Our Guiding Principles

Community

We believe that we are interdependent and this makes each of us stronger.

Opportunity

NECAT’s founding principle is that everyone deserves to live a life of purpose—there is inherent ability to succeed in everyone.

Transformation

The combination of inspiration, skills training, emotional support and a compassionate environment motivates our students to make the changes they need to reach their personal goals.

Respect

We meet our students where they are in their personal journey, with no judgement on past or personal circumstances, and partner with them in getting to where they’d like to be.

Joy

Happiness is important to the way we live and work.

The History of NECAT

The New England Center for Arts and Technology - NECAT - opened its doors to Greater Boston in September 2013. An ambitious vision developed over a four year period by Founder and Chairman, Maarten Hemsley, NECAT represents a nonprofit collaboration between public and private partners

Meet Our Staff

Vic Acosta

Career Services Director

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Vic Acosta

Career Services Director

Vic Acosta is a human services professional with more than twenty years of experience. He is a passionate and engaged community advocate who has helped individuals and families experiencing homelessness, living with substance abuse disorders, and mental health challenges.  Vic has worked in almost every aspect of human services with progressive responsibility, most recently as the director and founder of Dreamfar Triathalon. He also is the founding program director of Back on My Feet Boston, a structured self-efficacy program that helps individuals attain employment, housing, and education. Vic has a degree from Manhattan College and is presently studying for a degree in Health Sciences, Social Work Concentration, from Northeastern University.

Phone: 617-442-3600, ext 718
Email: vacosta@ne-cat.org

Tiara Andress

Culinary Instructor

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Tiara Andress

Culinary Instructor

Tiara, originally from Mississippi, has traveled extensively, working as a Chef de Partie for Lindblad Expedition cruises, at Camp Kippewa in Maine, and as a Professional Kitchen Intern at America’s Test Kitchen. Prior to joining NECAT, she was the Culinary Arts Program Director at Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw, South Carolina. She holds an M.A. in Food Studies from Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: tandress@ne-cat.org

Jon Braley

Volunteer Career Coach

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Jon Braley

Volunteer Career Coach

Jon Braley is our volunteer Career Coach assisting students through all phases of their job search. He also coaches students in some of the soft skills essential to their success after they have been hired. In his long career prior to joining NECAT, Jon held finance and operations management positions at Honeywell, Data General, Digital Equipment and Compaq, eventually retiring from Hewlett Packard. He is also a certified mediator.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: jbraley@ne-cat.org

Elise Brandwein

Student Services Director

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Elise Brandwein

Student Services Director

With six years’ experience as an admissions advisor at Le Cordon Bleu, Elise is skilled in working with a diverse student population ranging from recent high school graduates to career changers.

Phone: 617-442-3600 ext 704
Email: ebrandwein@ne-cat.org

Bobby Corry

Maintenance

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Bobby Corry

Maintenance

Bobby is NECAT’s longest-serving team member and has been with the organization since it opened in 2013. He is our go-to man for anything and everything the building needs and he keeps our training center clean as a whistle. He also has some of the team’s best sartorial sense.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: info@ne-cat.org

Josephine (Joey) Cuzzi

Executive Director

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Josephine (Joey) Cuzzi

Executive Director

Joey has had an extensive career in public service. Prior to NECAT, Joey served as ED of the East Boston Y for eight years. Under her leadership, the Y’s initiatives flourished, widely recognized for their program quality and innovation, and she instituted a scholarship program and obtained private funding for the construction of an East Boston teaching kitchen and garden. Joey also worked in PR for the Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston. She previously spent nearly 20 years as the Director of Communications for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Phone: 617-442-3600 ext 711
Email: jcuzzi@ne-cat.org

Chris Faison

Culinary Instructor

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Chris Faison

Culinary Instructor

Chef Chris Faison is the Culinary Instructor for NECAT’s Re-Entry Program. Chris is a graduate of Johnson & Wales. He is also a Dorchester resident with extensive experience as a chef and instructor.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: c.faison@ne-cat.org

Brianna Hughes

Case Worker

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Brianna Hughes

Case Worker

Brianna Hughes is NECAT’s Life Coach/SEL Facilitator. She was a Re-entry Services specialist at a state prison, a family services residential counselor, and is experienced in individual and group counseling.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: b.hughes@ne-cat.org

Martha Leahy

Deputy Director

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Martha Leahy

Deputy Director

Martha Leahy is a food executive and chef with over twenty-five years of experience. She has worked as an Executive Chef for restaurant chains, as a Corporate Executive Chef in research and development for both retail grocery stores and in manufacturing, as VP of Purchasing and as a consultant. Martha is also experienced in teaching and leadership training. She has worked every position in a restaurant through the years, from dishwasher to Executive Chef for a twenty-restaurant chain. Martha holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island and the International Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Italian Cooking in Italy.

Phone: 617-442-3600 ext 720
Email: mleahy@ne-cat.org

Tom Nelson

Culinary Instructor

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Tom Nelson

Culinary Instructor

Tom has ten years of teaching experience, both in a university setting and with a similar non-profit in California. He has an additional thirty years of experience in professional kitchens. He has a wealth of knowledge and extensive curriculum development experience. Tom works with students through the second half of the program and masterfully oversees the entire class while providing critical one-on-one support.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: tnelson@ne-cat.org

Anthony “Big Time” Seymour

Case Worker

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Anthony “Big Time” Seymour

Case Worker

NECAT is honored to have Big Time on its team. For decades, he has worked tirelessly to reduce youth violence in the city, most recently for Boston Centers for Youth & Families’ innovative Streetworkers Program. Big Time knows everyone, and is skilled at making all the right connections to get people on the path to stability and success.

 

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: aseymour@ne-cat.org

James Swasey

Culinary Instructor

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James Swasey

Culinary Instructor

James has extensive experience as a culinary arts instructor at the high school and professional culinary school levels, as well as experience as a Sous Chef and Pastry Cook. He has also supervised buffet and banquet production for a 700-member private club.

 

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: jswasey@ne-cat.org

Jessica Williamson

Development Manager

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Jessica Williamson

Development Manager

Jessica has worked in the non-profit sector for her entire career, across causes she feels passionate about and on both sides of the Atlantic. Prior to joining NECAT she lived in Northern England for five years where she helped launch a new center for contemporary art and discovered the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales. Jessica holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. from the University of Westminster, U.K.

Phone: 617-442-3600
Email: jwilliamson@ne-cat.org

Our Board of Directors

Maarten Hemsley (NECAT Founder, Board Chair & President) is a semi-retired financial executive with many years experience managing public companies.

Courtney Brooke Bell is Director of Healthcare Operations at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. A seasoned healthcare professional, she is also a certified yoga instructor and originally hails from Chicago.

Rick Catino (Treasurer) is a businessman and CEO of Clear Point Partners LLC. Prior to Clear Point, Rick was a longtime executive at HP. He and his family reside in Medford.

Jennifer Corcoran is a Project Director for Joseph J. Corcoran Company and volunteers with many organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester and Charlestown Lacrosse & Learning Center.

Sāsha Coleman is a 2017 graduate of NECAT. Raised in the restaurant industry, she worked the line at SRV before becoming a co-owner of Tanám a Filipinx-American restaurant in Somerville.

Emerson Foster is SVP, Head of Human Resources for Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He also has extensive non-profit experience and currently sits on the boards of the MA Business Alliance for Education, and BAM – Becoming A Man Boston.

Shawn Goldrick is Patient Support Services Director at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Reverend Dana Gonsal is Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dorchester, President/CEO of The Classic Shoe Shine Corporation and a vital community advocate.

Rebecca Hemsley is Director of Marketing & Advertising at South Coast Almanac LLC, and serves as President for the Foundation for Wareham Education.

Andy Henke is Senior Vice President of Strategy at Wells Fargo. He holds an MBA from Boston College.

T. Nicholas John is Director of Government Affairs at the MA Sheriffs' Association. He began his career working in Massachusetts government and legislative affairs in 2010 where he served in many capacities until 2017. He also served as a Member on the state's LGBTQ Youth Commission from 2012-2021.

Joseph Leibowitz is the Executive Director of Food & Beverage and Culinary Operations at Encore Boston Harbor. Chef Leibowitz has held a variety of culinary positions with Wynn Resorts and he now oversees all front and back of house operations for 18 restaurants and lounges at Encore Boston Harbor.

Joanne Massaro is newly retired after working for the City of Boston for almost 20 years, most recently as the Commissioner of Public Works.

Michael Rothschild is a principal of Abbott Investments and President of the Newmarket Business Association.

Dan Scully is recently retired as President and CEO of Hotel California Tequila. His work prior to the sprits business, was in such diverse fields as hotel management, media management, and consulting.

Elle Simone is Executive Editor/Inclusion Leader, as well as an on-screen test cook for America's Test Kitchen. She is also the founder of SheChef, Inc., a professional networking organization and social enterprise.

Yolanda Smith served for nearly three decades at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. In July 2021, she left her position as Superintendent of the Suffolk County House of Correction to become the Executive Director of Public Safety at Tufts University.

William (Bill) Strickland (Honorary Board Member) is founder and CEO of Manchester Bidwell, and is the inspiration for NECAT.

A New Program on the Horizon

NECAT has been working closely with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department to design a new program for individuals still incarcerated at South Bay Prison. The program will provide technical skills and emotional and career readiness support, helping participants move directly into career-ladder culinary employment upon release. Our goal is to reduce recidivism rates and help launch stable futures for the formerly incarcerated in our community. Once pandemic imposed restrictions can safely be relaxed, we look forward to moving ahead with this initiative.

Our Funders

We want to thank the following donors who have provided critical support to NECAT. As a nonprofit organization, we depend on the generosity of our community and supporters in helping us achieve our mission.

See all funders

We thank the following donors who have provided critical support to NECAT.

Gifts of $50,000 and Above

  • Anonymous
  • The Boston Foundation / SkillWorks
  • City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development
  • Commonwealth Corporation
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Encore Boston Harbor
  • Roy A. Hunt Foundation
  • Robert K. Kraft
  • The Shirley & Jim Marten Foundation
  • MassHire MetroNorth Workforce Board
  • The Rowland Foundation
  • State Street Foundation

Gifts of $25,000 to $49,999

  • Anonymous
  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Cummings Foundation

Gifts of $10,000 to $24,999

  • City of Boston, Department of Neighborhood Development
  • Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
  • Maarten & Mavis Hemsley
  • HMS Host Foundation
  • A.C. Ratshesky Foundation
  • Santander Bank
  • Sterling Construction Company Inc
  • Tableau Foundation
  • Wang Foundation

Gifts of $1,000 to $9,999

  • Abbott Realty
  • Tina Aronson & Koby Rotstein
  • Paul and Edith Babson Foundation
  • Robert & Jeannette Baker
  • Kathy Battistoni
  • Donald & Tai Bedney
  • George & Maureen Chamillard
  • Margaret Collins Charitable Fund
  • Columbia Contracting
  • Gayle & Joe Corcoran
  • Corcoran Jennison
  • Joey & Stephen Cuzzi
  • Belden & Pamela Daniels
  • Kevin Davis
  • Dedham Savings Community Foundation
  • Bob DiSalvio
  • East Boston Savings Bank
  • Larry Finman
  • Elliott Freedman
  • Goulston & Storrs
  • Lee Kennedy Co Inc
  • Karl & Joanne Kunz
  • Charles & Jane Kusek
  • Kimberly Molino
  • Patrick Murphy
    Nordic Group
    Northern Lights Painting
    Sharon & Ron Nunes
    O’Neill & Associates
    People’s United Community Foundation
  • RIZE Massachusetts Foundation (RIZE)
  • Douglas Rosner & Erin K. Higgins
  • Rucci, Bardaro & Falzone P.C.
    Steve & Jessica Sarowitz
    Daniel Scully
    Sodexo
    David Steadman & Sharon Ruatto-Steadman
    Michael & Jane Traub
    Whole Foods Market

Gifts of $250 to $999

  • Patrick Anzalone
  • Lauren Baker
  • Carol S. Ball
  • Jon & Lynne Braley
    Daniel Brody
    John Cooper & Lynne Eickholt
    Rosemarie Corcoran
    Manny Costa & Carolyn Rodio
    John F. Cremmen
    Shakti Davis
    Salvatore Falzone
    Emerson Foster
    Philomena Hare
    Rebecca Hemsley
    Mary Horst
    Mitchell Howkins
    Greg Kerkorian
    Fred L’Ecuyer
    Tim Leland & Julie Hatfield
    Carolyn Loiselle
    Michael Maynard
    Martha Nahill Frahm
    Julie Nikoras
  • Kim Tuyet Nguyen
  • Judith Paprin
  • Jane Phillipi
  • Marie Piraino
    Diane Pizzotti
    Linda Queripel
    Warren Richards
    William Rucci
    Amy Simon
    William Strickland
  • Summersgill Family Fund
    Benjamin & Kate Taylor
    Jessica & John Tocco
    Patti Vellante
    Greg Wilde

      _____

*This list is inclusive of all gifts made to NECAT since June 1, 2018.

If you’d like to join our community of supporters, we welcome you to check out our donation options!

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Feed your guests;
feed your soul.

Make NECAT your main ingredient when planning your next corporate or private party, meeting or team building workshop. Our talented chefs will work with you to create a tailored menu and customized experience. Together with our beautiful facility and important organizational mission, it is sure to be an event that you and your guests will remember for years to come.

Careers at NECAT

NECAT is currently recruiting for the position of Chef Instructor. The full job description can be found here. To submit an application or for more information, please contact Joey Cuzzi at jcuzzi@ne-cat.org or 617-442-3600, ext 711.

Volunteer at NECAT

NECAT strongly believes in the valuable role that volunteers play in furthering the development of our students and the overall mission of the Center. NECAT welcomes volunteer tutors (particularly math), counselors, social workers, guest speakers, mentors, internship placements and job opportunities.

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