Community activism is businesswoman’s trade

The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce will honor Laurie Yelding, president of Yelding, Inc., with the Lewis A. Dibble Award Dec. 8.

NAUGATUCK — Local businesswoman Laurie Yelding succeeds at more than just printing. Besides running Yelding, Inc. Yelding is an active Rotarian and volunteer for the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls.

Because of her leadership role in the community, the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce will honor Yelding with its annual Lewis A. Dibble Award Dec. 8.

“Laurie was chosen because of her success in her business and her continuing dedication and loyalty to help serve the Naugatuck community,” said Lynn Ward, president and chief executive officer of the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce.

Since 1976, the Chamber has recognized local business leaders who contribute to the socio-economic well-being of Naugatuck.

“The Dibble Award is given to someone who helps make the community a better place to live and work while running their own business and dealing with the challenges that a business owner faces … Laurie succeeds in both areas,” Ward said.

A selection committee including officers of the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce and past recipients combed through possible recipients to find someone who exemplifies the qualities of Lewis Dibble, who founded the chamber in 1921.

“I think Laurie’s ability to connect with people is really special. I think she has a great way about her that contributes to her success,” Ward said.

In 1995, Yelding and her brother, Christopher, took over the reigns of the graphics and printing company established by their mother in 1951.

“Being a family-run business, their heart is the community, and they’re committed,” said Courtney Ligi, event and program coordinator for the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Yelding started working full-time for her parents in 1978. She said her mother was very adamant that she learn everything in each department.

“It gave me a really great understanding on how this company ran,” Yelding said. “They gave us a great foundation to work with.”

Yelding, Inc. prints everything from business cards, to stationary, envelops, brochures, catalogs, and direct mail.

Yelding credited the success of her company to great employees, some of whom have worked there for over 35 years. Besides Yelding and her brother, the company employs seven people.

“We have a good crew,” Yelding said.

Yelding is a leader in her industry. She has served six years on the board of directors for the Print Industry of Connecticut. She also served as a member of the Association of Graphic Communicators’ Board of Directors for several years and currently serves as a member of the Nutmeg Financial Corporation’s Board of Corporators, according to a press release.

Yelding is also a leader in the community. She serves as vice president of the United Way’s Executive Committee and on the golf tournament, special events and Festival of Trees committees. Yelding also serves on the Naugatuck YMCA’s Board of Directors and Naugatuck Rotary Club’s Board of Directors.

Last March, the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls recognized Yelding with the Mary Connolly Community Caring Award. She also earned Rotarian of the Year in 2010.

“I think her impact in those groups is very strong,” Ward said.

Yelding said staying involved in so many different activities while running her own business is tricky.

“Being able to make the time to do all of it is a direct reflection on the people who work here,” Yelding said. “Christopher takes over when I leave. He’s my right arm here.”

She also said her husband, David, is very understanding about her time commitments.

“My goal, for me, is to know that I can do as much as I possibly can with what I have. And what I have is time,” Yelding said.

Yelding added, “It’s important, I think, that business owners … do as much as possible to make the community in which they have their business as fruitful and successful as possible.”

Yelding will join the ranks of Dibble Award winners which includes Rebecca Zanbvliet, owner of Coldwell Reality 2000,  John Roman of Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, and Thomas Sarracco of Sarracco Mechanical.

Yelding said she’s very humbled and honored to receive an award with so many great past recipients.

The Naugatuck Chamber will honor Yelding at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck during its annual dinner Dec. 8.