Meet the faces behind Pioneer Valley Books.
Pioneer Valley Books CEO/Creative Director Michèle Dufresne needs little introduction as the heart of our company and a founding member. She is a former Reading Recovery Teacher Leader. She started writing books when working with some of her first Reading Recovery students who needed some extra motivation. She is passionate about helping teachers with their mission of helping children learn to read and write and love books. One of her favorite things about working here is getting letters from teachers and children. She has four grandchildren: Jaxson, Harper, Mae, and Simon. She loves sharing books with them and watching them grow as readers. In her spare time she loves to take her dogs for walks on the beach in St. Augustine, Florida.
Lauri Yanis, Vice President of Business Development, is wildly proud to be a part of the Pioneer Valley Books team, focusing on bringing our excellent books into the lives of teachers and young readers all over the world. Lauri is proud to work directly with customers as well as in product development to ensure that teachers have access to and understanding of everything we can do to support literacy in schools. Lauri often reminds the teams at PVB that we may not be saving lives with our books, but we do get to change lives. After more than two decades with PVB, Lauri would rather not choose a favorite character because she'd hate to make any of them feel badly about themselves.
Chris Sullivan, Vice President of Business Administration, is excited and proud to work for a company that promotes children's literacy. She's a secret hoarder of school supplies, and in that same vein, her favorite piece of advice is to learn something new every day. When she's not working, she loves to spend time with her husband, three sons, and two dogs. She also enjoys hiking, boating, and feeding all of her pond friends (koi, turtles, and frogs).
Vice President of Publications Karen Cangemi describes her role as "multifaceted," as she writes and develops content for lessons, Professional Learning opportunities and presentations, webinars, and more! True to the adventurous nature of her favorite literary character, Anne of Green Gables, Karen enjoys traveling to places she's never been. To her, the best part of working for PVB is being surrounded by extraordinary people who deeply care about the important role literacy plays in children’s lives.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT AND SALES
Tara Wells, Director of Sales Strategy, describes her role as shouting about our products from the rooftop. Since she loves musicals, there's probably some singing and dancing involved too. If a movie (musical) were made about her, the theme song would be "Dancing through Life," from "Wicked," and she'd be played by Julianne Hough, the dancer, flourishing one of Tara's many purple pens as she spins. Naturally, her favorite PVB characters are Bella and Rosie.
Jessica Caruso, Customer Support Manager, oversees an exceptional team that is focused on providing extraordinary customer service, and appreciates being surrounded by such amazing and talented people. If a movie was made about her, she'd be played by Sigourney Weaver (c. 1980), and her theme song would be "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. In her off hours, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, and reading. The best piece of advice she's received is, "Change the world by being yourself," which seems consistent with her favorite fictional character: "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore." At PVB, she thinks Georgie Giraffe is tops.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT REPRESENTATIVES
Bernadette Smith, Customer Support Supervisor, works to assist in any customer engagements, from sales orders and phone calls, to email inquiries. Bernadette wishes it to be known that her favorite fictional character is Severus Snape, calling him "the deepest (fictional) person I know." Somehow that seems in line with her yen for tea sachets and the ability to stop time. Ever a dog-lover (her current canine companions being a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd), her favorite PVB characters are Bella and Rosie.
Beth Millerschin, Customer Support Supervisor, values the opportunity to work remotely for PVB doing something she's passionate about. A former kindergarten teacher, if a movie was made about her, she'd be played by Sandra Bullock, its theme song would be "ABC" by the Jackson 5, and she'd sit down to watch it eating Rice Krispie treats from her secret stash. Her favorite fictional character is Corduroy, and at PVB, Bella and Rosie have won her heart. The best piece of advice she's gotten is, "Remember who you are."
Grace LaChapelle, Senior Customer Support Representative, brings a bright spark of enthusiasm to her role with the company, inspiring joy in her co-workers and customers with her optimistic perspective and focus on gratitude. When she is away from the Reception area at PVB, she enjoys collaging vision boards, meditating each morning, coloring mandalas, finding inspiration in nature, connecting with friends, reading healthy food blogs and experimenting in the kitchen. Grace’s first job in high school was as a Library Page in the Children’s Room, so her professional circuit came full circle when she joined the team at PVB. She enjoys spending the day with hard-working, fun-loving people, and our occasional Thursday company lunches!
Customer Support Representative Seth Frisby processes orders and helps as many people as possible each day. If a movie was made about him, he'd be played by Matthew McConaghey "with a beard and poorer posture," and the theme song would be "This Is Why We Fight" by The Decemberists. He loves the daily pet pictures at PVB, and spends his free time playing with his daughter, playing video games, board games, and D&D, and, of course, reading. He describes his Patronus as "a sedate Wookie."
Kim Gray, Customer Support Representative, considers her co-workers a big perk of working for PVB, though she also enjoys working from home. If a movie was made about her, she'd be played by Jane Fonda, and the theme song would be "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," by James Taylor. She's an amateur photographer in her off-hours, and she loves dogs: Kim considers Lily the Golden Retriever to be her Patronus, and her favorite PVB character is Reginald the Stinky Dog.
Symone Green, Customer Support Representative, loves being able to recommend a great variety of children's books to all the educators, parents, and child guardians in her life. If she could have a superpower, she'd choose to fly, for quick, traffic-free travel, and for scenic views without having to hike. Her movie's theme song would be "Let's Dance," by David Bowie, and she'd be played by Zoë Kravitz. Symone's favorite literary character is Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, and of PVB characters, it's a tie between Galaxy Girl and Spaceboy.
Crystal Hale, Customer Support Representative, loves being part of a company that makes her feel valued. When she's not working, she likes to go for long walks with her husband and dog, travel on spontaneous beach trips, and she makes candles and wax melts—which leads directly to her secret hoard of candles. Finding new scents makes her so happy! Her favorite fictional character is Ron Weasley, and her favorite PVB character is Rosa. The best piece of advice she's gotten is, "Don’t count the days, make the days count."
Jillian Felton, Customer Support Representative, enjoys the positive work environment and supportive co-workers here at PVB. As someone who values their private time, they'd love the superpower of invisibility, which would make it easier to disappear into their own hobbies and interests. If a movie were made about them, they'd be played by Gwendoline Christie, with "Gemini Dream" by The Moody Blues as a theme song. It's not quite a piece of advice, but a quote Jill enjoys from their favorite book, Roadside Picnic, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky: “Intelligence is the ability of a living creature to perform pointless and unnatural acts.”
LITERACY PRODUCT AND ACCOUNT SUPPORT TEAM
Senior Literacy Product & Account Representative Colleen Sculleigh Osman loves being surrounded by books all day here at PVB. She simply and directly describes her job helping customers, saying "I help people get what they want." When she's not answering a myriad of questions for teachers, Colleen is happiest galloping through the woods on her mare. She's a dedicated rider, which may also be why her favorite PVB character is Marshmallow the Pony and she'd love to have the power to tame a wild mustang without fettering its spirit.
Melanie Salvaggio, Literacy Product & Account Representative, spends her days here connecting people with products they need and working on the group-participation crosswords in the office bathroom. During out-of-office hours, she likes to spend time with her family, try out new recipes, and watch awful reality TV. Melanie always has a secret stash of chocolate hidden somewhere (good to know!). Her favorite PVB characters are the City Mice, whose street smarts keep her connected to her former life as a city girl.
VENDOR ADMINISTRATION TEAM
Alison Garcia, Supervisor of Vendor Administration, provides support to the sales team. If there's a common thread connecting her personal theme song ("Happy" by Pharrell Williams), her favorite literary character (Anne Elliot from Jane Austen's Persuasion), and her joy in fabric and fiber crafting, it seems tied to the best piece of advice she's ever received: "Be present." She hasn't chosen a favorite PVB character, but since her Patronus is a cat, Oliver the Cat and Jasper the Cat are the primary contenders.
Vendor Administration Representative Sophie Haras-Yekel considers her team (and the snacks) some pretty big perks of working at PVB. Sophie would love to have the ability to shape-change, and names the newt as her Patronus. In a movie made about her, Sophie would be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, and the theme song would be "My Heart Will Go On," by Celine Dion. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys riding her bike and painting.
Kelly Cummings, Vendor Administration Representative, would like to be able to travel by teleportation, but she'd love to be able to talk to animals, most especially her dogs Mia and Ace. Kelly is an avid runner, having completed five half marathons and one full marathon, perhaps partly fueled by the sweet treats she enjoys baking. Her favorite fictional characters are the Baudelaire children from A Series of Unfortunate Events. While she gives high marks to all the PVB dog characters, Bella and Rosie are #1.
DIGITAL READER CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Digital Support Manager Kelly Kwiecinski would love to be able to communicate via telepathy, which would definitely add some shortcuts to her role here. She thinks the deer is her Patronus, because anytime she is unsure about something, when there’s a big decision to be made, or a big event in her life, one or more deer appear. If a movie was made about her, its theme song would be "Uncharted," by Sara Bareilles, and her love of travel would be a big highlight. The best advice she's received is, "Stand tall in your truth, and lead with empathy and kindness.”
Lead Digital Account Representative Mackenzie Cox lives in the moment, and loves getting to hear the responses from teachers and parents on how much they love our company and products. In her spare time, she likes to bake, coach youth cheerleading, and sing at her local faith establishment. She considers Clarence the Dragon her Patronus, because he is kind, generous, and loves chocolate chip cookies. Her favorite quote comes from Walt Disney: "Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Sham Manka, Senior Digital Support Representative, is excited to be a part of the PVB DR support team. She likes to make people laugh and is a bit of a prankster—we'll consider ourselves warned! If a movie was made about her, its theme song would be the soundtrack from "The Piano" (1993) by Michael Nyman, and she'd be played by Batman. The best advice she's received is, "Live life now, be grateful every day, stay positive and always be kind to others and be kind to yourself." In her spare time, she likes to read, watch movies, work out, and cook.
Mo Fiorella, Lead Digital Integration Representative, appreciates getting to help teachers teach and students learn. Over the course of time, Mo has inadvertently amassed a stash of paper, tiny scraps of decorative or handmade paper she can't bear to throw away—she'll use it someday! Some of her favorite spare time activities are growing flowers and vegetables, so when it comes to preferred super powers, she'd love a muscle boost to help her in the garden. The best piece of advice she's gotten (or possibly gave herself) is, "Not all decisions are hard decisions."
Hailee Kibbe, Digital Reader Account Representative, loves the feeling of community at PVB, and that in her role she can spread the joy of reading. She's kept every birthday and greeting card given to her. In her off hours, she enjoys traveling and camping with her husband and two kids. While her Patronus is the decidedly earthbound otter, her preferred superpower is the ability to fly—free airfare! Matilda is her favorite fictional character, and here at PVB, she's all about Sally the Cow.
Senior Editorial Manager Laura Angel keeps the editorial process churning with her eagle eye and consistent ‘can do’ attitude. When she isn’t focused on developing and editing PVB content, she can be found hovering around the industrial Keurig with her tea-buddies. In her time away from her role here, she enjoys yoga, reading, tea drinking, painting, and chasing after her five children. If she could have any superpower, she’d love to be able to fly, just like her favorite PVB character, Clarence the Dragon!
Marlee Gaffey, Editor, describes her work here as being a small integral part of a much larger whole. Her days include copyediting, managing teacher reviews, formatting manuscripts, processing invoices, drinking tea, and so much more! She enjoys the welcoming atmosphere of the company and the perk of crossword puzzles in the bathroom stall. The best piece of advice she's ever gotten was from her mom: "Kindness matters."
Patty Paine, Editor, spends her days copyediting, proofreading, or fact-checking content for the editorial department. Appropriately enough for an editor, Patty (not-so) secretly hoards Post-its. In a movie about her, she'd be played by Rachel McAdams, and the theme song would be "New York" by Alicia Keys. When it comes to working for PVB, Patty loves the friendly atmosphere, not to mention the surprise desserts that appear almost daily in the kitchen.
Julia Richardson, Senior Editor, loves to read, so she's thrilled to get to be part of instilling a passion for reading in generations to come. She claims to be an open book, with nothing to hide. In a movie about her, she'd be played by Jennifer Lawrence, and the theme song would be "Let's Dance" by David Bowie. Her favorite literary character is Bilbo Baggins, and Daisy is the PVB character who's won her heart. The best piece of advice she's received came from her mother: "This too shall pass."
Robin Tutt, Senior Project Editor, organizes things for fun. Her lists have lists. Her superpower of choice would be teleportation, or flight—anything to help procure her vice of choice (chocolate) that much quicker. She's not sure a movie about her merits a theme song, since it would primarily consist of her cleaning the kitchen or reading on the couch. She'd rather the actor playing her be someone new on the scene, in need of a break-out role. Her favorite PVB character must be Jasper the cat, an illustrated companion to her own cat, Jaspurr.
Project Editor Erin Windholz, imagining all the books she could read, and sourdough loaves she could bake with Helena Bonham Starter, doesn't hesitate to wish for the power to freeze time. When she's not working, she likes to complete the NYT Sunday Crossword (which could take up a rather lot of that spare time...), and to do all things outdoors at Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks. She names the giraffe as her Patronus, so it naturally follows that her favorite PVB character is Georgie Giraffe.
Alison Hornbeck, Editor, has a lifelong Mike & Ike problem. During the pandemic she ordered twelve (12) (XXII) boxes. That's... a lot. A movie about her would feature Brie Larson, and would be scored entirely and unapologetically by Taylor Swift. Her favorite fictional character is Lyra Belacqua from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. Speaking of fiction, she's currently co-writing a romance novel with one of her friends. She also likes to read, run, and watch arguably too much soccer.
Ashley Zimmerman, Project Editor, provides key support to the project management/communications side of editorial processes. If a movie were made about her, she'd be played by Carey Mulligan, and its theme song would be "Wildflowers," by Tom Petty. A nurturer by nature, her Patronus is a robin, and she hoards (and shares) coffee and flowers. The best piece of advice she's ever gotten is, "Hold tight to small joys!"
Allison Rebello, Manager of Educational Events and Professional Learning, helps to plan, organize, and present educational events. Allison enjoys the opportunity to present our books and products and talk about them to help teachers and other educational leaders understand what they need to help their students thrive. When Allison is away from her role with PVB, she loves to do anything outdoors. She enjoys paddling as the “engine room” on the local Dragon Boat team, but also enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking and photographing nature. Her favorite PVB character is Clarence the Dragon. The obvious connection to her Dragon Boat team is just one aspect of her affinity for Clarence. She is especially drawn to his kindness and adventuresome spirit.
Alora Heffernan, Senior Educational Events & Travel Representative, spends the day building and organizing our educational events and talking about her favorite story characters. Due to his sweet and helpful nature Rusty the Robot is her favorite. During her free time, she enjoys reading, shopping for fabric to complete her latest sewing project, and spending time with her animals including her seven chickens. She secretly hoards baking recipes and baking pans.
Sloan Friedhaber, Educational Events Representative, assists with planning and organizing educational events. Like many of her PVB colleagues, she'd like to have the superpower of flight, but her reasons trend from the norm: she'd love to never have to eat airplane food again. She has a big sweet tooth, and can be counted on to have a secret candy stash at her desk. Sloan enjoys spending time with her family, writing, and making fun of "The Bachelor" every Tuesday night.
If Michèle is the heart of our company, then CFO Bob Dufresne is its soul. (He also makes sure all the bills get paid.) In his spare time, Bob likes to work on Physics problems. If he had a superpower, it would be to make sure everyone who needed a great cup of coffee had one. If an actor were to play him in a movie, it would be George Clooney (Michèle may have filled this out for him).
Lisa Ahlstrom, Senior Finance Manager, oversees and executes the financial transactions of the company. She loves working at Pioneer Valley Books for many reasons, chief among them its mission to promote children's early literacy. In her spare time, she reads cooking magazines, gardens, and tends to her human and animal family. The best piece of advice she's ever gotten? "Make hay while the sun shines."
Ann Rutkowski is our Senior Purchasing Agent. Ann’s role is evolving, changing and growing daily, with the aim of helping PVB develop a process to aid us in maintaining our inventory levels and get the most bang for our buck. Ann would love to be able to time travel so that she can visit different parts of the world during a variety of eras: Paris in the ‘20s, California in the ‘60s, Amsterdam in the 1700s, etc. Her favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Jasper the cat “because he likes to eat and sleep, two of my favorite things.”
Rochelle Newbert, Senior Payroll & Benefit Specialist, makes sure everyone at PVB is paid correctly and on time. She loves working with people who love reading. As someone who's always up for a good mystery, she's a big fan of our Spy Busters! series. Her list of secretly hoarded items is unexpectedly lengthy, but since children's books are among them, we can't complain. However, she's hard-pressed to pick a favorite fictional character: "I can't pick just one best friend."
Audrey Bronson, Accounts Receivable and Sales Tax Representative, not-so-secretly collects all things Disney. If a movie were made about her, she'd be played by Jennifer Lawrence, and its theme song would be "I Have a Dream," from Tangled, naturally. If she could have a superpower, she'd choose invisibility, which might give her a leg up during all those games of hide-and-seek she plays with her niece. She finds her amazing co-workers a big perk of working for PVB, and names Quack the Duck as her favorite PVB character.
Erin Zambruno, Senior Staff Accountant, works with numbers all day—entering, analyzing, creating spreadsheets, all of the fun detail work. Her off hours activities are decidedly not numbers-based: running, working out, watching movies (B-grade horror is her favorite, but she also likes Sci-Fi, comedies, action, mafia… anything except history), spending time with her dog and husband, taking care of her houseplants, and many other things besides. The best piece of advice she's received is, "It doesn’t cost anything to be kind."
Ray Brod, Accounts Receivable and Sales Tax Representative, is here to help any and every person they can. They would like to be able to instantly transport themself anywhere in the universe, because, while they hate to fly, they love to travel! If a movie were made about them, they'd be played by a short-haired E.R. Fightmaster, and its theme song would be, "MMMBop." In their spare time, Ray loves to take photographs, climb, hike, play board games, and travel. Their favorite PVB character is Sally the Cow: "Who can deny that hair?!"
HUMAN RESOURCES, HEALTH & SAFETY
Glen Bertrand, Safety and Business Specialist, is committed to promoting a culture of safety and wellness for everyone at PVB. The goal of this company gives deep meaning to Glen’s role and presence at PVB, as we endeavor to “nurture a more diverse and inclusive generation of children who can read, think, learn, and have open hearts to all cultures, ethnicities, and viewpoints.” If Glen has a superpower, it’s simply being their true and authentic self. Glen sees and hopes for this superpower in all.
Donna DeCaro, Human Resources Business Partner, is responsible for leading the full spectrum of HR services and cultivating the employee experience at PVB. When it comes to superpowers, or what she considers superpowers, Donna would love to be able to sing and be an entertainer. She also identifies as a foodie, a mom, an animal lover, golfer, and runner. The best piece of advice she's gotten is, "You can’t be great at everything. Be patient, as this too shall pass."
R. John Reidy, Human Resource Generalist, works to grow, retain, engage, support, and develop the PVB team. His preferred superpower is Snack-vision — to be able to turn anything into food at a moment's notice. On a related note, his secret stash consists of Starburst jelly beans: "all reds, the ones you can only seem to find in early spring." When he's not working, you can usually find him outside with his dog, Jovie, doing all the outside things: hiking, climbing, biking, swimming, kayaking, rafting, or snowshoeing.
Dennis Shockro, Director of Information Technology, would like to have the ability to hit a golf ball straight. If a movie were made about him, he'd be played by Bill Murray, and its theme song would be "Friends in Low Places." He hoards good bourbon, and in his downtime Dennis enjoys golf, woodworking/building, and landscape and wildlife photography. Here at PVB he appreciates the great people who create a great workplace.
Cas Psallis, Technical Support Specialist, resolves IT issues and documents our processes. She describes her role as "keeping all the little robots that help us do our jobs running the best that they can." If she could have any superpower, she'd choose the power of flight for its freedom and ease of movement. Cas collects tarot and other metaphysical card decks, and if a movie were made about her, its theme song would be "Magic Shop" by BTS. When she's not at PVB, she writes fiction and poetry, sews costumes, and makes music.
Jason Hiller, Senior Infrastructure Engineer, enjoys working with the nice people at PVB. If a movie were made about him, its theme song would be "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw, and he'd be played by Kevin Costner. His favorite fictional character is Tigger, and the best piece of advice he's received is, "Work hard, play hard, and make time for creating memories with friends or family." To that end, in his off hours he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling to the beach in Maine.
Melissa Jessel, Director of Marketing, communicates the mission of PVB to reach as many young readers as possible. In her spare time, she's all about hosting parties and creating experiences—ornament-making parties, long table dinners, beach picnics—so the power to be in multiple places at once would sure come in handy. Her favorite fictional character is Jo March, and at PVB, Georgie Giraffe stands tall. The best piece of advice she's gotten is, "Always lead with curiosity."
Senior Marketing Project Manager Marie Gauthier shepherds marketing materials and content from conception through design and editorial, and then out the door to fans, old and new. Marie loves magazines, and spreads them out around her home in the hopes that no one will notice their copious numbers. She has learned that a fun benefit of working at PVB is the bathroom-stall crossword puzzles that allow for leisurely restroom breaks. The best advice she has ever gotten? "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
Naomi Shadix, Graphic Designer, didn't always know she would be a graphic designer, but her dad did. When she was around 8 years old, he took her to meet one of the branding designers at his work, and the rest is history. She loves working with PVB's adorable characters, especially her faves, Rusty the Robot and Oliver the Cat. Naomi does ballet in her spare time and enjoys teaching adult beginners how to dance in addition to developing her own skills. She would like the power of teleportation so she can make unlimited trips to the Pioneer Valley from where she lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Senior Graphic Designer Liz Brandenburg describes her role here as helping to connect our products to the public with her works of functional art. Her preferred superpower is the ability to move objects with a blink of an eye, which she professes would help with chores, but we also imagine could be useful in accessing her secret hoard of candy without giving away its location. She appreciates that her work at PVB helps both children and teachers succeed in life, and her favorite quote is from Nelson Mandela: "I never lose. I either win or I learn."
Molly Dolben, Senior Production Manager (aka Schedule Wrangler), leads a talented team of creative and accomplished professionals. When she's not here, Molly rides horses and listens to lots of music. Her favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Rusty the Robot and the best piece of advice she's ever gotten is "Do or do not. There is no try."
Ann Caranci, Senior Graphic Designer, helps make the books and materials we publish find their inner awesomeness. What's extra awesome is that Ann is the illustrator of many of our beloved characters, including Princess Pig, Marshmallow the Pony, and Marvin Pig. Her Patronus is the sea turtle. Her desired superpower: "I would love the power to snap my fingers and motivate people (3 boys in particular) to do the most right and helpful thing."
Katelyn E. Reynolds, Senior Graphic Designer, makes the books we publish look pretty. It's an open secret that she hoards clothes, and would benefit from Cher's clothes system in the movie "Clueless." In her spare time, Katelyn loves to travel, and especially enjoys live music shows. Her favorite fictional character is definitely Madeline, and her favorite PVB character is probably Oliver the Cat, "because what's better than a cat in a sweater?"
Gina Sousa is our Print Production Specialist. She manages the reprint process and provides much needed administrative support to the Production team. When she's not working, Gina enjoys trips to the beach, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family. If she could have any superpower, she'd want to be able to teleport so she could go anywhere at any moment. Gina's favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Quack the Duck. The best advice she's ever gotten? "Don’t trip over something that’s behind you.”
Elizabeth Greene, Senior Publishing Design Specialist, thinks of herself as being a small part of a big team helping children learn to love reading. If a movie were made about her, it would star Helena Bonham Carter and feature a lengthy soundtrack, since she can't possibly choose just one song. Her favorite fictional book character is Anne Shirley. As a dog mom to a brother and sister Yorkie team, Elizabeth naturally prefers PVB's Daisy and Jack over all others. When not working, you can find her spending time with family and friends, walking with the pups, baking, weaving, or knitting.
Kathleen Johnson, Senior Publishing Design Specialist, spends her days analyzing, inspecting, and updating design files. If a movie were made about her, its theme song would be "Blue Skies" by Ella Fitzgerald, and she'd be played by Sally Fields, wandering around an office wondering why she has so many pens. When she's not working, Kathleen likes to take the hound out for adventures to who knows where doing who knows what. Her favorite fictional characters are all the denizens of Pooh Corner, with Quack the Duck her current PVB frontrunner.
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
Allison Stull, Lead Literacy Specialist, supports the professional development and curriculum learning team. If she could have a superpower, she'd like to be able to fly—perhaps to quickly procure additions to her secret hoard of sugary coffee drinks. She spends her off hours with family and friends, playing with her dogs, running, playing soccer, and doing CrossFit. The best piece of advice she's ever gotten is from her grandma: "This too shall pass."
Emily Wayman, Lead Literacy Specialist
Nick Dufresne, Chief Technology Officer, makes sure the internet is working and leads all the in-house software development. When he's not at work, he's spending time with family, running, biking, and swimming. He's also a local swim coach. He secretly hoards spare computer parts that will never be used by anyone.
Chief Operations Officer Matt Dufresne provides support to the executive team on a daily basis, wherever he is needed. Currently his primary focus is working on our websites and the Digital Reader platform. His favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Oliver the Cat. Best advice he’s ever gotten? “Don’t be afraid of being a beginner.”
Jonathan Dufresne, Principal Software Developer
Julia Lorien, Senior Software Engineer, is part of our talented team of developers working to support the Digital Reader application. She appreciates the professional development time given each week to explore new avenues and ideas for enhancement. In a movie about Julia, she'd be played by actor Eddie Redmayne, and its theme song would feature a hurdy-gurdy. In her off hours, she enjoys reading, playing video games, nature walks, swimming, folk dancing, and spending time with her chickens. Her favorite fictional character is Samwise Gamgee.
Justin Dufresne is our Principal Software Developer, spending his days writing and testing code to help enhance the Digital Reader. Justin loves to ski, hike, and bike, and is teaching his three daughters to enjoy the same. Naturally the superpower he'd opt for is the ability to fly, so that he could get to the top of the ski mountain faster. The best piece of advice he's ever gotten is, "Stop starting. Start finishing."
By day, Managing Software Developer Mike Giver assists in overseeing our team of developers, but in his off hours he enjoys woodworking, baking bread, and playing synthesizers. If a movie was made about him, its theme song would the one from "The Price Is Right," and he'd be played by Tom Selleck, circa 1989. He votes for Oliver the Cat as his favorite PVB character, and notes that one of the best perks of working here is having access to so many excellent resources once his daughter is old enough to start reading.
Nate Garland is our Junior Software Engineer, working on the Literacy Footprints Digital Reader, internal business tools, and many new software projects to come. If a movie was made about him, his theme song would be "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al, and he'd be played by Meryl Streep, because "Meryl Streep can play anyone." His preferred superpower is super speed: he could accomplish more per day, travel for cheap, and catch his microwave at 1 second before it dings every single time. His favorite PVB character? Rusty the Robot, naturally.
Robyn Elliott, Software Product Owner/Product Manager
Our Senior Applications Designer, Sarah Curran, collaborates with the software developers working on the Literacy Footprints digital platform. Unbeknownst to her co-workers, Sarah collects cookie cutters, which give her an opportunity to use fun shapes in multiple ways. When she’s away from the office, she likes to watch movies, bake and decorate cookies, and have adventures with her husband and son. While her favorite literary character is Hercule Poirot, the detective of Agatha Christie fame, she has come to love Marshmallow the Pony, especially for his skill at sniffing out apples.
Eric Uyemura, Senior Software Engineer
Gavin Lorien, Senior Software Engineer, would love to be able to create quiet pockets outside of spacetime, to escape from loud places whenever he wants to spend hours writing and reading without using a minute of his day. At PVB he writes code, talks about how he writes code, and talks about how he talks about writing code…all in service of keeping the different parts of the digital product moving forward and stable. He's a big fan of the tumbleweed in the Picture Sorting game in the Digital Reader.
WAREHOUSE, FULFILLMENT, AND OPERATIONS
Andy Klepacki is our Director of Operations and Facilities. Andy spends his time supporting the great PVB team while they're doing all the things that they need to do. Andy would love to have the super power of time travel; after all, who wouldn't love to have more time?! When Andy is away from PVB, he spends his "spare" time staying active outdoors, playing baseball and enjoying a range of two-wheeled fun, such as bicycling, mountain biking, and motorcycling. Which would explain his no-longer-secret hoarding habit of hoarding bikes!
Senior Warehouse Manager Jerome Maczka spends his days solving problems, keeping track of inventory, moving boxes of books, and doing pretty much anything that needs to be done. If you're looking for a blue Sharpie or box cutter around here, chances are that Jerome has a stockpile secretly stocked away. He likes the flexible schedule at PVB because it gives him time for his favorite activities outside of work: hiking, running, and traveling. If he had a superpower, Jerome would want to fly (so he could get anywhere at anytime for free!).
Lorilee LaBarre, Warehouse Inventory Supervisor, believes in treating others as you would like to be treated. She loves the environment here at PVB. She is a hoarder of blankets, feeling you can never have enough, and living in New England, she's not wrong. When she's not working, Lorilee likes to go on adventures with her family. Her favorite fictional character is Harry Potter, and her favorite PVB character is Rusty the Robot.
Sandra Bucan, Fulfillment Supervisor, openly, unabashedly, hoards boxes; one perk of working at the PVB warehouse is the unending supply she can add to her cache. She wishes she had the ability to travel back in time, and has a particular time period in mind, but is more secretive regarding those details. She likes to watch movies and bike, and can be found drumming the theme song to "Mission Impossible" while cooking at home. Her favorite PVB character is Clarence the Dragon.
Austin Rego, Warehouse Associate, makes sure that customers get what they want by fulfilling orders and prepping them for shipping. He especially appreciates our office coffee machine for making mornings easy. Asked to pick the theme song of a movie about him, Austin names Dave Matthews Band's "Warehouse" (see what he did there?). He devotes much of his free time to music by playing guitar, listening to bands, and going to shows as much as he can.
Jim Burke, Assembler, likes having different tasks to do, which is convenient since he picks orders, restocks inventory, builds kits, and more here at PVB. His favorite fictional character is Jonas from The Giver and he wishes he had the power to immediately learn and speak a new language. Away from work, Jim is often found outside fishing, hiking, biking, camping, snorkeling, or rock climbing.
Matt Goggin, Senior Warehouse Assembler, is the "Kit Meister" in Fulfillment, and puts together many of the large collections that we specialize in. If it comes to you with lesson plans and an assortment of books, chances are he put it together for you and your students. Matt is known as the origami master around here, and is responsible for original folded works of art scattered around the office.
Julinette Vazquez-Pacheco, Lead Receiving Associate, counts boxes and books, drives the forklift, wrangles pallets, and more, all to ensure that when the customer makes an order we have it in stock. If her life was a movie, its theme song would be “lovely” by Billie Eilish (with Khalid) and she’d be played by Sandra Bullock. Her favorite fictional character is Harry Potter (“I’m Gryffindor btw.”), and when it comes to PVB characters, Rusty the Robot has her heart.
Donne K. Boumekpor, Assembler, assembles kits and collections. When he's not at work, Donne likes cooking and cleaning. If a movie was made about him, his theme song would be "Circle of Life" from The Lion King, and he'd be played by Chuck Norris. The best piece of advice he's ever gotten is "Be yourself."
David Gagnon, Warehouse Machine Operator, assists fulfillment, assembly, and receiving. When he's not at work, David spends time on his art and photography, and plays bass. If a movie was made about him, his theme song would be "Short People" by Randy Newman, and he'd be played by Robin Williams. The best piece of advice he's ever gotten is "Do what needs to be done."
Jeff Collins, Warehouse Associate, spends his days picking orders and prepping them for shipping, and his nights (and other spare time) drawing and hanging with his family. If a movie was made about Jeff, its theme song would be "Superstition," by Stevie Wonder, and he'd be played by Steve Carell. He loves working close to home. He'd love it even more if he had the ability to fly, because then he wouldn't even have to drive.
Lead Freight Associate Jonathan Duke Velez is "one useful piece of the PVB puzzle." If he could choose a superpower, he'd opt for the power of foresight so that he could prevent tragedies before they happened. When he's not working, Jonathan likes to play video games, and his favorite PVB character is Oliver the Cat. The best piece of advice he's ever received is, "There's a difference between doing what's easy and what's right—wisdom is knowing the difference."
Terri T., Warehouse Associate, appreciates being part of a team helping children learn to love to read. She believes in kindness first, and some of her favorite pastimes are "glamping" with her husband, walking trails, and growing flowers. She loves books and reading, and her favorite PVB character is Quack the Duck. The best piece of advice she's received is, "Don't look back—except to remember the lesson."
Michelle Pontbriant, Warehouse Associate, is keeping her secret hoard a secret, lest there's a sudden run on a certain discontinued pen. In a movie made about her, she'd be played by Edie Falco, and its theme song would be "I'm Here," by Pink. She likes to spend her down time with her "genius dog," Sparkles. While Stephanie Plum is her favorite fictional character, Jack and Daisy top her list at PVB.
Yomar Odasz, Assembler, would love the power of flight so that he could go anywhere in a jiffy. If a movie were made about him, its theme song would be "Uiyi Gauye," by Calle 13, and he'd be played by Will Smith. When he's not working, Yomar likes gaming on his Playstation, and his favorite literary character is Don Quixote. Here at PVB, he's on Team Bella.
Kathleen Osterhout, Assembler, would like to soar like a bird to fly all over visiting family. She loves being part of the PVB team, but when she's not working, you can find her spending time in the Adirondacks and White Mountains. Her favorite fictional characters are Tolkien's Hobbits, while her in-house pick is Daisy. The best piece of advice she's ever received is, "Live where you love, love where you live!"