We’re so lucky at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley to have a staff of hardworking, committed team-players who work tirelessly at our mission of building affordable housing and enriching community life.
In this series, you’ll get to know the people behind the work.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a lifelong Rhode Islander and grew up in Providence. Housing runs through my veins! I started working when I got out of high school as a clerk for the Providence Housing Authority and spent about 20 years as a property manager before I came to work here at NWBRV. I have two grown children and three beautiful granddaughters. When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with them!
What do you do at NWBRV?
I started in the HomeOwnership Center and am now the Real Estate Development Project Manager. I was one of the longest home ownership counselors in the state back in the 1990s and early 2000s! As the Project Manager, I’m responsible for overseeing all of our construction projects. I manage everything from start to finish, soliciting bids from various contractors to scheduling the jobs and staying in touch with the subcontractors to make sure the project stays on track.
How long have you been working with NWBRV, and how did you start working with the organization?
I actually started with the company as NeighborWork’s first employee in 1994. Back in the day we were strictly building homes and apartments for folks. Anything Executive Director Joe Garlick didn’t do, I did! And now we’ve incorporated so many other divisions into the organization. I’ve definitely been able to see it grow!
We very much work as a team here. That’s whats so nice of being a part of NeighborWorks, it’s like a family to me. I’ve seen my coworker’s children grow up and have kids of their own. Its been an exciting career and a wonderful journey. I plan on retiring this May as the first person to retire from NeighborWorks. First one in, first one out!
What is your proudest accomplishment during your time with NWBRV?
It’s been the satisfaction of seeing young families, especially single moms with children, become home owners. There’s nothing more exciting than witnessing their smiles on the day of the closing. And these are smiles from people who never thought that home ownership was possible for them. It’s so rewarding to know that I’ve played a small part in this major event in their lives and helped them achieve their dream of owning a home. I’m so lucky I have such a tangible end result in my job that I can visibly see.
What inspires you to do this work?
I’ve been with NeighborWorks most of my adult life and my journey has been incredibly rewarding. A great example of what inspires me to do this work is one of our current projects, 542 Front St. This was a multi family Woonsocket home that sat vacant and boarded up for over 10 years. We’ve secured the financing to do a gut rehab on the house. The house will essentially be brand new and built to a very stringent energy code, making it incredibly energy efficient.
This property will have two units. One of them will be a three bedroom town house, while the other will be a one bedroom flat on the first floor that will act as a rental unit. Whoever buys this property will not only have their own place of residence, they will have a rental unit that will help offset and pay for some of their mortgage! We’ll have a lottery consisting of people who are pre-approved and one lucky person will get to purchase this beautiful home.
The staff at NWBRV would like to wish Paula all of the happiness and relaxation in her upcoming retirement this spring! Thank you for your dedication and commitment to NeighborWorks!