The Festival of Trees, Inc.
The Methuen Festival of Trees, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization as defined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The Festival is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors elected pursuant to the organization’s Bylaws.
2023-2024 Board of Directors
Click the name below to view each board member’s biography.
Tom currently serves as president of the Festival’s Board of Directors. He is a founding member of the Festival of Trees and has served in a number of capacities since it began in 1994.
Professionally, Tom is the president of The Lussier Group, LLC, a government and public affairs firm. He was elected to four terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing the City of Pittsfield and a number of other Berkshire County communities. Tom served as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System. As a consultant, he serves as the administrator of the Coalition to Preserve Retirement Security (CPRS) and the Public Sector Health Care Roundtable. He is a Board member of the National Institute for Public Employee Health Care Policy.
Tom is the treasurer of the Methuen Historical Society and chairman of the Methuen Historic District Commission.
Rose Maria Redman
For thirty one years, Rose Maria DiFiore Redman served Presentation of Mary Academy as an English teacher, Assistant Principal, and Head of School for her last 18 years at that school. It is through her love of PMA that she grew to love historic preservation. PMA closed its doors in the Spring of 2020, but Rose Maria is committed to continuing the tradition of PMA being a member of the Founder’s Club by continuing to enter a tree in the name of Presentation of Mary Academy.
In 1999, Rose Maria joined the Festival of Trees Board of Directors and served as the Tenney Gate House Mini Tree Coordinator with Ann Guastaferro until the Festival moved to Branch Street. In 2006, she stepped off the Board and coordinated the Conifer Awards until 2021, when she returned to the Board of Directors.
Presently, Rose Maria is the Principal of Bradford Christian Academy. She is also involved in her Church as President of the Saint Rita Sodality and is a past Board member of the Methuen Historical Society. Rose Maria, her husband Kevin, and their son John live in Methuen and are all committed to the mission of the Festival.
Ann M. Guastaferro
Ann retired as the City of Methuen’s Treasurer and Tax Collector in 2016. She served on the State Treasurer’s Advisory Board and the City’s High School Building Committee. Prior to coming to Methuen, she held the position of Special Projects Manager for the Lawrence Public School System which included oversight of the construction of five new public schools.
She is a former President and member of the Board of Trustees for the Presentation of Mary Academy and serves on the Committee for St. Rita’s Sodality at Holy Rosary Shrine. Most importantly, she is the “#1” cheerleader for her grandsons… Jackson and Colton Bates! Family is most important to Ann: her daughter Laura, son-in-law Dean, and grandsons Jackson and Colton are the center of her life.
Maureen C. Pollard
Maureen is a founding Board member of the Methuen Festival of Trees. She co-chaired the Festival from 1999 to 2002 and was elected its first president when the Festival became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 2003. She currently serves as the vice president for external affairs. Maureen and Mike Pollard were honored as “Special Friends of the Festival” in 2013.
Although Maureen began her professional career as a teacher, she worked in the local banking industry since 1980. She retired from Northmark Bank where she served as Manager of their Andover office. Maureen and Mike are the former owners of the Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home — located in Methuen’s historic Waldo House. Built in 1825 and at one time owned by Edward F. Searles, Waldo House is surrounded by magnificent stone walls, characteristic of all of Searles’ properties. Maureen felt privileged to be the steward of this historic landmark.
In addition to the Festival, Maureen has been a board member of the Methuen Historical Society since 1996. She has served as the Society’s recording secretary and currently serves as president of the Society’s Board of Directors. In retirement, Maureen and Mike spend most of their time at their home on Plum Island.
Like many visitors and volunteers, Derek’s involvement in the Festival of Trees began at a young age. As a young teenage volunteer, Derek sold small gifts and souvenirs at a small table during the Festival nearly 20 years ago. Derek was elected to the Board of Directors in 2014, and has served as the Festivals’ Social Media Coordinator, Auction Manager, Secretary, and currently serves as the organization’s Treasurer.
Professionally, Derek works in senior living and nursing facilities as a director of operations, ensuring high quality and coordinated care for hundreds of seniors across Massachusetts. Derek is a graduate of Methuen High School, received his bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Stonehill College, and his master’s in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University.
When not working or volunteering at the Festival of Trees, Derek is enjoying time with family, including his wife and two children, Hannah and Ben (who share their dad’s enthusiasm for the Festival of Trees).
With a deep passion for real estate and interior design, Adam began his career as a real estate agent in Greater Boston at just 20 years old. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Corporate Finance, equipping him with a versatile skill set.
Outside of real estate, Adam serves as a board member and Assistant Treasurer for the Methuen Festival of Trees, a nonprofit focused on historic preservation in the Merrimack Valley. He’s also skilled in project coordination and junior paralegal work, showcasing a strong grasp of organization, communication, finance, and negotiation.
Adam’s dedication extends to his community involvement through charitable contributions. In his free time, he enjoys exploring culinary creations, writing, and immersing himself in music. He shares his life with an 11-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who loves outdoor adventures in New Hampshire and Maine.
Gina has been a Festival Board member since 2008. She first became involved working as a committee member on the UGLY BUG BALL and from that point on has served as chair on the Children’s Events, The Taste of The Festival and the Scholarship Committee. She is presently the Secretary of the Festival Board of Directors.
Gina is a resident of Methuen and worked as a first grade teacher at the Central and C.G.S. Elementary Schools in Methuen. In addition to working on the Festival Board, Gina also is a member of the Greater Lawrence College Club where she has served as chairperson and committee member for their scholarship program. When not busy with her volunteer work Gina is busy crafting, babysitting, and going to sporting events for her six grandchildren.
Janice has been a member of the Festival Board working on the Tree Committee since 2013. She has assumed the role of “Mini Tree” Coordinator for the past 5 years. She is also currently serving as Assistant Secretary of the Board. Janice began her involvement with the Festival in 2018 as a volunteer, alongside her mother, Theresa Solomon. She has also been a tree donor for the same number of years.
Janice was an Educator and School System Administrator for 35 years until her retirement in 2013, at which time she accepted the position of Festival Board member.
In addition to the Festival, Janice is also involved with her Church, St Anthony’s Maronite, in Lawrence, MA. She along with her husband, Mike, work in assisting their church with the main fundraiser each year. She is also very involved with her Alma Mater, St Mary’s High School, formerly of Lawrence, MA. She has served on the reunion committee for the past 50 years, assisting in organizing the school’s many events.
Since her retirement, Janice has spent her time with her family. She and her husband have 2 grown children and 2 granddaughters, that fill their lives with joy.
Gregory E. Blomgren
Gregory joined the Festival’s Board of Directors in 2021. Originally as a member of the Volunteer committee, he now is the Chair of the Auction Committee. He has been a part of the Festival since birth, annually donating a tree with his twin brother Eric. Over the years, he has volunteered in many capacities: using the iPads, picking up trash daily, and assisting with auction item pick-ups.
Professionally, Gregory is just starting his career as an elementary school teacher. He currently teaches 4th grade at the Tenney Grammar School in Methuen, MA. He comes from a family of teachers: his mother is a teacher and father was an administrator in Methuen for many years.
Gregory is a graduate of Merrimack College where he received a bachelor’s degree in human development & human services and elementary education. He is fond of his Swedish heritage. He is a member of Vasa Order of America Birka Lodge #732 and the District Historian for Vasa Order of America District Lodge #2.
Steven is completing his first year as a Board Member of the Methuen Festival of Trees. Having attended nearly every Festival of Trees since its inception, he decided it was time to give back. In addition, as a long-time Manufacturer’s Representative in the gift industry, Steven was a resource for the Festival’s Gift Shop for nearly two decades. He is currently working as a buyer and planner for the Gift Shop.
Professionally, Steven started his career as a legislative assistant in the Massachusetts Senate and as Director of the Council on Aging in Haverhill. He went on to open Everything Nice, a gift shop in Haverhill, during the late ‘80’s to mid-90’s, and he subsequently spent more than 25 years as a Manufacturer’s Representative for the gift, home décor, jewelry and furniture industries in Eastern MA and Southern NH. He has been happily retired since 2022.
Steven comes from a large Haverhill family and enjoys spending time with friends, his four sisters, several nieces and nephews, and his Cocker Spaniels, Charlie and Jake. He is currently active as Ward 4 Chair of the Haverhill Democratic City Committee. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.
Professionally, Becky is the Global Customs Compliance Manager for New Balance Athletics, Inc., where she has been employed since 2000. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from Boston University, and is also a Licensed Customs Broker.
Originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Becky lived in Florida and North Carolina after college. She returned to the Boston area in 1999, where she met her husband, Rob. They moved to Methuen in 2001 and raised their daughter here. Becky enjoys traveling as much as possible, especially to Aruba and Costa Rica. In her spare time, Becky loves to read, do crossword puzzles, and is an amateur photographer. She is also currently learning Spanish.
Christina St. Onge
William (Bill) Cox, Esq.
Bill has been a practicing attorney in Bradford, MA since 1988. He currently serves as the City Solicitor for the City of Haverhill, as well as maintaining a private practice. Bill also serves as a Board member of the Northern Essex Community College Foundation and Public Media of NE, Inc. (WHAV.net/FM), as well as a Corporator for Haverhill Bank. Previously, Bill served on the Board of Trustees for Northern Essex Community College for over 11 years, having been the Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Board.
Susan has been part of the Methuen Festival of Trees since 2011. She began working as a volunteer, and was later elected to the board in 2012 as the gift shop director. She is now in charge of tree awards and is also a member of the design team.
Retiring after 35 years of teaching in Methuen’s Public Schools, she taught pre-school at the Chapel School in Methuen until June of this year. Susan graduated from Lowell University (U Mass Lowell) with a BA in Art and Education, and Wheelock College (at Boston University) with a master’s in early childhood education.
When not in Methuen, Susan enjoys spending time in her North Conway home with her family.
As a board member Deb currently serves as Vice President of Festival Experience and can be found lending a hand wherever she is needed throughout the festival. Deb is part of the tree recruitment team that work hard to make sure all our tree donors know how much we value their contributions to the Festival. We know that without our amazing community of tree donors along with our dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors and advertisers we would not be celebrating our 30th year!
Deb is newly retired after working for many years in manufacturing planning and supply chain roles. She looks forward to spending time with her family and friends, cheering on her two grandsons, gardening and traveling.
As a longtime volunteer, Dedra was recruited to serve on the Volunteer Committee due to her dedication to the Festival. She became a co-chair of the committee and has worked diligently to recruit and train volunteers for over 10 years. She joined the Board and continues her role working with volunteers.
Professionally, Dedra works at the University of Lowell as the Program Administrator for the Department of Public Health. Prior to this, she worked as an assistant for the Dean’s office for the Zuckerburg College of Health Sciences.
She is a former board member for the Methuen Garden Club. She is lifelong resident of Methuen and the proud mother of two beautiful girls.
Matti became a board member in 2021. Before joining the board, Matti was a volunteer with the Methuen Festival of Trees for over 15 years after volunteering with the children’s events with her girl scout troop. Since joining the Board, she has worked closely with our Volunteer Committee on our training program and technology.
Professionally, Matti is a Customer Experience Specialist for a local software company. She grew up in Methuen and graduated from the University of New Hampshire.
Cindy was an Educator and Director for The Chapel School for 35 years. She started her teaching career at the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) Head Start Program and later in Holyoke, MA She has served on several committees related to Early Childhood Education both for GLCAC and the Methuen Public Schools promoting positive transitioning for young children entering Kindergarten.
She is a member of the Prayer Shawl Ministry at First Church Congregational in Methuen donating her time and talent making shawls and lap blankets for those in need. Cindy also served on the GLCAC Governing Board from 2010 to 2017. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two grown children and her big extended family and friends.
George D. Perry
George Perry is a newly elected member of the Festival Board of Directors and currently serves as chair of the Program Book Committee. He was born and raised in Cambridge, MA and comes to the Festival with many years of public service. He began working at Harvard University in 1988, where he was employed as a Community Police Officer, a position he would ultimately hold for 10-years. He also worked part-time for more than 15 years as Constable for the cities of Cambridge and Somerville.
In 2001, George began working for Bay State Gas, where in addition to his job, he acted as the Chair of the Steel Workers Union. More recently he’s been employed at another local natural gas company where he sits on both the Safety and Truck Committees.
Board Member Emeritus
Barbara is a lifelong resident of Methuen Massachusetts. From a large family (4 siblings, many aunts, uncles and cousins) most of whom are still living in Methuen. She is Board Certified in Radiology, Radiation Therapy and Medical Dosimetry. She spent most of her 48-year career working in the treatment of cancer in Boston and Worcester. She has volunteered for several organizations in Methuen and other functions in New England, enjoying them all including the Festival of Trees since its inception in 1994. At the Festival, Barbara has served as the volunteer coordinator and currently serves as the Board’s liaison to the Café vendor.
Board Member Emeritus
Ann Gross recently became an Emeritus member of the Festival Board of Directors. She is a founding member of the Festival board serving since the Festival began in 1993. For many years, Ann’s chief role was managing the donation of trees and overseeing the raffle.
Ann is a retired educator from the Methuen Public Schools. She continues to volunteer for several local organizations.
Board Member Emeritus
Kay DiFiore is a founding member of the Festival of Trees and is now an Emeritus Board Member. Over the Festival’s 30 years, Kay has performed nearly every leadership function, including serving as co-chair of the Festival for five years. She established The Friends of the Festival and initiated our 1st online auction. Today Kay is happiest when she’s welcoming guests at the Festival’s main entrance.
Kay retired from her job in the Modernization Department of the Lawrence Housing Authority after 27 years and continued working part-time for Creative Living in Andover.
She is a former member of the Board of Directors of Immigrant City Archives, (now the Lawrence History Center), and the Methuen Historical Society. She worked tirelessly toward the restoration of the Rollins’ School Clocktower, in Lawrence, and was General Chairperson of the year-long 100th Anniversary Celebration of Corpus Christi Church (Holy Rosary Parish). She now serves on the Committee for St. Rita’s Sodality, at Holy Rosary Shrine.
Eileen J. Hayes
Board Member Emeritus
Eileen Hayes is a Festival of Trees Emeritus Board Member. She served on the Festival board since the late nineties. Her favorite job is/was working with the mini trees and wreaths.
She was a teacher in the Methuen Public Schools for forty years. She taught at the Pleasant Valley and Comprehensive Grammar Schools. After retirement from the MPS, she was a program supervisor of student teachers for UMass-Lowell and Worcester State University.
Patricia S. George
Board Member Emeritus
Patty has served on the Board of Directors for over 20 years. During those years, she has worn many hats as the Vice President of Special Events. She has been the chair of Volunteers, The Taste of the Festival, the Café, Children’s Events, The Auction and her love, the Gift Shop. She has been the board’s Festival scheduler and was instrumental in bringing the volunteer sign-up schedule to its present online system.
Patty spent her entire career as a Methuen K-3 teacher having spent 36 years in many of the city’s schools. Her passion was teaching 1st grade where every day was a new adventure. Her joy is meeting students from all over who still come up to say hello. She is currently co-owner of a hobby turned business, Laurel & Lilac Wreath Company.
As an Emeritus Board Member and a new grandmother, Patty now has time to take a breath and spend as much time as she can with her grandson, Evan and her new granddaughter, Kendall! Nothing could be better!
Board Member Emeritus
Carol has been a member of the Festival Of Trees since its inception 30 years ago. Like many of the founders, she got involved because of her work as a member of the Tenney Gatehouse Restoration Committee. Carol served as Treasurer of the original Festival Committee and has managed the Festival Café. In recent years, she has organized our outreach to local nursing homes – a task she finds very rewarding. Carol is now an Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors.
For 28 years, Carol worked at the Merrimack Golf Club. Until her retirement, she later worked at Holy Family Hospital as a unit secretary for another 15 years.
She is an active member of Saint Lucy‘s Sodality and belongs to the Methuen Historical Society. I am a doting grandmother of three boys, the oldest has been part of the Festival family since he was two.