Chamber’s chairmanship changing hands 

Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Ward, left, talks with past Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Chairman Yvette Wilmot during the Naugatuck Chamber’s 94th Annual Meeting and Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award Dinner Tuesday at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Ward, left, talks with past Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Chairman Yvette Wilmot during the Naugatuck Chamber’s 94th Annual Meeting and Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award Dinner Tuesday at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — There has been a changing of the guard at the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce.

Yvette Wilmot of Sarracco Mechanical Services, past chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, passed the baton to Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese Tuesday night during the chamber’s 94th Annual Meeting and Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award Dinner.

“She challenged us to be creative. If you ever wonder who came up with the Halloween in June idea that we have at the [Naugatuck Duck Day and Race], that was Yvette. She’s really challenged us to focus on the bottom line, our member services, and it’s been a pleasure to work with her,” Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Ward said of Wilmot, adding that she led the chamber with great enthusiasm.

Wilmot said the chamber is a vital part of the community and encouraged members to also volunteer their time elsewhere in the borough.

“Lastly, I want to make sure you are all reminded of how important the chamber of commerce is to the community just like many of the other organizations, such as the Exchange Club, the Rotary Club and the United Way. Those are all layers that make the Naugatuck community strong. It’s important that we find a way to return our energies back to the community. Pick an organization if you are not involved. Find something to be involved with and try to encourage others to be involved. That’s how Naugatuck is going to remain strong and improve as the economy improves,” Wilmot said.

The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on Thursday to officially name Pugliese the chamber’s next chairman.

Ward called Pugliese “someone that’s deeply involved in the Naugatuck community and committed to its growth and prosperity.”

Pugliese said he’s pleased to be the new chairman.

“Yvette did a fantastic job and I want to thank her for all her efforts on all behalves,” Pugliese said.

Incoming Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Ron Pugliese, left, presents the Dibble Award to Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan President and CEO William Calderara Tuesday night during the chamber’s annual meeting at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

Incoming Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Ron Pugliese, left, presents the Dibble Award to Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan President and CEO William Calderara Tuesday night during the chamber’s annual meeting at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

The dinner offered an opportunity to reflect on the past year for the chamber, which saw the organization move its offices to the Ion Bank Foundation Community Room on Church Street and relaunch its website.

The past year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Naugatuck Duck Day and Race. Through the event, Ward said, the chamber has been able to raise over $290,000 for nonprofits.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award, which is given to those who make outstanding contributions to the business community and the socioeconomic well-being of Naugatuck.

This year’s recipient was Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan President and CEO William Calderara.

“He’s been an outstanding member of the NEDC board and always have I relied on his experience and expertise in economic development matters,” said Pugliese, who presented the award. “In short, Bill Calderara is an outstanding choice for the Dibble Award. I cannot think of anyone I am more pleased to present this coveted award to.”