Hi, I'm Clarence! Let's learn to read together!
Meet the faces behind Pioneer Valley Books
Pioneer Valley Books President Michele Dufresne needs little introduction as the heart of our company and a founding member. One of her favorite things about working here is getting letters from teachers and children. Her favorite fictional book character is Scarlett O'Hara and in her spare time she loves to take Bella, Rosie, Jack, and Daisy for walks on the beach in St. Augustine, Florida.
If Michele 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 (Michele may have filled this out for him).
General Manager Matt Dufresne provides support to the management team on a daily basis. He does everything from watering the plants to running big projects. His favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Oliver the Cat. Best advice he's ever gotten? "Don't be afraid of being a beginner."
Nick Dufresne is our IT Manager. He makes sure the internet is working and does all of 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.
Lisa Ahlstrom, Financial 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."
PRODUCTION AND EDITORIAL
Ann Caranci, one of our many talented graphic designers, 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 spirit animal 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."
Molly Dolben, Graphic Designer, describes her work thusly: "I help make words attractive and exciting, so young readers understand the text and want to read on!" Well said! When she's not here, Molly rides horses and listens to lots of music. Her favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Marshmallow the Pony and the best piece of advice she's ever gotten is: "Do or do not. There is no try."
Senior Graphic Designer and resident font fanatic Heather Rush takes first drafts, brainstorms, stories, and conversations, and (with an amazing team) spins everything together with strong design. She is Bella, Rosie, Jack, and Daisy's personal photographer. She spends as much time riding horses as she can. "I am happiest with hay in my hair and a peppermint horse treat in my pocket."
Gina Mercieri is our Production Coordinator. When she's not managing reprints or providing much needed administrative support, you can find her happily playing with one of the many puppies that visit our office on a regular basis. If she could have any superpower, she'd want the ability to teleport so she could go anywhere whenever she wants-- especially to the beach. Gina's favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Jasper, which makes sense because her spirit animal is totally a cat. The best advice she's ever gotten? "Be kind to yourself and to one another."
Content Developer Sumanth Prabhaker manages the editorial process for our book manuscripts. He occasionally writes stories and also runs a small publishing company out of his living room. He lives just a few thousand feet down a beautiful tree-lined pedestrian path from our office but still shows up every day in his car.
Caitlin Prozonic, our Associate Project Editor, came to Massachusetts from Allentown, PA to receive her MFA in Writing for Children, which certainly makes her perfect for us, don't you think? She spends her time at the office editing things to make sure they look and sound pretty. Outside of work, she's an avid dancer, writer, and traveler. Every summer, she embarks on an ice cream tour of the Pioneer Valley so you can turn to her if you need a local dessert fix. Her favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Space Monster, because he's quiet, shy, and kind to everyone he meets.
SALES AND MARKETING
Lauri Yanis, Director of Sales and Marketing, is the proud captain of our sales team, focusing on bringing our excellent books into the lives of teachers and young readers all over the world. She walks in the 3-Day walks for breast cancer (14 years and going strong) and trains copiously for them. She is also a rower, and crews competitively. She's even rowed in the Head of the Charles—twice!
Conference Coordinator Shanique Fair provides support to our Sales and Marketing Director and day-to-day works one on one with our fantastic customers. Her favorite Pioneer Valley Books character is Clarence the Dragon and she loves to read, hike, and travel in her spare time. The biggest perk of her job is getting to travel the country meeting our customers.
Marketing and Communications Specialist Beth Honeyman makes sure that our department runs smoothly, managing our website, catalogs, and more. She’s also a wordsmith who writes books and social media content. In her spare time, she loves to read, watch movies and documentaries, and build puzzles and LEGO creations with her kids. Her favorite fictional book character is Anne of Green Gables. About working here, Beth says, "Everyone is so dedicated to working together and putting out the best materials we can."
Sue Schroeder, Lead Customer Service Representative, works to make sure that all of our customers have a positive experience. Her favorite part of working here? "Other than reading fabulous letters the kids write to Bella and Rosie, and my awesome crew of co-workers, I'd say getting to bring Dancer to work with me every day."
WAREHOUSE AND FULFILLMENT
Glen Bertrand, Logistics Manager, keeps our books traveling to where they belong, whether that be a location in the warehouse, an elementary school classroom, or a customer's front door. His favorite fictional character is Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. He loves working here because: "It's important to me to work for a local business that provides a meaningful service. Pioneer Valley Books delivers on both counts."
Matt Goggin, "Kit Meister" in Warehouse and Fulfillment, builds 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 can often be heard practicing the saxophone in the warehouse later in the day. "I started playing about 40 years later than most blues artists, but I sure have fun playing." He's also known as the origami master around here.