The Larkin Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes members of the Essex Tech community and its past iterations, including Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, North Shore Technical High School, and Peabody Vocational School, who have demonstrated a commitment to and achievement within the local vocational and/or agricultural industries.
Brain Cranney is a graduate of Salem High School Vocational (Electrical) and a lifelong North Shore resident. He has owned his North Shore Business for nearly 50 years.
Brian was instrumental in the start of the North Shore Tech Electrical program in 2005 with a significant financial donation, material donations, and technical support. He lobbied tirelessly for the creation of the Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School District at local and state levels and was an active member of our building committee during the new school’s construction process.
Brian has always supported and continues to support the concept of “lights on 23 hours a day” at Essex Tech and has employed dozens of Co-Op students from our school as well as other local vocational schools like Salem High School, Lynn Voc. Tech, and Northeast Metro Tech.
He provides full-time employment for many graduates of Essex Tech and other vocational schools.
Brian contributes on the ENS General Advisory Committee and the ENS Electrical Program Advisory Committee. He also promotes Vocational Education at the Middle School Level by sending employees to local middle schools to discuss career options with students.
He serves as a member of various Chambers of Commerce and other local civic organizations.
Brian Cranney is a lot of things: Father. Grandfather. Family man. Businessman. Philanthropist. Educator. Employer. He is also thoughtful, kind, and very funny. His contributions to North Shore business, specifically the Electrical, HVAC, and Plumbing service and construction communities can not be overstated.
He is a friend to education. He has helped hundreds of people in so many ways and touched many more lives. He is a good person and a great role model. His business success is only exceeded by his generosity.
Robert Wood and Theodore Dunajski
As a graduate of Essex Agricultural & Technical Institute in 1969, Bob Wood began as a milkman at the Happy Valley Dairy in Wakefield where he met his wife Linda while delivering milk. After this, Bob started a construction company that specialized in processing dirt into loam along with other products such as crushed stone and recycled concrete. He also raised 20 beef cattle on his land. Bob’s success can best be attributed to his strong work ethic and his 24/7 availability.
Bob understands the importance of helping others through various humanitarian projects. To date, he raised over $50,000 for the Larkin Cottage restoration project. He built baseball fields for youth groups in Peabody and helped with composting at Brooksby Farm. Bob worked closely with former Peabody Mayor Peter Torigian in building the Public Works Garage and donated the property upon which the garage is situated. Bob has helped the Topsfield Fair Grange Museum by bringing glass milk bottles to help people better understand the way life used to be with local dairies and doorstep milk deliveries. Bob is a member of the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest chartered military organization in the Western Hemisphere.
Bob often visits Candy Levesque to bring the office fresh milk from Teddy’s farm, donations from graduates, or to chat about the project. His kindness and generosity to his alma mater is contagious. Bob’s ability to rally others for the greater good is why he is being recognized with this award.
Our other recipient of the Catherine Larkin Lifetime Service Award is Ted Dunajski who graduated from the Essex Agricultural & Technical Institute in 1960 with a focus on Advanced Dairy. Ted grew up in the tradition of Dunajski Dairy, a five-acre farm in Peabody, founded by his grandparents Frank and Magdalena who began the dairy farm in 1915 with 15 cows. They delivered raw milk in glass bottles from door to door. Over time, the Dunajski family farm grew to 40 cows. Ted raised his three children David, Michael, and Christine on this farm. In the 1970s, Ted also became involved with the Topsfield Fair as a 4-H Club Leader.
Adapting to changes in the dairy business in the 1980s, Ted updated to plastic bottles and added a line of juice drinks and spring water. He expanded his delivery area by adding convenience stores, schools, and nursing homes to his clientele. By 2004, Ted grew his business with the addition of a new barn to house up to 120 cows. In 2012, Ted purchased a new 140-acre farm in West Newbury to supplement the feed from the local fields of Peabody, Danvers, and Beverly.
Today, Dunajski Dairy milks over 100 cows on 5 acres in the middle of Peabody and makes deliveries 6 days a week to over 200 customers. The chocolate milk is still a local favorite! Ted worked with his granddaughter to obtain a grant through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program for making conservation improvements on the West Newbury land. Ted continues to work seven days a week along with his son Michael and his daughter Christine. It is for all these contributions that Ted is being honored with this award.