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Meet our Staff and Board of Directors

Christina Eckert, Interim Director

Christina has spent the past twelve years serving non-profits in the Merrimack Valley. As longtime development director for Community Giving Tree, she raised operating funds to provide clothing, cribs and other essential items to 10,000 local children annually. As co-founder and current president of Masconomet Education Foundation, she helped raise $300,000 to build two STEM labs at Masconomet. She also serves on the board of the town of Boxford’s Recreation Committee and its Council on Aging, is past director of the Boxford Park Program, and past president of the Boxford PTO. Christina holds a B.A. from Harvard and an MFA from UCLA. She was an Emmy Award-winning television writer before starting a family. She and her husband are raising their three sons in Boxford, Mass.
Christina can be reached by email at [email protected], or by phone at 978-655-4742.

John Macone, Interim Director, Outreach Specialist

John Macone joined the MRWC in November 2017. He spent 25 years working as a journalist, most recently as editor of the Daily News of Newburyport. Having grown up along the Maine and Massachusetts coast, he’s long had a fascination with the ecology of local rivers and coastlines. In 2009 he won a national award from the Inland Press Association for an eight-part series on erosion issues facing Plum Island and Salisbury Beach. Prior to working at the Daily News, John was a reporter, and later city editor, at The Eagle-Tribune, where he covered the New Hampshire presidential primaries, the New Hampshire Statehouse and the Massachusetts Statehouse. He has also worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service and the State of Maine, and authored three books on greater Newburyport’s history. John holds a bachelor of arts degree in American history from Union College. He operates a small organic farm in Amesbury, and enjoys boating and fishing along the Merrimack and the local coast.
You can reach John at [email protected], or by phone at 978-655-4742. 

Dan Graovac, President

Dan has spent nearly twenty years in benefits consulting working with some of the largest companies in the world. He has expertise in sales, marketing, general management, and strategic business consulting.  He now works as an independent business consultant helping early stage healthcare companies in a number of areas.  In addition, Dan works as a coach for the Boston Children's Hospital marathon team and runs marathons himself while raising money for the hospital.  Dan holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of Rochester and a master's in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan.  He is a resident of Plum Island, an avid outdoorsman, and an amateur photographer.

Sarah Boehm, Vice President

Sarah is an educator with experience in classroom teaching and outdoor environmental education.  She resides in Methuen, Mass. and currently teaches science at the Community Day Charter Public School in Lawrence.  Sarah studied biology and geology at Colby College and holds a masters of education from Antioch University New England.  She became a volunteer with MRWC in 2010 as part of a water quality sampling initiative, and has been active with the organization ever since.

Ryan Young, Clerk

Ryan works for a international renewable energy company on real estate acquisitions and the development of new projects.  He formerly served as the strategic projects manager and director of easement stewardship at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  He also is a licensed real estate broker and holds a master’s degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School, as well as a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Bowling Green State University.  Ryan, his wife, and two boys live a stone’s throw from the Merrimack in Concord, N.H.  They enjoy recreational activities on and in the river as often as possible.

Rich Harrington, Treasurer

Rich is a Massachusetts Professional Engineer with over two decades of experience working with clients and conservation commissions to protect acres of open space while designing dedicated public trailhead parking and access to miles of walking trails within the Merrimack watershed.  Rich holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  He has a strong understanding of the Rivers Protection Act as well as the use of low-impact development techniques to mitigate stormwater pollution.  Rich enjoys biking along the Merrimack in Lowell and spending time with his family at Lake Winnipesaukee.  He is a resident of Tewksbury, Mass.

Maurice Balboni

 A  graduate of Harvard College (B.A.) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A.), Maurice is retired from a 45-year career in the business world.  He worked as a financial executive and turn-around business consultant, spending his early years in mainframe computer sales for Honeywell, Inc.  He migrated to internal financial management, serving as division controller for the Dennison Manufacturing Co. in Framingham, Mass.  He then advanced through a series of executive positions, which included controller at Malden Mills, Inc. in Lawrence, Mass., corporate controller at the Jamesbury Corp. in Worcester, and vice president for finance and administration at the Phalo Corp. in Westborough, Mass.  During the second half of his business career, Maurice served as president of Maurice Balboni & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in business turnaround and crisis management.  He is a former member of the MIT Enterprise Forum and the Financial Executives Institute.  Until 2014, Maurice was a trustee of the Lawrence General Hospital, and during his 25-year tenure there served for two decades as its treasurer and, at intervals, chair of its Finance Committee, Audit Committee, and Investment Committee.  He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the nonprofit Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, where he is a member of its Finance Committee.  Maurice is keenly interested in the theory and practice of conservation—an idea that includes rivers and other natural resources, as well as pretty much everything else.  He lives in Andover, Mass.

Cathy Crumbley

Cathy Crumbley has dedicated her career to promoting environmental health and human dignity.  As program director for the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, she worked for nearly two decades to advance the development of safer alternatives to hazardous products and practices.  Before that, Cathy organized environmental education programs for mid-career professionals from developing countries.  A resident of Lowell, Mass., she holds a B.A. in biology from Pomona College and an M.S. in environmental science from UMass Boston.

Jill Swasey

Jill is a marine scientist with over twenty years' experience applying science to support responsible and sustainable use of marine resources.  Her work has involved review and evaluation of fisheries policies, ecosystem-based fisheries management, and sustainable seafood initiatives, as well as development and design of educational and outreach materials, coordination of working groups and workshops, and the delicate task of stakeholder engagement.  Jill's experience spans private industry, environmental advocates and government agencies.  She holds a Master of Science from the University of New Hampshire.  She tries to fill her spare time enjoying nature and all things on the water with her family and dogs.  A resident of Hampton Falls, N.H., Jill joined the MRWC board at the start of 2019. 

Joshua Brown

Josh is a Geoscience and Natural Resources major and recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, located in the heart of the Merrimack River Watershed.  In his final research capstone for his program, he sampled surface water for nitrogen pollution in streams.  His program has prepared him well for work in conservation.  Growing up an avid fisherman, Josh has a great passion for water conservation.  His roots are firmly planted in the Merrimack Valley, as his hometown is Haverhill, right on the banks of the Merrimack River.  Now residing in Newmarket, N.H., Josh began his association with the Merrimack River Watershed Council in January, 2019.