Meet the Insiders

Teddy Panos

A long-time fixture in the Lowell media scene, Teddy Panos founded InsideLowell, a 21st century multi-media company shaped by his over 30-year career in television, radio, newspaper, digital and social media.

Before launching InsideLowell in October of 2022, Panos capped a nearly 15-year run as Host of the Morning Drive Show on 980WCAP-AM, where he became a go-to source for local news and information. Whether breaking major news stories or securing interviews with newsmakers ranging from Presidential candidates and members of the U.S. Congress to local officials and community figures, he could be counted on to tell the story behind the story through his unique style and humor.

Prior to radio, Panos authored the first ever blog for the Lowell Sun newspaper, while also penning a weekly column. Before that, he was a 2-time award winning Sports Anchor/Reporter for WNDS-TV in Derry, NH, a station carried on over 2-million cable households throughout New England. Teddy got his start in television and media working as a Sports Producer at WHDH-TV in Boston from 1992-1999. Panos holds a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from Emerson College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from UMass-Lowell. He is a graduate of Dracut High School.

When not busy covering the local scene, Panos helps manage his family restaurant in Downtown Lowell and does fundraising for the Megan House Foundation. In his free time, he enjoys spending time and sharing laughs with friends and family. The moments he cherishes most, however, are those spent with his wife Rylee and their beautiful children Ari Stavros and Ruby Alexandra.

Why Teddy Founded InsideLowell:
“I’ve long felt there was a need for a media platform in Lowell that combines all aspects of Mass Communication. InsideLowell is my vision of that platform. With contributions from a talented and dedicated team of Insiders, we will inform, entertain and engage the audience by providing inside access to the people and events that shape our community.”

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Danielle McFadden

Powered by coffee and creativity, Danielle McFadden is a true cheerleader for all things Lowell. A lifelong Lowellian and alum of Lowell High School and UMass Lowell, Danielle has proudly served as President and CEO of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce since 2011.

As past President of the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) and a 40 under 40 recipient through the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), Danielle is a champion for small business and economic development.

Danielle hosted “Chamber Chat” on 980 WCAP and Lowell Telemedia for over a decade. An early adopter of social media, she helped create the Social Media Certificate Program at Middlesex Community College and has trained hundreds of businesses and individuals on the power of using social media for marketing and personal branding.

A strong believer in giving back to the community, Danielle sits on numerous boards and committees including the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (Vice President), Greater Lowell Workforce board, Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE), New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Professionals (NEACCE), Pawtucketville Memorial Elementary School PTO (President) and Lowell’s new Mill City Fund to help make events like the City of Lights, Lowell WinterFest and the 4th of July Celebration possible.

When Danielle isn’t in the office, you can see her grabbing a cup of coffee in Downtown Lowell, dancing on Instagram or hanging out with her family.

Why Danielle joined Inside Lowell?
“Inside Lowell is exactly what Lowell needs. It’s not only a source for information and entertainment, but it’s also a way for us all to feel connected – to each other and our community. Lowell is such a unique place and I am excited to help showcase everything that makes it a great place to live, work, raise a family and have a little fun!”

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Jim Campanini

A certified Italian Wine Scholar and creator of the popular “Grapefully Yours” Wine Blog, Jim Campanini has authored more than 500 columns on wine, food, and travel – many of them published as “The Wine Novice” in The Lowell Sun, Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise and Boston Herald.

Campanini is a former longtime editor of The Sun, where he garnered numerous editorial writing and journalism honors over his 30-year career at the newspaper. He is a two-time Rogers Award winner, given to the top editorial on a local subject as judged by the New England Newspaper Association. In 2012, Jim became the first journalist in The Sun’s then 137-year history to be awarded a Yankee Quill award for outstanding lifetime achievement in New England journalism. The honor also carried induction into The Academy of New England Journalists.

Since retiring from The Sun in 2018, Jim has followed his passion exploring wine regions in the United States and across the globe.

His travels have taken him to California’s Napa and Sonoma valleys, Washington State’s Columbia Valley and Walla Walla regions, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and New York’s Finger Lakes region. Abroad, he’s visited wineries in France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

In 2019, Jim established Pergola Communications, which provides social messaging and consulting services to corporate clients and individuals. That same year, Gov. Charlie Baker appointed him to the Board of Trustees at Middlesex Community College where he serves to this day.

A resident of Lowell, Jim lives in the Belvidere neighborhood with his Wine Goddess wife, Mary Lee.

Why Jim Joined InsideLowell:
“What’s not to like about InsideLowell? Teddy is taking this digital experience to the moon and I want be onboard for the ride. Maybe there are vineyards on the dark side of moon. Who knows? Seriously, it’s a great opportunity to breathe new life and spirit into Lowell with other fine contributors. If you like wine, or are curious about it,  InsideLowell.com is the place to be.”

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Pat Cook

Patrick Cook is the Vice-President of Administration at Middlesex Community College and a lifelong Lowellian.

He started his career as a police reporter at the Lowell Sun and went on to roles as Communications Director for the Lowell Police Department and District Director for U.S. Congressman Marty Meehan before his current gig.

Besides being obsessed with Lowell history, he’s also our resident go-to geek for movie and television pop culture, comic books, running, and Bruce Springsteen. In his youth, Pat was a regular at Lowell fixtures such as Palmer News, the Dutch Tea Room, O-Ray-O restaurant, Page’s soda fountain, the Yum Yum Shop and the Giant Store lunch counter.

Why Patrick joined Inside Lowell:
“I grew up in Lowell and have raised my family here, and care deeply about the history, present, and future of the city. There’s an infinite amount of stories the emanate from this city and its neighbors, and we need to do whatever we can to chronicle those stories and celebrate what makes this area so unique.  I’m really looking forward to connecting and re-connecting with folks through this much needed and welcomed platform on Inside Lowell.”

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Steve Panagiotakos

Steve Panagiotakos is a practicing lawyer for over thirty years with his office in Lowell, where he resides with his wife, Christine. He has two daughters, Giana and Alexandria.

He, also, works currently as a Massachusetts legislative and executive agent.

From 1997-2010, Steven C. Panagiotakos was a Massachusetts State Senator, serving as Co-Chairman of the Joint Committee on Federal Financial Assistance, Energy and Housing and Vice-Chairman and then Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways And Means. He, also, served as Lowell School Committee member for two terms (1990-1993), followed by two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1993-1996).

Steve attended the Lowell Public Schools, Phillips Academy Andover, received his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and obtained a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.

He has a long history of community involvement over the years with organizations like Greater Lowell Big Brothers/Big Sister, Lowell Association for the Blind, Greater Lowell Alzheimer’s Association, Honor Flight New England, the Salvation Army, Ahora, UTEC, Toys for Tots and Sun Santa programs and serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Hellenic American University in Athens Greece.

Why Steve joined InsideLowell:
“Lowell’s history is rich with tales of its people, places and events. I look forward to highlighting some of those stories for InsideLowell and am excited to be part of this new media platform.”

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Dan Phelps

Dan Phelps was born and raised – and still lives in – Lowell.

While in his third year at UMass Lowell, he was hired by The Sun to be a sportswriter. Over the next 36 years, he went on to hold several different titles, leaving the newspaper in 2021 as the Community News Editor.

In August 2021, Dan became the Economic Development Project Planner for the Town of Dracut, helping to promote and market the business community, as well as attracting new businesses to town.

As part of InsideLowell, Dan will share news of positive developments happening InsideDracut.

Why Dan joined InsideLowell:
“Teddy is the perfect person to launch this venture. When he asked me to participate, I jumped at the chance to let folks know about the exciting developments happening in Dracut.”

 

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Jacob Vitali

(Photo courtesy Kenny Olchowski)

Jacob Vitali is an old soul. He’s curious, wise beyond his years, community-oriented, and has a penchant for collecting vinyl records.

His path to journalism is unconventional. It all started with a satirical news program on his college radio station WJJW at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. The problem was that his humor was so good his listeners forgot to laugh. The one thing he excelled at was interviews, so he decided to pivot to serious journalism the next year. After hosting a spirited interview with a North Adams mayoral candidate, he was hooked. From that night forward, he became a man in search of the truth and a great donut. Thankfully, Lowell has a few places that cater to the latter.

Jacob is a man with a Belichickian mindset. In college, he was an Editor for The Beacon, Station Manager of WJJW-FM, a Student Trustee, had a job, and took a full-time course load.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Jacob made his way back to Greater Lowell, where he’s been ever since. After graduating, he worked a rewarding stint in education, before getting hired by the Lowell Sun. After a year covering the Nashoba Valley and Lowell City Hall, he was promoted to city editor of The Sun’s sister publication the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg and the Nashoba Valley Voice. There he oversaw an increase in digital performance, built a team-oriented culture, increased local news stories, and launched an internship program with Fitchburg State University.

Why Jacob Joined InsideLowell:
“I am thrilled to be back in Lowell and joining forces with a formidable team to keep our community informed and engaged. Our city is vibrant, our population is diverse, and the politics are consequential. I have seen firsthand how hard journalists at The Sun and WCAP work to serve the community, but there is always room for more voices to help guide the discussion.”

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Bach

Mike Bacigalupo, more commonly known around the city as Bach, is a product of Lowell’s Christian Hill neighborhood and Lowell Public Schools.

He began his media career in radio, making occasional appearances on WCAP’s Morning Drive Show with InsideLowell Founder Teddy Panos in 2017. Due to popular demand, those appearances became more frequent and soon he was Co-Hosting the Asa and Bach Show, aka “The Power Hour” from 2019-2022. His inside knowledge of the city, combined with a razor-sharp wit, make his writing as entertaining a read as you’ll find on the local media scene. His “Beers with Bach” podcasts highlight members of the community in a way that brings their personality to the surface.

In “real life,” Bach has been active in local politics and civic organizations. His nearly 25-year career focuses mostly in the non-profit sector, formerly in program management and currently in fiscal and budgeting matters.

He brings a unique perspective on the local and national scene, realizing that ultimately there is humor in everything, nothing is really that serious, and if it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.  As an example, Bach sees his greatest contribution has been his commitment to the planet and the future by remaining childless.

He currently resides in North Chelmsford, which he insists is not really Chelmsford.

Why Bach joined InsideLowell:
“Bach joined InsideLowell because he believes providing the public information and opinions from a myriad of people is key to a healthy community.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to hear the opinions and musing of a middle aged white guy from Christian Hill.”

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Allison Dolan-Wilson

Having proved that you can take the girl out of Lowell, but cannot, in fact, take the Lowell out of the girl, Allison Dolan-Wilson lived in Southern California for 16 years before returning to her birthplace.

Allison is currently Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the NECC Foundation at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill and Lawrence, where she oversees fundraising, marketing and communications, alumni relations, stewardship, grants, workforce development and corporate relations, career services, and institutional effectiveness.

An alumna of Saint Michael Elementary School and Lowell High, Allison holds a degree in PR and Advertising from Emerson College. She worked as a publicist in Hollywood for several years before turning to a career in higher education, including roles at San Diego State University (where she received her MBA), University of California—Irvine, and MIT.

A fourth generation Lowellian born and raised in the city’s Centralville neighborhood, Allison’s contributions to InsideLowell focus on strong women and the amazing work they do in the Mill City. Adding to her credentials as one of those strong women, she recently completed the LEADS program, an economic and leadership development program our of Harvard Business School with leaders from Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill.

Allison comes from a large family and currently lives with her husband, Jeff (who still isn’t sure why she insists on constantly introducing herself as originally from Centralville) and her two kids, Liam and Maggie. You can often catch her being a tourist in her own city.

Why Allison joined InsideLowell:
“There is something in the place where we were born that holds us always by the heart-strings.” – Lucy Larcom, Lowell Mill Girl

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Ryan Gilday

Do you like counting City Council motions? Then Citizens, have I got a treat for you!

In late 2021, I found myself thinking of the glory-days of the Lowell blogosphere – a place where you could find interesting, homegrown Lowell content almost daily. However, most of the blogs had long since closed shop and social media wasn’t quite hitting the spot in the same way. I kept hoping someone would start posting long-form content about the comings and goings of the Lowell City Council (Dick Howe had yet to launch his weekly newsletter).

As such, I tried to create the thing that I wished existed. TheLowellCitizen.com launched in January of 2022 with an eye toward keeping the old-school-blog-candle burning. Almost every Wednesday morning since, I’ve been providing a recap of the previous night’s council meeting mixed with some half-assed analysis and opinion.

Traffic counts for my site varied, but over time, it began to feel like I was posting into a void. My wife would sometimes ask if I was “still doing that blog thing.” My plan was to finish up the year, thank the loyal readers who came for the ride, and join the list of defunct Lowell blogs.

Enter a breath of fresh air from InsideLowell. I admit, I groaned a bit when I saw that Teddy Panos was the man behind the curtain. Would this new venture be a megaphone for his WCAP positions? Positions that made my blood boil and liberal tears flow? Maybe? It’s still early after all. But so far, I see evidence to the contrary.

I see the potential for InsideLowell to fill the void in local news. I see a return to the daily doses of homegrown, Lowell-centric content that I can’t get enough of. I see some contributors on the roster that I know and/or respect. I see a need for more contributors who actually, you know, live in Lowell (zing!). In light of the above, I am honored to have been invited to contribute and am looking forward sharing my posts on this platform.

Finally, some biography may be in order – I am not a journalist, nor am I an “Insider” as I understand the term. I’m just some nut with a website who feels compelled to post content. I was born and raised in Centralville (or perhaps more accurately, the foot of Christian Hill – it’s open to debate). I’ve lived in Downtown, the Highlands, and currently Belvidere with my wife and two sons. Both of my kids proudly attend Lowell Public Schools. When I’m not engaged with this blogging nonsense, I find some time to be a lawyer. If you see me in public, I will not be prepared to defend anything that I’ve written.

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Tara Hong

Tara Hong immigrated from Cambodia in 2013. He graduated from Lowell Public Schools in 2018 and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2022, majoring in political science and minoring in criminal justice.

Community involvement is an important part of who Tara is, having worked or volunteered for the past few years for Lowell Public Schools, the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) and the Lowell Litter Krewe. He’s also served on the Board of Directors for Lowell Litter Krewe and Mill City Grows.

Tara’s goal is to find ways of bringing the community together, encouraging Lowell residents to get involved, especially through voting, and to be informed about what the city has done for all of us.

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Angelos Kokkinos

Angelos Kokkinos spent his entire 44-year professional career in designing and developing systems that generate electricity and energy efficiently, while reducing air and water pollution from fossil fuels.  He is an expert in power plant, environmental controls, and carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emissions capture and storage systems, design and operation.

Angelos retired in the summer of 2021 from the U.S. Department of Energy where he was Director of Research and Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Advanced Fossil Technologies and Carbon Management in the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, managing $500 million annually of research in this area.  Prior to joining the government, he was CTO of Babcock Power Inc., of Danvers MA, a major supplier of fossil and concentrated solar power generation and environmental control systems and was Chief Engineer of the Ivanpah Solar Power plant steam generators the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world. Kokkinos has also worked for the Electric Power Research Institute, Babcock & Wilcox, and Combustion Engineering (now GE Power). He is the holder of six U.S. Patents and the 2019 Pennsylvania State University Distinguished Achievement Award recipient in Fuel Science and Energy Engineering.

Angelos emigrated to the U.S. from Greece in 1970 and considers the Lowell area his adopted home.  He has been happily married to his lovely wife Susan, a Littleton native, since 1977.  In the fall he can be found watching his Nittany Lions football team, while during the winter he is at the Tsongas Arena watching his beloved Riverhawks play hockey and listening to the world’s best hockey pep band.  He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UMass Lowell and a M.S. in Fuel Science from The Pennsylvania State University.

Why Angelos joined InsideLowell
“I arrived in this country and in Lowell in particular as a wide eyed 18 year old student over 50 years ago.  I could barely speak English and barely knew anyone.  From the first day that I set foot at “Lowell Tech” I felt at home as I was embraced by the community as one of their own.  I will never forget the warmth and love of the people of Lowell, their appreciation for diversity, and willingness to lend a helping hand.  It is for this reason that I joined Inside Lowell as a way of giving back to Lowell some of what I have learned in my travels around the U.S. and the world in energy technology and policy.

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Matt LeLacheur

Born and raised in Lowell, Matt’s roots run deep in the city.  He’s a proud graduate of Lowell High School, class of 97, and father of three beautiful Lowell Public School students.

After graduating from UMass-Amherst in 01’, his early career saw him work in the sports industry for the Golden State Warriors and Lowell Lock Monsters, banking industry, and as the executive director of the New England Service Station and Automotive Repair Association (NESSARA).  These various roles help Matt gain a strong understanding of business, finance and government affairs.  All helped lead to Matt opening his own company, Association Merchant Services in 2014.  That company has grown to become one of the largest merchant services providers in New England.  In 2019 he created KDE Consulting to provide small business consulting services to a select number of clients.  Through KDE, Matt has gained experience in real estate, retail marijuana and other industries.

If you’re looking to find Matt outside the office, you will most likely find him at a baseball field or involved in some youth athletics activity.  He is the President of the Pawtucketville Youth Organization, Head of the Friends of Lowell High Field Hockey Committee, Chairman of the Lowell Athletics and Activity Foundation, Coach in the Boomerball Baseball Program, amongst other things.

Matt’s passion for making the city better through youth athletics and activities will be the main source of his contributions to the Inside Lowell team.  After an unsuccessful run for City Council in 2017, he’ll leave the politics to the professionals.

Why Matt Joined InsideLowell:
“I joined the Inside Lowell team to raise awareness of the amazing athletic and artistic accomplishments of the youth of Lowell.  These kids are a fantastic source of pride and connection for our Community.  As adults, we should champion their successes and provide support where we can to make things better.”

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Frank McCabe

Frank McCabe has over 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, public relations, and sales in a mix of industries including high tech, supply chain, logistics, e-commerce and renewable energy.

An accomplished author and blogger, McCabe has written articles, columns, editorials, and white paper published on a wide range of subjects. In 2012, he published his first book, “Can I Be Frank?: An Auto-BLOG-raphy,” a humorous read that is a compilation of his blog columns about life, family, sports and the workplace. Frank has written a screenplay titled ‘St. Patrick’s Day’; a comedy loosely based on actual events that occurred in the Mill City. In addition to his writing projects, he hosted the Can I Be Frank radio talk show on 980 WCAP from 2013- 2015.

A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Frank serves as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for The Beacon Group and List Logistics. Born, raised, and educated in Lowell, he remains active in the greater Lowell community and various local charities and organizations.

Frank resides in North Andover with his wife and three children.

Why Frank joined InsideLowell:
“If I can be Frank, Inside Lowell is a great opportunity for me to be able to express ideas, tell stories and speak and write freely in an exciting new platform that our region has never seen before.  This will not be your father’s news outlet.”

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Mikaela Hondros-McCarthy

Mikaela Hondros-McCarthy grew up, and currently lives in, the Highlands neighborhood of Lowell. She went to the Hellenic American Academy, Saint Stanislaus School and Lowell High before going on to earn accounting degrees and MBA from UMass Amherst and UMass Boston.

Mikaela has 15 years of experience in finance and accounting, working in both the for and non-profit sectors. She has worked for the last five years at her dream job for Green Energy Consumers Alliance where she oversees the finance operations and procurement of renewable energy. She has served on the Lowell Sustainability Council for the last five years and is passionate about helping the city make progress in that area.  (Mikaela would like to make it clear her thoughts and opinions are her own and not a representation of the organizations she works at or volunteers on unless otherwise stated)

In her free time, you can find Mikaela walking her dog Sasha or biking on the Riverwalk or the Freeman Trail, trying out a new recipe or food shopping at Trader Joe’s or Market Basket, watching a documentary or reality TV (there is no in-between), or enjoying good conversation, food & drinks at one of the many great restaurants in Downtown Lowell.  Her favorite things to talk about are sustainability & energy, pop culture, excel formula hacks, existential life stuff, food, and any and all things Bravo TV.

Why Mikaela joined InsideLowell:
“I joined InsideLowell to continue both a major life struggle and a dream that began unexpectedly a few years ago during my first appearance on WCAP-AM radio: to convince Teddy Panos that climate change is real, man-made, and that humans can and must do something to curb its effects. I further committed to this challenge by becoming co-host of the Morning Show on a weekly basis, and when I wasn’t experiencing extreme frustration, I was invigorated by the respectful and thought-provoking conversations. It is my intent to continue that dialogue on InsideLowell.”

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Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been jousting with the establishment media and political power brokers since the early days of the NH Primary in 2007. As a grassroots activist with “Veterans for Obama,” Mitchell sharpened his new media edges skirmishing on a prominent NH Blog against other activists and “machine Democrats.” The quick-witted banter, mixed with memes and pop culture references, appealed to Mitchell’s sensibilities. The skills he developed over that campaign translated well to the blossoming new media scene in Lowell.

By 2009, new media venues in Lowell were seriously challenging the dominance of legacy media. The “movers and shakers” had predictable dynamics with the Paper of Record and the local AM Radio station. The variety of perspectives and personalities of Lowell’s Bloggers did not neatly mesh with the narratives and frames that where being spun and pushed out to Lowellians. Mitchell thrived in this environment and, over a decade, has carefully stumbled his way into becoming a dreaded establishment figure in his own right.

Jack has listened intently as influencers harkened the steady demise of print media. Further, he noted the limits of blogging, with a scourge of anonymous trash talkers. So, Mitchell translated his voice over to Social Media, seeing the potential of Facebook as a tool to organize and influence.

Why Jack joined InsideLowell:
“My journey through the new forms of media that sprouted up in Lowell has been a trip since Day 1, and I am now looking forward to sharing in the responsibilities of opining and informing Lowellians as part of the InsideLowell team.”

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