Chamber of Commerce Calls for Greater Access to High Speed Internet in Position Statement

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently adopted a policy position statement on high speed internet infrastructure. The position statement calls for greater investments in high speed internet and cooperation between service providers, the business community, and government in order to bring North Central Massachusetts’ broadband infrastructure to be on par with the rest of the state.

“In this information age, this is a vital and basic resource for businesses and schools,” said Doug Peterson, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “Anything less than the highest available speed is putting us at a serious disadvantage.”

“The current internet capacity in our part of the state would not be acceptable in Metro West and Greater Boston area,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “In order for our children and future generations to have a competitive edge, we need to take a serious approach at bridging this gap.”

Many parts of North Central Massachusetts including major urban areas and major industrial and commercial spaces are lacking cable infrastructure that provides access to high speed internet.

The position statement calls for cable and broadband infrastructure to be deemed a critical infrastructure, allowing upgrades to be subsidized by state infrastructure dollars and economic development grants. The statement also calls for loosening of roadblocks or other barriers to competition so that companies can more easily provide service to communities with sub-par internet capacity. Current market models for internet service providers limit customer choice; the Chamber’s statement hopes that greater competition in the market would drive better access to underserved areas.

Wireline availability in Massachusetts varies depending on internet service provider and available pole and underground infrastructure. Costs for improving infrastructure typically require investments from service providers and communities depending on cost of construction or improvements.

For more information on policy position statements visit the Chamber’s website, or contact Patrick Lawlor, public affairs manager at (978) 353-7600 ext. 224.

Chamber Unveils Social Media Campaign to Promote Manufacturing Careers

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its economic development affiliate the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation are pleased to announce the launch of a targeted social media campaign to promote careers in manufacturing to young people and their parents.  This new campaign is designed to reach audiences that are not typically associated with careers in manufacturing and aims to target a new audience for a potential future workforce.

The awareness campaign, part of the Chamber’s “Amp It Up!” initiative, highlights the exciting, technology-driven, well-paying career options in manufacturing, dispels common myths about the industry, and bolsters the prospective employee base for these quality jobs with North Central Massachusetts companies.  The campaign includes short videos, infographics and news reports highlighting manufacturing careers and posted on popular social media channels including Facebook, YouTube and twitter.  The campaign is expected to run from late February through the end of May and is directed towards millennials and their parents.

North Central Massachusetts boasts the largest concentration of manufacturing in the state.  Fully one-third of all private wages paid in the region are from manufacturing jobs.  Companies range from the world class plastics industry cluster of more than 140 companies to pharmaceuticals to photonics and paper, as well as biomedical devices.

Manufacturers today are some of the most well-paid, highly trained and in demand employees in the workforce, working on advanced equipment and technology.  However, many manufacturers have been challenged recruiting 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.

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 purpose of the “AMP it up!” initiative is to leverage new and existing resources to continue ongoing efforts to reach career counselors, community organizations, youth-serving organizations, teachers, and most importantly students throughout North Central Massachusetts.  The Chamber’s “Amp It Up!” initiative is funded in part through a matching grant from MassDevelopment.  Other partners include Fitchburg State University, Mt. Wachusett Community College and school systems throughout the region.  Ongoing efforts to promote manufacturing careers have also included engaging the schools and offering career exploration activities to students such as manufacturing tours and participating in career day activities in the schools.

For more information on the social media awareness campaign or the “Amp It Up!” Initiative, please contact the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce at (978) 353-7600.

North Central Mass Chamber to Join Members of Congress in D.C.

TsongasTrip will connect business and community leaders to federal officials, issues

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas will travel to Washington D.C. this April to meet with federal officials and attend briefings on high-profile policy issues. The “D.C. Fly-in” will connect business and community leaders from the region to elected officials and policy shapers in order to deepen their understanding of national policy issues as well as advocate for advancement of the North Central Massachusetts region. The trip is scheduled for April 13-14.

“This is a great way for our members to grow their understanding of complex issues and hear from those with the experience and influence over the challenges businesses face on a daily basis,” said Roy Nascimento, president and CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “We are very grateful to Congresswoman Tsongas for her commitment to her district and helping us plan this great opportunity.”

“Third District Day is a unique opportunity for residents to interact with lawmakers, public officials, media personalities, business leaders and more, as well as provide a firsthand look at how the Capitol works,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “This is a great tradition, which was started almost two decades ago to engage interested citizens. It reflects the spirit of community involvement running throughout the Third District.”

The fly-in will include policy briefings at the United States Chamber of Commerce, meetings with Congressman James McGovern, Congresswoman Tsongas, and a panel of speakers. Past speakers have included members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, legislative leadership, nationally renowned journalists, business leaders, and thought leaders and experts on high profile topics like consumer finance and national security.

The two-day, high impact schedule will take Chamber members throughout the nation’s capital focusing on a variety of issues like workforce development, health care and energy. The D.C fly-in is part of the chamber’s efforts to increase advocacy and government relations at all levels of government.

 For more information or to register for the Chamber’s D.C. Fly-In, please fill out the REGISTRATION FORM or contact the Chamber at 978-353-7600 ext. 224.

March Good Morning North Central features CEO of Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and Worcester County Sheriff


The next edition of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s popular Good Morning North Central breakfast series is scheduled for Friday, March 11, 2016 from 6:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA.  The March edition is sponsored by the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

Travis McCreadyFeatured speakers for the March breakfast are Travis McCready, CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.  McCready joined the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center as the organization’s second President & CEO in October 2015. In this position, Mr. McCready is responsible for leading the ongoing implementation of the $1 billion Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, a public-private partnership that has contributed to Massachusetts’ emergence as the global leader in life sciences.  McCready directs and oversees the Center’s investment strategy, along with the agency’s operations, programs and partnerships.

Sheriff Evangelidis was elected Worcester County Sheriff on November 2, 2010, after having served eight years Sherriff Evangelidisas a state representative. In his role as sheriff, he serves as the highest law enforcement official for the largest county in Massachusetts with 60 towns and over 800,000 residents.  Since taking office, he has focused his efforts on improving the professionalism of the department and implementing education and drug prevention initiatives as ways to keep youth out of the jails.

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

Don’t miss the region’s best morning gathering.  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 visit

New Scholarship Named For Former Chamber President David L. McKeehan


David L. McKeehanThe North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of a new scholarship named in honor of Mr. David L. McKeehan, former President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. The $2,000 scholarship is named in honor of Mr. McKeehan for his commitment to the advancement of North Central Massachusetts and for his decades of dedicated service to the Chamber.

Mr. David L. McKeehan served as President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce from 1984 until his retirement in 2015. McKeehan led the merger of the Fitchburg and Leominster Chambers of Commerce, along with several smaller business groups, to form the North Central Massachusetts Chamber in 1984. Over the course of his tenure, he procured over $4.5 million in private sector funding and over $1 million in government grants for economic development programming in the region. He was instrumental in the creation as well as the saving of many jobs within North Central Massachusetts during his years at the Chamber. For his service, McKeehan has been honored by the New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg State University and many other organizations. Preference for the David L. McKeehan scholarship will be given to a child or grandchild of a current Chamber member or an employee of a current Chamber member.

Last year, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation distributed nearly $50,000 in scholarships to local high-achieving high school students and has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships since the establishment of its scholarship program. 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. For more information or a list of the named scholarships, please visit

 Students interested in applying for a 2016 scholarship through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation should contact their high school guidance department to submit an application. Deadline for applications is Friday, February 26, 2016. 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.

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 David L. McKeehan Scholarship or the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation’s scholarship program, please call (978) 353-7600 or email


2/17/16 A Chance to Meet the Buyer Program to connect Small Businesses and Larger Companies

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the DoubleTree by Hilton will be the featured presenters at the next “A Chance to Meet the Buyer” program.  This installment of the quarterly series will be held on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., at the Chamber offices, 860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA.

The “A Chance to Meet the Buyer” program provides small businesses the opportunity to connect with purchasing managers from larger companies or organizations.  The program provides an opportunity for large businesses in our region to showcase best practices of their purchasing agents while offering suppliers a rare opportunity to connect with those large businesses.  Each quarter, purchasing managers from two larger organizations will provide brief backgrounds of their organization, requirements for supply qualification, methods and procedures of purchasing, and what opportunities there may be for smaller businesses.  Attendees are then afforded the opportunity to directly network with presenters and leave with key direct contact information for procurement personnel from presenting organizations.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission oversees all gaming facilities in the Commonwealth, including compliance of the sites as well as all vendors and certification of vendors.  Needs of gaming facilities can range from facility supplies, food and beverage to property maintenance. Commissioner Bruce Stebbins most recently served as Business Development Administrator for the City of Springfield.  He also served two terms on the Springfield City Council from 2006 through the end of 2009.  Prior to joining the City’s Economic Development office, Commissioner Stebbins served as Senior Regional Manager for the National Association of Manufacturers in the New England region from 1999 through 2010.

Suzanne Farias, General Manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton, has been with the hotel for more than 20 years and can speak to the intricate details of the property’s management and vendor usage.  Recently renovated, the Leominster hotel offers14,000 sq.ft. of flexible function space, including a 7,800 sq. ft. Grand Ballroom and an outdoor garden pavilion.

The cost to attend is $20 for Chamber members/$40 non-members. For more information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978-353-7600 ext. 235 or visit

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2/11 – MBTA Fitchburg Line Schedule Improvement Initiative (RSVP 2/4)

MBTA Fitchburg Line
Schedule Improvement Initiative
Date: Thursday February 11th
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: Can-Am Machinery, 44 Old Princeton Rd. Fitchburg MA
Join our unified effort to petition the MBTA for an earlier outbound train and a commuter rail schedule that works for our region. Lunch and raffle provided by Can-Am Machinery.
Opening Remarks: Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale City of Fitchburg
Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella City of Leominster
Mayor Mark. Hawke City of Gardner
MBTA Update: Mohammed Khan MART Administrator
Wachusett Station: Bruno Fisher MART Deputy Director
Reverse Commute Benefits: Jake Daniels Can-Am Machinery
Open Forum: Corey Lynch MBTA Deputy Director
(Rail Operations)
The MBTA has released a draft of the new Fitchburg Line Commuter Rail schedule. The new schedules will be implemented on May 23rd. From now until February 12th, the MBTA is accepting public comment on the new schedules.
With the new schedule the earliest train arriving to Fitchburg is 9:07 AM. The purpose of this initiative is to inform the MBTA that North Central Massachusetts residents, businesses, institutions and elected officials want an earlier train (8:00 AM) and a commuter rail schedule that works for our region.
Residents and business owners have been lobbying the MBTA for an early train for many years.
Please join our efforts in petitioning the MBTA now before their public comment period ends February 12th.
Raffle Items:
2 Boston Bruins tickets for March 5
Dinner for two in Boston’s North End
Each prize includes round trip commuter rail passes

Please RSVP to by Thursday February 4th.

All-Day Workshops Scheduled for Entrepreneurs in Fitchburg rescheduled

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, and Hometown Bank are holding two business workshops on February 2, aimed at assisting potential and existing entrepreneurs. The workshops were originally scheduled for January 12th, but were rescheduled due to a conflict.

The free workshops are being held in cooperation with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC), SCORE, City of Fitchburg, City of Leominster, and NewVue Communities (formally Twin Cities CDC).

Both workshops will each run approximately two and a half hours and will be held at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, 860 South St., Fitchburg on Tuesday, February 2, 2016.

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. Presented by Roland Nutter, AdviCoach
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 11:00.  Lunch will be provided.  Presented by Robert C. Alario, CPA

To register, please contact Sandie Cataldo at 978-353-7600 ext. 232 or or register online at

Success Story – Nypro a Jabil Company

Located in Clinton, Massachusetts,  Nypro A Jabil Company is a world-class leader in manufacturing precision plastic products for customers in the healthcare, packaging and consumer electronics industries.  When demand exceeded the capacity of its headquarters in Clinton Massachusetts, management began looking at locations to expand. As a global company with 25 dedicated facilities in 11 countries and more than 8,000 employees worldwide, Nypro could have gone anywhere. But the company wanted to stay local to its roots in North Central Massachusetts and ultimately selected a location down the street from its headquarters in Devens, Massachusetts.

“It was important that we keep a close connection to our history as well as the technical resources at our headquarters in Clinton.” said John Witkowski, general manager, Nypro Healthcare, Clinton. “North Central Massachusetts also has the skilled workforce that we needed to continue to grow and a reputation as the center for the plastics industry in the Northeast.”

The 200,000-square-foot modern manufacturing facility features a state-of-the-art training area, metrology lab, a fully digitized machine shop, environmentally controlled chambers, and a 60,000-square-foot, Class 8 clean room. The new facility offers a full selection of Nypro Healthcare services—from product development, mold design and build, to injection molding and automated assembly—for single-use and electro-mechanical Class I, II and III healthcare devices. This additional operational space increases Nypro Healthcare’s clean-room space by 60 percent in Massachusetts and provides for 100 new jobs for the region.