Staff

Meet the people working to make the Greenway and Boston a greener, better place!

Jesse Brackenbury, Executive Director

Jesse Brackenbury leads the Conservancy’s public-private partnership with a keen understanding of The Greenway’s position as an economic driver for the Commonwealth and its role as both a front-yard for neighbors and a destination for visitors. Jesse works with the Board of Directors on strategic planning and revenue generation, and he oversees organizational management and external relations.

Under Jesse’s leadership, the Conservancy has opened the landmark Greenway Carousel at The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove, built the free Wi-Fi network, and become a leader in temporary exhibitions of contemporary public art with installations including the Janet Echelman sculpture. Jesse was the creator and manager of the nationally recognized Greenway Mobile Eats Program, which has significantly grown the Conservancy’s earned income. The Conservancy’s programming, organic horticulture practices, and public art have all won awards under his stewardship.

Jesse was recognized by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as one of the 2015 "Ten Outstanding Young Leaders" and by the Boston Business Journal as one of their 2014 “40 Under 40” honorees. Jesse serves on the Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan Advisory Committee and the state’s Public Market Commission. He previously served on Governor Deval Patrick’s Public Art Task Force.

Jesse joined the Greenway Conservancy as Chief Operating Officer in December 2009 and has led the Conservancy since February 2013.  Prior to joining the Conservancy, Jesse was with The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked on strategy, real estate, organizational development and other projects for Fortune 500 companies and government. At the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, Jesse oversaw a billion-dollar capital budget and managed a 14-person special projects team. Jesse has also implemented a leadership development program with the United Nations World Food Programme in Italy. Jesse has an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in Political Economy from Williams College.

Park Operations

Steven Anderson, Director of Park Operations

Steven joined the Conservancy in July 2007 and oversees all park operations functions and maintenance of the Greenway including horticulture, facilities (including fountains) and public security.  He also oversees volunteer and educational programs. For 16 years prior to joining the Conservancy Steven was a project manager, construction manager, and manager of park design for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and The American Society of Civil Engineers.  He has attended Roxbury Community College, the Boston Architectural College and Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Stuart Shillaber, Superintendent of Horticulture

Stu joined the Conservancy in May of 2009 as a member of the Horticulture staff and in April of 2011 assumed his current role as Superintendent where he currently oversees a department of 7 staff that are charged with the care of the Greenway’s lawns, trees and plant collections. He also plays a leading role in the Horticultural education and the management of the Conservancy’s Volunteer Program. Stu’s previous experiences have led him to run his own successful Design/Build/Maintain Landscaping business and as a Supervisor with the Central Park Conservancy in New York City. He is a AOLCP with NOFA and a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Urban Horticulture & Turfgrass Management.

Robert Stigberg, Superintendent of Maintenance and Security

Bob joined the Conservancy in August 2009 and is responsible for the maintenance of all hardscape elements of the Greenway to include fountains, lighting, electrical, site furnishings, drainage and pavements. In addition he oversees the subcontractor, WORK Inc. who is responsible for litter and trash pickup, lawn mowing, snow removal and many other tasks. The recently introduced Park Rangers fall under Bob’s oversight as well.  Greenway Park Rangers serve as ambassadors on the Greenway and help maintain public safety.  Bob is a registered Landscape Architect and also has several years’ experience managing landscape construction projects prior to joining the Conservancy. He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Connecticut.

Hannah Whipple, Project Manager

Hannah joined the Conservancy in 2007. As the Project Manager for Park Operations, she oversees various park updates and improvement projects.  Hannah’s past experience includes Architectural Design, Landscape Design, and Organic Farming. She holds a BS in Architecture from Northeastern University and a MA in Land use planning and design from the Conway School of Landscape Design.

Horticulture

Anthony Ruggiero, Horticulture Foreman

Anthony joined the Conservancy in June 2009 and is responsible for the direct oversight of the Horticulture crew and the day to day horticulture activities on the Greenway. He is also responsible for the management of the organic program and the irrigation system of the Greenway. Anthony’s previous experience includes working in all aspects of the Green industry throughout the years, but specializing in Sustainable/Organic Landcare. He holds an Associate’s degree in Turfgrass Management from Stockbridge University and a Bachelor's degree in Plant and Soil Science from UMass Amherst.

Darrah Cole, Senior Horticulturist and Designer

Darrah joined the Conservancy in April 2011 and is responsible for in-house horticulture design including perennials, bulb selections, and container design and maintenance; as well as managing the plant inventory and phenology records, contributing to our “What’s in Bloom” blog and leading volunteer events in the field. Darrah has previously worked with Heronswood Nursery and Dan Hinckley in the Pacific Northwest, owned a small organic farm,  and worked on estate gardens in Maine and the North Shore, including Oyster Point Gardens, Skylands, and The Chimneys. She studied at Rhode Island School of Design, and holds a BA from San Francisco State University, and NOFA certification in Organic Land Care Management.

Gary Thorp, Irrigation and Landscape Specialist
Tori Hiney, Plant Health Care Horticulturist

Tori joined the Conservancy in June 2014.  As part of our organic horticulture team, Tori helps in the maintenance of the Greenway's herbaceous and woody plants, containers, and turf.  She helps sustain plant health care, and soil biology as well as support volunteer experiences.  

Tori’s previous experience includes residential organic land care with the Meandering Path out of Exeter, NH as well as with Talbots Creative Gardening out of Cambridge, MA.  She holds a BS in Environmental Horticulture and Landscape design from the University of Maine.  She is certified through NOFA as an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP). She is certified through MNLA as a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH) and holds a Pesticide Applicator License through MDAR.
Rob Fettig, Seasonal Horticulturist
Simone Nemes, Seasonal Horticulturist
Michael Bestoso, Seasonal Irrigation Technician

Maintenance and Security

Tom Ball, Maintenance Foreman

Tom joined the Conservancy in March 2012. He is responsible for establishing the Maintenance Department’s goals and priorities for the season and the year based on long-term maintenance schedules and plans as well as immediate issues. He also assists in developing and managing an annual budget to provide for all goods, services, and staffing needed to meet these goals and objectives. He performs a variety of maintenance tasks as well as direct other maintenance staff and contractors in the repair, reconstruction, maintenance and cleaning of all hard surfaces, systems and structures to ensure that they are kept in first class condition. Tom maintains sophisticated fountain systems that include water filtration and proper analysis and use of chemicals, compressors and computer controlled programming. Tom works closely with various departments as well as other organizations on special events projects, public art installations, as well as other park-wide issues and the Conservancy’s overall priorities. Tom has a degree in Architectural Technology and over 24 years of construction experience. He is a Certified Welder, he has his Construction Supervisor License and also currently holds over twenty licenses and certifications he uses to fulfill his responsibilities on The Greenway.

Bruce Carstairs, Maintenance Mason

Bruce joined the Conservancy in March 2014 and is responsible masonry maintenance on the Greenway. He has 30 years of masonry experience, including full restoration sealants, granite and marble and brick.

Robert Pittman, Maintenance Technician
Leonard Krushova, Maintenance Assistant

Leonard joined the Conservancy in June 2015 and is responsible for assisting Maintenance Department in all aspects of hardscape maintenance including fountains, lights, concrete, stone and brick paving, site furnishing, artworks and structures. His role is to assist the maintenance department staff in its daily operations in maintaining, repairing, cleaning, and installing all hardscape elements through The Greenway. Responsibilities include repair tasks related to masonry, electrical, plumbing, fountains and furnishing as well as the routine maintenance and care of the Greenway Parks. Leonard’s previous experience includes HVAC, electrical, and construction works. He holds an HRVAC degree from RETS Technical Institute of Kaplan and he is EPA certified.  

Jared Prince, Seasonal Maintenance Assistant

Jared joined the Conservancy in September 2015 and is responsible for assisting the Maintenance Department in all aspects of hardscape maintenance. His role is to assist the maintenance department staff in its daily operations in maintaining, repairing, cleaning, and installing all hardscape elements through The Greenway. Responsibilities include repair tasks related to masonry, electrical, plumbing, fountains and furnishing as well as the routine maintenance and care of the Greenway Parks. Previously a Greenway Park Ranger, Jared holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University.

Trina Alexknovitch, Senior Park Ranger

Trina joined the Conservancy in July 2014 and is responsible for the Park Ranger Department.  Trina develops protocol for Park Rangers and works closely with all Conservancy staff and volunteers to address safety issues on the Greenway.  Trina is also an ambassador of the Conservancy and will provide interpretive services for visitors to the Greenway.  Trina’s previous experience includes law enforcement, defense investigations, and campus safety.  She holds a BA in Psychology from Rivier College and a BA in Sign Language Interpreting from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester.

Kiara Huntress, Park Ranger

Kiara Huntress joined the Conservancy in February 2017. As a Park Ranger, Kiara serves as an ambassador to the public and monitors the use of the Greenway parks to ensure public safety. Kiara's previous experience includes working as a seasonal Park Ranger for Brookline, MA and as a horticulturalist for Chestnut Hill Realty in Chestnut Hill, MA. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Merrimack College.

Programs

Samantha McGinnis, Associate Director of Programs

Samantha joined the Conservancy in February 2014 and works as a part of our Programs department as the Programs Manager, facilitating Greenway events and helping interested organizations access the parks. Samantha’s previous work experience includes working with the Beacon Hill Civic Association. She holds a BS in Community and International Development from the University of Vermont.

Keelin Purcell, Associate Director of Programs

Keelin joined the Conservancy in January 2014 and is responsible for leading the Conservancy’s volunteer and play-based education programs, including volunteer recruitment, event organization, and development of partnerships with individuals, schools, and corporate groups.

Keelin’s previous experience includes education positions at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY, Longwood Gardens, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She holds a BS in Plant Science from Cornell University and a MS in Public Horticulture from the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware.

Eileen Ong, Earned Income Manager

Eileen joined the Conservancy in November 2016 and is responsible for managing current initiatives and developing new programs to continue growing the Conservancy's earned income. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Eileen worked at Exxon Mobil Corporation. She holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Rice University.

Sam Hollands, Programs Coordinator

Sam joined the Conservancy in August 2014 and works as a part of our Programs department as the Public Programs and Events Coordinator, facilitating Greenway events and helping interested organizations access the parks. Sam’s previous work experiences include positions with the ICA/Boston, the Chinati Foundation and other domestic and international art institutions. He holds a BA in Communications/Media Studies and Cinema Studies from Northeastern University.

Lev McCarthy, Project Coordinator

Lev joined the Conservancy in September, 2015 and works on planning and executing programming and improvement initiatives within the park. Lev’s previous experience includes positions with the University of Vermont's Transportation Research Center and the Dudley H. Davis Center. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont.

Kait Ziskin Levesque, Community Programs Coordinator

Kait joined the Conservancy in March 2016. Kait works to plan and implement programming furthering the Conservancy's play initiatives and education goals.

Kait's previous work experience includes education positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Historic New England, Peabody Essex Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art and the Museum of Art, RISD. She holds a BFA in Theater Studies from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts and an MA in Art + Design Education from Rhode Island School of Design.
Karla Noboa, Volunteer and Programs Coordinator

Karla joined the Conservancy in April 2017 and works on volunteer recruitment, management and retention, as well as assisting with programs and events. Karla previously worked for The Nature Conservancy both in Vermont and Wisconsin, where she assisted with land management, coordinated events and outreach, and managed volunteer programs for both state chapters. She hold a B.S. in Natural Resources from The University of Vermont.

Valerie Basnight, Seasonal Programs Assistant

Val joined the Conservancy in May 2017 and works with our Programs department to facilitate Greenway events, increase public support through social media, and help interested organizations access the parks. Val has spent the last 10 years in Boston fundraising and planning events for small businesses and local nonprofits, and continues to consult with startups in her free time. She holds a BA from Simmons College where she focused on Psychology and Gender & Cultural Studies.

Public Art

Lucas Cowan, Public Art Curator

Lucas Cowan joined the Conservancy in September 2014 and leads the Conservancy’s efforts to bring world-class temporary exhibitions of contemporary public art. Cowan was previously the Director of Public Art Programs with the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Senior Curator of Exhibits for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture and Millennium Park in Chicago. Cowan attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where he studied Fiber and Material Studies and received a Master of Art in Art Administration at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Cowan serves on the Board of Trustees for the International Sculpture Center, publisher of Sculpture magazine, and was a founding member of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Junior Board.

Melissa Henry, Curatorial Assistant

Melissa joined the Conservancy in March of 2016, and is responsible for managing collaborative, complex art installations within the Public Art program. Before joining The Greenway, Melissa was the Studio Manager at Studio Echelman where she managed the art practice of sculptor Janet Echelman for four years, organizing large-scale permanent and temporary aerial net installations throughout the world. She graduated from Brown University in 2010 with degrees in Visual Art and History of Art and Architecture, and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Cornell University, and the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts located in Greece.

Development

Howard Breslau, Chief Development Officer

Howard Breslau joined The Greenway in January 2017 and is responsible for all organizational Development and fundraising activity and also supports the management of the Board of Trustees.  

Over the past 20 years, Howard has served in senior leadership roles with The Rashi School, the Huntington Theatre Company and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  As a leader in fundraising campaigns totaling more than $250 million, he secured numerous gifts of between 5 to 8 figures resulting in more than $80 million in support of annual, capital, endowment, sponsorship, debt, financial accessibility and program funding.

Prior to his career in fundraising and Development, Howard served as a consultant for International Management Group on both the US Pro Tennis Championships at Longwood Cricket Club and the Ping/Welch’s LPGA Golf Championship for which he was responsible for sponsorship sales and development.

Involved in numerous community and non-profit organizations, Howard has served on the Board of Directors of the UMASS Amherst Alumni Association, the UMASS Hillel Foundation and Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA. He presently sits on the Board of Directors of Camp Yavneh, an overnight camp in Northwood, NH, and serves on the Finance and Investment Committee of the UMASS Amherst Alumni Association.

Howard is a proud graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst from which he holds a BA in Political Science.

Elana Price, Manager of Membership and Annual Fund

Elana Price joined the conservancy in April 2016 as the Manager of Membership and Annual Fund. Elana supports The Greenway’s private fundraising efforts and is responsible for growing and engaging our community of members and supporters. Elana’s previous experience includes positions at Northeastern University Libraries and Project Bread – The Walk for Hunger. She holds a BA in International Affairs and is pursuing her MS in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. She is a graduate of Northeastern’s Emerging Leaders Program and Plus Delta Partner's Discipline of Frontline Fundraising.

Amy De Genaro, Development Associate

Amy joined the Conservancy in June 2015 and supports the Development team through database administration and member correspondence. Amy’s previous work experience includes positions in both government and publishing at the MA Department of Environmental Protection and Pearson Education. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Connecticut College.

Finance and Administration

Srivi Radhakrishnan, Senior Accountant

Srivi joined the Conservancy in 2015.  As part of the Finance team, she processes Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, payroll, and other tasks.  Srivi has a MS in Finance from Bentley University and a BS in Mathematics from Madras University.

Renee Wood, Director of Finance and Administration

Renee joined the Conservancy in September 2013 and oversees the Conservancy’s financial accounting and reporting, human resources, and office administration.  Renee’s previous experience includes time with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, and Cone, Inc.  Renee holds a Bachelor and Master of Accountancy, both from the University of Mississippi.

Clifford Thompson, Human Resources and Office Administrator

Clifford joined the Conservancy in December 2013. He processes payroll, as well as administrating Human Resources, benefits, and general office management.  Before returning to Boston, he taught 7th grade math and science in New Orleans. He holds a BA in English from Tulane University. 

Meredith Curry, Marketing and Office Coordinator

Meredith joined the Conservancy as a Marketing & Community Outreach intern in summer 2016, and has returned for the summer of 2017. Meredith attends Wellesley College and is an economics major. While at school, she organizes the Wellesley squash team and volunteers around Boston.

Communications and Outreach

Michael Nichols, Chief of Staff

Michael joined the Conservancy in October 2014. He is responsible for the Conservancy's community and government affairs, as well as advancing strategic Greenway priorities. He also manages the Conservancy's outreach efforts including social media and public relations. Michael formerly served as Chief of Staff & Legal Counsel at the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Research & Policy Director at the Boston City Council, and was a 2013 candidate for election to the Boston City Council. He is an admitted attorney with a BA and JD from UConn. Outside of the Greenway, Michael serves as President of the Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association in Boston.

Alan Auger, Creative Communications Coordinator

Alan joined the Conservancy in October 2015 and is responsible for creative communications, including graphic design and public outreach. Before joining the Greenway, Alan worked with Boston-based graphic and environmental design firms.  He holds a BA in Communications from Suffolk University, and in Graphic Design from the New England School of Art and Design.

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