Public Matters - Class of 2017

Lisa Bettencourt is the Assistant Property Manager at River Place Towers in Lowell for Princeton Properties Management, Inc. She is responsible for 448 apartments. Lisa began working for Princeton Properties as a UMass Lowell intern and has held various positions of increasing responsibility in that company. In addition to property management responsibilities for a large complex, Lisa is a recertification specialist who works to qualify new residents for occupancy and requalify existing residents for continued occupancy. She is a Certified Credit Compliance Specialist and a Housing Credit Certified Professional. Lisa is a graduate of UMass Lowell with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She is fluent in Portuguese and is proficient in Spanish. Lisa is a Lowell resident.

Joseph Banh is the Program Manager for EforAll Lowell-Lawrence, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating economic and social impact through entrepreneurship in mid-sized cities. EforAll runs pitch contests and manages a year-long accelerator program that starts with a 12-week intensive session. Prior to joining EforAll, Joey was a youth development specialist at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell. He is also the co-owner of Sizzling Kitchen. Located on Merrimack Street, this restaurant offers Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, and Italian cuisine. He is a graduate of Lowell High School and UMass Lowell. He is a member of the Lowell Cultural Council and is the co-founder of FreeVerse, a spoken word and poetry group for young people. Joey lives in Lowell.

Christine Bruins is the Planning and Grant Program Manager at Lowell National Historical Park (LNHP). She serves on LNHP’s management team and contributes to decisions on park funding priorities; hiring and succession planning; organizational growth; and project development. Christine provides technical expertise and program management for numerous programs within LNHP and with Lowell partners. A selected list includes: project development and design review of the Riverwalk and Pawtucket Falls Overlook trail extension projects; project development coordination for downtown pedestrian and signage improvements; design review of Hamilton Canal District; and Section 106 coordination of TIGER bridges project. Prior to coming to Lowell, Christine was Community Planner for National Park Service’s Denver Service Center in Denver, Colorado. Christine received her undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Colorado. Christine lives in Lowell.

Jeffrey Brunelle is a Project Manager for Nobis Engineering, Inc., a Lowell-based, multi-disciplinary, employee-owned consulting firm that provides commercial, federal and municipal clients with environmental, geotechnical, and civil engineering services. Jeff has over 17 years of experience conducting and managing large-scale site investigation and remediation projects at contaminated sites throughout New England, New York, and the mid-Atlantic. Jeff has worked on many projects in Lowell, most notably identifying an innovative solution to a complex problem allowing the Navigation Brewing Company, a small business born in Lowell, to open in the Western Avenue Studios.  Jeff volunteers for Mill City Grows and is a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot. He is a graduate of Norwich University, Northfield, V.T. and lives in Pelham, N.H.

Caleb Cheng is a Campus Planner at UMass Lowell. He conducts planning and various analyses to guide the evolution of UMass Lowell’s campuses in an environmentally sustainable and neighbor-sensitive manner, with projects ranging from long-term campus plans to facility feasibility studies. Besides campus planning, Caleb had done environmental planning for a water regulatory agency in California and transportation planning for the Ithaca Regional MPO in upstate New York. While in Ithaca, he helped organize the first Streets Alive! Ithaca – now a well-established semiannual celebration of active transportation. Prior to joining UMass Lowell, Caleb was the Manager for Chi Fan Group LLC, an angel investment firm with Hong-Kong-based partners. Caleb holds an undergraduate degree in environmental policy analysis and planning from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in regional planning from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Fluent in Cantonese and proficient in Mandarin, Caleb is a Lowell resident.

Donna Corbin is Staff Associate for the Office of the President of Middlesex Community College (MCC), and is the Executive Administrative Assistant to the MCC Board of Trustees and the MCC Foundation Board of Directors. Her responsibilities include community engagement at MCC campuses in Lowell and Bedford. Donna works with all levels of the college to support student success and serves as College Advisor for various student clubs and organizations, in particular the Outdoor Adventure Club and the Paul Sullivan Leadership Institute. Donna volunteers for Mill City Grows and participated in the building and planting of garden beds for the Lowell High School Career Academy on Smith Street. She is a member of the Open Space Committee for the Town of Dracut. A graduate of MCC and UMass Lowell, she is enrolled in a master of education program at Salem State University. Donna lives in Dracut.

Karen Davis is the Assistant Branch Manager for Eastern Bank’s downtown Lowell location on Central Street. She is responsible for sales, service, and operations. Since her appointment to this position, sales have increased by 25%. Karen has experience in leadership and coaching, financial products and banking services, risk forecasting and mitigation, project management, strategic planning, and statistical reporting and analysis. Before coming to Lowell, Karen worked for Sovereign Bank as a Branch Manager in Middleton and as an Assistant Manager in Reading. She volunteers for community events and is committed to supporting local businesses personally and professionally. Karen holds a bachelor of science degree from Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, Mass. She is a resident of Lowell.

Richard Denio is Vice President of Operations for Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. Managing a division of 25 staff members, his responsibilities include loan servicing, payments, epayments, operations support, and solutions delivery.   Rich has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and extensive experience in operations management. He has worked in financial institutions in Worcester, Shrewsbury and Florence, Mass.; and Boston. He has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, raised funds for a local library, and participated as a Rotarian. He is active with Living Waters, a nonprofit faith-based outreach center. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration/management and economics from Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, Mass., as well as certification as a project management professional from Boston University.

Heather Prince Doss is Pastor of the Eliot Presbyterian Church in Lowell. Rev. Doss teaches and provides pastoral care for church members from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Prior to coming to Lowell, she served for seven years as the Associate Pastor at Sea Island Presbyterian Church in Beaufort, S.C. Rev. Doss has a passion for other cultures and working among diverse populations, especially those who are disadvantaged. She has worked with homeless populations in South Carolina and Washington, D.C. She also served as a seminary intern for the Presbyterian United Nations Office, and in summer of 2005 served as a pastoral intern for the JL Zwane Presbyterian Church and Centre in Guguletu, South Africa. Rev. Doss is also the owner of Progressive Pilgrimage, a company that organizes up to four tours per year to Israel and Palestine that deepens faith, stimulates the intellect, and builds cross-cultural relationships. She received her undergraduate degree from Furman University, Greenville, S.C. and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J. Rev. Doss is a Lowell resident.

Colleen Gordon is the Social Media Coordinator at UMass Lowell. She develops, implements, and tracks the success of UMass Lowell’s social media strategy in collaboration with the web communications director and the director of marketing. Since starting at the university, Colleen launched a new social media channel, “Snapchat.” She coordinates with many campus departments to produce content, and to grow and engage UMass Lowell’s audience for this new medium. Previously, Colleen was the social media manager for Student Health 101, an online health and wellness magazine. She developed, implemented, and managed all social media initiatives; and engaged and built their online community through a variety of social media channels. Colleen graduated from Bauder College, Atlanta, Ga., where she received an associate of arts degree in fashion merchandising and a bachelor of science in business administration. She lives in Worcester.

Brian Hanehan is the Facilities Manager at the Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC), which provides high quality, affordable health care to people of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay. He manages the maintenance, security, and housekeeping departments for their 100,000 sq. ft. complex. Brian also assists in the renovation of an additional 65,000 sq. ft. mill building. When completed, new services will be provided. These include vision, dental, and internal medicine. Prior to coming to Lowell, Brian worked as the Facilities Manager for the Electrical-Albany Medical Center, a complex that includes a 3.5 million sq. ft. hospital, medical college and 50 off-site buildings. He grew up on a family-owned dairy farm in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Brian received a Certificate in Management from Studor Group, Albany, N.Y. and is a graduate of the United States Navy Class A School, Pensacola, Florida. Brian lives in Ayer.

Stephen Horan is a Leasing Associate for Farley White Interests. He is responsible for the leasing and renewal of existing tenants for all Lowell assets in Farley White’s portfolio. Before coming to Lowell, Steve held positions in companies in Boston and Cambridge. As the Suburban Brokerage Associate for Colliers International, he advised tenants, landlords, and property owners along the Mass Pike/128 corridor on their real estate needs including leasing, financial analysis, strategic planning, and research. For many years, he worked for the sports footwear, apparel, and accessories company PUMA. He worked there as a student intern and after graduation in various professional positions including international operations project manager. Steve holds a bachelor of arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, and has credits towards a master’s degree in journalism from the Harvard Extension School. Steve lives in Stoneham.

Patrick Kenney is the Constituent Services Manager in the Office of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. He provides support for and supervision of five Constituent Services Representatives and the Staff Assistant. He is responsible for aiding constituents with concerns regarding a wide variety of topics including Social Security, Medicare, housing, and the IRS. He plans and manages events for the Congresswoman throughout the Third District. He began working for the Congresswoman as a student intern. A graduate of Middlesex Community College, Patrick was awarded the James E. Houlihan Student Leader of the Year award, the most distinguished award for student leaders given by the College. He has the following degrees from UMass Amherst: bachelor of arts degree in economics; master’s in public policy and administration; and master’s in higher education administration. Patrick is a Lowell resident.

Saravon Khun is the Director of Community Relations for the City of Lowell Police Department. Sara provides communication and project management support to the Office of the Superintendent of Police and develops and implements policies and procedures for community relations and neighborhood programming. She also worked for the Police Department as the Director of the Family Services Unit. In that capacity, Sara oversaw the strategic plan and departmental operations for comprehensive victim services. She works on community programs such as Take Back the Night, White Ribbon Day, Family Safety Night, Bicycle Rodeo, National Night Out, and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Sara is active in a number of nonprofit boards including, but not limited to, Lowell Community Health Center, Glory Buddhist Temple, and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association. She received a bachelor’s of science degree from UMass Lowell. Sara is a Lowell resident.

Cathy Mercado is the Project Coordinator for the Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership (MVHP), a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible and sustainable home ownership for low- and moderate-income earners. The MVHP produces comprehensive training and counseling as well as promotes the use of special mortgage products. Cathy is responsible for managing the down payment assistance program in conjunction with the Lowell Development and Financial Corp. Prior to joining the staff at the MVHP, Cathy worked for many years as a Medical Billing Specialist for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Chelmsford. Cathy is fluent in Spanish and is enrolled at Middlesex Community College. She is a Lowell resident.

Resi Polixa is a park ranger and acting youth and volunteer program manager at Lowell National Historical Park. They work directly with visitors and community members through interpretation – sharing stories of Lowell through facilitating public programs and coordinating park publications and exhibit media. Resi also assists on agency-wide initiatives in the National Park Service at large, through the NPS Interpretive Development Program, as well as with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a group of museums around the world devoted to human rights topics. They recently helped revise the professional ranger competencies that will be used to direct the work of park rangers across the country. Resi has experience in community organizing and is also active in Lowell's LGBTQ community, whom they worked with to organize Lowell’s first ever LGBTQ Pride celebration in 2016. They have writing published in Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity, an anthology edited by bklyn boihood, an organization for LGBTQ people of color in New York City. Resi is proficient in French and German, and conversational in Spanish. They studied social history at Mount Holyoke College and received their master's degree in Public Humanities from Brown University. Resi lives in Lowell. 

Claire Ricker is Chief Design planner for the City of Lowell’s Department of Planning and Development. Claire prepares and implements plans and projects, strategies and agenda for the City of Lowell; utilizes innovative planning tools to drive the City’s revitalization efforts in downtown Lowell and its neighborhoods; manages consultants performing planning activities and programs; and prepares applications to and manages awards from state and federal agencies for funding. She first worked in Lowell as the Urban Renewal Project Manager managing project funding from federal TIGER and EDA grants and the state’s MassWorks grant. For many years, Claire worked as a licensed foreman/journeyman/electrician for IBEW Local 103 in Boston. Claire graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received a master’s in Urban Planning from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Claire lives in Lowell.

Kaitlin Stoll is the Program Coordinator for Budget Buddies, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income women become more economically self-sufficient and transform their lives by teaching them core money-management skills and pairing them with personal financial coaches. Katie is responsible for identifying and qualifying program partners; leading a complete review and overhaul of their curriculum; scheduling workshops and information nights, and orientations for coaches and volunteers; assisting with grant writing and research; overseeing student volunteers; and managing the translation of their program materials into Spanish. Prior to Budget Buddies, she worked as an intern for the City of Lowell’s Neighborhood Planning group. Katie is a graduate of Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y. and holds a master’s degree in Community Social Psychology from UMass Lowell. She lives in North Chelmsford.

Kaitlyn Thoene is Co-owner of Wish, a women's clothing and accessories boutique in Acton. When Kate began public Matters, she was the Volunteer Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell. She was responsible for planning and executing corporate days of service with up to 60 volunteers per event. Kate recruited, vetted, placed and gave orientation to all volunteers and community partners, averaging 35 volunteers daily. She coordinated a special field day with PUMA, which requires her to manage the logistics of a day-long program with 100 Club members and the North American corporate office of PUMA. Prior to her work at the Boys and Girls Club, Kate assisted the Director of Development at Lowell General Hospital with annual fundraisers. Kate volunteers for many organizations. A selected list includes: Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Lowell; Lowell General Hospital Auxiliary; Lowell General Hospital CatWalk for Cancer Care; and Be Like Brit Foundation. Kate is a graduate of UMass Amherst and lives in Chelmsford.

Marisa Veiga is the Human Resources Operations Manager, Vice President at Enterprise Bank. Marisa supports the executive team, managers and employees of the bank by overseeing payroll, benefits, compensation, recruiting, company-wide human resources budget. She also manages the functions of the Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Marisa first worked for Enterprise Bank as a high school student and has progressed within the bank to positions of increasing responsibility. Marisa is active in Lowell’s Portuguese community. She co-founded the Lowell Portuguese Language Program to teach area children to read and speak Portuguese. As of 2016, there are 54 students enrolled. Marisa is a graduate of Middlesex Community College and has completed courses towards a degree in management from Northeastern University. She is fluent in Portuguese and lives in Lowell.