Staff Spotlight Series

UTEC is proud to have a team of dedicated and accomplished staff members. Get to know some of the exceptional individuals and their work a bit better below.

Paul (Viengsamay) Chaleunphong

Re-Entry Manager
UTEC is Paul’s community and he’s proud to be able to help support it: “I have overcome so much throughout my past to be in the place to be able to give back now. I want to repair the harm that I inflicted long ago.”
He’s a role model for countless young adults and helps create the encouraging environment that UTEC is known for. Outside of work, Paul loves to spend time with his parents and one of his bucket list goals is to visit all 50 states. Thanks to Paul for all of his hard work and dedication!

Joy Robinson

Culinary Enterprise Specialist
When UTEC was still an after-school program 16 years ago, Joy would pack unique lunches and snacks for her daughter to bring. But when the staff saw Joy’s culinary talent, they offered her a job — and she has since made her way to becoming the Culinary Enterprise Specialist 16 years later.
As the young adults embark on their own journeys, Joy works to help them reach their full potential. “You have to find a way to reach them,” she said. “The thing I’m most proud of is helping young people change their lives for the better — because they are the next generation.”

Kevin Giuffrida

Woodworking Production Lead
Kevin’s dedication to the craft does not go unnoticed. In the woodworking shop, Kevin embraces the challenge of stepping out of his comfort zone to test new prototypes, learn advanced skills, and fine-tune the latest products.
But what keeps Kevin motivated? ”The young adults,” he said. “Watching them progress through the program and become better at a form of artistic expression that is near and dear to my heart is the best reason to be here. Even a small impact is worth everything to me.”

Brittney Marte

Mental Health Clinician
Brittney brings passion to the job as she develops relationships with the Young Adults and helps them work through hardship to be the best they can be. Brittney’s goal is to provide a safe space for all young adults, ensuring that no one falls through the cracks.
Brittney said the Young Adults inspire her to be the best version of herself: “I’m most proud of being able to give back to my community and debunk the negative stigma around mental health especially in POC communities.”

Jason Bettencourt

Assistant Director of Recycling Operations and Logistics
Jason Bettencourt has been with UTEC for five years now and has been a team player since day one. He has a background in criminal justice and youth services, so he has a lot of expertise to bring to UTEC.
Whether it’s with his colleagues, customers, or the young adults, Jason is able to connect and leave a positive impact. Outside of his dedication to UTEC, Jason likes to stay active, enjoy a game of golf, coach soccer, or embark on exciting travel plans.

Matthew Morin

Woodworking Program Educator
Matt has been involved with UTEC for almost three years now, but has an extensive background in youth work, team building, and workforce readiness. Matt has grown to love working through social and emotional development with young adults, while mastering his technical skills.
In the production shop, Matt merges mentorship with woodworking. He said the Young Adults are learning to communicate, work together, and thrive inside and outside of the bustling shop. But when he isn’t working in the shop or the woods, you’ll find Matt pursuing his other passion: White Water Kayaking.

Shawnic Coleman

Transitional Beginnings Program Manager

Shawnic first started with UTEC in 2004, where she joined as a Young Adult. She gained experience as an Americorp Youth worker and a Transitional Coach, before reaching her current position as the Transitional Beginnings Program Manager.

As the Program Manager, she witnesses the obstacles and struggles that Young Adults face everyday, but has found her passion in helping them be the best person they can be.

Sandy Mak

Infant & Toddler Teacher
In a teacher in UTEC’s 2Gen Center, Sandy is reminded to find joy in the little things each day. She embraces the challenge of crafting developmentally appropriate curriculum that is also engaging for the young children. The reward can especially be felt when a child picks up a new skill or a parent expresses gratitude.
She takes pride in fostering deep connections with both the children and their families. Recognizing that not all kids have the privilege of receiving the love they deserve, she strives to create a nurturing and supportive environment where every child can thrive.

Judy Normandin

Director of Grants and Contracts

Judy has been with UTEC for over a year and has settled into the routine of meeting deadlines and fulfilling detailed requirements for grant proposals.

She especially values the collaboration and support from all of her colleagues and remarks “grant writing is a team sport!”

Judy is most proud of the policy and systems change projects she’s contributed to: “It’s inspiring to see the changes that happen when young adults share their stories and advocate for new policies.”

Shambra McDowney

Culinary Instructor

Shambra has been involved with UTEC for almost three years now and stays busy in the kitchen as the Culinary Instructor.

Around UTEC, she’s known for being able to make deep connections with young adults and offering them a safe space. Shambra has found her passion in working with youth, acting as a positive role model, and helping them find their voice.

Some fun facts about Shambra: The last song she listened to was Rich Flex, one item on her bucket list is to visit African safaris, and when she’s not at UTEC, she’s busy running her own catering company Red’s Kitchen and Catering!

David Driscoll

Facilities Crew Leader

Dave started with UTEC more than seven years ago. And his job looks different everyday — he steps up to meet different staff needs, event requirements, and essential facility services.

A project he is most proud of is helping to get the UTEC daycare up and running. Dave said his favorite part of the job is getting to watch young adults make positive changes for themselves and their community.

Julie Ruggs

Staff Accountant

Julie has been involved with UTEC since she was 14, and she is now a Staff Accountant who is ready to tackle anything that comes her way!

She is proud to be a Black woman in the finance field and to be part of an administrative staff who represent the demographics we serve in our community at UTEC.

One of Julie’s favorite parts of the job is when the organization comes together for the holidays, reminding her of the special time she spent as a young adult attending the holiday dinners.

Angel Ace Vasquez

Lawrence Streetworker Manager

Angel is passionate about bringing the community together and solving complex problems. He knows firsthand what it is like to be involved in street life: “I experienced the hopelessness and loss of so many talented young adults. It made me realize that I could only help my community by first changing myself.”

As Streetworker Manager, he now works to make a difference for so many young adults and appreciates the moments where he can help spark a new beginning for someone who is struggling.

Sadyra Martinez

Lead Transitional Coach

Sadyra has been involved with UTEC for over 7 years — she started as a Social Justice Specialist and has now made her way to being the Lead Transitional Coach.

She’s proud to work with UTEC for a few reasons: the young adults, the advocacy work, and the relationship building.

While Sadyra may not know what to expect on a day-to-day basis, she embraces going with the flow. She is most proud of the fact that young adults welcome her into their lives so she can help support them — when things are going great and when challenges arise.

Gianghi LeNguyen

Social Enterprise Assistant

Gianghi has appreciated the work and outreach done by UTEC in the community, and is now excited to be a part of getting the job done.

The most challenging part of the job is also her favorite: Gianghi is responsible for synthesizing Enterprise data, and finds it rewarding as, “others can focus on doing the hands-on work and growing the Enterprises, which will then produce revenue that can go back into UTEC.”

Originally from Springfield, MA, Gianghi is proud to be a part of UTEC’s mission in reducing gang violence and giving back to the community.