Meet our Annual Business Meeting Keynote Speaker

We are excited to announce Boston Marathon Director, Motivational Speaker and Philanthropist, Dave McGillivray as our keynote speaker for our 35th Annual Business Meeting. 

From his extraordinary 1978 run across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to serving as technical director then race director of the BAA Boston Marathon since the 1980s, McGillivray has helped organize more than 900 mass participatory events since founding DMSE Sports in 1981, while raising millions for worthy causes close to his heart.

McGillivray’s personal triumphs and accomplishments will inspire and motivate the local business community.

We hope you can join us for what is going to be a truly inspirational event. To register for the 35th Annual Business Meeting, contact Kat Deal at 978.353.7600 x235 or via email at KDeal@northcentralmass.com.

North Central Massachusetts Chamber and Fidelity Bank look to future of economy at 
Eighth Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast

Community and business leaders will look to the future of the economy in North Central Massachusetts at the Eighth Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast being held on Friday, March 29th from 7:45 am to 10 am at the Double Tree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA. Sponsored by Fidelity Bank and in partnership with the Greater Gardner, North Quabbin, Nashoba Valley and Wachusett Area Chambers, the Breakfast will feature the annual Economic Outlook Survey and three featured speakers. 

This year will feature an Economic Forecast Panel comprised of three business leaders: Rachel Lopez, President of Resource Management, Inc.; Dr. Keith Williamson, Dean of Business and Technology of Fitchburg State University; and Jeff Fuhrer, Executive Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Jeff Fuhrer is responsible for the Bank’s regional and community outreach functions. He has been an associate economist of the Federal Open Market Committee, and regularly attends key U.S. policymaking meetings with the Bank’s President.

Dr. Keith Williamson is the Dean of Business and Technology at Fitchburg State University. He is a mechanical engineer with more than $6 million of sponsored research from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Labor combined. He is a former Chair of the Board of Directors for The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems, a Virginia research corporation, and former Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at Virginia State University. Williamson holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Tufts University.

Rachel Lopez is President of RMI, Resource Management, Inc. RMI is a family-owned company based in Fitchburg that provides Human Resources Outsourcing services to businesses across the country. Ms. Lopez joined RMI 20 years ago and was the company’s first employee. The company prides itself on an approach that values long-term employees and a concerted team effort. 

The cost is just $25 for Chamber members/$40 non-members and includes a breakfast buffet. Season Tickets are also available for purchase.  Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or register here. 

Visit North Central Massachusetts hosting Annual Tourism Update Breakfast

A Forum to bring together tourism related businesses and organizations in the region

Visit North Central Massachusetts (VNCM) and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the fourth annual Tourism Update Breakfast being held on Friday, April 10, 2019 at the Double Tree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA. This exciting and fast paced breakfast event features industry experts who will share their professional insights on marketing North Central Massachusetts. The 2019 breakfast program is sponsored by the Double Tree by Hilton.

Lysa Miller, Co-founder of 3 Media Web, will speaking on online strategies to boost your business to visitors and groups. Lysa Miller is an entrepreneur and business development expert with 20+ years of experience increasing bottom lines for companies. In the past, she developed strategies for businesses that encompass the use of social media marketing, content marketing, SEO and online advertising to help reach their revenue goals. She is currently a partner at 3 Media Web where she continues to help fuel growth, evolve the brand, provide thought leadership and insight, create strong relationships in the community and build innovative partnership programs. 

Tony D’Agostino, has been with the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism for more than ten years as the Director of Research. In that time, D’Agostino’s main projects have been related to studying the volume of tourists, visitors and the economic impact of tourism spending in Massachusetts. These reports support the marketing initiatives and activities of the sixteen regional tourism councils across the Commonwealth.  Mr. D’Agostino’s presentation will highlight visitor trends, top visitor markets and the impact of tourism for the state and region. 

Roy Nascimento, President of Visit North Central Massachusetts and the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will also provide an update on the tourism marketing initiatives of Visit North Central Massachusetts for 2019. 

“Tourism is important to the future of North Central Massachusetts and plays an increasingly important role in our local economy” said Roy Nascimento, president of Visit North Central Massachusetts. “We organize this annual program as a way to bring tourism related stakeholders in the region together to share best practices, learn new trends in the industry and to take advantage of new opportunities to better market local businesses and the region to visitors.” 

The Tourism Update Breakfast is open to all community members and will run from 7:30 am to 9:30 am. The cost is just $25 for VNCM and North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce members/$35 for non-members and includes a breakfast buffet. Registration can be done by clicking here. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact Kat Deal at 978.353.7600 ext. 235.

Chamber Welcomes Aidan Horgan

(North Central, MA) – The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of Aidan Horgan to its professional staff in the position of Member Services Specialist. Mr. Horgan is a recent graduate of Fitchburg State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in business administration. 

In his new position, Mr. Horgan will be responsible for helping raise the Chamber’s visibility and educating businesses in the region about the Chamber’s service offerings, promoting the benefits of membership and ensuring that current members enjoy maximum value for their investment.

He is a native of Princeton and graduated from Wachusett Public Schools. He currently resides in Fitchburg, where he is active in the community including serving as a school committee member and volunteering at Fitchburg Access Television. While at Fitchburg State University he was active in Moot Court, wrote for the student newspaper and also interned at Mayor Stephen  DiNatale’s Office in Fitchburg. 

“We are excited to welcome Aidan to our team,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.  “He will play an important role in helping to support and engage our members.”

His early goals will be to expand the Chamber’s presence in communities across North Central Massachusetts and find the best ways to help members grow their business with assistance from the Chamber and its affiliates.

Existing members or businesses interested in learning more about the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce can reach Aidan at 978.353.7600 ext. 244 or via email at ahorgan@northcentralmass.com.

March Women’s Leadership Connection features 
Women in Manufacturing Panel

(North Central Massachusetts) – The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is hosting its next quarterly Women’s Leadership Connection on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. This edition of the popular program will focus on women in manufacturing and will feature Courtney Pirosko, Vice President of Sales for AIS, Inc. and Cheryl Molebash, General Manager of Georgia Pacific – Leominster.  The program, sponsored by Fidelity Bank, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA. 

As a young female executive at a prominent Massachusetts-based office furniture manufacturer with an international footprint, Ms. Pirosko’s brings a unique prospective built through 18 years of experience in various capacities within her field. She began her career on the dealership side in New York City as a project and account manager.  In 2010, she accepted a position on the manufacturing side with Global Total Office as a Market Manager in Chicago and then in 2013 she accepted a regional management position with AIS in Chicago.  She went on to be promoted to Vice President of Sales for New England and the Mid-West, which prompted her relocation back to the east coast. Her leadership and management skills have led to aggressive market growth and increased brand recognition for AIS.

Ms. Molebash serves as the plant director for Georgia Pacific’s Dixie Cutlery facility in Leominster, MA.  She began a 31 year manufacturing career in Ohio with Mead Fine Paper Division, where she became a Six Sigma Black Belt, a role that then took her to Atlanta, GA to support the Beverage plant and subsequently all of the Beverage Plants in a Six Sigma Deployment role.  She returned to the plant in Atlanta in the Production Manager role followed by the Plant Manager assignment. She transitioned into a global director of Business Transformation supporting Beverage and Primary Plastics global locations. 

The Women’s Leadership Connection (WLC) is a program of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce that is held quarterly in September, December, March and June.  The program focuses on business women empowering women in business.  Core topics include professional development, career advancement as well as social and civic engagement.

Pre-registration is required and easy. Simply call the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235, email kdeal@northcentralmass.com or click here to register.  The cost is $35 for members and $50 for non-members.

March Good Morning North Central features Founder of Garden Remedies and new Executive Director of Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education

The Good Morning North Central series is a high-profile, fast-paced and educational breakfast program geared towards executives, senior managers, professionals and business owners.  Each of the programs has a business-oriented focus and features prominent popular speakers to present on topics of interest to local businesses.

The featured speakers for the March edition are Karen Munkacy, M.D. Founder, President and CEO of Garden Remedies and Edward Lambert, Jr., Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE). 

Karen Munkacy founded Garden Remedies in 2013. As a cancer survivor, board-certified anesthesiologist, fellowship-trained pain management doctor and former faculty member at UCLA and USC Medical Centers, Dr. Munkacy learned about cannabis medical benefits
first-hand. She became interested in the medical benefits of cannabis when she was undergoing debilitating treatment for breast cancer. She is a member of Americans for Safe Access, the largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to medical marijuana. She was a leader in the successful ballot campaign for the legalization of medical marijuana in Massachusetts and as an advocate and physician, helped persuade the Massachusetts Medical Society to sponsor a physician education program. 

Ed Lambert joined MBAE in January of 2019. Mr. Lambert previously served as vice chancellor for university relations at UMass Boston. He was founding director of the Urban Initiative of UMass Dartmouth where he helped organize the state’s Gateway Cities Coalition. He also taught Public Policy and Public Management and served as the Chair of the Education Policy Committee of the Kaput Center for STEM Education and Research. He served as mayor of Fall River from 1996 to 2007, and represented Fall River and Westport in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  While in the legislature, he co-chaired the Literacy Caucus in support of increased funding for Adult Basic Education and literacy programs. He also served on a national task force for the development of the 21st Century Workforce of the Urban Serving Universities. He was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation by Governor Patrick and, earlier in his career, served as the director of social services at Saint Vincent’s Home in Fall River. He earned his BA in psychology at UMass Dartmouth and his MEd in counseling at Bridgewater State College.  

The cost is just $25 for Chamber members/$40 non-members and includes a breakfast buffet.  Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact Kathleen Deal at 978.353.7600 ext. 235, kdeal@northcentralmass.com or click here to register.

Time for Bold Education Reforms to Move Massachusetts Forward: An open letter to State Leaders

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has long been a champion of education and has been actively engaged in supporting our schools. We recognize that the quality and accessibility of public education is critical to the health and prosperity of our state and regional economy.  We would, therefore, like to commend Governor Baker and our legislative leaders for looking to address education reform in this legislative session.  It has been twenty six years since the state last did so, and we believe that there is no issue more critical to our state and its future.  

As Beacon Hill moves forward with discussions on how to best improve our schools, the Chamber would like to present five recommendations for consideration.  These proposals were developed, with input from educators, by a taskforce of employers convened through the Chamber.  Much of the final report – titled Build North Central and published last month – focuses on our K-12 institutions. Public schools have a substantial impact on the skills and careers the state’s students pursue. 

School Funding: Much of the discussion so far has focused on providing additional funding – of up to and over $2 billion – and adjusting the formula that the state uses to support school systems.  It has been twenty-six years since the formula was first developed, so we agree that it is time to explore reforms and look to new investments into our schools. However, any new funding should be accompanied by meaningful reforms with increased focus on career readiness and greater support for underachieving school systems. Meaningful reforms should be a condition to providing additional funding.  

College and Career Readiness: Reforms should encourage an emphasis on creating career pathways in the schools and promote both college and career routes.  Currently, high school success rates are measured heavily by college admissions, leading to curriculums that promote college preparation over other options, such as vocational training.  State leaders should look at reforms that will better align school success with workforce needs.  Partnerships with schools and employers should be incentivized by the state to ensure alignment with the students’ career interests and the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. 

Expand Experiential Learning: We are staunch proponents of work-based learning which, provided alongside rigorous college-level coursework, has proven to be effective in preparing students for success academically and in the workforce.  Programs such as internships, co-ops, apprenticeships strengthen the educational experience, help our schools engage local employers, and provide meaningful introductions to career opportunities.  State leaders should look for ways to expand work based learning in the schools, granting every high school student access to some type of experiential learning prior to graduation.  The taskforce also recommends that career introduction programs be offered in the middle school to allow exploration of potential career opportunities before they and their parents begin discussing high-school coursework.

Expand Access to Vocational Technical Education: Vocational Technical schools in our state serve as models of how to best integrate academics with career preparation.  Employers value the high caliber graduates coming out of these increasingly premier institutions, who leave prepared for both college and the workforce.  This, in turn, has greatly increased competition for class space, leading to long wait-lists among those seeking admission.  Reforms should include increased access to high-quality vocational education, achieved through expanding our technical schools; introducing vocational-technical elements into our conventional schools; and supporting partnerships between our high schools and our community colleges to fill the gap.

High-School Credentialing: Industry-recognized credentials are often used by employers to certify that an applicant has the appropriate level of skills to qualify for a particular job.  State leaders should look for ways to encourage school systems to introduce high-school credentialing courses that are linked to the demands in the labor market.  Students who earn industry certifications, which are often “stackable”, are then better prepared to find high-demand, high paying jobs directly out of high school or to continue their education in a chosen career. 

We support the continuing dialogue that incorporates the concerns of students, parents, employers and educators and prepares our youth to succeed and our state to excel in today’s competitive environment,

 

Roy Nascimento, IOM

President & CEO

North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce 

Chamber Welcomes Two Fitchburg State University Interns

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome Christopher Gerardi of Shrewsbury and John Ronan of Townsend as interns for the spring semester. Christopher, currently a senior, is majoring in Communications Media with a concentration in Professional Communications.  His focus on online communications such as social media and other online platforms is what led him to the Chamber. John, also a senior, is majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Economics.

Both Christopher and John are learning a variety of aspects of the Chamber and its affiliates. They have been gaining hands on learning experience by assisting with drafting press releases, helping organize special events and assisting with advertising campaigns.

“We are excited to welcome both Christopher and John as part of our team this semester,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the Chamber.  “They are bright and ambitious students who will benefit from their time working with our members and supporting the advancement of North Central Massachusetts. I have no doubt that they will make a positive contribution to our organization.”

Christopher and John were connected to the Chamber through Fitchburg State University’s Internship program, which allows students to explore a career field and gain relevant work experience, apply academic learning to real world situations, and build critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and professional skills. Please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 240 for more information. 

Starting or Expanding: A Small Business 101 Seminar Set For February

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and Fidelity Bank are holding two free business workshops on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs.

These free workshops are approximately two and a half hours each and are being held in partnership with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, The Wachusett Business Incubator, SCORE and NewVue Communities.  Both workshops will be held at the Wachusett Business Incubator, 35 Sanborn St, Gardner.   

Session I: Fundamentals in Planning, Preparing, and Financing Your Business will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will focus on evaluating and understanding the fundamentals of owning one’s own business.  Information on how to get started, where and how to get financing and the loan application process will be presented.  Registration begins at 8:00. Continental breakfast will be provided for all participants.  Presented by Michelle Miller, Center for Women & Enterprise 

Session II: Understanding the Purpose of Financial Statements and How They Can Help Determine the Health of Your Business will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and will focus on understanding a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.  The workshop will also explain how a small business owner can anticipate financial needs in order to operate his/her business more efficiently.  Registration begins at 11:30. Lunch will be provided for all participants. Presented by Michelle Miller, Center for Women & Enterprise

The workshops are free, but pre-registration is required.  To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978.353.7607 ext. 232 or email SCataldo@northcentralmass.com.  You may also register online at www.northcentralmass.com/calendar-of-events.   

Scholarships Available through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation

(North Central, MA) – The North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation is pleased to announce that applications for its 2019 Scholarship program are now being accepted.  Each year, the Chamber Foundation distributes approximately 25 scholarships to local high-achieving high school students in North Central Massachusetts.  Since the establishment of its scholarship program, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships. 

Students interested in applying for a 2019 scholarship through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation should contact their high school guidance department to submit an application.  Deadline for applications is Friday, March 1, 2019.  A limited number of scholarship applicants are submitted by each school in the Chamber’s service area each year and then reviewed by a committee of Chamber members. 

Many of these awards are made possible through contributions from members of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and proceeds from the Chamber’s Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament.  Scholarships endowed through the Chamber Foundation are often named in honor of prominent members of the North Central Massachusetts business community whose philanthropy and commitment to the community have helped shape North Central Massachusetts.  

The Chamber’s Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization focused on assisting in the betterment of the region through charitable activities.  Funds raised by the Foundation are utilized primarily for education/workforce development initiatives and charitable activities in North Central Massachusetts, including scholarships to eligible applicants pursuing education and grants to support economic and community development projects.

For more information on the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation’s scholarship program or a list of the named scholarships, please visit northcentralmass.com or call 978.353.7600 ext. 222.