MERRIMACK VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION
APPOINTS KAREN SAWYER CONARD AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
“We are delighted to have Karen join us as Executive Director,” said Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Chairman Robert Lavoie. “She brings decades of experience and extensive planning knowledge as well as deep community, government, and business relationships. We are confident she will not only continue but also build upon the strong collaborative and cooperative development efforts of retired Executive Director Dennis DiZoglio.”
Ms. Sawyer Conard joins the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission with 27 years of experience in the public and private sectors, including having served in both the executive and legislative branches of state government. Currently, she works as the Director of Community Development and Planning for Peabody, where she oversees all planning, zoning, community development, building/inspections, and conservation functions along with a staff of 25. Ms. Sawyer Conard also serves as Chairperson of the Peabody Community Development Authority, which administers a revolving loan fund designed to stimulate economic development throughout the city.
The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission contracted with Community Paradigm Associates and its principal, former Lowell City Manager Bernard F. Lynch, to search for and recruit candidates for the position. Ms. Sawyer Conard was selected for the position from a field of 25 well-qualified applicants.
“It is a true honor and privilege to be appointed as the next Executive Director,” said Ms. Conard. “The outstanding quality of the work and knowledge base of the staff and the Commission are wonderful attributes which I have admired for years, as both a resident of the Valley for 23 years and during my time working for the City of Methuen. I look forward to following in the great footsteps of Dennis DiZoglio and working on behalf of the municipalities we serve.”
Prior to her tenure in Peabody, Ms. Sawyer Conard had worked as Economic and Community Development Director for Methuen and for a private sector real estate development firm. She also served in various capacities at the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Office of Governor Bill Weld, and the Massachusetts State Senate.
Ms. Sawyer Conard is a graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and French. She resides in Andover with her husband Robert and their three children.
About the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission:
The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is a regional planning agency created in 1959 with a goal of consistently planning, developing, and promoting not only the sustainable development of the Merrimack Valley through responsible and efficient use of regional resources, but to also rally and unify the communities to perpetuate the region’s vision. A 16-member Board of Commissioners governs the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, which serves 15 member communities, including the cities of Amesbury, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen and Newburyport, and the towns of Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, and West Newbury.