DANIEL J. SULLIVAN JR., CEO of Collette Travel Service Inc., was recognized as the 2019 Pawtucket Person of the Year by the Pawtucket Foundation during a celebration May 7 at Nexus Property Management in the city. He was recognized for his efforts to help revitalize the city and its economy. Additionally, Sullivan was honored with the 2019 Alumni Service Award by Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., for his professional achievements, leadership and commitment to philanthropy.
What does being named person of the year mean to you? It’s truly an honor because I’ve been involved with the city of Pawtucket since the 1960s and have been given the opportunity to co-chair the Pawtucket Foundation in the past, as well as lead a group of committed business owners toward the economic revitalization of the city. … We’ve dedicated a lot of time to working with the mayor [Donald R. Grebien] and the stakeholders of the city that make Pawtucket such a vibrant community and it’s rewarding to see the progress we have made.
The city has seen Memorial Hospital close and the Pawtucket Red Sox announce a move to Worcester, Mass. What potential is there for Pawtucket to thrive again? It’s always been our goal to have members of the community take advantage of the natural resources and historic landmarks that we have spread throughout the city. The river is beautiful, the historic mill buildings offer great retail and commercial space, and our hope is to continue building up the area for many more to live and work in the coming years. The bike path – a project that is long overdue – will also become a reality in the next few years for both bikers and walkers to take advantage.
What efforts are you currently working on to help revitalize Pawtucket? Many of us are really looking forward to the train station returning to Pawtucket as a way to help revitalize both Central Falls and Pawtucket. When the train station closed in the late 1950s, it was difficult to walk on the sidewalk at the lunch hour because of how many people were around. We know that there’s certainly a connection between the train and increasing foot traffic to downtown – our goal is to make this a part of the routine so that the community can come and go between Boston and New York City.
Do you feel Pawtucket could be a thriving metropolis again within the next 10 years? Yes. It’s really important that we work together to identify businesses and more great companies to continue expanding in this city. Pawtucket has great access to the rest of Rhode Island and the Boston market and has the most access off of [Interstate] 95 of any city from Maine to Florida.
In terms of our own commitment, Collette has just taken space in our fourth building in Pawtucket in another historic mill building on the banks of the Blackstone [River]. We know that Pawtucket is a place where we can continue investing and revitalizing for the future.