Public Matters - Class of 2015
SEREY CHEA is Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager for Eastern Bank in Dracut. Serey began working for Eastern Bank as Branch Manager of their Wilmington Branch. She has more than 18 years of banking experience. Prior to joining Eastern Bank, she worked in various positions at MASSBANK in Tewksbury, Chelmsford and Lowell. Serey focuses on customer service; employee management; business/consumer checking accounts, and loans (equity lines, auto loans, and personal). She studied Business Management at Middlesex Community College and New England College of Finance. She is an active member of Business Network Int’l (BNI). Her extensive volunteer experience includes annual participation in the food drive with the Manolis Family Foundation in Tewksbury, Dracut and Lowell; the Lowell General Team Walk for Cancer; March of Dimes; and Habitat for Humanity. For the last three years, Serey has spent Christmas Day with senior citizens at the Billerica Senior Center as part of People Helping People. She received an Above and Beyond Award in 2012 from the Greater Lowell Boys and Girls Club. Serey, fluent in Khmer, grew up in Lowell and is committed to ensuring its success as a mid-sized city. She lives in Dracut.
YUN JU-CHOI is Executive Director of the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA). She provides leadership in building and sustaining a strong staff team that integrates community organizing, real estate development, and other departments into a coherent whole. Yun-Ju is also responsible for revenue development and fundraising activities, including cultivating and securing funds from private and public donors; ensuring that CBA s tax credit allocation is fully utilized; and generating revenue from a steady pipeline of real estate development projects. Prior to coming to Lowell, she was Managing Director of Programs and Operations for Madison Park Development Corporation in Roxbury, MA; Director of Donor Services for The Boston Foundation, Inc. ; Chief Program Officer, Lena Park Community Development Corp., Dorchester; and Vice President, Center of Health and Development, Boston. She received her undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree in management from Cambridge College. Yun-Ju lives in Pelham, NH.
LISA DeMEO is the Director of the Department of Public Works in Salisbury. In 2015, Lisa was Lowell’s City Engineer and Division Head in the Department of Public Works. She was responsible for the leadership and administration, both technical and supervisory, for all planning, organizing and directing of the operations of the City’s Engineering Division. As a municipal engineer, Lisa has experience in sewer construction; storm drainage; paving oversight; GIS; structural engineering; foundation design; and earth, dam and waterway design and site work. Before coming to work in Lowell, she was Tewksbury’s Town Engineer. She’s held positions in the private sector at Hancor in Findlay, Ohio; and at Lucent Technologies and AT&T in North Andover. Lisa is a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She holds a bachelor of science degree and a master of business administration from UMass Lowell. She is a member and director of several professional organizations. She is a former Chair of the Haverhill Historical Commission and a former member of the board of directors of the Haverhill Initiative. Lisa lives in Haverhill.
ERIN (FINDLEN) KOKINDA is the Marketing and Membership Coordinator for the Middlesex 3 Coalition, a regional partnership of nine Middlesex County Communities, Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Lexington, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough and Westford with the support of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. In 2015, Erin was the Economic Development Assistant in the City of Lowell Planning and Development Department. She provided assistance to companies and commercial developers including site selection, workforce development, small business loan programs and other technical assistance programs. Erin maintained internal (SiteFinder) and external (CoStar) commercial databases of over 200 available properties in the City of Lowell through outreach to brokers, property managers, and business owners and conducted real estate searches for an average of 80 prospective businesses yearly. She assisted prospective and new business owners in obtaining resources to start, market and drive success for their business. She assisted in creating and managing the City’s Twitter account, the Economic Development Office’s Facebook page and the City’s websites, Lowell.org and Lowellma.gov. Erin is an Assistant Coach with the Lowell Youth Soccer Association and is on the Board of Directors of Lowell Telecommunications Corp. She graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Erin lives in Wakefield.
GEOFF FOSTER is Director of Organizing and Policymaking at United Teen Equality Center (UTEC). He leads the “From the Streets to the State House” with three program focuses: social justice workshops; Lowell-based campaigns and candidate forums; and Teens Leading the Way—a statewide coalition of youth engaged in policymaking. He registered over 200 youth voters and led the Vote 17 Lowell effort to lower the voting age to 17. He planned the 2009, 2011, and 2013 Youth-Led City Council and School Committee Candidate Forums. He was a panelist at the 2012 Global Forum on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at the United Nations and was awarded the 2013 Youth Worker of the Year by Health Resources in Action. He volunteers for Double the Vote Lowell, FairVote Lowell Campaign and is a member of the Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Assoc. A graduate of UMass Lowell, Geoff lives in Lowell.
JULIA GAVIN is the Director of Programming 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. They promote healthy, vibrant neighborhoods by developing resident leaders, affordable housing and economic opportunities, and by responding to community needs through collective action. In 2015, Julia was a writer in the Office of University Affairs at UMass Lowell. She worked with faculty, administrators, students and alumni to communicate the University’s mission and news in articles, newsletters, brochures and online. Julia also worked as a writer and assistant for the University’s Center for Arts & Ideas. She was a freelance reporter of articles on Chelmsford and surrounding towns for Patch.com and a program administrator for the Cultural Organizations of Lowell (COOL). Julia has extensive volunteer involvement in Lowell’s visual arts community. She was instrumental in opening the Arts League of Lowell’s (ALL) new gallery and class space in the Gates Block. The space is now a well-established location for exhibitions, community events and educational programs. Julia is also active in Mill City Grows and the Lowell Humane Society. Julia lives in downtown Lowell.
STEVE GENDRON is East Coast Guru Supervisor for Brooks Sports, Inc., an American running company that designs and markets high-performance men's and women's running shoes, apparel and accessories in more than 40 countries worldwide. Steve’s region spans from New England to Florida. Prior to joining Brooks Sports, he worked for the Greater Boston Running Company in Lexington and held internships with the Boston Bruins and the Celtics. Steve is an active and competitive post-collegiate runner and is a member of Team RUN, a Lowell-based club that brings top running athletes from the area together to train and compete as a team. He is a graduate of Lowell High School and Bentley University. He attended UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management and was a member of their Sport Management Fellows Program.
DEIDRA HALEY is a Housemaster at Lowell High School. She started her career as a fifth grade teacher at the Robinson School and then was appointed assistant principal at the Sullivan School. Her connections to Lowell go back a few generations. Her grandfather William F. McCarthy was a state senator from Lowell in the 1940s. Under his leadership, the McCarthy Bill began the practice of establishing criteria for those applying to be teachers in Lowell Public School system. Deidre’s extensive volunteer experience includes participation in the following organizations and programs: PTOs for the Reilly and Daley Schools; Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell; Lowell High School Girls Travel Basketball and Lacrosse teams; Habitat for Humanity; and Project LEARN. Deidre is a graduate of Lowell High School and Westfield State College. She completed her Master’s of Educational Leadership at Salem State University and is currently enrolled in the Educational Leadership program at the College of St. Rose. Deidre lives in Lowell.
SUSAN HANNIGAN is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union (JDCU). She manages and directs JDCU’s accounting, financial analysis, investment, risk management and related practices, including financial reporting, budgeting, asset liability and insurance. She provides organizational leadership and direction as a member of the JDCU Executive Team. Prior to joining JDCU, Susan worked for Wolf & Company, P.C., a leading regional CPA firm based in Boston that delivers assurance, tax, risk management and consulting services. She holds professional memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA); Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSPCA); and Institution of Internal auditors (IIA). Susan is active in her native community of Hanover. She is the Treasurer of the Hanover Permanent Scholarship Fund and served on the Hanover School Council for both the Center School and Hanover High School. She received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Stonehill College.
CARL HOWELL is the Director of Residential Programs at Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI), a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen communities and reduce poverty in 63 cities and towns in the region. CTI delivers vital services and collaborates with key stakeholders to create housing, education and economic opportunities. Carl is responsible for the administration of five residential programs that serve over 1,000 homeless clients and supervises 45 members of the CTI staff. Carl’s programs put him in contact with hundreds of Lowell families at any one time. Carl is also the Overnight Residential Supervisor for the Brandon School and Residential Treatment Center in Natick. In this capacity he oversees the care of 80 students, ages seven to 19, residing in seven sites, in three towns. Carl completed his undergraduate education at Saint Joseph’s College. He received a master of science degree in counseling education from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. Carl also holds a Certificate Degree from Boston University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership.
CHRIS HUNT is the Executive Director of the Professional Center for Child Development, a nonprofit based in Andover and Lawrence that provides educational and therapeutic services for children of all abilities and their families, working with each child to develop to his or her full potential. They strive to eliminate barriers to growth and development for children with disabilities and families coping with health issues and challenges. In 2015, Chris was the Early Learning Director for Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI). He was responsible for Head Start and Early Head Start programs including center-based, and home-based care options that serve 700 Lowell children each year. He worked to ensure that the most vulnerable children in Lowell receive a quality early education with the intention that they will become lifelong learners. Prior to joining CTI, Chris was the Professional Development Manager for the Massachusetts Association of C766 Approved Private Schools. He was also Director of Home Based Services, Principal of the School for Accelerated Learning, and Senior Consultant for Milestones, a day school and transition program for students ages seven to 22. Chris received his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and received a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University. Chris was a UCLA Johnson and Johnson Head Start Management Fellow and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Boston University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Chris lives in Dracut.
CRAIG MacKENZIE is the Executive Vice President of Operations at The Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank. He is a member of the senior management team charged with strategic direction, products, profitability, customer experience, and overall corporate success. Craig began working at Lowell Five in 2001 as a management trainee and has held positions of increasing responsibility in the area of financial systems since joining the bank. He serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell as Assistant Treasurer and on the board of directors as Treasurer of Young Professionals of Greater Lowell. Craig volunteers for Open Solutions/Fiserv Core Client Association, formerly serving as both Executive Committee Member and as the Northeast Regional Chairperson. He also is a member of the Annual Thanks-4-Giving Committee for Alternative House, a domestic violence agency in Lowell. He received a bachelor of science degree in economics and a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Syracuse University. He received a master’s degree in business administration from UMass Lowell. Craig lives in Lowell.
IRENA SIENKO MAGUIRE is the Financial Analyst, Business Administration at The MITRE Corporation. In 2015, Irena was the Director of Finance and Administration at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell, a youth development agency that serves 300 young people between the ages of seven and 18 daily. The number of members enjoying the programs at the Boys and Girls Club increases significantly in the summer. She served as a Senior Leadership Team and her responsibilities included financial and cash management; human resources, facility, and technology management; and special event support. She received a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and she holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Boston University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Irena also completed the Boys and Girls Club Leadership University School of Executive Leadership at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Irena won the Administrative Professional of the Year from the Yankee Chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America in 2011 and the same award from Northeast Region in 2012.
JOHN MARCIANO is the Special Events Coordinator in the Development Division of Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP). He directs the Lowell Summer Music Series at Boarding House Park, presenting up to 30 shows for general audiences and children. John is responsible for all aspects of production, supervision, promotion, and contacting of talent for this self-sustaining, not-for-profit, popular music series. He is also the Technical Director for the Lowell Folk Festival which draws approximately 100,000 people to Lowell on the last weekend of July. It is Lowell’s signature event. John has held the following positions at LNHP: Supervisory Park Ranger in the Interpretive Division, responsible for the National Park Visitor Center, and the operations of the trolleys and boats, interpretation, reservations, and IT operations; and Front Line Interpretive Ranger. He received a bachelor of science degree from Bridgewater State University. John is also the co-owner of Mill City Productions, a full service event production company. He has club DJ'd in Lowell and throughout Boston North for 15 years. John lives in Andover.
TOBIAS MARX is Special Events Coordinator for the City of Lowell. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of One 27 Global, a nonprofit marketing and event promotion organization based in Lowell with a mission of ending the poverty crisis by uniting people around a common goal. Each One 27 Global event shows the human face of poverty and deepens an understanding of poverty and its impact on individuals, families and our communities. Tobi produces the annual Lowell Food and Wine Festival and managed the recent Craft Beer Walk at Mill #5 to raise awareness about the needs of this community and provide opportunities for attendees to gain perspective and take action. Tobi was the Director of Outreach for Grace Community Church in Chelmsford. He also has extensive experience as an executive chef and holds degrees in Culinary Arts from Hildesheim, Germany. In addition to his work in Lowell, Tobi has volunteered for social service organizations in California, Germany, and Kenya. He lives in Lowell.
RUSELL PANDRES is the Economic Development Assistant for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. Russell tracks federal grant opportunities; serves as liaison between constituents and organizations to the federal government; researches current issues occurring in the Third Congressional District of Massachusetts; and organizes and coordinates events for Congresswoman Tsongas. Prior to coming to Lowell, Russell was the Senior Data and Policy Intern for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Springfield. He received a bachelor of science degree in economics from North Carolina State University. He is working on a master of Regional Planning degree and a master of Public Policy and Administration degree from UMass Amherst. While completing his graduate work, Russell was the steward representative for the Public Policy and Administration department to the Graduate Employee Organization. He was also the Treasurer for the Planning Student Organization (PSO), a group of Regional Planning graduate students working to improve the Department’s curriculum, the students’ academic and community experiences, and professional networks. Russell lives in downtown Lowell.
ROSA REALEJO is the program manager in the Early Family Planning Department at the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC). The mission of the LCHC is to provide caring, quality and culturally competent health services to the people of Greater Lowell, regardless of their financial status; to reduce health disparities and enhance the health of the Greater Lowell community; and to empower each individual to maximize their overall well being. Rosa’s responsibilities include the coordination and supervision of all program activities; oversight of day to day clinic operations, staffing, scheduling, and patient issues; management of billing for Title X/Family Planning Grant; supervision of personnel; and development and implementation of staff training. Rosa began working in the Early Family Planning Department as a receptionist. She was promoted to Office Manager/Billing Coordinator and held that position for several years until the recent advancement to her current position. Rosa is a graduate of Lowell High School and holds certificates in Leadership, Adoption, Interpreting, Domestic Violence, and Planned Parenthood Sexuality Educator/Family Planning Counselor. Born in the Azores, Rosa has lived in Lowell since she was nine years old.
RAN ROEUN is the Outreach/Enrollment Coordinator for the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC). Ran is responsible for establishing connections with community health agencies to coordinate resources and referrals; provides educational workshops; designs and distributes multilingual promotional materials; assists patients applying for health coverage; conducts programs on the importance of maintaining medical coverage; and coordinates community health screenings. For many years, Ran was the Simultaneous Interpreter and Interpreter Coordinator for the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok. He was the Project Manager for KHEMARA, a non-government organization in Phnom Penh, overseeing a project called “Community’s Response to HIV/AIDS through Behavioral Changes.” He was the founder and director of Youth Services Cambodia, where he raised funds to support community service projects and youth development programs. Ran has taught English at several universities in Phnom Pen, Kampongcham Province, and Sihanuk Ville. He has a bachelor’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the Royal University of Phnom Pen and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Kasem Bundit University, Bangkok. He lives in Lowell.
NICHOLAS RUSSO is a Portfolio Manager at Enterprise Bank. In that capacity, Nick’s responsibilities include: interpreting and evaluating customer financial information to determine credit worthiness; ensuring the loan agreement is in accordance with approval documents; collaborating with the bank’s Credit Department to prepare loan write-ups and ensuring timely loan closing and funding activities; and identifying and responding to issues in order to limit risk and loss to Enterprise Bank by developing recommendations through collaboration with colleagues on appropriate strategies and actions. Nick was also a credit analyst for the bank. Prior to joining Enterprise, Nick held positions in the financial accounting office at MIT’s, Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, and worked as a client support administrator at Putnam Investments in Andover. Nick received his bachelor of science degree from UMass Lowell and is currently pursuing a master’s in business administration at the university. He lives in Dracut.
TRACI SHORB is a US National Park Ranger in the Law Enforcement Division for Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP). Traci is responsible for visitor safety and resource protection. In addition to patrolling, her duties include investigating car accidents; apprehension of violators; and conducting preliminary investigations of felonies, crimes and violations. She maintains a close relationship with the Lowell Police Department, the UMass Lowell Police Department, and the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office. She is a member of the Greater Lowell Area Domestic Violence Team. Traci also worked at Yellowstone National Park as a law enforcement ranger, a biological science technician, as a visitor use assistant, and for the Park’s Student Conservation Association as a resource assistant. Traci learned wildland firefighting and search and rescue techniques at Grand Teton National Park. At various times in her career she has packed and ridden horses into the back country for extended trail clearing trips. Traci received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Natural Resources Management and Engineering from the University of Connecticut. She lives in Fremont, NH.
ANI VONG owns and manages Humanity Boutique in downtown Lowell. As the sole proprietor, she oversees all aspects of the business. Ani hires and trains employees; identifies clothing vendors; and attends clothing trade shows, making frequent buying trips to Los Angeles and New York City. She sets a high standard for customer service, providing feedback regarding merchandise and fit. Before purchasing the business, Ani was the Store Manager and Buyer for Humanity. For several years, she was the assistant manager to the owner of Giovanni’s Trends as well as the Junior Buyer. There she trained and managed personnel; controlled cash balance and handled daily bank deposits; operated independently within the authority delegated by the buyer to purchase juniors’ and young men’s apparel and footwear; and coordinated merchandise displays for storefront windows and floor plan visuals. Ani is a graduate of Lowell High School and attended the UMass Boston. She was active in the Coalition for Asian Pacific American Youth and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association for several years. Ani lives in Lowell.