ACTON –Town Manager John Mangiaratti and Fire Chief Robert Hart are pleased to announce that Interim Planning Director Kristen Guichard and Acton Fire Lt. James Byrne are this year’s recipients of the Joseph A. Lalli Merit Award.
The award is given annually to a municipal employee and a public safety employee to recognize their exemplary service to the public from the previous year. Guichard was named the Municipal Employee of the Year and Lt. Byrne was named the Public Safety Employee of the Year.
“Each year, we are proud of celebrate and recognize two employees who have gone above and beyond in their roles in helping Acton residents,” Town Manager Mangiaratti said. “We thank them for all they’ve done and will continue to do for our community.”
In previous years, the award was presented during the annual Town Meeting in April. However, this year’s ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and held virtually on Friday, Sept. 25. The families of the recipients and approximately 140 employees attended the event.
Guichard and Lt. Byrne were presented the awards by their respective department heads, Land Use and Economic Development Director Matthew Selby and Chief Hart, and Town Manager Mangiaratti on behalf of the Board of Selectmen.
“Congratulations to Kristen on this well-deserved recognition,” Director Selby said. “She has shown incredible dedication and commitment to her work and the residents of Acton, and proven to be an invaluable team member and leader in her department.”
“Lt. Byrne shows great courage, skill and compassion in his role, and carries out the diverse responsibilities of the members of the Acton Fire Department with distinction,” Chief Hart said. “I’m proud of all that he’s accomplished during his time and congratulate him on this incredible recognition.”
Guichard has worked for the Town of Acton since 2012, starting off as the assistant planner for the Land Use department.
In her current role, she is focused primarily on managing the day-to-day operations of the Planning Division, which is responsible for supporting the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Community Preservation Committee. She has also helped with the development and implementation of several projects in town, including the addition of a bike share program along the Assabet River Rail Trail and in West Acton.
She has served as the local project manager for the Assabet River Rail Trail and is currently managing the complete streets infrastructure project for Kelley’s Corner at the intersection of Routes 111 and 27.
She also works closely with the Regional Housing Services Office, which assists Acton and seven other communities with affordable housing initiatives, and has worked to help make the town an age-friendly community.
Guichard earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public administration from Clark University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude and thanks,” Guichard said. “Working for the Acton community has been a great experience, mostly due to my fellow co-workers and residents whom I have had the pleasure of working with. I look forward to more great years ahead.”
Lt. James Byrne
Lt. Byrne joined the Acton Fire Department in 2009 after starting his career at the Stow Fire Department. He has over 14 years of fire service experience and his father is a retired Maynard Firefighter.
Lt. Byrne was promoted to his current rank in 2018 and serves as a member of the department’s Training Division, educating new firefighters on up-to-date rescue techniques to better serve the residents of Acton. He also helps with the upgrades, maintenance and repairs of the town’s municipal fire alarm system so that the fire department is immediately notified should a community member activate any of the fire alarm boxes throughout the town.
He also helps to educate community members by presenting on topics related to the opioid epidemic, such as the use of Narcan.
Lt. Byrne earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency medical system management from Springfield College, and is trained in Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals, and Search and Rescue. He is a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) instructor and is a scuba-certified diver for Acton Fire.
“The Town of Acton has been great to me over the past 11 years and truly is an amazing place to work,” Lt. Byrne said. “I can’t say enough good things about the men and women I work with everyday. I’m grateful to have received the Joseph A. Lalli Merit Award.”