Chamber honors locals

Riccio Brothers Business Person of the Year John Myers, left, mingles with 2018 Woman of the Year Susan Urillo Larson, right, before the award presentations. (Photo by John Goralski)



The Southington Chamber of Commerce welcomed local businesses and residents to their 80th annual dinner celebration, recognizing several leaders in town and introducing new members to its board of directors.

Stepping down from the role of chair, Kate Sirignano said Southington is a “unique business community” that makes the conscious decision to grow together. “The Chamber welcomes new leadership and continues to evolve as an organization,” she said. “We are offering real and true value to our local businesses.”

Sirignano served as chair for six years. “It has been an honor to serve,” she said, “and I’m proud to be a part of this community.”

Matt O’Keefe, an attorney at Jackson O’Keefe, LLP, stepped in as the chamber’s new chair.

“We are all members of the chamber for a reason,” said O’Keefe. “We are business people who want success for our businesses, and for our community.”

He urged residents to shop locally, and in turn, support Southington families and work together.

Board members then called upon award winners to receive their recognition. Director at Large, Amanda Roberts, introduced Susan Urillo Larson as Woman of the Year.

2018 Ann Hauver Employee of the Year award winner Susan Smayda, left, enjoys the VIP reception with her husband, John.

“Susan has an incredible attitude, and takes pride in what she participates in and accomplishes,” Roberts said.

Retiring library director, Sue Smayda, was recognized by Secretary Dawn Miceli for the Ann Hauver Employee of the Year award.

“Sue has been our beloved library director for more than a decade, and the keeper of the community’s greatest treasures,” Miceli said. “She is a true community gem.”

The Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award recognized the late Dick Fortunato. Past chamber director Dave Pestillo, Sheryl DePaolo, and Fortunato’s granddaughter, Allison, all shared memories of Fortunato’s life in Southington.

Beautification Awards were presented to five local Southington businesses. Taylor Crofton, executive director, presented recognitions to the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Southington Bread for Life, Chip’s Family Restaurant, and Crystal Bees.

The Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award recognized the late Dick Fortunato.

The Chairman’s award this year was presented to the chamber’s legal advisor, Attorney Anthony Sheffy from Sheffy, Mazzaccarro, DePaolo & DeNigris LLP. O’Keefe said Sheffy is “an asset to our community,” and has been with him every step of the way.

The executive director’s award was presented to the chamber’s events and communications coordinator, Lisa Jansson. Crofton thanked Jansson for her instrumental role in the chamber.

This year’s Riccio Brothers Business Person of the Year was presented to retiring YMCA director, John Myers, who has been a member of the YMCA family for 30 years.

Over 200 guests attended the dinner and joined in the chamber’s 80th celebration of the community’s many prominent leaders and local family businesses.

Chamber to host event at Witchdoctor Brewing

The Southington Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an indoor spring block party, “BeerGasm,” at Witchdoctor Brewing in Southington on Thursday, May 10 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Tickets include a free pint glass with one free refill, live music, food, games and Witchdoctor beer. The first 100 tickets sold will receive a special key that offers discounted entry to Escapism, opening this summer.

The event is for ages 21 and up. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $18 for Chamber members and $15 for Executive Chamber members.

Buy tickets online at

For more information about the Southington Chamber of Commerce, contact them at (860) 628-8036 or visit them on Facebook or at

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