Local Hauler, Savings Bank Recognized At Business of the Year Dinner
By John Voket
The packed banquet room buzzed with conversation as nearly 100 supporters and local business leaders gathered to network and recognize the good work of their peers at the 2011 Business of the Year dinner March 28. Hosted by the Inn at Newtown, the event is a cooperative activity of the Newtown Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and many of those in attendance proudly wore their Rotary badges as they hobnobbed and noshed ahead of the ceremonial agenda.
This year, Associated Refuse and Newtown Savings Bank were honored among a worthy group of finalists under consideration for the honors. As Rotary member and co-master of ceremonies Larry Gardener explained, 2011 marked the eighth year that the local Rotary and Chamber collaborated to sponsor the festivities.
“The Business of the Year is a great way to combine the focus of each organization as well as to recognize those businesses in town who are always stepping up to help and support those in need,” Mr Gardener said. “Specifically, the goal of this award is to recognize those Newtown businesses that unselfishly contribute extraordinarily to the Newtown community through their volunteer efforts, financial support, and in-kind gifts.”
Chamber President Ann Marie Deweese told the crowd that the selection process was particularly difficult this year as there were many businesses that were very deserving of recognition for their outstanding efforts.
“Although much discussion and debate happened during the selection process, it’s important to point out that the decision that the committee came to with regard to the winners in both categories was, without a doubt, unanimous,” she added.
The finalists in the Class 1 or small business category included Katherine’s Kitchen of Sandy Hook, Associated Refuse, and Berkshire Motors.
Chamber representative Jennifer Gatti welcomed Katherine Pineau, who along with her husband, Randy, opened the cozy eatery in 2007.
“Katherine’s has contributed to many local organizations as well as the local sports teams, placing advertisements in various sporting programs as well as team sponsorship,” Ms Gatti said. “The business also contributes to the Jimmy Miller fund, helping to raise money for orphaned children.”
Co-MC Patrick Kelly then introduced Pat Caruso, owner and president of Associated Refuse.
“What is most notable about Associated is their focus on support of almost every organization in town. Since 1993, Associated has collected trash at all of the town’s fields at no charge. The business has supported almost every youth organization, school, and nonprofit group in town with free trash pickup,” Mr Kelly said. “They have made available space in their building for the secure storage of materials for groups like Water For Life and Rotary. And Pat Caruso will also be taking on a greater role in support of Newtown in a few months when he becomes president of the Newtown Rotary Club.”
Ms Deweese then introduced the third Class 1 finalist, Jim Marcucilli from Berkshire Motors.
“Jim started his business in April 1999 with a dream of owning his own repair business,” Ms Deweese said. “He does his best to sponsor and donate to anyone who needs help, mostly charitable organizations, local churches and the Chamber. Jim is located across from the high school and has always allowed them to hold car washes in his parking lot. Jim also mentors those students who want to choose a career in the auto repair field and allows them to come into his shop so he can show them the ropes.”
Without further comment, Mr Gardener extended congratulations to Mr Caruso as the crowd erupted in applause.
Moving on to the Class 2 or larger businesses, Ms Gatti welcomed Newtown Savings Bank and its President and CEO John Trentacosta.
“In 2010 the Newtown Savings Bank provided over $220,000 in financial support to approximately 185 different local organizations. Some of the organizations supported in 2010 include Newtown Labor Day Parade, Newtown Scholarship Association, Newtown Parent Connection, Kevin’s Community Center, Relay for Life, and local fire departments and ambulance to name a few,” she said.
Ms Gatti also reminded the audience that NSB has instituted a corporate policy requiring all employees commit at least one full day to community service, of the employee’s choosing, each year.
“To back up the initiative, the bank grants a paid time-off day to employees to volunteer,” she said. “While the goal was to get each employee volunteering for one day a year, NSB’s employees went above and beyond during 2010. In total, NSB employees put in over 9,000 hours of combined community service. This equates to about 45 hours of service per employee.”
Ms Deweese then introduced finalist Angelo Marini of Sal e Pepe Restaurant.
“We received two nominations for Angelo this year, which I think is a credit to the many people he has touched and helped here in Newtown. Sal e Pepe was also a business of the year finalist last year,” she added. “He’s recently launched a ‘Give a Gift, Get a Gift Campaign’ to benefit the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation. His goal for the campaign is to personally raise over $100,000 for the foundation.”
Then Mr Gardner introduced Dr Lawrence Nkabinde of Dental Associates, which operates an office in Newtown.
“Dental Associates clearly believes that they have a moral obligation to give back to the communities that have been good to them,” Mr Gardener said. “They have always been quick to supply programs and supplies such as mouth guards to the local schools and teams and have responded to charities that have called upon them to provide complementary dental services to needy individuals. During the past year, Dental Associates doctors and other staff members have supported dozens of community events.”
At that point, Ms Deweese announced that Newtown Savings Bank was the 2011 Class 2 Business of the year, and Mr Trentacosta was congratulated by his fellow finalists and by representatives from the Chamber and Rotary.
In an attempt to keep Business of the Year recipients in the public eye, Ms Deweese said that honorees would be spotlighted on the local Rotary website, and would be welcomed at the annual Chamber wine tasting event later this spring.