An evening of 'lighthearted fun, camaraderie' and awards

Published on Monday, 30 April 2018 19:28


SOUTHINGTON - The Southington Chamber of Commerce honored local volunteers, employees and business owners at their 80th Annual Meeting at The Aqua Turf.

Taylor Crofton, executive director of the chamber, said the event was well attended by community and business leaders. In between awards, visitors participated in Southington History trivia with DJ Rivera.

“We had a great turnout and the atmosphere all night was one of lighthearted fun and camaraderie,” said Crofton.

The Executive Director Award went to Lisa Jansson, events and communications coordinator with the chamber and president of the Southington Historical Society.

“She provides outstanding support in our office and is my right hand,” said Crofton. “She has done so much for the community and I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

Susan Urillo Larson was presented with the Chamber Woman of the Year Award and attorney Tony Sheffy received the Chairman’s Award.

YMCA Executive Director John Myers was given the Person of the Year Award. Myers has been with the local YMCA for more than 20 years and will retire at the end of this year.

“He’s one of the most humble, deserving and well respected people in the community,” said Crofton. “His legacy will live on long after his retirement.”

The Employee of the Year Award was bestowed upon Sue Smayda, executive director of the Barnes Museum and Southington Public Library; and the Community Spirit Award was posthumously awarded to Dick Fortunato.

“He was active with the Knights of Columbus, The Church of St. Dominic and Bread For Life and he was also a local journalist,” said Crofton. “His three grandchildren came up and spoke about him - it was beautiful.”

The chamber also presented five beautification awards to Bread for Life, for moving into their new, expanded location; American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 for their new Veterans Mural; Chip’s Restaurant for their new building on West Street; Berkshire Hathaway Home Services of New England for moving into and restoring the historic Jonathan Root House; and Crystal Bees for building their new patio last summer.

Additionally, Susan Urillo Larson, Donato DiVirgilio, George Montowski and Michael Baker were appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Chamber also recognized John Rivers and Dave Pestillo who stepped down from the Board of Directors. Pestillo had been a member of the Board of Directors for six years.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Southington Herald on Monday, 30 April 2018 19:28. Updated: Monday, 30 April 2018 19:31.