Natick Rotary Sprocket 1/9/18

Rotary Club of Natick Sprocket

January 9, 2018

The meeting was called to order by President Joe Gagliardi. Rick led us in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Verna led us in singing "You Gotta Have Heart". Peter Golden gave a warm invocation, in remembrance of a colleague who recently passed.

Guests: Paul Joseph, President of MW Chamber of Commerce, Peter Burke, and Brianna (last name?), a recent recipient of a Rotary scholarship who is now attending RPI, majoring in Architecture. President Joey thanked all of the visitors and guests for attending our meeting.

Announcements:

  • Earth Day: April 22nd. Natick Rotary will be a food vendor
  • Tobe Gerard: Board approved 3 month leave of absence
  • Joey, in honor of Vinny’s RI grant application and approval for $1,600 (first granted)
  • Dr. Keefe: Attendance report – 41 active members; 72% attendance for November; 71% attendance for first 6 months of fiscal year. Dr. Keefe credited Rotary outreach efforts for impressive attendance, in particular – Open Door and Mary Ann Morse program
  • February Flurry Event: to be held 2/10/18 from 6-9pm; Joey credited Eric for phenomenal efforts putting event together; Cater is TJ’s who is offering wide range of menu items; most tickets are sold – asking Rotarians whether they plan to attend (sign-up sheet passed around) and to confirm by next week – remaining tickets will be then offered to public; 150 total seats available; Speakers include : Joey, Eric, Chief Hicks, Katie Sugarman, Christine Guthery and Cheryl Lucenta; looking for up to (10) silent auction items in $300-400 range, including sporting tix, golf foursomes, time shares, other higher value goods; Judy D and Alan will decorate hall; sponsor levels are ¼ page for $100; ½ page for $250 and a full page ad for $500 – a total of 10-12 ad spots available; Proceeds go to opioid task fund; also looking for dessert items/sponsors

Today’s Speakers: Paul Joseph, President – MW Chamber of Commerce

Paul mentioned this is his 9th anniversary since last speaking at Rotary, when he was serving on Economic Development Committee. He began speaking about his time as a Natick resident, mentioned his son is Co-Captain of the NHS Baseball team and his daughter is a goalie at Middlesex School and a former 10 year old state champion team member (in Natick).

He is currently 2.5 years into his role as President, MW Chamber of Commerce. He met Dr. Keefe back in 2008 during the town’s override campaign, his first taste of local politics. It’s been a 10 year odyssey since, but enjoyable. He was also a one term Natick Selectman and 6 year member of the EDC. In 2014, he worked for the MW chamber as a consultant supporting their strategic planning initiative. He conducted over 50 interviews and used a “boiling the frog” analogy – Natick is growing, but slowly at risk of not being recognized outside of Boston.

He mentioned MW Chamber is 123 years old, and began as the Framingham Board of Trade. The MW Chamber is now one of three major chambers in MetroWest, serving 23 municipalities in MetroWest. His current challenges include increasing membership (now up to 560 members), time constraints, and how to collaborate/Cooperate with other chambers. He encouraged membership in his organization and amplifying relationships with other business/civic/non-profit organizations.

MW Chamber is a 501c6 and a 501c3. Their educational foundation (501c3) runs an annual golf tourney, which funds scholarships to local youth. He mentioned MW Chamber core programming is networking and connecting community and business organizations. The Chamber is also focusing on workforce entrepreneurships, training and offering better qualifications to people in search of employment and creating “pathways” to jobs for local people born and raised in MetroWest. Adding that attracting and creating jobs ensures people live and stay in MetroWest. He is also working on regional planning, particularly in the Golden Triangle area where they are looking to transform the area – from 1950’s to facilitate growth through improved transportation infrastructure and access. To do this, we must invest in infrastructure, affordable housing, educations/training, and economic development.

He mentioned Natick is well positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities, but we must work together with other local communities. He talked about the spirit of collaboration and the great legislative support we have in MetroWest. He mentioned the need to broaden our business base, and not just rely on large corporations such as MathWorks. He challenged business owners to think about their business and how they can attract people to Natick, engage the chamber for help to send this message beyond Natick, and do more together.

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