NECC Foundation Honors Five Community Leaders During Inaugural Impact Awards

Northern Essex Community College Vice President of Institutional Advancement Allison Dolan-Wilson, Covanta Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden, Covanta Manager of Corporate Communications Alyssa Wilds and state Rep. Andy Vargas. (Courtesy photograph.)

Five community leaders were honored Wednesday for their “lasting contributions” to Northern Essex Community College and its students.

The NECC Foundation presented its inaugural Impact Awards to Jouel Gómez, Outstanding Alumni Award; state Auditor Diana DiZoglio, Public Service and Advocacy Award; Jeffrey Linehan, Philanthropy and Volunteerism Award; Vilma Martinez Dominguez, Equity and Social Justice Award; and Covanta, Community Partner Award Covanta is the inaugural recipient of the Community Partner Award.

More than 150 community partners, supporters and state and local lawmakers gathered for the Impact Awards Breakfast.

“We wouldn’t be here without your generosity and efforts on behalf of the college,” college Vice President of Institutional Advancement Allison Dolan-Wilson told the audience. “Thank you all for taking time out of your day to celebrate those who truly put the ‘community’ in community college.”

As WHAV reported previously, Gómez was recognized as an alum who achieved career-related success and exemplifies active support for the college’s efforts. Gómez, a senior manager at Massachusetts General Brigham: Newton-Wellesley Hospital, graduated from Northern Essex in 2015 with a Business Transfer Degree. He became involved in alumni association efforts in 2016, becoming the vice chairperson, and president and chairperson in 2021. Gómez also serves on the college’s Board of Trustees as alumni representative.

DiZoglio took time to highlight her mother’s Northern Essex Community College attendance. As a single mother, Kelly Byrnes was able to improve her skills and provide for her family thanks to the college. As the former state senator from the 1st Essex District and the representative for the 14th Essex District, the college said DiZoglio was an advocate for Northern Essex, its students and its efforts in Lawrence, Haverhill and surrounding communities.

Linehan was honored for his financial support, volunteering and leadership at the college, including serving formerly as the chair of the college Board of Trustees and, currently, as secretary for the NECC Foundation Board.

As former community development director for the City of Lawrence and current chief operations officer at Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Martinez Dominguez shepherds support for area residents living in poverty. This year, the Council partnered with the college to expand availability of high-quality English to Speakers of Other Languages instruction in Greater Lawrence, addressing the waitlist of more than 2,000 people.

Covanta established an endowed scholarship in 2011 for students pursuing an associate degree in natural, laboratory or engineering science. The company also recently matched a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth for the Haverhill Promise Program, allowing Haverhill High School students to participate in early college to complete their associate degrees tuition-free. Covanta Business Manager Mark Van Weelden serves on the NECC Foundation board. The award was accepted by Covanta Manager of Corporate Communications Alyssa Wilds.

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