NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce will honor a resident whose role is to help unite the public and private sectors.
The chamber will present David Prendergast with the Lewis A. Dibble Award during the its 91st annual dinner Thursday at The Crystal Room.
The award recognizes local business leaders who contribute to the socio-economic well-being of Naugatuck. Past winners include Laurie Yelding of Yelding, Inc., Rebecca Zanbvliet, owner of Coldwell Reality 2000, John Roman of Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, and Thomas Sarracco of Sarracco Mechanical.
Prendergast is the CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation, a job he’s held since 2003.
“It’s very humbling. I was very surprised to be selected,” Prendergast said. “I look back at my years at the NEDC and four of my board members have been recognized and I never thought it would be me.”
The chamber’s Events and Social Media Director Courtney Ligi said that Prendergast was a good choice for the award.
“Dave has been an extreme help over the past 10 years,” Ligi said.
She said that not only has Prendergast worked closely with the chamber in his position at the NEDC, he also volunteers around the borough and offers his assistance with many tasks.
“He does a lot in the community that helps the economic development of the region,” Ligi said.
Prendergast has an extensive resume when it comes to economic development. Prior to joining the NEDC, Prendergast was economic development director for Windham, executive director of the Economic Development Agency in New Britain, executive director of the Central Connecticut Tourism District and vice president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.
When he moved to Naugatuck, Prendergast was the first employee hired by the NEDC.
“I’ve been in Naugatuck for about nine years now and I’ve attended every Dibble award. I feel very honored to be amongst that group,” Prendergast said.
According to the NEDC’s website, Prendergast holds degrees from Central Connecticut State University and has completed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-Institute for Organization Management and the Team Connecticut Economic Development Training & Certification Program.
Prendergast is a past president of the Northeastern Economic Developers Association, past president of the Connecticut Community Development Association, and past chairman of the Connecticut Tourism Association.
Prendergast brought his experiences and education to the NEDC to help shape the corporation. For Prendegast, however, this has never been a solo effort.
“I guess it’s an individual honor from the chamber, but it’s more honoring what the NEDC has been able to accomplish since it has been created 10 years ago. I am honored to be part of the success that they have brought to the community,” Prendergast said.
Prendergast also appreciated the work the chamber has put into the borough, and is pleased that they have chosen to recognize him with this award.
“I recognize and appreciate the value the Naugatuck Chamber has had in this community. I’m very honored to be recognized by them. I think the private and public sector working together has been the key the accomplishments,” Prendergast said.
The award is named after Lewis A. Dibble, who was the president of the Risdon Tool and Machine Company and, in 1935, became the president of Naugatuck’s The Eastern Company.
In 1921, Dibble founded the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce. Fifty-five years later the chamber began to present the award, in honor of Dibble, to local business leaders who contributed to the borough.
A selection committee made up of the officers of the chamber comb through possible recipients to find someone who exemplifies the qualities of Lewis Dibble.
“I’m very honored to be a recipient,” Prendergast said.