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Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Announces 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award Recipients
CT) Chairman Gregory Shook of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
has announced the 2017 recipients of the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Award.
year, the chamber presents this award to individuals who serve as an
inspiration to others, and are recognized by the Middlesex community as
unselfishly giving his or her time and talent to produce a lasting
benefit to the area. The Distinguished Citizen Committee chose the
recipients from a list of over 230 nominees.
The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce proudly announces that the 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Award are:
Bill and Sharon Griffin
Kenneth W. MacCormac
Chamber President Larry McHugh noted, “Once again, our Distinguished Citizen Committee
has chosen three outstanding individuals. They are committed to making
Middlesex County a better place to work and live, and we are extremely
proud of all of them.”
The 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award recipients will be honored at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce 2017 Annual Awards Dinner to be held on Thursday, June 7, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell.
About the Recipients:
Bill and Sharon Griffin
and Sharon Griffin established the Peach Pit Foundation in 2004, an
independent foundation the couple started to have a positive impact on
their community. The Foundation seeks to help working people who need a
leg up in life. The Griffins were blessed with opportunities and success
and wanted to give back when they were both healthy and able to
actively participate in the outcomes of their philanthropy.
Peach Pit Foundation fosters the development of working families and
individuals who need a little boost of assistance in life whether it be
childcare, education or mental health counseling. Working with the
Community Foundation of Middlesex County they have directed activities
in providing grants for many local initiatives including Middlesex
Community College, Middlesex County United Way, The Middlesex YMCA, The
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Youth Employment Program,
and Middlesex Habitat for Humanity of CT. Keeping with their commitment
to actively participate in their charitable giving, they sponsored a
house for a family on Liberty Street through Habitat for Humanity, which
the Griffins found an especially rewarding experience due to the
security that the home was able to provide to that family.
Griffin was born in Hartford and was raised in Middletown and Cromwell
and went to Mercy High School. Sharon attended Lesley College and
Southern Connecticut State University for Special Education later
teaching at private state agencies and residential education.
Griffin was born in Boston and raised in Meriden attending Xavier High
School playing Football for Coach Larry McHugh. Bill attended Fairfield
University and started his career in construction management at C.N.
Flagg Company. He has served as President of CNF Industries, a
full-service contractor in the power industry. In 1997 Bill founded
Gemma Power Systems with business partner Joel Canino as an Engineering,
Procurement and Construction company serving the power industry. Gemma
has seen exceptional growth from a small New England-focused
construction company to one that has a broad geographic reach throughout
the United States with more than 180 staff employees. Gemma was named a
best workplace for multiple years by The Hartford Courant and has
received recognition for employing a workforce made of over 20 percent
veterans. Gemma was acquired by Argan, Inc. (AGX) in 2006. Bill remains
CEO of Gemma and serves on Argan’s board of directors.
Peach Pit Foundation received the Middlesex YMCA’s Youth Development
Community Impact Award in 2015, Middlesex Community College Donor
Recognition Award in 2016 and The Community Foundation of Middlesex
County’s Local Leaders, Local Legends, Unsung Hero Award. Sharon serves
on the Community Foundation of Middlesex County board, the Family
Selection Committee for Middlesex Habitat for Humanity of CT and grants
committee of Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation.
and Sharon Griffin were married in 1977 and live in Durham. They have
two children Jessica Griffin Scheff, 33 and Will Griffin, 28. Their
children are also involved in their philanthropy as the Griffins want to
emphasize that philanthropy is a learned behavior. When not giving back
to the community, the Griffins enjoy traveling to warm climates,
reading, sports, music, food & wine and spending quality time with
their two grandchildren.
Kenneth W. MacCormac
MacCormac retired from Capewell Components Company after 30 years
serving as the company’s President and CEO. When he started as the head
of the company in 1982, Capewell had sold two out of three product lines
including its famous horseshoe nail business and was losing money. Left
with only the parachute hardware business, Ken turned the company
around by purchasing six companies and seven related product lines,
including the purchase of the Ripley Company. The entire company
manufactured a variety of products from parachute hardware, aerial
delivery equipment, and mechanical timers to cable preparation tools.
During his time at the helm, he increased revenue by 135 percent. Ken
attributes his success in business to treating employees like family
saying that “if you are dedicated to them, they will be dedicated to
in Amityville, NY and raised in Wantagh, NY, Ken graduated from Harvard
College. At Harvard, he was in the NROTC program. Upon graduating, Ken
served two years in the United States Navy during the Korean War as a
Lieutenant. He said being an Officer, and making decisions at age 21
was a formative experience in preparing him for life and business. He
attended the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the
University of Virginia and received an MBA in 1960. His early work
allowed him to innovate. At the Crescent Company, he introduced the
cable industry’s first colored welding cable, a product that is still
used today. He later became Vice President of International Operations
at Fram Corporation, responsible for the company’s international
operations at a time when business was becoming globalized. He traveled
to Europe, Asia and South America turning around the company’s losses
and increasing sales. In his career, Ken experienced firsthand, the rise
of the global computer industry in manufacturing. In addition, Ken
worked in senior roles at Industrial Photographic Equipment Corporation,
Smyth Manufacturing Corporation, and Highway Safety & Fabrication
Corporation before his long career as President and CEO of Capewell. His
career is marked by innovation, risk-taking, effective promotion and
taking care of his employees. Ken believes the secret to a good career
is motivation and quality work. There is no sure path to any career
stating that “the twist and turns is what makes life interesting.”
currently serves as a consultant for Value Concepts Company. Ken is on
the Middlesex County Chamber’s Board of Directors and served as
the Chamber’s Chairman from 2008 to 2009. Ken was a member of the Board
of Directors of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association
(CBIA). He also serves as a member of The Old Guard which raises money
for charitable groups like the Salvation Army and The YMCA.
has been married 59 years to his wife Mary and they have 3 children
Bruce, Craig, and Cynthia. When not volunteering or with his Family, Ken
enjoys travel, gardening, fishing, reading and listening to music.
Ouellette is a co-owner and permittee of Eli Cannon’s Tap Room in
Middletown, CT. Boasting 24 years of great beers, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room
has been a staple of the NoRA district (previously known as the North
End) since 1994. The acronym NoRA was coined by Phil at the time of
opening NoRA Cupcake Company with his partner Carrie Carella in 2012.
Prior to establishing Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, Phil spent 10 years in the
hospitality business and after establishing Eli Cannon’s was also on the
Board of Directors for the Connecticut Restaurant Association and was a
member of their Legislative Committee.
is currently an active member of the Middlesex Chamber Board of
Directors, has held the position of Central Business Bureau Chairman and
served as Chair of the Middlesex Community College Red Moon Fest. Phil
has also been recognized by the Mayor of Middletown with the City of
Middletown Mayor’s Corporate Citizenship Award and the Middletown Design
Award for his work within the Middletown Community; and has been
awarded Certificates of Recognition by both Governor Dannel P. Malloy
and Senator Blumenthal for his dedication and commitment to the City of
Middletown. Eli Cannon’s was presented with the Business of the Year
Award in 2015.
keeping with his philosophy “It’s not about us, it’s about all of us”
Phil finds time to give back to the community that has helped to make
his businesses successful. By hosting an annual Beer Fest, Eli Cannon’s
has raised over $16,000 between 2015 & 2016 for the Coalition on
Housing and Homelessness. Phil is an enthusiastic participant in the Hal
Kaplan Middletown Mentoring Program, contributes to Oddfellows
Playhouse, and has established the much talked about final destination
for the Holiday on Main Tree Lighting Ceremonies - where without fail it
snows every year! Phil’s involvement in the community also extends
beyond Middletown, where he has spent a number of years coaching youth
wrestling and lacrosse in Madison.
is married to his wife Gwen, who works in Pharmaceutical Research and
is a proud Dad to daughter Corinne who is a 2-sport student-athlete in
her sophomore year at Clark University, studying Child Psychology.
spent 34 years in the Hospitality business, Phil says “It only feels
like a thousand years, but I’m sure I have another thousand in me!”