The Patriot Ledger - Newsmaker: Walter Hubley helps bring Quincy together
He’s the president of the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association.
NAME: Walter Hubley
IN THE NEWS: As the president of the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association, which organizes community events in Quincy.
NOW YOU KNOW: He taught himself computer programming as a teenager.
HIS STORY: Walter Hubley’s resume has got to be one of the most diverse around.
He’s worked in software, television, education and housing. He’s a community organizer and has volunteered in the foster care system. He’s a father of two. And underscoring it all, he’s got a motivation to build local community.
“When we’re stronger as a community, our challenges seem a little smaller and our celebrations get a little louder,” Hubley said. “That’s how I can help.”
Locals might know Hubley, a lifelong Quincy resident, as the president of the Wollaston Hill Neighborhood Association. The group oversaw the 2014 renovation of Safford Park, and organizes community events, such as Quincy Porchfest and Saturdays in the Park.
Hubley started the neighborhood association in 2011 with his wife, Kathryn, who’s now a member of the Quincy School Committee. He said the organization was built from the ground up and with no funding — he and his family just went door-to-door introducing themselves.
Others might know Hubley from the two years he spent as the head of The Woodward School, a private all-girls school in Quincy Center. Hubley oversaw the school’s restoration of its 18th-century classroom building and described his time at Woodward was “incredibly rewarding.”
But Hubley had never intended to work in education. Before he was asked to apply for Woodward’s top job, he worked in cable television and at a number of software startups.
Working in tech came naturally for Hubley, who’s had an interest in computer programming since he was a kid and saw the 1983 sci-fi thriller “WarGames.” He was a young teenager when he decided to sell his comic book collection and use the money to buy a computer, He went on to build computer games for himself and his friends.
Hubley now works at a Boston-based affordable housing developer called The Community Builders, that manages properties across the East Coast. He said his motivation for joining the nonprofit came from seeing inequity around him and wanting to make a change.
“If you see all the different developments that are happening in and around Quincy, they’re mainly of a higher market rate,” Hubley said. “Housing is getting less and less affordable.”
At The Community Builders, Hubley has returned to working in tech. He builds security systems and other networks that give residents access to technology such as computer labs.
Hubley is also on the board of Quincy Community Action Programs, an organization that supports local low-income families, and was a volunteer case reviewer for the state’s foster care system. Hubley is a foster parent and child himself, having been adopted by parents who took in dozens of kids in their lifetimes.
Quincy Porchfest, which started in Hubley’s dining room over a conversation with Ward 3 City Councilor Ian Cain, is an event that’s built on Hubley’s desire to build community.
The annual outdoor music festival drew more than a hundred artists to Quincy this year at more than 50 homes across the city, and Hubley said it’s gotten bigger every year since its founding four years ago.
“Music is powerful because the love for music crosses all cultures and demographics,” he said. “People who have little in common otherwise can find something in common though music.”
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