North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 35 Years

(North Central, MA) – This year marks the 35th Anniversary of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.  It was in January of 1984 that the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce was formed as a result of a merger of several local chambers of commerce in the region.  Since then, the Chamber has evolved into the region’s leading economic development and business advocacy organization.  Since its founding, the organization has been defined by its strong leadership, dynamic program of work and its positive impact in advancing the economy and quality of life in North Central Massachusetts.  The Chamber has been recognized among the top chambers of commerce in the country for its impact and operations.  Among its many honors, the Chamber was a 2017 runner up for the prestigious National Chamber of the Year award, the first chamber in Massachusetts to have ever been recognized as a finalist.  The Chamber also achieved 4-star accreditation in 2018, an honor achieved by only 204 of the 7,022 chambers in the country.   

“This major milestone is a great time for us to reflect on our history, but more importantly to look forward to the future of our dynamic organization and region,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Over the next year we plan to celebrate this milestone with our members and partners who have been an important part of our past success and who will lead us into the future, working collectively to advance North Central Massachusetts.”  

Throughout 2019, the Chamber will be commemorating 35 years of building businesses and building communities, which will include a very special anniversary celebration planned for the spring. All businesses and community leaders are encouraged to contact the Chamber to find out how to get involved in the spirit of the Chamber’s 35th Anniversary Year.  For more information or to stay up to date on the Chamber’s plans, please visit www.NorthCentralMass.com.  

Chamber Publishes Manufacturing Report

(North Central, MA)    The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) today released a report entitled “Build North Central: Promoting the Industrial Heart of Massachusetts.” The recommendations developed by a taskforce of the region’s premier manufacturers focuses on steps the region and state can take to address their workforce challenges and fuel economic advancement throughout the region.  

The report highlights a mix of both programmatic and policy related recommendations and strategies focused around workforce and education, regional cooperation and regional promotion. In addition to manufacturers, the Chamber and NCMDC also sought input from education and workforce leaders to produce this report.

“Aligning and integrating our educational system with the needs of employers must be a priority if North Central Massachusetts is to compete and prepare the workforce of tomorrow,” said Ray Martino, President & CEO of Simonds International and Chair of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “Too many manufacturers today are having difficulty finding the qualified and skilled workers that they need, and the problem will only get worse if we are not ready with new solutions for the coming years.” 

“We are excited to put forward these bold recommendations to strengthen our education and workforce systems for the benefit of both our students and employers,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We hope that this will be a useful resource for discussions around education reform in Massachusetts.”

Some of recommendations highlighted in the report include creating career pathways; a greater emphasis on both college and career readiness; expansion of career exploration programs into the middle schools; introduction of high school credentialing courses; increasing the labor pool by attracting more workers to the region; and expanding technical education in both vocational and conventional high schools.  To view the full report, please visit www.NorthCentralMass.com 

With over 440 firms, North Central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state.  One in every four private jobs in the region are manufacturing jobs, with one third of all private wages in the region directly related to the sector.  Manufacturing firms in North Central Massachusetts range from the world class plastics industry cluster, to pharmaceuticals, photonics, paper, and biomedical devices to name a few.

Manufacturers today are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, operating advanced equipment and technology.  However, many manufacturers have been unable to recruit the workers they need.  Despite the high wage potential and increasing employer demand, there is both a need for more young workers and a skills gap among an existing and a transitioning workforce. Nationwide, 75% of employers report difficulty filling positions, with the problem being particularly acute in manufacturing. The challenge is expected to grow, since the average age of a manufacturing employee in North Central Massachusetts is 55 and young people typically rank manufacturing careers dead last due to false perceptions of the industry. If these individuals are unable to train replacements prior to retirement, the skills and experience they take with them will be lost permanently.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation remain committed to supporting and growing this critical sector of the region’s economy.  The organizations convened the taskforce to address workforce issues and provide a unified vision for improving the workforce pipeline.  The organizations are working with partners to address this skills gap, retain the region’s young talent, and introduce them to the high-tech, high-skilled, and high-paying careers of the modern manufacturing industry.  The Chamber believes that building successful education partnerships between businesses and the region’s schools is critical to collective, on-going efforts. 

To read the full report click here

35th Anniversary Open Letter

Celebrating 35 Years of Building Businesses, Building Communities!

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. It was back in January of 1984 that this organization was formed as a result of the merger of several local chambers of commerce in the region. This major milestone is a great time for us to reflect on our history, but more importantly to look forward to the future of our dynamic organization and region.

Much has changed since our founding, but the Chamber has remained true to our mission of supporting our members and advancing North Central Massachusetts.  It is inspiring that so many of the Chamber’s decisions made over the last 35 years are still making a difference today in supporting local businesses and growing our economy. I would like to thank our entire Board of Directors for their leadership and role in guiding this organization and serving the interests of our members and communities.  I would also like to thank and acknowledge the 159 board members that came before them who helped drive our organization to what we are today.

More importantly, I would like to thank you, the business community, for your years of dedication and support in shaping our Chamber. The business community is, at its core, the backbone of our organization and the driving force in making our region a thriving one. We are extremely grateful for your continued support and always value your voice.

Over the next year, we will celebrate this milestone with you, our members and partners. It is you who have led this community for the past 35 years and it is you who will lead us into the future, remaining focused on the pressing needs of the day and committed to working collectively to advance our region. 

While we have much to be proud of, the history of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will continue to unfold. Standing still and resting on our laurels is simply not possible. We have bold plans for the future and look forward to working with you to continue to drive North Central Massachusetts forward. 

Onward!

Roy M. Nascimento, CCE, IOM

President & CEO

Clinton Tax Vote

In December, Clinton’s Board of Selectmen took a historic step and voted to narrow the divide between residential and commercial tax rates by four percent. This brought the business community’s share of the Town’s property tax burden to 154 percent of the residential levy. Massachusetts allows two models for property taxes: single and dual rates. The single rate means that both residential and commercial properties are taxed at the same level. Meanwhile, a dual rate system dictates that one group – businesses- shoulders more of the burden and pays a higher share of taxes based on a property’s assessed value. 

A single rate tax system has come to be recognized as a key indicator that a community is open for business, and the Selectmen acknowledged this at their annual tax classification hearing. Through a spirited and sometimes contentious discussion, the Board’s majority pointed out that the Town needed to do everything within its power to attract and promote growth. If Selectmen hoped to reduce the tax share carried by voters, the only responsible method would be to attract new commercial investment. Doing so would raise the value of the community’s vacant or underutilized commercial properties and further disperse the annual levy- lowering average tax bills in the process. Though they acknowledged that taxes were not the only factor that could impact a business owner’s decisions, they recognized that others- such as demographic shifts and economic trends- existed well beyond their immediate influence. Voting to continue moving towards a single rate, however, stood out as a clear step they could take that night.  

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce was present at the meeting and testified to the importance of reducing this shift and moving towards a more balanced tax system that encourages business development. In particular, the Chamber spoke to the impact felt by the types of small businesses which make Clinton unique. “Though some would argue that business owners can afford a higher levy,” stated Chamber President Roy Nascimento in his testimony, “these taxes can prove a serious hardship to the local businesses which typify Main Street.” He went on to argue that it placed an additional hurdle before investors who might otherwise take interest in the community. 

Ultimately, the Selectmen voted 4-1 in favor of reducing the burden on commercial property owners. The actual impact for a commercial or industrial taxpayer will vary based on factors such as the assessed value of the property, but overall most commercial and industrial taxpayers will benefit by seeing a small decrease in their tax bill compared to the prior year. With the reduced 154% shift that the Town adopted, the average commercial property valued at $266,486 will be taxed at $8 less than the previous year. Alternatively, if the Select Board had voted to maintain the 158% shift from the previous year, the owner of that property would have seen an increase of approximately $186. At the maximum shift of 175%, the commercial/industrial rate would have jumped to $32.04 per thousand dollars and the taxes on the average commercial property would have risen by approximately $1,000. The Chamber would like to thank Selectmen Dziokonski, Connolly, Kerrigan, and Iacobucci for supporting this historic and balanced action. 

Advertising Opportunities in the Manufacturers Directory

Don’t get left out! The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation is getting ready to publish the 2019 edition of the Manufacturers Directory and Industrial Parks Guide for North Central Massachusetts. 

This publication is the region’s most comprehensive collection of this specialized information, outlining available industrial sites and local manufacturing related businesses, describing products, contact information and more. The directory is designed to promote and connect manufacturers with suppliers as well as serve as a resource for companies looking to relocate or expand throughout the region. Ad rates start at just $350. Please email Yasmin Loft at yloft@northcentralmass.com for more information or to reserve your advertisement.

Chamber Bids Farewell to Myers & McCaffrey

The Chamber announces the recent departure of Events and Programs Manager Maria McCaffrey and Marketing and Communication Manager Matt Myers. 

Maria, who worked at the Chamber for over six years, left to accept a position with Workers’ Credit Union as a Project Manager. Matt who began as an intern at the Chamber and worked for over five years as Marketing and Communications Manager recently accepted a new position as Marketing Manager at Method Machines, a Sudbury based manufacturer. 

“Maria and Matt’s contributions to the Chamber and our affiliates have been significant. We are going to miss them and wish them well in their new positions.” said Roy Nascimento, Chamber President & CEO.

NORTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS CELEBRATES THE SEASON WITH NEW WINTER RECEPTION

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host its first Winter Reception on Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Groton Inn, 128 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450. This holiday gathering will provide an opportunity for Chamber members, dignitaries and community leaders from throughout North Central Massachusetts to mingle and foster relationships in a relaxed and upscale setting. AIS, Inc. is the premier sponsor of the Chamber’s 2018 Winter Reception.

Don’t miss this opportunity to kick off the holiday season with complimentary refreshments, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and festivities. Guests will be able to network with the rolling hills of Groton as the beautiful backdrop for this special evening occasion. The Groton Inn reopened its doors May 2018 after a fire destroyed the original, and America’s oldest inn that dated back to 1678. The new building features architecture honoring the original design while offering 21st century amenities. This a wonderful occasion to tour this newly opened treasure in our own backyard.

Many thanks to AIS, Inc for their generous sponsorship of this evening. The Winter Reception will feature complimentary beer, wine and gourmet hors d’oeurves. In addition, the head bartender will be mixing a specialty cocktail created exclusively for this event. This promises to be an evening to remember.

To register for the Winter Reception, please contact Kathleen at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or email kdeal@northcentralmass.com or register online at northcentralmass.com/calendar.  The cost is just $20 per person for members and $30 per person for non-members. Please RSVP by November 30th.

CHAMBER RECOGNIZED AS FINALIST FOR INDUSTRY INNOVATION AWARD

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has been recognized as a finalist in a competition among more than 200 chambers of all sizes from across the U.S. and Canada.  Entries were judged on creativity, industry impact, value to members, and replicability.

This latest recognition comes on the heels of other industry recognition, including receiving national accreditation earlier this year and being named an “Award of Excellence” winner in the Communications Excellence awards program presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). The Chamber was also named a finalist for the prestigious National Chamber of the Year recognition by ACCE in 2017, the first chamber of commerce in Massachusetts to have been selected as a finalist.

The 5th annual Chamber Innovation Awards Competition, sponsored by a chamber management software provider ChamberMaster, recognizes chambers of commerce for their innovative programs or projects that help to better their communities and members.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce was recognized for their work in providing micro-loans and technical assistance. Through its economic development arm, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, the chamber is able to provide financing of up to $150,000 for businesses that are not able to obtain traditional financing through banks or credit unions.

“Although we didn’t win this year, we were nonetheless very honored to have been selected as a finalist,” said Roy Nascimento, chamber president & CEO. “To be recognized among our peers is a great acknowledgment of the innovative and impactful work that we are doing to help advance North Central Massachusetts.

Since the Chamber’s program made the top 10, their micro-loan initiative was one of 20 featured into a book by ChamberMaster titled “The Big Book of Chamber Ideas: 10 Award Winning & Replicable Ideas for Chambers of Commerce,” which is sent to chambers internationally for inspiration and idea gathering.

Chamber Adopts New Strategic Plan

At its September meeting, the Board of Directors of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce adopted a new strategic plan designed to serve as a roadmap for the future success of the Chamber and its affiliate organizations over the next three years.

“Our new strategic plan is crafted to take a look towards the future and ensure that we are continuing to meet the needs of our members and region,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president and CEO of the Chamber. “We have set some very aggressive goals around economic development, membership, programming, micro-lending, and regional promotion. Our goals and focus are to make North Central Massachusetts the best region in the state to live, work, raise a family, or build a business.”

The Chamber’s new strategic plan is focused on promoting the region’s strengths, expanding existing businesses and business opportunities, and significantly improving the economic future for all who call North Central Massachusetts home. The strategic plan was prepared as a result of a comprehensive planning process that included input provided by members, the Board, staff and other stakeholders.  The plan, vision, and mission serve as a blueprint for the future success of the Chamber and its affiliate organizations as well as help drive programs, services and value the Chamber is creating for members. The new plan includes areas of focus, goals and quantifiable metrics and targets.

Members can view the new strategic by visiting www.northcentralmass.com/ncmcc-strategic-plan. Programs and projects will be undertaken with care and consideration of actual resources of the Chamber and its members. The plan is also a fluid document that the Chamber will update as needed to reflect the changing world.

A special thanks to all those members who assisted with the development of the business plan, either by completing a membership survey, participating in a meeting, or providing input. Members are encouraged to contact Roy Nascimento at 978.353.7600 or via email at rnascimento@northcentralmass.com with any questions or feedback on the strategic plan.

NEW WEBSITE ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO VISIT NORTH CENTRAL

Visit North Central Massachusetts, an affiliate of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, recently launched a new website to serve as a resource for visitors from all over the world who are interested in exploring this scenic and dynamic New England region. The new website address is www.VisitNorthCentral.com.

The new site promotes North Central Massachusetts as a desirable place to visit by highlighting what to do; where to stay; where to eat; and the events happening throughout the year. The new site will have a focus on the region’s unique attractions; accessibility from Boston and other major markets; family friendly activities; and the benefits of not only visiting but holding a sporting tournament or corporate event in the region.

The new site features an attractive look and feel, and an intuitive, easy to use menu options to help users easily access the information they are looking for.  The new site is also responsive so it will adapt to the screen size of whatever device is being used for easy viewing and navigation.  The new site was designed by 3MediaWeb, a website design and development company that is a member of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.

“We believe that we have a great story to tell. North Central Massachusetts is a terrific place to visit, live and grow a business,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president & CEO of Visit North Central Massachusetts. “This new website will be a great tool to help us highlight the region’s many strengths and assets and motivate visitors and local businesses to help us continue as to grow as a destination.”