Staff & Contact Information

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Heather McMann, Executive Director

Heather began working with GWL in 2005 and became Executive Director in 2009. She has spent over 20 years in the nonprofit sector building community and individual assets and she holds a breadth of experience in nonprofit management, with a focus on preparing organizations for growth. Prior to joining GWL, much of her experience was with youth organizations focused on creating our communities’ next generation of social justice leaders. Heather received her MBA from The Heller School of Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University and her BA from Smith College. Beyond GWL, she is a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, serves as a board member of the Lawrence Partnership, Groundwork USA and the MA Public Health Association, is an Essex National Heritage Area commissioner, a Haverhill Brownfields Steering Commission member, and volunteers with the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. In 2013 Heather was honored to represent GWL as a social innovator with the Social Innovation Forum. In 2010 she was one of the YWCA of Greater Lawrence's Tribute to Women Awardees and was included in the Irish Echo's Top 40 Under 40. Contact Heather at hmcmann @ or ext. 7009.


Lesly Melendez, Deputy Director

Lesly returned to GWL as the Community Engagement Director in the fall of 2014. Lesly previously worked for GWL from 2004 – 2007 managing outreach, projects and events. Between working for GWL Lesly worked for Comcast and partnered with GWL to lead Earth Day/Comcast Cares Day for 5 years. As a lifelong resident of the City of Lawrence, she has always been passionate about serving the community. She has served on numerous volunteer boards and on the City’s Planning Board as a voting member and later as chair, and is currently board member of the Open Door Pantry in Lowell, MA. In 2016, Lesly completed a certificate program with the Institute for Non-Profit Practice through the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. Lesly brings her love of writing, community and civic engagement and her passion for trees to GWL. In addition, Lesly is proud to be a Green Team mom, making Groundwork Lawrence really feel like family. Contact Lesly at lmelendez @ or ext. 7020.


Brad Buschur, Project Director

Brad is responsible for managing the community input, design, and construction of landscape and infrastructure improvements, including the Spicket River Greenway, Merrimack Riverwalk Trail, Bradford Rail Trail, and community and schoolyard garden sites. He is overseeing GWL's expanding role in supporting low-impact development (LID) practices and economic development in the city and implementing Lawrence's Open Space and Recreation Plan. Brad most recently worked as a Project Coordinator for Cabot, Cabot & Forbes in Boston, MA where he coordinated the firm’s build to suit projects, leasing of existing properties and prepared feasibility studies for multifamily housing development. Previously he worked as a Landscape Designer on park projects in Boston as well as large commercial and institutional projects in Russia and Pakistan and as a Land Protection and Conservation Associate with The Nature Conservancy. Brad holds a BA in Urban Planning and Political Science from Miami University and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Contact Brad at bbuschur @ or ext. 7003.

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Caitlin Abber, Education Director

Caitlin Abber oversees GWL's  education programs such as Urban Adventures and Green Team, educational spaces such as Costello farm, and in-school and out-of-school partnerships. She is committed to building equitable pathways for youth to grow as empowered and valued leaders who make a positive difference in their own lives and the lives of others. Previously, she has worked as Program Director at Community Call, Academic Program Manager at Just-A-Start YouthBuild, and Community Health Specialist at Mount Auburn Hospital's Regional Center for Health Communities, furthering sustainable education-based programs that foster solutions generated by the community and young people themselves. Caitlin has an Ed.M in Prevention Science from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA in Public Health from Brandeis University.  She has biked in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise funding for cancer research and she loves to cheer others on in marathons and bikathons. Contact Caitlin at cabber @ or ext. 7011.


Sharon Mason

Sharon Mason, Development Director 

Sharon Mason joined Groundwork Lawrence in February 2018 and directs the Development Team. Previously, she had served in the same capacity with the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts and with Habitat for Humanity’s Merrimack Valley affiliate. A fundraising professional with an extensive background in small business management, corporate and non-profit resource and grant development, communication, and RBS, Sharon is also active in the community, having served on the boards of a variety of community organizations. She brings her skills and dedication to meeting the mission and vision of GWL. Contact Sharon at smason @ or ext. 7007.

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Fred Earnshaw, Finance and Operations Director

Fred’s introduction to Groundwork Lawrence began as a volunteer assignment through Jericho Road Lawrence. In the course of that project he was impressed with the breadth of the undertakings of Groundwork and especially impressed with the caliber and dedication of the people involved. A life-long resident of the Lawrence area, he is a graduate of Merrimack College with a degree in Accounting and an MBA in finance from Boston College. Fred has served as Controller and Director of Finance in both large and small organizations, both profit and non-profit. He has also served on the boards of several regional and national non-profits as Treasurer. He is delighted to rejoin Groundwork and become a part of the exciting journey that is Groundwork. We can all be proud of the visual impact that Groundwork has made and continues to make in the city. Fred is passionate in his belief that not only does Groundwork “Change Places” but it also “Changes Lives” and that is where the greatest impact of Groundwork will be felt in the years to come. Time will takes its toll on the places we build, but time allows the people we help develop to grow and realize their potential as leaders and thus continue the growth that we are nurturing. Contact Fred at fearnshaw @ or ext. 7012.


Lauren White, Associate Development Director 

Lauren joined the GWL team in March of 2016 as an Associate Development Director. Lauren is passionate about Groundwork Lawrence due to the transformative projects that Groundwork undertakes to make the city a healthier, more sustainable place. She has a particular soft spot for the Groundwork programs such as Green Team which target youth development. Lauren has worked in a variety of development roles since graduating with her BA in Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire. Most recently in Houston, TX Lauren served as the Annual Fund Coordinator for Rice University and the Volunteer Coordinator/Development Manager for Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Harris County. She has also consulted privately with various nonprofits to help them apply for grant funding. Lauren is excited to be back home in the Northeast contributing to the growing Groundwork development department to help to continue to improve Lawrence. In her spare time, Lauren knits and crochets and enjoys going hiking, fishing and kayaking in the NH lakes region. Contact Lauren at lwhite @ or ext. 7005.


Maria Natera, Healthy Living Programs Manager

Maria joined the team of GWL as a LISC AmeriCorps member in September 2010 and became the Healthy Living Programs Manager in 2012. She manages the development and implementation of a series of healthy living workshops, is working to strengthen the growing community gardener network, and expanding the city's tree canopy through GreenStreets and other tree plantings. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Maria moved to New York in 1993 and six years later to Lawrence, where she received her Associate’s degree in Psychology and Social Work from Northern Essex Community College and then completed a B.S. in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Maria is a passionate and committed member of the Lawrence community and says she loves to work with children “because they are the future.” When she is not at the Groundwork office, she is a volunteer at Lawrence CommunityWorks and serves on the Board. Contact Maria at mnatera @ or ext. 7006.

Eddie Rosa

Eddie Rosa, Community Engagement Manager

Eddie Rosa joined Groundwork Lawrence in September 2016. Previously, Eddie worked at the City Of Lawrence Council On Aging. Eddie has spent the majority of the last ten years working with the developmentally disabled population. As a life-long Lawrencian, Eddie has always had a desire to work to do his part to improve the community he grew up in. Over the years Eddie has volunteered in various community events that involves clean up and/or community building. Eddie recently completed Jericho Roads Cultural Inclusion Program for Non Profit Board Governance. He currently is attending Cambridge College. Additionally, Eddie enjoys writing, playing music and community activities. Contact Eddie at erosa @ or ext. 7019.

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Tennis Lilly, Project Manager

Tennis joins Groundwork as Project Manager for the Green Streets initiative. Tennis is responsible for overseeing the Greening the Gateway Cities program with the goal of planting over 2,000 trees in Lawrence. He has been a frequent volunteer with Groundwork over the past 15 years and led hikes and citizen science projects in Den Rock Park. Tennis has worked on many environmental causes since moving to Lawrence and as a member of the Lawrence Environmental Justice Council, was a recipient of the Greenleaf Community Activist Award. He has served on the Lawrence Conservation Commission since 2001. Tennis is a senior fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program and was previously the Executive Director of Lawrence Grassroots Initiative. He earned a BA in Environmental Studies and a Master of Education, both from Lesley University. Tennis has been a resident of Lawrence since 1990 and lives in the Arlington neighborhood with his wife of 28 years, Michelle. Contact Tennis at tlilly @ or ext. 7016.


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Eric Lundquist, Project Manager

Eric joined Groundwork Lawrence in April 2016 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, and became a Project Manager for Green Streets in May 2018. Before moving to Lawrence, Eric lived in San Marcos, TX, where he graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology. While living in Texas, Eric worked for the Hays County Food Bank, helping to end food insecurity. He also worked for the San Marcos Housing Authority, helping to provide after school care and a daily hot meal to children living in government-assisted housing programs. Eric is passionate about science education, the promotion of creative arts, the protection of our environment and natural resources, and helping to build ladders out of poverty. When he isn’t working, Eric loves to write and draw science fiction. Contact Eric at elundquist or ext. 7017.

Kelly Nelson

Kelly Nelson, Education Program Coordinator

In September 2016, Kelly joined Groundwork Lawrence as a MassLIFT AmeriCorps Youth Education Coordinator. Previously, Kelly worked with several nonprofits focused on micro-finance, international development, and public health. In 2012, she traveled to Tanzania where she worked with local nonprofits, including an albino peacemaker group to improve sustainability. Kelly continued her travels to Peru where she spent 18 months serving communities and individuals as a missionary. Upon her return, she finished her studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT and received a BS in public health and a minor in non-profit management. She is passionate about healthy communities and seeks to empower others to take responsibility for their health through science education and outdoor experiential learning. While her creative side keeps her indoors sewing and crafting, she constantly craves running, biking, swimming, and this year especially, skiing in the fresh mountain air of Utah. Contact Kelly at knelson @



Brian Kibler, Executive Assistant

Brian joined Groundwork Lawrence in January 2016 as a SCI AmeriCorps member, and joined the staff in his current position in July 2016. A two-term AmeriCorps alumnus, Brian values national and community service. Brian's professional interests include online engagement, building community, and wordplay. As an Army brat, Brian has lived in a variety of environments, from sunny Oahu to frosty upstate New York; however, he enjoys the Merrimack Valley most of all. Brian received a BA from Salem State University in history, and has a penchant for theatrics and Spanish literature. Currently, Brian is completing a certificate program with the Institute for Non-Profit Practice through the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. Contact Brian at bkibler @ or ext. 7199.


Sarah Curless, FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member

Sarah joined Groundwork Lawrence in September 2017 as the FoodCorps service member for the 2017 to 2018 school year. She has an interest in growing food that goes back to her four years in Nonnewaug High School’s vocational agriculture program. There she worked with farm animals, grew plants, drove tractors, and tapped trees for maple syrup. Based on this experience, she applied to Cornell University and graduated with a BS in Animal Science and Agriculture Science. After spending a semester in the Naturalist Outreach Practicum course where she taught classes on fungus to elementary school children, she decided that in the future she wanted to teach children about food and elements of the natural world. Additionally, she traveled to Ecuador in the winter of 2014 to 2015 with a class that her fellow undergraduate friend created at Cornell. There she got to experience true local empowerment in the community of Junin, which had thrown out an international mining interest from Canada a few years previously. She also visited a friend’s shade-grown coffee farm in Nicaragua. Sarah hopes to return to South America someday, but it would be hard to leave her native Northeastern United States. Sarah grew up in Waterbury and Watertown, CT and is excited to be closer to her family now while living in Massachusetts. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, foraging for food, and generally being outside. Contact Sarah at SCurless @


Alicia Dennis, SCI AmeriCorps Volunteer Outreach Coordinator

Alicia Dennis joined Groundwork Lawrence in March 2017 as a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator with Groundwork Lawrence for Social Capital, Inc. (SCI) AmeriCorps. She grew up in and around the Boston area and is a firm believer in the importance of community connections and cooperation.  One of her mottos is “teamwork makes the dream work,” because she understands that together we can accomplish more than any one person ever could alone. This is one of the reasons she enjoys her role of webmaster of and helping to connect community members to necessary services and resources. In her spare time, whenever her nose isn’t in a book, she’s writing children’s adventure stories to share with her niece and nephew and soon the rest of the world.  She also loves the arts, cooking, being outdoors in the sunshine or on the water and spontaneous dance parties.  At the end of her service, she plans to finish up her BA in English and Communications. Contact Alicia at ADennis @


Abner Rodriguez, DOI/VISTA Team Member

Abner joined Groundwork Lawrence in September 2017 as a DOI//VISTA member. Before his time at Groundwork, Abner worked on case studies on food safety and food justice, and animal rights and safety in the corporate food industries in the USA. Abner also spent a few months in Cape Town, South Africa through URI working on an Environmental Economics and Conservation Education internship, which aimed to educate communities suffering from severe poverty about the importance of environmental conservation. Abner is excited to be working back in his home community and to see the community grow and develop in a positive way. Abner has a BS in Animal Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences from The University of Rhode Island Contact Abner at ARodriguez @ ext 7016.

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The Green Team

The Groundwork Lawrence Green Team is a year-round program that offers part-time, paid employment for 50 Lawrence high school students each year. Members learn about and lead local environmental and healthy community initiatives, conduct research, grow food, raise awareness, challenge their peers to do community service and participate in hands-on improvement projects throughout the city. The program is intended to promote the protection and restoration of Lawrence’s critical ecological systems, natural resources and public health by engaging teens in advocacy and service-learning focused on the community’s parks, streets, gardens, waterways and vacant open spaces. The Green Team program has dual goals: to prepare Lawrence’s youth for a lifetime of environmental and healthy community leadership, and to invest in Lawrence’s future capacity to improve its physical environment.