There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Woburn way – or so says Donald Queenin, executive vice president at Woburn-based Northern Bank & Trust Co. (NBTC). The line is one of Queenin’s many favorite (and oft-repeated) expressions, which his staff has come to affectionately refer to as “DQ-isms.”
Queenin, who has worked at NBTC for 42 years, knows a thing or two about the Woburn way. He has committed his entire life to bettering Woburn, both at the bank and beyond. To list just a fraction of his community commitments, Queenin serves on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Woburn, the Rotary Club of Woburn, and the Woburn Community Educational Foundation. He’s also chairman of the Woburn Redevelopment Authority and president of the Woburn Redevelopment Corp.
“I was brought up in Woburn. My children grew up in Woburn. I’ve kind of been drinking the Kool-Aid all my life,” Queenin said. “Woburn has been very good to my family.”
Of all the work he’s done for his community, Queenin said one of his proudest accomplishments was serving as chairman of the Woburn Square Revitalization plan.
Back in the mid-1990s, Queen recalled, there were more than 20 vacant storefronts downtown and overall very little commerce. By using state grants, rehabbing buildings and adding affordable units, however, things started to change course.
“All of a sudden, I had people calling me saying, ‘Hey, is there a chance that I can participate in this revitalization project?’ … The biggest complaint that we hear about downtown now is that there isn’t enough parking, and that’s a good problem to have,” he said.
Queenin views his work at NBTC as an extension of his community service to the residents of Woburn.
“I’m not a banker. I’m a community banker, and being a community banker means you get to … make a lot of dreams come true, whether it’s someone buying their first car, or someone asking, ‘Can you help us buy a house?’” Queenin said. “I see that on a daily basis.”
When he’s not making dreams come true for the bank’s customers, he’s doing whatever he can to make life easier for the bank’s employees.
“Working with Donald is like working with a very, very good friend,” said Claire Pappas, vice president of commercial loan servicing at NBTC. “He’s just a hands-on person. He will do anything and everything he can to help.”
Pappas wrote Queenin’s Community Bank Hero award nomination with the help of Dawn Ferrari, vice president of human resources, and Suzanne Cataldo, executive assistant. In their nomination, the trio wrote, “At NBTC, it’s known that Don can never retire as there will be too many lost without him.”
Queenin chuckled upon hearing this. “I don’t know about that,” he replied, before adding, “I am nothing without the employees of the bank.”
He continued: “I am blessed. I have the best job. Truthfully, it’s not a job, it’s a hobby. It’s the hobby of my life.”