NEC to Honor New Englanders of the Year at 2015 Annual Dinner

Business Group to Honor Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Medal of Honor Recipient Ryan M. Pitts, and Longtime WBZ Anchor Jack Williams

2015 NEOTY Collage

BOSTON (October 15, 2015) – The New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business organization, will present its prestigious “New Englander of the Year” awards at its 2015 90th Anniversary Annual Dinner at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston on Thursday, October 22, 2015. This year’s recipients are Karen Kaplan, Chairman and CEO of Hill Holliday; U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz; Medal of Honor Recipient Ryan M. Pitts; and longtime WBZ-TV anchor Jack Williams.

Over 1,500 New England Council members representing businesses large and small across a wide range of industries throughout New England will be in attendance. The 2015 Annual Dinner also marks the 90th Anniversary of The New England Council, which was founded in Poland Spring, ME, in 1925.

The “New Englander of the Year” awards are presented each year by The New England Council and honor residents or natives of the New England states for their commitment and contributions in their fields of work, as well as their leadership and impact on the New England region’s quality of life and economy. First presented in 1964, over the years the award has been presented to Senators Ted Kennedy, Jack Reed, Jean Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins and John Kerry; Congressmen Richard Neal, Ed Markey, John Larson, and Barney Frank; and business leaders such as Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments, Robert Reynolds of Putnam Investments, Anne Finucane of Bank of America and many other respected government, business, and non-profit leaders.

“Each of our 2015 honorees has made remarkable contributions to our economy and our communities, both here in New England and beyond,” said James T. Brett, President and CEO of the New England Council. “Through thoughtful leadership, innovative thinking, and dedication to their community and their nation, these individuals truly embody all that is great about New England. We’re delighted to be celebrating their accomplishments with hundreds of our members at this year’s Annual Dinner.”

The New England Council’s Board of Directors selected this year’s honorees based on their commitment to the community, distinguished careers and countless contributions to the region and the nation:

Karen Kaplan, Chairman and CEO, Hill Holliday – Karen Kaplan has been a driving force behind Hill Holliday’s growth to more than $1 billion in annual billings and has been recognized by Business Insider and Advertising Age as one of the most influential women in advertising. She started at the company in 1982 as a receptionist and her energy, optimism, passion, smarts and loyalty have led her to her role today as Chairman and CEO.

Hon. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy – As United States Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz is tasked with implementing critical Department of Energy missions in support of President Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security and protecting the environment. Most recently, the former MIT professor has become the administration’s most credible source of information and key negotiator of the historic nuclear deal with Iran. Dr. Moniz was raised in Fall River, MA and is a longtime resident of Brookline, MA.

Ryan M. Pitts, Former Staff Sergeant, United States Army, Medal of Honor Recipient – Ryan Pitts, a New Hampshire native, enlisted in the Army in 2003, completing two combat deployments in Afghanistan as a Forward Observer with the 173rd Airborne Brigade before being medically discharged in 2009. Ryan was awarded the Medal of Honor on July 21, 2014, for his actions on July 13, 2008, during his second deployment, where approximately 200 enemy fighters attacked 48 Americans in the village of Wanat, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

Jack Williams, News Anchor, WBZ-TV, 1975–2015 – Jack Williams has been a pioneer in journalism since 1968 and has forever left his mark on the television landscape in Boston. Jack was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was one of only five New England journalists to receive the prestigious 2012 Yankee Quill Award which is considered to be the highest individual honor awarded by fellow journalists in the region. Even more so than his work as a dedicated journalist for WBZ-TV, Jack is known as a true philanthropist since creating “Wednesday’s Child” in 1981. Jack and his wife Marci have raised more than $10,000,000 for adoption and helped more than 800 special needs children find loving homes.

The New England Council’s 2015 Annual Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2015, at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston. The reception will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by a dinner program and award presentation beginning at 6:00 p.m. This year’s Annual Dinner is being chaired by New England Council board member James Roosevelt, Chief Executive Officer of Tufts Health Plan.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region. The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange. For more information, please visit:


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