Chamber forum focuses on pandemic recovery efforts

Courtesy photo The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce held its annual Economic Development Forum on June 23 at the Phoenician Restaurant. From left, Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College; Sal Lupoli of Lupoli Companies; Robert Brown of Broco Oil; David Zwartendijk of Joseph's Gourmet Pasta; Sophan Smith of Entrepreneurship for All; Mike Kennealy, state secretary of housing and economic development, and Joseph Bevilacqua president and CEO of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

HAVERHILL —  Earlier this month the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce held its annual Economic Development Forum at the Phoenician Restaurant, where guest speakers focused on pandemic recovery efforts by businesses and the state.

The featured speaker was Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, who reports directly to the governor on all matters relating to the state’s economy and business development.

Kennealy discussed the impact the pandemic has had on the state and efforts that are underway to rebuild the economy along with the a variety of assistance programs to help the business and housing communities.

A local perspective for the June 23 event was provided by Sal Lupoli of Lupoli Companies and chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Also speaking were Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College and chairman of the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee who discussed education and workforce development; Robert Brown of Broco Oil, a Haverhill based local, regional and national fuel distributor who discussed the growth of his business; Sophan Smith, executive director of Entrepreneurship for All, who talked about how her organization assists startup businesses, and David Zwartendijk, CEO of Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta, who discussed Joseph’s food manufacturing and the impact the pandemic had on his company and how it is recovering and making gourmet pasta products sold all over the country. 

MV Chamber Vice President Michael Bevilacqua introduced the Chamber’s new "Shop, Stay and Eat Local" business recovery video and also discussed the Chamber’s new restaurant assistance recovery program, which has received tens of thousands of views on social media, all at no cost to local restaurants. 

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