By SHERIDAN ROY
The Southington Chamber of Commerce celebrated outgoing and incoming board of director members, along with the hard work and success of several community members, at the 81st annual dinner.
“We live in a vibrant business and nonprofit community, and it is critical that there is a voice for these organizations,” said incoming chamber executive board chair Dawn Miceli. “This Chamber forms partnerships, and encourages positive business growth and economic development.”
Outgoing chair Matt O’Keefe reminded members the chamber is only as strong as its membership.
“The chamber can only be successful as a team,” he said.
There were several honorees recognized for their commitment to their business, the chamber, and the community. Honorees are nominated and reviewed by the chamber, and while several nominations are entered, just one individual is selected for each award.
Anneliese Dadras of Bradley Mountain Farm was named 2019 chamber woman of the year. Chamber director Taylor Crofton said the business has grown quickly, and the Bradley Mountain Farm goats are always a popular stop at town functions.
“I am proud to present this award to Anneliese, a pioneer in a unique business,” said Crofton.
Dadras’ advice to the audience was to “get an ‘A’ team—surround yourself with the best people.” Dadras’ “A” team, including one of the goats, cheered her on as she accepted her award.
The Gail DePaolo community spirit award was given to who Lisa Crofton described as the “epitome of giving,” Dave Pestillo of Emendee Technologies.
“You will know him by his signature phrase, ‘What do you need?” said Crofton. Pestillo can be found behind the wheel of many volunteer positions, including projects with the high school marching band, and most recently the All Knight Grad Party planning committee.
Pestillo is also a past chair of the chamber, and credits the chamber for much of his success.
“To this day, if I need something, I go to the chamber,” said Pestillo. His advice to others was to get involved, volunteer, and give back to the community. “Pay it forward.”
The 2019 Ann Hauver employee of the year was Bread for Life’s Missy Cipriano. BFL board member Mike Baker highlighted Cipriano’s work ethic and commitment to the community.
“Her dedication is remarkable,” said Baker. “Missy is a true testament to the BFL mission.”
Cipriano said she could not do her job alone.
“I work side by side with [BFL director] Donna Ayer, our board of directors, our volunteers and our community,” said Cipriano. “This job is an opportunity to show compassion, and to bring hope to many.”
James Garstang of Six Point Wealth Advisors was selected for the Riccio Brothers business person of the year award. He will be retiring this year after over 30 years of service to Southington families and individuals.
“Small business owners are vital for the community and for the local economy. I hope you look at the Chamber director for businesses when you need a service or a place to go,” said Garstang.
Garstang said today, involvement with the chamber is more important than ever.
“Today, a grand opening is not enough,” he said. “You need to find ways to keep yourself in front of people. The chamber gives that opportunity, and you only get out from the chamber what you put in.”
Each year the chamber also announces a chairman’s award and an executive director’s award.
The chairman’s award this year was awarded to Chamber treasurer Lucia Chubet for her keen attention to detail when it comes to managing the chamber’s finances. The director’s award was given to Napcon Communications’ Andrea Tarantino, who Crofton said can always be counted on when technological issues arise at the chamber.
To learn more about the chamber, visit www.southingtonchamber.com.