Class of 2006 Alumni Spotlight
– Posted Fall 2015
From BVT to Beacon Hill
It was obvious back when he walked the hallways of Blackstone Valley Tech and it remains readily apparent today as he walks the historic halls of the Massachusetts State House: Ryan Chamberland is the quintessential people person.
Whether in Upton or Boston, the 2006 BVT graduate knows everyone by name and always has time to stop and share a few kind words. Seeing such affability in action, it’s no wonder that Ryan has established himself in Massachusetts politics as a hard-working young man with a knack for pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, and rallying voters.
Although to be fair, there is one person in the State House who doesn’t appear to know Ryan: It’s Governor Charlie Baker, who spots Ryan outside the Governor’s Office and stops to ask, “Hey, who’s this troublemaker?”
Of course, Governor Baker is only kidding. He’s known Ryan Chamberland for years—he just likes to give the man he named Director of the Governor’s Office for Western Massachusetts a good-natured ribbing.
Sitting in the Governor’s Council Chamber reflecting on his journey from BVT to Beacon Hill, Ryan says it all began when he won a five-way race for BVT Junior Class President by only 10 votes. As President, Ryan put on BVT’s first-ever Battle of the Bands and raised thousands of dollars to offset the prom’s fiscal impact on students and families. The hard work of his first term was rewarded by his classmates, who re-elected Ryan by an overwhelming majority.
“I always cite that election as the reason I fell in love with politics: If you actually do the job, people will appreciate it and reward you for it,” Ryan recalls.
With encouragement and guidance from teachers, counselors, and administrators, Ryan honed his community service skills in the BVT Student Ambassadors, Student Government, and Model United Nations programs, and soon set his sights on a career pathway in public service.
Since graduating, Ryan has crafted an impressive resume in state politics, including roles such as Deputy Campaign Manager for former state representative Senator Ryan Fattman, as well as Campaign Manager and Chief of Staff for Representative Leah Cole. It was his local service, however, that caught the attention of the Commonwealth’s future leader. In 2012, after meeting Ryan and applauding him for commuting 90 minutes from Blackstone to Salem State University, the future governor was floored to learn that the 23-year-old also served on his hometown’s board of selectmen.
“I was a young guy who knocked on 956 doors, beat a 17-year incumbent with 60% of the vote, and challenged the status quo,” Ryan says. “We built a bond around that.”
In late 2013, when then-candidate Baker announced his second gubernatorial bid, Ryan jumped onto the campaign trail, first as the MassVictory Central Massachusetts Field Director and then as Deputy Statewide Field Director. More than a year later, as the votes were being tallied, Ryan spoke with the Governor-elect, who congratulated Ryan on an overwhelming victory in Central Massachusetts.
“We won by the largest percentage of votes in the state. I’ve never been prouder than that moment,” Ryan says with a smile. With victory secured and a three-day inaugural ceremony underway, Ryan’s political journey came full circle on January 9, 2015, when he returned to BVT alongside Governor Baker for a “Spotlight on Excellence” inaugural celebration.
“It was the first time I’d been back to BVT since 2006, so it was very special for me. I couldn’t stop talking about it. Everyone on the Governor’s staff was teasing me, saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we get it. You went to Valley Tech.’ ”
As he continues serving the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Ryan is hopeful that his dreams and aspirations, both personal and political, will once again meet at Blackstone Valley Tech.
“I know the Governor will continue to make Massachusetts great again. Massachusetts is my home and it’s a place I’d like to start a family and raise my children. And if I do have kids, I’d love for them go to BVT and have the same experience as me.”