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.
FINANCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES
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).
Lisa Ahlstrom, Manager of Finance and Human Resources, 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."
Diane Matuszek, our Accounting Clerk and Human Resources Assistant, helps balance the PVB books and kindly tracks down coworkers when they forget to turn in paperwork. When she's not busy keeping us all honest and enjoying the free office coffee, Diane loves to cook, read, and lie in the sun (like a lazy house cat, her self-proclaimed spirit animal).
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.
PRODUCTION AND EDITORIAL
Molly Dolben, Production Manager, 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."
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."
Art Director 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. 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.”
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 Project Editor, came to Massachusetts from Allentown, PA to receive her MFA in Writing for Children, which certainly makes her a perfect fit for us. She spends her time at the office editing our books, lesson cards, and various educational products. Outside of work, she's an avid writer, dancer, and traveler. Every summer, she embarks on an ice cream tour of the Pioneer Valley, and she's always looking for new places to visit. 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 (16 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!
As our Customer Service Representative and Receptionist, Cate Cantler is both the smile you see when you walk in our door and a kind voice customers hear when they call. Her favorite office perk? Being one of the first to read our brand-new books. When Cate isn't working "9 to 5" (which would also be her theme song if a movie was made about her), she secretly hoards Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and face masks and loves to bake, sew, and spend time outside with friends. Her favorite fictional book character is Strega Nona, but she also enjoys PVB's Little Knight because he's got a lot of spunk!
Special Events and Conference Coordinator Shanique Fair travels throughout the country bringing Pioneer Valley Books to your nearest literacy conference. When she is not traveling and interacting with our customers, she enjoys playing outside with her dog and reading a good book. Her favorite PVB character is Clarence the Dragon because he gets to fly anytime he wants.
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."
Sales 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.
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
Warehouse 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."
As a Warehouse Associate, Rob Arnold picks, packs, and creates kits while also maintaining product inventory each day. If he had a superpower, he'd like to be able to heal people with touch. Away from work, Rob enjoys coaching basketball and secretly hoards action figures. His favorite fictional book character is Superman, so you won't be surprised to hear that Super Sam gets his pick for best PVB character. Lucky for us, Rob's son is also a big Super Sam fan.
Glen Bertrand, Shipping Coordinator, keeps our books traveling to where they belong, whether that be a location in a district warehouse, an elementary school classroom, or a customer's front door. Glen is happy to work for a local business that provides such a meaningful service. He also digs Bach, Coltrane, and Jesus.
Jim Burke, Warehouse Associate, 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.
Logistics Specialist Casey Edgar is in charge of our second warehouse (yep, we have two!). When he's not creating and organizing our many kits and making sure that they're always ready to be sent to customers, he likes to play soccer, listen to music, spend time with his kids, and secretly hoard old Nintendo games and records. Casey likes working here because of the flexibility, saying "each day is always a little different." The best piece of advice he's ever gotten? "Always take care of your shoes."
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.
Warehouse Coordinator 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!).
DaQuante McPhatter, Warehouse Associate, describes himself as a worker bee here, where he spends his time creating kits. He says he hoards and hides food since he loves to eat. Fortunately, with many amateur bakers on the PVB staff, DaQuante is able to indulge in his favorite office perk of consuming treats that are often up for grabs. Outside of work, DaQuante enjoys sports, music, photography, and modeling. If he could choose a superpower, he'd like to be able to teleport.
Warehouse Associate Pearce Pierce helps create the many kits we sell and keep the machine running in our warehouse. His spirit animal is a lion, and he says the best advice he's gotten is to "Give respect, get respect, and have a plan." In his spare time, Pearce likes to watch movies, coach basketball, and play video games (though he says he has way too many). His favorite PVB character is Super Sam, but if he had his own superpower, he'd choose to be like Wolverine.
Austin Rego, Warehouse Assistant, 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 as many shows as he can.