Regional Chamber Awards

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT’s annual awards, now known as The ECTys, honor excellence in community engagement, innovation, customer service, and business best practices.

2020 Winners


Despite the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a year of strength and stability for Charter Oak, allowing them to meet members’ financial needs and ensure the credit union’s continued financial success. Charter Oak showed significant growth in assets, deposits, members equity and membership. During the pandemic, Charter Oak set a new record for annual community giving of over $549,000. Charter Oak helped businesses obtain PPP funds, maintained active business lending, kept employees and members safe, and continued their digital transformation with the launch of their new website and next generation of digital banking.


Small Business of the Year

A small business with a big heart, Cardinal Honda serves their guests and our community with kindness, integrity, and respect. The family-owned business gives generouly to the community and a long list of local non profits. A “Top Place to Work,” Cardinal Honda’s growing staff of over 70 employees is encouraged to pay it forward wth acts of kindness and provide a five star experience to all their guests. Enviromenally minded, they have also earned the Green Dealer Award.


New Business of the Year

Sea Services North America is a unique marine services provider for offshore asset management that creates diverse job opportunities for local fishing boats. Powered by a collective of experienced and knowledgeable fishermen with a deep understanding of the shared marine environment, Sea Services provides consulting on fishing and fisheries mitigation, monitoring services, and scouting vessels for offshore projects, including the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry. Sea Services uses a proprietary navigation and monitoring system to ensure marine obstacles, hazards, and changes are recorded and reported in real time.


Industry Innovator

ThayerMahan is a world leader in undersea sensing, precision imagery and maritime autonomy. Beginning in 2016 with two employees, ThayerMahan has grown to employ a diverse group of over 60 military veterans, young engineers, developers and technicians to meet the needs of both military and industry customers. Poised to play an important role in the burgeoning offshore wind industry, ThayerMahan will apply much of the same technology used perfecting its work in maritime domain awareness and seabed survey to support its offshore wind clients.


Hartford HealthCare (HHC) had its first COVID patient admitted on March 13, 2020. It was a moment the entire health system had been waiting for, including Backus Hospital in Norwich. Across the state, HHC’s 33,000 colleagues rose to the call, none more so than staff at Backus. Learning new safety protocols, comforting COVID patients who were isolated from their families, holding an iPad so loved ones could say goodbye via FaceTime – staff went above and beyond. Their efforts were rewarded when Danny Donovan, the first COVID-19 patient well enough to transition home, was released in April 2020 (see photo).


Lawrence + Memorial Hospital takes its role as a proactive player in the ongoing promotion of health and wellness to heart, offering an array of community programs, services and opportunities that engage people in the journey toward healthier living. L+M Hospital considers it a privilege to serve the community. Service was especially displayed in the midst of the pandemic when L+M Hospital quickly adapted community programs to remote platforms, opened COVID-19 testing sites and vaccination clinics, all while providing the greatest of care and access to the most advanced clinical treatments and expert physicians.


Best Place to Work

A ‘Top Workplace’ by the Hartford Courant every year since 2012, Liberty Bank maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement. Throughout this difficult year, Liberty Bank demonstrated care and concern for employees and customers. Constant communication and care packages kept employees connected. Employees were supported with safety measures, stipends, time off, and flexibility to meet family obligations. Employees were able to focus on their important work in the community, such as serving customers, processing PPP loans to support businesses, recognizing essential workers, and donating to those in need.


Community Revitalization Leader

The Whaler’s Inn has been a site of hospitality and commerce in Downtown Mystic for over 125 years. The Whaler’s Inn demonstrates in its thoughtful renovations and high standards of service an ongoing commitment to exceeding the expectations of today’s visitor while honoring its own history and unique nautical location on the Mystic River. The Shipwright’s Daughter is a welcome addition to Mystic’s thriving culinary community. The Whaler’s Inn encourages community engagment and leadership development for their staff, making them compelling members of the buiness community.


Young Professional of the Year

Molly Bruno is a Realtor®, an ambassador, an advocate, and a community inspiration. A Realtor® with eXp Realty, she advanced her industry with innovation and collaboration during the pandemic. She was selected as Eastern CT Association of Realtors YPN of the Year for 2020 and sits on the Board of Directors. In the past two years, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Women’s Council of Realtors of Eastern CT network, focused on creating new leaders in the community and giving back. She has led fundraising efforts that benefited organizations including Reliance Health, Madonna Place, Safe Futures, Girls on the Run, and St. Vincent de Paul Place. As an advocate for small business and local entrepreneurs, she created Hello Home, a retail space for empowering local crafters and artisans.


Volunteer of the Year

33 years ago, Maria made the decision to create a different type of advertising agency. That vision became Miranda Creative — a brand management firm, now with 25 team members and clients nationwide. That inner vision guided Maria to support our community through the pandemic — hosting webinars, writing articles, and inspiring businesses to “pivot” under shifting marketing conditions. She went on to create two campaigns with other community-minded entrepreneurs, securing tablets for isolated seniors and boosting morale with the “Let’s Go 860” messaging. Maria also reconceptualized the Chamber Foundation’s annual Holiday Gala into “Every Month is a Holiday” — a video series that secured over $60,000 in sponsors.

2019 Winners

Read our 2019 ECTy publication that was distributed in The Day here, and our special edition Voice here.

Small Business of the Year

A small business with a wide reach, Duncklee, Inc. actively supports their customers and economic growth in the region and contributes generously with both funds and time to local nonprofits, including Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Avalonia Land Conservancy, Willimantic Food Coop, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Riverfront Children’s Center and New London Landmarks. A Top Performer with Green Bank, Duncklee promotes green technology and energy sources as job creators and economic development drivers.

View Duncklee Cooling & Heating’s Award Video


Business of the Year

We could not have anticipated the prescience of this award in 2019, but Pfizer truly is the business of the year as they move forward with trials of a COVID vaccine. Their over 60-year history in Southeastern CT includes a breadth of contributions consistent with innovation and meaningful work in the community. Pfizer donated generously to local nonprofits, hospitals, and educational initiatives; engaged in green initiatives; and employs over 5,000 people who contribute to global health through drug discovery and development.

Watch Pfizer’s Award Video

public library of new london

Nonprofit of the Year

Public Library of New London embraces an expansive view of its role in the community and diverse ways to meet the needs of its patrons. In addition to fulfilling the traditional functions of the library, they offer a club to teach job-hunting skills, the Social Service Spotlight program, free violin lessons, nonprofit workshops, and many fun and informative groups across ages and interests.

View Public Library of New London’s Award Video

mohegan sun

Industry Innovator

Mohegan Sun leads in innovation through their unwavering commitment to customer service: launching a new app for at-seat food service during a show, making parking easy with digital indicators showing available spaces, and creating a hotel experience “unlike any other” for its Aspire guests. Mohegan Sun also built an exemplary vocational inclusion program for persons with disabilities, where 85% of participants find meaningful employment upon successful completion. .

60 mansfield

Community Revitalization Leader

A.R. Building is contributing to the redevelopment of New London with the completion of a $15 million apartment complex at 60 Mansfield Road and the construction of a $12.5 million complex at Bank and Howard Streets. The upscale residential developments meet demand for housing and add vibrancy to downtown New London.

View A.R. Building’s Award Video

chelsea groton bank

Best Place to Work

Chelsea Groton Bank’s logo of an acorn reflects their ability to see potential and nurture growth. Employees at the 166-year strong mutual bank feel supported and encouraged to be the best they can be for customers and themselves. Exceptional service extends beyond the bank lobby into their work with businesses and nonprofits, free financial education, volunteering on boards, and giving back to the communities where they live and work.

View Chelsea Groton Bank’s Award Video

matt spring

Young Professional of the Year

Matthew Spring, Stifel

Matthew Spring is a registered investment advisor for Stifel in Mystic, actively managing investment plans for businesses and individuals that serve their present and future needs. He serves on the boards of the Child and Family Agency, Ocean Community YMCA, and L+M’s LAMBS and the advisory committee of Mystic Aquarium.

Watch Matthew Spring’s Award Video

gail weber

Volunteer of the Year

Gail Weber, Minuteman Press

Gail Weber contributed significantly as a volunteer on the Chamber’s Strategic Planning Committee and Vice President Search Committee. She offered valuable insights from her many years as a small business owner who interfaces with many other businesses in the region, and as a former Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Watch Gail Weber’s Award Video

bill furgeson

Tourism Leader of the Year

Bill Furgueson, president of the Downtown Mystic Merchants, is working to expand the group’s presence in the community and attract new businesses. He volunteered for Mystic River Day Festival at the Kid’s Art Park, served on the organizing committee for Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, and is working on enhancing the Mystic Eats Festival. Bill focuses on collaboration and leveraging the downtown’s many assets.

Watch Bill Furgueson’s Award Video

jack malone

Board of Directors Special Award

Jack Malone, SCADD

After a 25-year career at Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SCADD) – including the past 19 years running the $10 million agency, Jack Malone retired earlier this year as Chief Executive Officer of this regional organization that has served thousands of clients over the years, saving and improving many lives along the way. Deeply committed to the organization, he lives by the “one day at a time” creed and will remain as SCADD President until 2021.

Watch Jack Malone’s Award Video

Past Winners

Small Business of the Year: SAVA Insurance Group
Business of the Year: Dime Bank
Community Revitalization Leader: Vinnie Scarano and Hygienic Art, Inc.
New Business of the Year: Fresh Men Spa Lounge
Nonprofit of the Year: New England Science and Sailing Foundation
Best Place to Work: Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Southeastern CT, P.C.
Tourism Leader of the Year: Whaler’s Inn
Volunteer of the Year: Anne Ogden
Young Professional of the Year: Sarah Patella
Board of Directors Special Award: Michael Passero

Small Business of the Year: Mystic Knotwork
Volunteer of the Year: Nancy Bulkeley and Sue Murphy
Community Revitalization: The Lofts at Ponemah Mills
Board of Directors Special Award: Stephen Tagliatela

Small Business of the Year: Ivy’s Simply Homemade
Volunteer of the Year: Meagan Secor
Community Revitalization: CURE Innovation Commons
Board of Directors Special Award: Kevin Brown, Robert Congdon

Small Business of the Year: Pink Basil
Community Revitalization Leader: Inn at Mystic/Harbour House Restaurant
Volunteer of the Year: Louis Ziegler

Small Business of the Year: Joshua’s Limousine Service
Volunteer of the Year: Dianne Kent
Community Revitalization: Seema Mukherjee/Foxglove
Board of Directors Special Award: Rev. Catherine Zall

Small Business of the Year: A Beautiful Company General Contractors
Volunteer of the Year: David Preka
Community Revitalization: Maggie Jones
Board of Directors Special Award: NCDC

Small Business of the Year: Great Neck Country Club
Community Revitalization Leader: David Hammerstrom
Board of Directors Special Award: Robert Congdon

Small Business of the Year: Holdridge Home and Garden Showplace
Community Revitalization: Surrey Equities/Silvera Asset Group
Board of Directors Special Award: Deb Donovan

Small Business of the Year: Harp & Dragon
Volunteer of the Year: Sam Piotrkowski
Community Revitalization: Copperwood Grill
Board of Directors Special Award: Isabelle Singer

Small Business of the Year: Captain Daniel Packer Inne
Community Revitalization Leader: New London Harbour Towers

Volunteer of the Year: Bob Blinderman
Board of Directors Special Award: Chuck Seeman

Small Business of the Year: Survival Systems
Community Revitalization: Mike Buscetto

Volunteer of the Year: SCORE
Board of Directors Special Award: Beverly Goulet