The Merrimack Valley in New England is something extraordinary to behold. From quaint farm country to quintessential seacoast towns, this region offers something for everyone. Diversity is our specialty, and our region is comprised of 15 unique, proud communities all tied together by a commitment to collaboration and a common, natural thread—the Merrimack River.
Mary Kay Beninati
Senior Transportation Planner
phone: 978-374-0519 ext. 22
Karen Sawyer Conard
phone: 978-374-0519 ext.12
Environmental Program Manager
phone: 978-374-0519 ext. 16
Transportation Program Manager
phone: 978-374-0519 ext. 15
phone: 978-374-0519 ext. 10
Field Services Specialist
phone: 978-374-0519 ext.14
Coastal Resources Coordinator
phone: 978-374-0519 ext. 17
We are Committed to Excellence.
Karen Sawyer Conard
Karen became the Executive Director of the Commission in January 2017. She reports directly to the 16 Commissioners and is responsible for the overall administration of MVPC. She oversees all land use, transportation, environmental, GIS and economic development planning performed by the Commission and its staff of 15.
With twenty-nine years of experience in the public and private sectors, Karen has served in both the executive and legislative branches of state government, has worked for a private sector real estate development firm, and most recently served as Community Development Director for the Cities of Methuen and Peabody. Prior to her tenure in municipal government, Karen served in various capacities at MassDevelopment, Massachusetts Office of Business Development, Department of Housing and Community Development, MBTA, Office of Governor Bill Weld and the Massachusetts State Senate.
Karen currently serves as President of the Board of Housing Support, Inc., a non-profit corporation with a mission to provide shelter, housing and related support services to low-income, homeless and/or handicapped individuals and families through the development, purchase, ownership or rental of various forms of real estate throughout the Merrimack Valley. In addition, she serves as a Director, Executive Committee and Charitable Foundation Committee Member of The Savings Bank, as a Director of First Financial Trust, and Chairperson of the MA Gaming Policy Advisory Committee (appointed by Governor Baker in 2017).
She is a graduate from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and French.
Started at MVPC: 1995
Jenifer is responsible for any and all financial activities including accounts payable, accounts receivable, job costing, billing, payroll, general ledger, financial statement preparation and analysis, forecasting and budgeting.
Prior to joining MVPC, she worked from April 1989 to June 1995 as General Ledger Accounting Manager/Assistant to the Controller at National Education Training Group – Spectrum, Bedford, MA. NETG-Spectrum employs 200 who work to provide multimedia solutions for large corporations’ business concerns. Jenifer also worked from 1984-1988 (part-time) and 1988-1989 (full-time) as Bookkeeper/Office Manager at Christiansen and Sergi, Inc., Haverhill, MA. Christiansen and Sergi Inc. provides professional civil engineering and land surveying services.
Education: BS in Business, Bentley College (1988)
Started at MVPC: 2002
Nancy takes pride in her position as Assistant to the Executive Director and as MVPC’s Office Administrator, the key focus to providing administrative support to the staff. She coordinates and publishes the agency’s annual report, newsletter and marketing materials and is the event coordinator for MVPC’s training and workshops. She also assist in updating and maintaining the agency’s website.
Prior to joining MVPC, Nancy worked for Honeywell Information Systems/Honeywell Bull for 18 years, Genesys Software and Elateral a London based Marketing and Branding firm.
Nancy has over 35 years experience as an office manager/administrator with an Associates Degree in business management and computer sciences from Northern Essex Community College.
Started at MVPC – May 1, 2019
Jennifer has an extensive wetlands and conservation background. Prior to joining MVPC she was the Conservation Administrator for the Town of North Andover from 2008 through 2019. She has served on the Ipswich Conservation Commission since 1999 and has been the Chair since 2012. Jennifer has assisted both Ipswich and North Andover with open space acquisition projects and in updating their wetlands bylaws. Jennifer has worked as a project scientist for Environmental Resources Management and as a wetland scientist with Rimmer Environmental Consulting. She has experience in wetland delineation, stormwater management, environmental permitting, open space management and climate resiliency activities. She is a member of the Association of Massachusetts Wetland Scientists (AMWS) and a board member of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC). In 2017, Jennifer received an award from MACC for her long and ongoing service and dedication to the environment, conservation, open space, participation in the civic life of two communities, and for her many successes working on and with her conservation commissions. Jennifer currently lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1992) and has continued her Environmental Science Education through the University of New Hampshire and at Antioch University.
Started at MVPC: 2002
Peter coordinates and provides technical assistance to the Eight Towns and the Great Marsh Massachusetts Bays Program Local Governance Committee for the nine communities of the upper north shore to improve the conditions of Massachusetts Bay, including working with local officials and citizens to promote coastal stewardship; facilitating the development of coastal environmental initiatives, implementing outreach and education strategies; and the development of grant proposals to public and private sources to fund coastal restoration and protection projects.
Started at MVPC: 1983
Tony is the Transportation Program Manager at MVPC. He directs the multimodal transportation planning activities of the agency, which include highway, pedestrian, bicycle, transit and other major means of travel in the region. Tony has almost 30 years of experience in conducting transportation studies and analyses including the preparation of regional transportation plans, transportation elements of community master plans, development of regional transportation demand models, and the development of for major corridor traffic studies.
Tony received his B.A. in Economics from the State University of New York at Cortland in 1977. He earned his M.A. in City and Regional Planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1982, with a concentration in transportation planning.
Mary Kay Beninati
Started at MVPC: 1985
Mary Kay is responsible for producing the annual Merrimack Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (MVMPO) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). She assists in the administration of the MVMPO Public Participation Plan and maintenance of the regional transportation demand model. In her twenty-eight years of transportation planning at MVPC. Mary Kay has also conducted numerous corridor studies, intersection analyses, and air quality analyses.
Mary Kay holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Started at MVPC: 2000
Jim is responsible for administering pavement management programs, corridor traffic studies, parking studies and intersection improvement studies. In addition, he assists with preparation of the Transportation Improvement Program and data collection for the Commission and the I-93 Corridor Study.
Prior to joining MVPC, Jim worked for Edwards and Kelcey, Inc. of Boston, MA where he was Senior Transportation Engineer. While there, he worked on numerous projects including the signal design of intersections, traffic management plans for bridge foundation boring work, a master plan for an industrial park and peer review of work conducted in a Traffic Impact and Access Study (TIAS) for a development to be located in Newington, NH.
Prior to Edwards and Kelcey, Jim worked at Vanasse and Associates, Inc. in Andover, MA where he was Project Engineer. In that capacity, he prepared TIASs and traffic studies within Environmental Impact Reports for land development by private and public entities. His clients ranged from office developers, to shopping mall developers, to public school systems. In addition, Jim prepared Functional Design Reports (FDR) in support of signal design work for construction documents. One such FDR was for a signal system located on Pleasant Valley Street (Route 113) in Methuen.
Education and/or professional accreditation: Education B.S.M.E., University of New Hampshire; A.S.C.E.T., University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Professional Registration: Professional Engineer (Civil), Commonwealth of Massachusetts. License No. 39507.
Started at MVPC: 2000
Danny oversees and conducts transportation and environmental data collection studies. Transportation data collection projects include Automatic Traffic Recorder (ATR) studies, Intersection Turning Movement Counts (TMC), Park and Ride Surveys, Regional Bus Transportation Data Collection, Pavement Management Analysis, GPS Data Collection, as well as a variety of environmental data collection projects.
Prior to joining MVPC, Danny was employed with Andover Consultants, Inc. – Methuen, MA as a Land Surveyor, providing Land Surveying Services such as Boundary Surveys, Topographic Surveys, Land Court Surveys and As-Built Surveys.
Started at MVPC: 2007
Betsy is a Senior Transportation Planner where she focuses her work on alternative transportation modes including transit, bicycling and walking. Prior to joining MVPC, she worked for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for eight years where she assisted trail builders nationwide as the Trails and Greenways Clearinghouse Manager in Washington, DC and then as a New England Field Representative in Massachusetts. She received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Dickinson College.
Started at MVPC: 1995
Jerrard manages MVPC’s Information Technology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Performing in its capacity as the Regional GIS Service Center for northeast Massachusetts, MVPC works with municipal, private and state agencies, to map and analyze information, and to support the development of electronic records, datasets and information systems. He is responsible for overseeing the operation and maintenance of the commission’s web-based Municipal Information Mapping Access Program (MIMAP) and the development of mobile GIS applications. Jerrard also manages the regional Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).
Started at MVPC: 2006
Stephen is responsible for maintaining the Commission’s Geographic Information System (GIS). Prior to joining MVPC, Stephen worked as a Regional Planner with Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission. While there, his responsibilities included a variety of GIS, transportation, and environmental planning projects. Stephen’s past experiences also include working with the NH Merrimack County Conservation District as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and working for the NH Fish and Game Department Marine Fisheries Division, as a Biological Technician.
Started at MVPC: 2018
Mikayla is responsible for developing and managing data in support of the Commission’s GIS Program. Her work includes integrating GIS and technical skills into the planning environment through services such as map creation, spatial analysis, data development and data interpretation for local and regional planning activities. Prior to joining MVPC, Mikayla worked as a biogeochemical research assistant for the Earth Systems Research Center at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) while pursuing her B.S in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability. Her work at UNH also included GIS-based modeling of the potential infrastructure impacts from sea level rise in coastal New Hampshire.
Started at MVPC: 2019
Nate is responsible for gathering, interpreting, preparing, and analyzing a variety of socioeconomic data for public use. His work includes managing all U.S. Economic Development Administration funding in furtherance of Economic Development District designations and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy efforts. Nate also supports the implementation of regional and municipal housing production plans.
Prior to joining MVPC Nate worked as the Assistant Director of Economic Development for the City of Haverhill, where he oversaw a wide variety of projects and initiatives. Prior to his work in Haverhill, Nate worked in public health on Cape Cod. He brings his experience working in economic development, urban planning, and public health to the agency.
Nate is thoroughly from New England – born in Boston, raised in Rhode Island, educated in Vermont, and now living in Haverhill. Something about changing seasons, historic communities, and clam chowder anchors him to the region.