Patricia Pistone MOC associate director devotes skills to funding local projects

By Cillea Houghton, Correspondent

UPDATED:   07/30/2015 07:59:42 AM EDT

FITCHBURG -- While giving back to the community may not have been in the job description, Patricia Pistone of the Montachusett Opportunity Council has immersed herself in public service through the numerous professional positions she's held throughout her career.

Born and raised in Fitchburg, Pistone attended Hofstra University and assumed her life would take her outside of the region for good.

"I thought I was never coming back to Fitchburg," she admitted.

But after being hired as a graduate assistant for Upward Bound, a summer program held at Fitchburg State, she went on to become an intern for U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and served as the economic development director for U.S. Rep. John Olver, working in 35 communities throughout North Central Massachusetts for 10 years.

Today she is the associate director of MOC, working with local agencies to direct federal money back to local enterprises. Throughout her career, Pistone has had a hand in a plethora of valuable community projects, such as the veterans cemetery in Winchendon, which she described as "one of the proudest things I've ever worked on."

She also worked closely with MART in building the intermodal center downtown, along with the transportation center in Athol that provides a six-stop bus route for local residents. But the most significant endeavor she's taken on is ReImagine North of Main, a project designed to make the area a "neighborhood of choice" by improving education, housing and the overall quality of life.

"This is the epitome of my career," Pistone said.

No stranger to this venture, or the many others Pistone has participated in, is Mayor Lisa Wong. The two worked extensively together during Pistone's time with Olver, and Wong said she was one of the first people she met when she began working in economic development in Fitchburg.

"She really is a great public policy expert," Wong said. "I learned a lot from her."

Over the years, the two have taken on myriad projects together, from downtown revitalization to the nearly completed rail trail. While Pistone could have taken her economic skills anywhere, Wong is grateful she chose to bring her talent back to her hometown.

"She is a tremendous leader who not only knows how to manage projects, but she really knows how to reach out and involve the community," Wong said. "We're glad she chose to stay in Fitchburg and to help us lead and transform this community."

Overall, Pistone is proud to be a part of Fitchburg and all the positive programs she's contributed to. "It's wonderful driving around the city and seeing projects that had an impact," she said. "We have so much life here and a lot of excitement going on in the city."

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