The Town of Wellesley gave a fond farewell to Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Director Dick Joyce at a goodbye celebration at the Community Center earlier this week. Joyce has left his position after twenty-four years of service. A few months ago, anticipating this post, I asked him to send along a picture of himself, perhaps sitting at his desk. He thanked me by email for my interest, but claimed not to possess such a thing: “I don’t have a photo and if you did publish one, half of your subscribers would unsubscribe.”
Hmm, well, what about an exit interview, Dick? No go. “My preference has always been, and remains, not to draw attention to myself.”
Since Dick wouldn’t talk about himself, I had to seek out other sources who were willing to tell all about the dedicated professional and consummate gentleman. I didn’t have to look far.
State Representative Alice Peisch and the Board of Selectmen (BOS) each presented Joyce with proclamations thanking him for his service. In those proclamations was laid bare the entire tale of the guy who has worked tirelessly to deliver safe, environmentally sustainable and reliable electricity and telecommunication services to customers at competitive rates. The BOS proclamation said in part, “Dick has fostered a culture of safety at the MLP that is unparalleled in the industry. Under Dick’s leadership the MLP has received numerous awards and extensive recognition as an exemplary role model for municipal and investor-owned utilities throughout the country. His strong business management skills and partnership with the MLP Board have resulted in the consistent donation of one million dollars each year to the Town’s operating budget.”
Just a few of his projects: Joyce supported the holiday tree lighting program; installed solar energy production facilities at Wellesley High School and a charging bench outside the Wellesley Free Library; and retrofitted street lights with energy saving LED lights. In addition, under his leadership the MLP implemented many innovative initiatives which have enhanced services and revenues. He helped provide services to the Mass Development facility at Fort Devins; advocated for the strategically important purchase of light poles in the Town of Wellesley; and implemented the Distributed Antennae System program to expand cell coverage and fiber networks, and launch high speed data for municipal and commercial clients.
There’s a new sheriff in town
The Wellesley Municipal Light Board in late spring named Don Newell as the WMLP’s new director. Newell’s first day on the job was August 1. Newell comes to the position as the former assistant director of line operations at the WMLP. He has been with the WMLP since 1999, leaving briefly to work for the Ipswich Electric Light Department in 2014, and returning to Wellesley in 2017. Newell’s been involved in the town’s Distribution Automation Expansion and LED Streetlight Conversion, among other projects.
Newell’s goals include expanding WellesleyNet commercial internet services, and encouraging electric vehicle use in the community.