NAUGATUCK — In these days of long hours and shrinking benefits, there are few employers who seem to really care about their employees. Thomas Sarracco is one of those few.
President and CEO of Sarracco Mechanical, Inc., Sarracco has earned the admiration and devotion of his approximately 150 employees over his 36 years in business.
“Tom does it effortlessly,” said Yvette Wilmont, Sarracco’s accountant.
The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce honored Sarracco for his outstanding contribution to business and the socioeconomic well-being of Naugatuck at their 89th Annual Dinner and Award Ceremony on Dec. 9.
Sarracco received the Lewis A. Dibble Sr. award.
“I never anticipated anything like this,” said Sarracco, who was surprised to be honored with the award.
Sarracco said it’s nice to be part of a small community.
“If you live in the community, you need to give back,” he said.
Sarracco started his heating and air conditioning business with one employee out of his garage in 1975. The business has since grown to include plumbing, electrical, sheet metal, fire alarm and security services.
Three years later, Sarracco’s business became one of the first occupants of the Naugatuck Industrial Park.
Many of Sarracco’s employees have worked for him for the past 20 to 30 years.
Raymond Giordano started working for Sarracco when he was 18 and has been with the company for 28 years.
Giordano said he’s never had any reason to leave because Sarracco treats him like family.
“Tom’s like my second father,” said Giordano.
Wilmont, who has worked at Sarracco Mechanical for 15 years, said that Sarracco is a good listener.
“He always sends you away with the feeling you have the power to fix your own problems,” she said.
Sarracco Mechanical donates over 15 percent of its profits to the community.
“For [Sarracco], it’s never been about making a profit,” Wilmont said.
Even in this tough economy, Sarracco continues to donate well over that 15 percent benchmark, Wilmont said.
Sarracco’s pet project is the YMCA.
When YMCA President Bill Kane asked for help after a disastrous fire in 1992, Sarracco Mechanical responded.
“We just jumped in and we’ve been doing it ever since,” said Sarracco.
Sarracco Mechanical offers its services to the Y free of charge.
After the fire, Kane thought the YMCA would have to close for construction for 15 months, but Serracco had it back up and running in four months.
Kane said without Serracco’s support, the Y would have been bankrupt by 1994.
“They put in thousands and thousands of dollars to make the Y right,” Kane said.
Besides the YMCA, Sarracco donates to numerous other community agencies, including Family Services of Greater Waterbury, Easter Seals, Bridges Community Support, United Way, Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce, and the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation.
Along with his charitable spirit, Sarracco also values education, and helps to pay college tuition for employees like Kim Ostuno.
After starting as a filing clerk in high school, Sarracco offered her a full-time job at the company, but Ostuno chose to go to college with an open offer for a position when she gets back.
“Tom’s biggest rewards in life are to see when an employee can take advantage of the opportunities he provides,” Wilmont said.
Sarracco is glad to see his employees giving back as well. A lot of them serve on local boards and are involved in the community, he said.