the Lowell Green Drinks Chapter and the Lowell Green Building Council. He lives in Lowell.

LIANNA KUSHI is the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), whose mission is to improve economic and social vitality in the cities of Lowell and Lawrence and their surrounding towns.  While participating in Public Matters, Lianna was a Program Associate at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox Initiative, a project of the Deshpande Foundation to develop and enhance an innovation ecosystem in the cities of the Merrimack Valley, with particular focus on Lowell and Lawrence.  Lianna also worked as communications coordinator for COOL (Cultural Organizations of Lowell) and as program coordinator for the Revolving Museum. Before working in Lowell, Lianna was a staff assistant at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University working with the Program on US-Japan Relations. Lianna is fluent in Japanese and has translated the work of the Zainichi Korean poet Park Kyong-Mi in two publications: 17 Artists of Soup (2010); and Selected Works by Park Kyong-Mi (2007). She is a contributing author in Voices Wandered: An Anthology of Poetry and Art by Asian American Youth (2006). Lianna is on the Board of Directors of the Revolving Museum and the Angkor Dance Troupe. She is a graduate of Smith College (B.A.) and UMass Lowell (M.A.). Lianna is a Lowell resident.

REBECCA LOFGREN is an aquatic ecologist at Mount Rainer National Park. In 2012, Rebecca was a Park Ranger at Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP) and worked at the Tsongas Industrial History Center (TIHC). Her primary responsibility was to teach children in grades three to eight about the Industrial Revolution and its effect on history, society, and the environment. Additional responsibilities included developing curriculum and representing LNHP and TIHC at meetings and public events like the Lowell Folk Festival. She assisted the TIHC in its 20th anniversary celebration by implementing a number of initiatives. In 2011, Rebecca completed training in the National Park Service’s Operational Leadership and Fundamentals 1-3. Prior to coming to Lowell, Rebecca worked as a Student Career Experience Program Park Ranger at Mississippi National Recreation Area, where she collaborated on the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures , a partnership between the NPS, Wilderness Inquiry , and the Mississippi River Fund. Rebecca is a graduate of Iowa State University (B.S.) and the University of Minnesota (M.Ed.). 

MARIANN O'BRIEN is Assistant Vice President of Branch Operations for Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. She is the co-leader of the credit union’s largest division, overseeing 90 employees in seven locations. Mariann is responsible for the systems, policies, and procedures for the Retail Department; oversees the daily operations of the Member Service Center; and the IRA Department. Her professional background includes Principles of Banking, Customer Satisfaction, Principles of Management, Project Planning and Control, Creative Problem Solving, and Total Quality Management. Mariann is very involved in community activities. She regularly volunteers with the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, participating in their semi-annual food collection drive. She takes part in various charity events including local heart and cancer walks. Mariann is active in the Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s “We Share a Common Thread” Foundation. She lives in Lowell.

KERRY OLSON is the Chief of Interpretation, Education and Engagement at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Santa Monica, CA . In 2012, Kerry was the Chief of Interpretation for Lowell National Historical Park. She planned, developed, coordinated, managed, and evaluated all aspects of the park’s interpretation program, which included visitor services, tours, living history and trolley operations.  She was tasked with building lasting partnerships and providing leadership as the primary liaison in activities with Lowell’s nonprofit, for profit, and community organizations. She came to Lowell from North Cascades National Park Complex where she was Acting Chief of Interpretation and Education and Stehekin District Interpreter. She started her Park Service career as a seasonal Park Ranger at that park. Kerry holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Dakota, a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota., and has completed courses toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of North Dakota.

DAVID OUELLETTE is a Health Inspector for the City of Lowell. Dave’s previous position was the Housing Quality Inspector for Community Teamwork, Inc (CTI). CTI's mission is to assist low-income people to become self-sufficient, to alleviate the effects of poverty, and to assist low-income people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. Dave has been deeply involved in Lowell for many years. He currently serves on the Real Estate Committee for the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA). In 2010, Dave formed the Acre Coalition to Improve Our Neighborhood (ACTION) and acted as resident team leader for the CBA’s staff and Acre residents to attend the NeighborWorks America: Community Leadership Institute. The Institute is an invitation-only training event that aims to strengthen the voices and skills of community, resident, and volunteer leaders. Dave served as President of the Passé-Temps Club and volunteered as a Lowell Cemetery Commissioner. At 17 years old, Dave designed and patented The Old Milltown, the first board game with Lowell as its subject. He is a lifelong Lowell resident.

JANELLE PEREZ is the Health Benefits and Registration Manager for the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC). Janelle began her work at LCHC in 1998. Her positions have included outreach, managed care administration, and financial counseling. Each new position has been the result of a promotion with increased responsibility. Her professional titles include Department Manager, Medical Interpreter, and Community Health Worker. Her extensive knowledge of the healthcare system and the ever-evolving health insurance system make it possible for a broad community to have access to healthcare. She is currently leading a work group charged with developing a new staffing and operational model for the health center’s new facility. Janelle earned a certificate in Community Health and Health Center Management from Suffolk University and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, and she is a certified Spanish Medical Interpreter. Janelle lives in Lowell.

COREY SCIUTO is a software engineer at Constant Contact in Waltham, where he works on the Web Services platform. Constant Contact helps over a half million small businesses, associations, and non-profits communicate with their customers/members. His interests in the software industry are matched by his enthusiasm for Lowell. As a first-year board member of the Lowell Historical Society (LHS), Corey re-launched the LHS’s website, published the Society’s first blog, and established a LHS presence on Facebook. Since 2006, Corey has shared his photography and knowledge of Lowell history on his blog ( He covers topics on sustainability, transit, economic development, urban culture, and design. Corey authored many of the Lowell-related posted on Wikipedia. He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

LYDIA SISSON is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Mill City Grows, a nonprofit organization that fosters food justice by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education. In 2012, Lydia was the owner and farm manager at Luna Farm in North Reading, a five-acre vegetable farm. She managed a field crew and volunteers and produces vegetables for a Farmer’s Market and for wholesale to local cooperative CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). As the sole proprietor of a local business, Lydia managed staff, business development, communications, and accounting. As part of her graduate degree in The Economic and Social Development of Regions at UMass Lowell, Lydia was a research assistant at COOL where she is developing a Pop-Up Gallery program and at the Lowell Food Security Coalition, where she facilitated a Community Food Assessment. Lydia volunteered a considerable amount of time as a consultant to both Lowell Sprouts and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. She is a founding member of the Food Security Coalition and is a member of Eastern Massachusetts Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT).While a student at Vassar College, Lydia completed an independent research project on agriculture and the Landless Workers Movement at the School for International Training, Belém, Para, Brazil. Lydia lives in Lowell.

LOUIE SOARES is an Assistant Vice President/Bank Manager at Workers Credit Union in Westford. He uses organizational, social, business development and managerial skills to guide those in need of professional banking assistance. Louie has extensive banking experience and has worked to have a strong community presence in each of the positions he has held. He has received numerous sales and customer service awards. Louie has been a volunteer for many groups, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce; a BNI Member; and a subcommittee member of many initiatives of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce. He received a non-profit organization certificate from the Jericho Road Project. Individuals are selected for the Jericho Road program based on their demonstrated leadership qualities and the belief that they have the potential to play prominent roles in strengthening their community. Louie is a graduate of UMass Lowell and the New England College of Finance. He is a Methuen resident.

CRAIG THOMAS is the Director of Real Estate for the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), a membership-based community development corporation dedicated to resident empowerment and sustainable community revitalization for current and future residents of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley. The CBA promotes healthy, vibrant neighborhoods by developing resident leaders, affordable housing and economic opportunities, and by responding to community needs through collective action. In 2012, Craig was the Assistant Planner for the City of Lowell’s Department of Planning and Development. Craig provided professional support and land development expertise to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Conservation Commission. To assist the Master Plan update process, Craig facilitated public visioning sessions, refined a phone survey, and created a residential development projection. He also administered an energy efficiency program in partnership with the Lowell Development and Financial Corporation. As a graduate student in UMass Lowell’s regional development program, Craig worked as a research assistant on a National Park-funded assessment of modern immigration to Lowell. This work required creating original content and documenting oral histories. As a result of this work, Craig contributed to two publications, An Ethnographic Study of Lowell and The Big Move: Voices from a Mill City. Craig helped found and assists in the management of a young men’s support group for adolescent males in the North Common public housing development. He is investigating opportunities to replicate similar programming citywide. Craig graduated from Wesleyan University (B.A.) and UMass Lowell (M.A.). He lives in Lowell.

ANGELA VINCENT is the Economic Development Planner at Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC). With offices in Haverhill, the organization's mission is to foster a cooperative effort among its communities in resolving common, regional problems, to allow its communities to plan jointly, and to promote with the greatest efficiency and economy the coordinated and orderly development of the region and the general welfare of its residents. The MVPC joined Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (NMCOG) in April 2011 as the Municipal Management Specialist. Angela assists communities in regionalizing service delivery and in developing municipal partnerships. Her work currently includes: developing the Lowell Green Restaurant Certification Program, researching shared services and networks for Public Works Departments, and investigating the feasibility of a Regional Emergency Communications Center.  Angela joined NMCOG after working three years at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, where she was the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. Prior to that, Angela worked as a planner in Nashua for the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and for the City of Nashua’s Planning Department, where she focused on environmental, land use, transportation and energy planning. In her spare time, Angela serves on the Board of Directors of the American Planning Association and volunteers with the Lowell Community Gardens Greenhouse. She also maintains active membership in many professional organizations. The following is a selected list of organizations in which Angela is involved: Coordinating Committee for the APA Sustainability Community Planning; American Planning Association; and Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association. Angela is a graduate of Western Washington University (B.A.) and Antioch New England University (M.S.).