2018 New Englanders of the Year Announced

NEC to Honor Gen. Joseph Dunford, Vertex CEO Jeffrey Leiden, Veteran & Advocate Travis Mills, and Rep. Niki Tsongas at Annual Dinner
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The New England Council is pleased to announce our 2018 New Englanders of the Year.  These four remarkable New Englanders will be honored at our 2018 Annual Dinner on the evening of Thursday, October 11, 2018, at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston.  A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available – contact  Larry Zabar for more information.  This year, we will honor three individuals who have made tremendous contributions to our region and our nation:

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff – General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. is the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council.  Prior to becoming Chairman in October 2015, he served as the 36th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.  Over the course of his four decades of distinguished service in the Marines, he has served as an infantry officer at all levels and is the first Marine Corps officer to serve in four different four-star positions. General Dunford has served in a variety of key leadership posts, including senior command posts in in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  A native of Boston, MA, he is a graduate of Saint Michael’s College and holds master’s degrees from both Georgetown University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals – Dr. Jeffrey Leiden is a physician and scientist who, for the last 30 years, has dedicated his career to improving the lives of people with serious diseases. His experience spans all aspects of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.  Under Dr. Leiden’s leadership, Vertex has brought to patients the first and only medicines to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis (CF), and is now developing a medicine that could reach 90% of people living with this devastating disease. It is his mission and the basis of the company’s research priorities to bring transformative medicines to people with CF and other serious diseases. Dr. Leiden also cares deeply about inspiring and equipping under-resourced students and young women to become the next generation of scientific leaders. He established a signature program at Vertex to enhance science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education among Boston students, including an on-site Learning Lab, mentorship programs, internships and college scholarships.

Staff Sergeant (ret) Travis Mills, U.S. Army Veteran and Founder of the Travis Mills Foundation – Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, a Maine resident, served three tours of duty in Afghanistan as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. In April 2012, during his third tour, he was critically injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while on patrol, losing portions of both legs and both arms. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and today is an advocate for veterans and amputees. In September 2013, he established the Travis Mills foundation to benefit and assist combat-injured veterans.  In June 2017, he opened the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat in Rome, ME, where war-injured veterans and their families are welcomed for rest and relaxation at no charge.  Sergeant Mills is also the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Tough as They Come.”

The Honorable Niki Tsongas, U.S. House of Representatives – U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, becoming the first woman to represent the Bay State on Capitol Hill in 25 years. She is in her final year representing Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District, having announced her retirement in 2017.  Throughout her tenure in Congress, Rep. Tsongas has served on the House Armed Services Committee, where she has been a tremendous advocate for our region’s defense sector and military installations, and has fought tirelessly to support and protect our men and women in uniform.  She has also been on the front lines of developing policies related to domestic energy production, the environment, and our National Park System as a member of the Natural Resources Committee. The Congresswoman is a graduate of Smith College and Boston University School of Law.

Learn more about the New Englander of the Year Award and past honorees here.

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