Essex Heritage Announces New Leadership and Presents Partnership Awards

Photo of The Cabot by Anne Wilson
Big welcome from The Cabot! Photo by Anne Wilson

Regional leaders elected to serve on the Commission and Pioneer in Partnership Awards presented at Annual Fall Meeting on October 15

Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), a non-profit that manages and provides numerous programs preserving and enhancing Essex County’s historic, natural and cultural places, welcomed business and community leaders from around Essex County to its Annual Fall Meeting on Thursday, October 15 at The Cabot in Beverly. The business portion of the session focused on the importance of sustaining the region through youth engagement, partnership projects and regional awareness. The Commission also announced its newly elected officers, trustees, and commissioners, and presented its 2015 Essex Heritage Pioneer in Partnership Awards.

New Officers, Trustees, and Commissioners Elected

Essex Heritage is governed by a 25-member Board of Trustees and supported by 150 Commissioners who live and/or work within Essex County and who serve as representatives of the communities, businesses, community organizations, educational institutions and historic, cultural and natural resources of the region.  “Our Trustees and Commissioners serve an important role as ambassadors and advocates for this region,” said CEO Annie C. Harris. “Essex Heritage is pleased to welcome the new Trustees and Commissioners, and we’re grateful for their leadership and support in promoting regional cooperation in Essex County.”

The following individuals were elected to serve the Essex National Heritage Commission:

Executive Officers, 2015-2016:

  • President: John P. Farmer, Eastern Bank, Lynn
  • Vice President: Kevin T. Rourke, Salem Five Bank, Salem
  • Treasurer: Timothy Felter, Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Newburyport
  • Clerk: Gary M. Coon, Finer Wealth Management, Inc., Salem
  • Trustee at Large: Rosario Ubiera-Minaya, North Shore Community Development Coalition, Salem
  • Immediate Past President: Jack Good, People's United Bank, Danvers
  • National Park Service Liaison: Paul DePrey, Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites
  • President Emeritus: Thomas Leonard, founding president of Essex Heritage

New Trustees, 2015-2017

  • Paula L. Brown, General Israel Putnam Chapter, D.A.R., Danvers
  • Tatiana Burgos-Espinal, North Shore Community College, Danvers
  • Susan Goganian, Beverly Historical Society, Beverly
  • Lisa Lyons, Small Planet Communications, Lawrence
  • Thomas MacDonald, Hawthorne Hotel, Salem
  • Mark Pitzi, Coldwell Banker, Concord

New Commissioners, 2015-2017

  • Jennifer Close, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
  • Chris Lovasco, YMCA of the North Shore, Beverly
  • Kara McLaughlin, The House of the Seven Gables, Salem
  • Ken Riehl, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Gloucester
  • Drew Russo, Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts, Lynn
  • Laura DeToma Swanson, Enterprise Center at Salem State University, Salem
  • Paul St. Germain, Thacher Island Association, Rockport
  • Susan Washeba Plutsky, Photographer, Beverly
  • Anne Wilson, Retired Teacher, Wakefield

In addition, the following individuals were thanked for their service to the board, organization and region:

New Trustee Emeriti

  • Jane Baugh, General Israel Putnam Chapter, D.A.R., Danvers
  • Charles Cullen, formerly of The Provident Bank, Amesbury
  • Paul J. McGinley, McGinley Kalsow & Associates, Ipswich
  • Frederic Winthrop, formerly of The Trustees of Reservations, Ipswich
  • Richard A. Yagjian, W. B. Hunt Company, Inc., Melrose

Pioneer in Partnership Awards

Each year, Essex Heritage and the National Park Service present the Pioneer in Partnership Awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify the commission’s spirit of collaboration. The award recognizes those who build partnerships and celebrate the nationally significant places that form the Essex National Heritage Area.

2015 Pioneer in Partnership Award Recipients:

  1. David Read: in recognition of his leadership in developing regional trails. As a health care executive at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, David Read knows the health benefits brought about by active living. For more than a decade, Dave has served as chairman of the Border to Boston Trail Coalition, a confederation of communities seeking to develop a nearly 40-mile rail trail from the New Hampshire border in Salisbury to Boston. For nearly the same period, Dave has also served as chairman of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a national organization focused on creating a traffic-separated bicycle route along the entire 2,900 mile-long Atlantic seaboard.
  2. Nelson Dionne: in recognition of his leadership in preserving and promoting local and regional history. Nelson Dionne’s life has always been about service. First as a Boy Scout, then as a member of the U. S. Army Intelligence Corps, and finally as a Salem police officer. One constant throughout the years has been Nelson’s collecting and sharing of Salem history. What started as an interest in collecting Salem postcards became a focused determination to collect Salem history from the Civil War era to the present day. As knowledge of Nelson’s collections spread, reporters, researchers, authors, museum professionals, and archivists turned to him for information, images, and objects. Perhaps no act more clearly demonstrates his passion for sharing history than the donation of his extensive Salem collection to the Salem State University Archives & Special Collections.
  3. Swampscott Public Schools and Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts: in recognition of their leadership and promotion of Heritage Education. In a twist on an old adage, Swampscott Middle School teachers Lindsay Hodgson and Karen Reback worked with the Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts to implement a project entitled “Take a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes” - A Study of the Greater Lynn Shoe Industry from the 17th - 20th Century. Through its design and execution, this innovative project exemplifies the power of partnership in place-based education. In all, over 100 Swampscott fifth grade students learned about the region’s shoe manufacturing history from pre-colonial to present day - a seminal trade deeply engrained in the cultural DNA of the heritage area.
  4. Russ Cohen: in recognition of his leadership and stewardship of the region’s Natural Heritage. This past spring, following 27 years of service, Russ Cohen retired from state government as a leading voice for the health and well-being of the state’s critically important rivers and streams. Widely respected as an effective advocate, he was instrumental in the passage of the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act of 1996, arguably the strongest and most effective river protection law in the country. Through his work Russ recognized the value and importance of understanding rivers and other natural resources on a large scale or systems basis. It is a perspective that led him to become an “early adopter” of the national heritage area movement in Massachusetts. Yet for all the accolades, Russ is best known to many as an expert on wild plants. The author of “Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten,” Russ true passion is leading groups on wild edible foraging trips, such as those he has conducted for Essex Heritage Trails & Sails Weekends.
  5. Bike to the Sea, Inc.: in recognition of its leadership in developing Regional Trails. For more than two decades this all-volunteer organization has overcome all manner of hurdles in its pursuit of a 10-mile trail linking the urban communities of Everett, Malden, Saugus, Revere, and Lynn. With this past summer’s dedication of the Revere section, the Northern Strand Trail is now open from Everett to the Lynn line, providing residents with a car-free pathway to businesses, schools, parks, rivers, and the magnificent Rumney Marsh. Under the leadership of founding president Steve Winslow, Bike to the Sea has been instrumental in overcoming some of the most significant hurdles faced by advocates seeking to convert abandoned rail corridors to trails in Massachusetts.

2015 Essex Heritage Special Recognition Award Recipient:

  1. Richard Scott: for his many years of preserving, promoting, and enhancing this region. During a public career spanning 32 years, Richard Scott has worked for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in a number of capacities and locations: Lawrence Heritage State Park, Lowell Heritage State Park, Lynn Heritage State Park, Harold Parker State Forest, Charles River Esplanade, and Bradley Palmer State Park in Hamilton and Topsfield. Throughout, Richard has remained a strong advocate for each park’s historic, natural and cultural resources. But most importantly, he has always shared his passion for history with public. A poet and storyteller at heart, Richard loves to educate and engage people through living history.