HAVERHILL — A sense of unity and a united purpose to make Haverhill a better place to live permeated the function room at the Renaissance Golf Club Thursday night when the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce held its 103rd Annual Dinner and Awards Gala.
The flagship event of the chamber’s program, the annual dinner honors its members and volunteers, who in the words of chamber president and CEO Dougan Sherwood, "make extraordinary contributions to business, the community and the chamber."
The chamber recognized five outstanding individuals with the Charles E. Billups Award, Jerry Loy Award, Community Leadership Award and the Chamber Service Awards.
"Through their efforts, they inspire and bring energy to significant initiatives in the community and beyond," Sherwood said.
This dinner also marked the "passing of the torch" of chamber leadership.
Paul Magliocchetti, a local attorney and member of the Haverhill School Committee who served as the chamber's chairman of the board for the past two years, one year longer than usual, stepped down and Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College was handed the reins as the chamber's new chairman.
In Glenn's absence, former chamber chairman Jeff Linehan, a member of NECC's board of trustees, spoke on his behalf, saying Glenn is "incredible to work with."
"Buckle up," Linehan told the crowd. "It's going to be a fun year."
This year’s theme “Investing in Haverhill” celebrated the innovators and entrepreneurs that contribute to the advancement of Haverhill.
In his keynote address, real estate developer Dave Traggorth of Traggorth Companies shared why he has chosen to invest so much into Haverhill and what opportunities exist for the region.
In 2016, Traggorth transformed the former Surplus Office Supply building at 37 Washington St. into JM Lofts, and is currently transforming the long-vacant, four-story brick building at 87 Washington St., which more than a decade ago housed Trattoria Al Forno restaurant, into a similar mixed-use development.
Traggorth challenged the crowd, which included many local business people to "think how your business strategy can align with the downtown."
"Everyone has a role to play," Traggorth said about the downtown renaissance. "How do we write the next chapter of this story?"
Magliocchetti recapped his two years, talking about things he is proud to have accomplished.
He pointed to Sherwood, who Magliocchetti recruited as the chamber's president.
"He really is leading the way in guiding, not only the chamber, but the entire community," Magliocchetti said. "When I think about the chamber, it's not about the individual ... I think of every single person sitting in this room. Every single person contributes in their own way to what's happening, not only in the chamber, but in the great city of Haverhill that we're all proud to be part of."
Magliocchetti revealed that the chamber is looking to re-brand itself, and has hired a firm in Boston to help it move in a "new direction."
"There's a lot to be excited about and a lot to be proud of ... living and doing business here in the great city of Haverhill," he said.
The event also served as an introduction to the chamber’s new board of directors: Penny Guerrero-Perez, Shaw Rosen of Lupoli Companies, Paul Smith of Holy Family Hospital, Delia Duran-Clark of Mill Cities Leadership Institute and Maria Tusinski of AFLAC.
Here are the chamber's award recipients:
Charles E. Billups Award: Steve Stewart, senior vice president in commercial lending at the Bank of New England. Established in 1985 to recognize an outstanding organization or individual in the chamber's service area who continuously and selflessly supports the efforts of the chamber.
Jerry Loy Outstanding Director Award: Ben Consoli, owner of BC Media Productions. Presented to an individual from the current board of directors who goes above and beyond in their efforts to support the chamber's mission, its programs and events, and the organization’s financial viability.
Community Leadership Award: Tim Jordan, Jordan Financial and Insurance. Presented to acknowledge and recognize a person within the chamber community who has made a positive impact to improve the quality of life throughout the chamber's catchment area.
Chamber Service Awards: Pastor Donna Spencer Collins, Phoenix Rising UCC, and Teresa Machie, owner of Machie Designs, a graphics design studio.
This award recognizes a person who has committed themselves to promote the mission and values of the chamber and demonstrates leadership, integrity, creativity, resource management, and loyalty which has contributed pointedly to the chamber service area’s viability, image, or quality.