NEWINGTON - With a new director, comes a new vision.
The Newington Chamber of Commerce welcomed Pete Forcellina as Executive Director in November. The town resident and former sales executive replaced longtime director Gail Whitney upon her retirement.
Visitors to the chamber headquarters at 1046 Main St. might not have met him yet. He’s spent much of the last few months out in the community, becoming acquainted with local business professionals and learning about the responsibilities of the role.
The chamber is a business itself, after all.
“In any business, you need to have a vision and promote values,” Forcellina says. “I come with a fresh set of eyes on everything. I think it’s been really positive for the chamber.”
As the town’s main resource and proponent for commercial enterprise, the chamber hosts events and supports business initiatives. Just last year chamber leaders were able to secure more lenient signage regulations with local zoning officials.
“People really care about the business community here,” Forcellina points out. “We are the platform or conduit to connect businesses with the Newington community.”
Chamber President Kathy Braga believes he is truly a man of his words, ‘the chamber means business.’
“That has sort of become his tagline,” Braga explains. “Pete has really hit the ground running and is doing some amazing things. He is really going to increase the value of the chamber and help the town with economic development.”
Forcellina studied business and marketing at the University of Connecticut. The 57-year-old retired in 2017 from a long career in financial sales management with several Fortune 500 companies, most recently DST Systems.
“I got bored and decided I wanted to do something local and business related,” he said of the career change.
In his tour of chamber and non-chamber members, new and older businesses, Forcellina made sure to inquire about why or why not the chamber has their membership. He begins his new role with two major initiatives: retaining and growing the membership base of the Chamber, which currently represents about 175 entities.
Forcellina has also done away with the Home and Business Showcase in March. Instead there are some new initiatives in the works.
Coming up March 1 is a Comedy Night at Indian Hill Country Club. Set to continue this coming spring, are the Chamber’s networking events, the Lunch & Learn program at Newington High School and the annual Best of Newington Awards.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.