Associate Community Hero Award

2020 recipients

George Caccavaro

George Caccavaro

Model Shop Team Leader, United States

George is a former HOPE Team member who inspires students participating in SHAPE for STEM events, recruits volunteers and organizes cleanups for the YMCA’s Camp Coniston, and works as a volunteer EMT for the Town of Croydon, New Hampshire. In addition, he helps run the Special Olympics Upper Valley Fall Games hosted each fall by Hypertherm, and even puts his amateur beekeeping skills to work around our campus.

Yotta Bourdakis

Yotta Bourdakis

European Office Manager, The Netherlands

Yotta is a serious hero to the Happy Hippo Foundation, an organization that assembles and distributes birthday boxes filled with small gifts, decorations, and cake mixes underprivileged children can use to bake treats for their classmates. Yotta’s passion and infectious enthusiasm for this organization has spread throughout Hypertherm’s European office, with Associates there packing Happy Hippo boxes for the past five years.

2019 recipients

Sandee Shipley

Sandee Shipley

Receptionist & Switchboard Operator, United States

Sandee’s community passion is cooking dinners for people living at the Upper Valley Haven’s Hixon House adult shelter. She does everything—from planning balanced menus and shopping for food, to recruiting volunteers and cooking dinner—often with her kids in tow, so they too can learn the importance of giving back. In addition to her work planning and preparing dinner, Sandee also works to solicit food donations for the Special Olympics.

Juliana Barbosa

Juliana Barbosa

Sales Support and Logistics Team Leader, Brazil

A native Portuguese speaker living in Brazil, Juliana has always loved the English language. When deciding where to focus her volunteer energy, Juliana wanted to share her knowledge of English with others who didn’t have the resources to learn the language on their own. Juliana devotes countless hours to this Cidadão Pró-Mundo (Pro-World Citizen,) an organization that promotes equal opportunities for young people and adults by teaching English classes and offering social integration, all led by volunteers.

2018 recipients

Brenda Melius

Brenda Melius

Design Engineer, United States

Brenda’s passion lies in introducing young people, girls especially, to engineering. She often plans and coordinates events like Girls Technology Day, working to recruit other engineers and plan activities designed to inspire young people to consider a STEM career. In addition, Brenda has served on the HOPE Foundation’s STEM subcommittee, providing input on STEM grant applications in an effort to ensure funding decisions have the greatest impact. She also serves on the organizing team for the Special Olympics Upper Valley Fall Games.

2017 recipients

David Brenner

David Brenner

New Business Development, United States

Dave champions a monthly dinner at Listen Community Services in which a team of Hypertherm volunteers plan, cook, and serve a hearty dinner to approximately 100 people. Dave completely owns this volunteer event, coordinating with Listen, encouraging colleagues to volunteer, and leading a crew in the Listen kitchen on the first Friday of every month. Dave takes great care to ensure these dinners are both nutritional and flavorful, making “Dave’s dinners” the most attended Friday dinner that Listen sponsors. With 12 dinners a year, Dave quickly exhausts his 32 hours of time. Still, he keeps going, volunteering on his own time to ensure people needing a hot meal don’t leave with an empty stomach.

2016 recipients

Jen Riccio

Jen Riccio

Senior Legal Counsel

Jen is a Hypertherm champion for the Upper Valley Humane Society, where she serves as board chair, and the Lebanon Opera House. She is Board President for David’s House, a home away from home for families with children receiving care at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and works to photograph Special Olympics athletes during the fall games hosted by Hypertherm. In addition, she contributes legal expertise as a member of the HOPE Team’s Grant Review Committee and Measurable Outcome subcommittee.

James Whitney

James Whitney

Cutting Systems Assembler, United States

James is known as the “silent hero” among his Powermax teammates. Beyond his volunteer service on the team’s yearly Volunteering Project Day, James is a regular volunteer at David’s House, working as a Hospitality Volunteer for several years now. He takes room requests, checks in guests and gives tours. As it requires a regular commitment, the Hospitality Volunteer is a position David’s House struggles to fill. Fortunately, James is passionate about his work at David’s House and more than willing to make a long-term commitment.

2015 recipients

Alex Jaccaci

Alex Jaccaci

Corporate Improvement Program Manager, United States

Alex is the founder of the Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup, a bi-state workgroup of 20 organizations working to build economic and community resiliency to natural disasters and climate change, which is now part of Vital Communities, an organization that brings several New Hampshire and Vermont communities together to create positive change. In addition, Alex served on the Board of Governors for Leadership Upper Valley, another Vital Communities group. He is also a volunteer for Revels North, a nonprofit arts organization that celebrates the power of traditional song, dance, and stories and is actively engaged in youth programs, volunteering for the Creative Lives After School Program and coaching youth soccer for the Town of Thetford, Vermont’s Recreation Department.

Scott DeFreitas

Scott DeFreitas

Category Manager, United States

Scott is a long-time champion of dinners at the Upper Valley Haven’s Hixon House, a home that provides temporary shelter and educational programming for homeless families and adults as well as food to anyone in need. He has also worked to serve dinners at Dismas House, an organization that helps former prisoners transition to life outside the prison. Beyond that, Scott is a member of the New Hampshire chapter of the Institute of Supply Management where he has worked to coordinate annual professional development and networking meetings, oversee committees, and give final approval of committee recommendations. He is a volunteer flag football coach for the city of Concord, New Hampshire’s Parks and Recreation Department and a member of the acquisition team for the St. John’s Regional School annual fundraising auction.