Chamber Dinner to Honor 6 North Shore Leaders

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By The Salem News

DANVERS — The North Shore Chamber of Commerce will honor six area leaders Thursday at its 101st Annual Dinner.

Congressman Seth Moulton will also give remarks at the event, which will take place at The Danversport. More than 500 business leaders from across the North Shore are expected to attend.

The dinner will also mark a change in chamber leadership. Bradley Small, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Advisors who served as chairman for the past two years, is stepping down. Darren Ambler, managing consultant for the employee benefits arm of One Digital Health Benefits, will be elected the chamber’s new chairman.

But the focal point of the evening is the North Shore Distinguished Leaders awards ceremony. Recipients are chosen based on several characteristics, including their commitment to social responsibility, community involvement, and proven economic impact and/or social impact on the region.

Here are the honorees:

Andrew DeFranza

Andrew DeFranza has 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership. Since 2007, he has been executive director of Harborlight Community Partners, which develops, manages and advocates for affordable housing in the region. He holds a master’s degree in theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University.

Annie Harris

Annie Harris is the CEO of Essex Heritage, the nonprofit, management agent for the Essex National Heritage Area, which she co-founded with the late Thomas Leonard. A Salem resident, Harris is a longtime member of the Board of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas in Washington, D.C., and a former member of the National Park System Advisory Board’s Planning Committee. She is also the first female commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead.

James O’Brien

James O’Brien has served as the general manager of the Topsfield Fair for the past 14 years. In that role, O’Brien has introduced several initiatives, including the Education Department. This year, more than 15,000 students from schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire visited during Fair week. A Peabody resident, O’Brien spent 29 years as manager of Brooksby Farm in Peabody.

Dr. Mahesh and Mrs. Smita Patel

For the past 40 years, Dr. Mahesh Patel has practiced plastic surgery on the North Shore. In 2001, his daughter-in-law, Dr. Jagruti Patel, joined the practice. His wife, Smita Patel, later joined KayaKalp Aesthetics, where she introduced a comprehensive skin care clinic. The Patels have supported several causes, including the Peabody Essex Museum, where Smita serves as a trustee.

Mayor Daniel Rivera

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera grew up in Lawrence, went to Lawrence public schools and now owns a home in the city. A former Military Police officer, Rivera worked his way through college on the GI Bill at University of Massachusetts Amherst and later worked as economic development director for Congressman Marty Meehan before joining the private sector for a career in marketing. He was first elected mayor in Lawrence in 2013.

Steven Dodge

Steven Dodge was an entrepreneur who founded four companies, including American Cablesystems, American Radio Systems and American Tower Corporation. In 2003, he started Windover Development, and the company would go on to build projects throughout the North Shore. He later established Windover Development of Florida, based in Bonita Springs. Dodge and his wife, Anne, also became benefactors of Montserrat College and The Cabot theater in Beverly. Dodge died in a bicycle accident in Florida earlier this year.