New Bedford Area Chamber Presents 2017 APEX Awards

By Brieanna Wood, Intern

The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce and BankFive are pleased to recognize the significant contributions and achievements of our region’s businesses with the presentation of the 2017 APEX Awards in the categories of Small Business, Large Business and Non-Profit/Educational Institution. Although this recognition ceremony has been around for quite some time, this past Thursday was the event’s debut as its own occasion – separate from the Chambers esteemed Good Morning SouthCoast.

With over thirty nominees this year, the painstaking task of narrowing down one of the largest turnouts to date was no easy one. Each nominee has played a unique role within the community and contributed to the economic development of the SouthCoast.

“Large Business of the Year” for 2017, was presented to LifeStream.

Presented with “Large Business of the Year” award for 2017, was LifeStream. Established in 1976, the founders of LifeStream aimed to improve physical and mental healthcare, whereas many viewed this form of care with a stigma, and much of it institutionalized – so many afflicted were left with little quality of life and fulfillment. Today, LifeStream has grown as the region’s leading human services organizations and employs over 500 people in 39 different office and program locations.

The six runner-ups for this year’s Large Business of the Year award were as follows: AFC Cable Systems, Inc., Brahmin Leather Works, Fernandes Masonry, Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP, Summit Retail Solutions, and Tegra Medical.

Presented with “Small Business of the Year” for 2017 was SEASTREAK.

Presented with “Small Business of the Year” award was SEASTREAK. Located on New Bedford’s historical waterfront, SEASTREAK offers high-speed catamaran transport to metropolitan New York, New Jersey, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. In addition to their commuter services, SEASTREAK offers an array of special events, such as sightseeing cruises and tours, daytrips, and year round getaways.

Twelve other businesses were nominated for this year’s award, which include; Acorn Management Inc., All Friends Smokehouse, Century House, Darn it! Inc., Days Health and Sports, Dorothy Cox’s Chocolates, Gaspar’s Sausage Company, H. Loeb Corporation, Hampton Inn of Fairhaven/New Bedford, Jim’s Organic Coffee, Poyant Signs, and SERVPRO.

Presented as “Non-Profit Organization of the Year” was Child & Family Services, Inc..

Presented with “Non-Profit Organization of the Year” award was Child & Family Services, Inc.. Being one of the oldest non-profits in Southeastern Massachusetts, Child & Family Services, Inc. opened their doors in 1843 as the New Bedford Orphans’ Home to help children left homeless or without families. Since then, the New Bedford Orphans’ Home has had many faces, changing their name alongside changing times and attitudes towards the aid of disadvantaged children. Between 1910 and 1948, New Bedford Orphans’ Home became New Bedford Children’s Aid Society. Then, once again, during 1948-1999, New Bedford Children’s Aid society became known as New Bedford Child & Family Services. Which leads us into present time, where the organization goes by Child & Family Services, signifying their extended footprint well beyond New Bedford. The non-profit now offers more services than ever before, such as Outreach & Counseling programs, Psychiatry, Support Groups and many more.

“Educational Institution of the Year” for 2017 was presented to Bristol Community College.

In addition to “Non-Profit Organization of the Year”, comes the “Educational Institution of the Year” award, which Bristol Community College had the honor of receiving. Chartered in 1965, Bristol Community College has become a staple in the community. Offering more than 150 career and transfer programs that lead to Associates degree’s in science, arts and applied services, along with certificates of accomplishment and/or achievement. With five accessible locations and comprehensive programs such as their online eLearning alternatives, Bristol Community College offers many enrichments within the community.

Seven other non-profit and educational institutions were nominated for this year’s award, including Alma del Mar Charter School, Burgo Basketball Associations Interise, Mercy Meals and More, Our Sisters’ School, Veterans Transition House, and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.

Nominations solicited from within the community, and reviewed by a selection committee comprised of Chamber members undertook this responsibility. The selection committee looked for companies who have balanced success with a strong commitment to the community. Each nominee rated on five criteria: number of employees, staying power, growth, social responsibility and innovation. To meet just a few of these goals is a significant accomplishment.

The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce extends its appreciation to BankFive for being a partner in this important program. Their commitment as the founding sponsor of the “Business of the Year Awards” program reflects their dedication to our community and their commitment to providing services to small businesses. The Chamber would also like to thank those individuals who submitted nominations for the awards.

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2017 SouthCoast Women’s Forum – Trailblazing Women

The 2017 SouthCoast Women’s Forum will be held at Rosebrook Event Center, located at 50 Rosebrook Place, Wareham, MA 02571 on Wednesday, May 3rd from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The SouthCoast Women’s Forum is the ideal setting for leading business professionals, and aspiring women in business to connect, learn, and be inspired by other women! The dynamic panel discussion will be moderated by Ashely Bendiksen, Inspirational Speaker, Activist, Writer and Consultant.

The four inspiring women panelists are Anastassia Gonye, of Tuff Kookooshka; Lauren L. Lemieux, ACC, CPC of Coaching to Fullfill Dreams; Milagros Sanchez-Gaton of the Marion Institute/SouthCoast Energy Challenge and Sheri Weintraub MS DABR, Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care.  These driven women will elaborate on their professional and personal journeys, hurdles they’ve overcome, as well as their future career goals and everything in between. Get ready to connect with these inspirational women!

Anastassia Gonye

Anastassia Gonye, a Russian born American artist, and fashion designer, is the creator and owner of Tuff Kookooshka, founded in 1999. ” My Grandparents were both theater artists for The Russian theater in St. Petersburg. My grandmothers’ costume design paintings hang in my studio for inspiration. My mother worked in ateliers of the leading couture houses in Moscow. She was also the Master of Embroidery for the Russian Olympic figure Skating team.”

Tuff Kookooshka has steadily grown from very humble beginnings. ” I started to design my line at my kitchen table, sewing in the basement, using discarded fabrics sold at the factory by the pound.” Now many years later, Tuff Kookooshka is sold in stores and boutiques across America, in Canada, and Japan. Tuff Kookooshka also participates in several high end juried art shows per year, and operates a Retail Shop / Design Studio in Cataumet, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. All of their clothing is MADE IN USA, using locally manufactured fabrics and notions. We use Polartec fleece produced in Lawrence Massachusetts and add other fun materials for embellishments.

Lauren L. Lemieux

Lauren L. Lemieux, ACC, CPCC, provides Whole Life Coaching through her business Coaching To Fulfill Dreams. Lauren graduated from Dartmouth High School and UMass Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and Social Science.   After spending 18 years working in the family business, Lauren resigned in January, 2013, to find her true calling and soon discovered the profession of coaching.  Lauren is now a certified life coach from both the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coaching Federation.  Coaching To Fulfill Dreams is her coaching business, where she engages her clients to evoke their confidence and courage to embrace what is truly possible in the personal and professional lives.  She also works part time at Catholic Social Services coaching clients who are or were recently homeless to support them as they transition to stability.  Lauren and her family reside in Acushnet.  Lauren is very involved in the community including volunteering for the Acushnet Youth Athletic Association’s and Global Learning Charter Public School in New Bedford. She is on the Board of Directors for both the Acushnet Federal Credit Union and Community Boating Center in New Bedford.  Lauren has also been a mentor for EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All) and the LifeWork Project.

Milagros Sanchez

Milagros Sanchez is originally from the Dominican Republic and moved looking for the “American Dream”. She graduated Bristol community college and is working in her BA at Simmons College. Her passion is to help, Advocate, and make a difference in the community. Because of her community involvement and academic success she was the winner of the “29 who shine Award” And represented Bristol Community college at the state house. “Millie” as she likes to be called, has experience working as a peer educator and as a facilitator for the Girl Scouts. Millie works as SouthCoast Energy Challenge Community Outreach Manager for the Marion Institute. You can find Millie Volunteering or spending time with her twin daughters.


Sheri Weintraub

Sheri Weintraub is the chief physicist and director of radiation oncology at the Southcoast Centers for Cancer Care.  She has been a physicist since 1999 and has served long-standing leadership roles where she has balanced administrative duties along with clinical physics work.  Effective communication is vital in any organization, but she particularly enjoys the challenges of bridging these two very important and distinct areas.  Sheri has a particular passion for patient safety and currently serves on a national health care advisory committee to review medical incidents in radiation oncology.  She is pursuing her PhD in Health Science at Nova Southeastern University and is looking forward to expanding her patient safety work through that academic environment. She serves on the alumni network committee for Leadership Southcoast and remains active in her hometown community of Easton, MA.  In her spare time she enjoys kickboxing and other physical fitness activities.  Sheri’s primary and favorite role is as a mom to nine and eleven-year old daughters, to three canine “children”, and as a wife to her high school sweetheart.

All of these inspiring and accomplished women have been trailblazers and overcome challenges with perseverance and resilience, which has allowed them to pave the way for all women professionally!

Admission for the event is $45.00 to New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce members and $55.00 for non-members.  Tables of ten are also available.   For more information, please contact Deven Tillman, Events Manager, at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, 508-999-5231, ext. 26 or visit REGISTER ONLINE HERE.

The 2017 SouthCoast Women’s Forum is hosted by the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce with supporting sponsors Cox Media and Sylvia Group and Small Business Sponsors; Advance Air & Heat Company, BayCoast Bank, Care Free Homes Inc., Katie Brown Educational Program, Partners Insurance, Plimouth Investment Advisors, Urgent Care | American Family Care and media sponsor New Bedford Guide.


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New Bedford Area Chamber Joins The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education

By: Ian Abreu

The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced that it has signed on as the newest Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) “Affiliate,” signaling the Chamber’s commitment to driving statewide educational improvements that will ensure all students get the education they need to in pursuit of their “college and career readiness.”

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Concord Chamber of Commerce, Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce, Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Business Leaders for Education and TechNet have also recently joined this coalition.

“We never want to see our local employers having to outsource for its talent,” said New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce Business Development & Public Policy Manager, Ian Abreu. “By working closely with all of our local area high schools, vocational high schools, employers in the private sector, and our new partners over at the MBAE, we hope to help create a more streamlined workforce ‘pipeline’ which can help not only meet the hiring needs of these companies, but additionally, help get these students a little more ‘college and career ready.'”

Groups that have joined are responding to their members’ concerns on education and the workforce expressed through their responses to a recent statewide employer survey.  72% of Massachusetts employers say the schools need major or moderate change.  Employers believe that there is much room for improvement in preparing our youth for success in postsecondary education and the workforce. Deep inequities in education that leave far too many students on the economic sidelines and a widening skills gap that makes it difficult for employers to find qualified candidates to fill open positions, must be addressed.

Education is emerging as a key policy issue this year. The Massachusetts business community has played a significant and successful role over the past three decades in calling for improvements in education.  With efforts underway to roll back education reforms that have made Massachusetts number one in the nation in student achievement and with a need to better prepare all young people for a competitive economy, business groups are joining with MBAE to have a greater impact on that debate.

MBAE is finalizing its legislative priorities and positions and looks forward to working with its Affiliates to be effective advocates in the years ahead.

About the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education
The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education was founded in 1988 by employers concerned about the educational attainment and skills of graduates entering the workforce.  Driven by the business community’s commitment that all students graduate high school prepared for success in college, career and citizenship, our core work is influencing state education policy to improve the quality of all public schools in Massachusetts.

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More than Certificates of Origin! Export counseling, assistance available to local businesses

Businesses in the New Bedford area that are interested in expanding into developing markets overseas have the opportunity to take advantage of export assistance through a partnership between the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce and the Massachusetts Export Center, part of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network.

The Massachusetts Export Center, the state’s leading provider of export development services, operates a satellite office at the New Bedford Chamber of  Commerce. A senior international trade advisor from the Massachusetts Export Center is available by appointment to meet with local companies interested in exporting.

Services available to local companies include export counseling, export regulatory compliance assistance, international market research and assessment, international business development assistance, linkages to trade promotion opportunities (such as overseas trade shows and offices), export publications, and export training programs. Most of the services provided by the Massachusetts Export Center are free and are available to businesses of all sizes, ranging from experienced exporters to small businesses just considering exporting.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with a counselor, please contact the Chamber of Commerce, or Nancy Lowd at the Massachusetts Export Center at -508-999-1388.

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Ambassador Spotlight: Sue Potter

My name is Sue Potter and I am an ambassador of the New Bedford Area Chamber. I work for Townsquare Media where I represent two of the most dominant radio stations on the Southcoast: Fun 107 and 1420 WBSM. When you think of radio, you might think of a time before smart phones, TV, iPads, Apple Watches. But what you may not know is that radio still reaches 93% of Americans on a weekly basis. People still listen to their local stations on their commute, listen live online or even tune in via an app! Local radio is quite literally bigger and better than ever.

In addition to traditional radio, we offer multi-level solutions to fit any and all marketing needs. Does your website need an upgrade or enhanced SEO? We offer a vast menu of website service through our Townsquare Interactive program. If web traffic is important to you, as it should be, we offer a multitude of digital advertising opportunities within our websites, apps and newsletters. Do you need to push more traffic to your social media accounts? You can be part of our online and on-air contesting which can direct listeners to your Facebook, Instagram, website or mailing list to gain entry into the contests. Do you like getting out into the field to meet new potential customers? Sign on with our Live Events sponsorship where you can get in front of your target demographic whether they are kids, parents, single adults with disposable income and anyone in between.

With all that we offer, ‘well, how much does it cost?’ is always everyone’s first question. Don’t worry – we offer affordable solutions based on your individual budget. There is no budget too small. We can build you an advertising package that fits exactly what you need and doesn’t break your budget. I love selling for Townsquare Media because I know that we can provide the best solutions for our clients, whether they are a national agency or a small, local business.

I have been in the radio industry for 12 years and with Townsquare Media for 5 years. Prior to coming into radio, I was a licensed insurance agent. I enjoy meeting all of the wonderful people I come in contact with through my job, but most of all, I believe in what I sell and I take great pride in my ability to help businesses grow. That is what has made me successful. If you’re interested in advertising, please call 508-999-6690 and ask for Sue Potter.


Source: Various Nielsen Customer Analysis

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Shop Local – Save Now!

The New Bedford Area Chamber is thrilled to invite you to participate in our new Key Tag Program, Shop Local – Save Now! This program will help  your business to connect with consumers within the community through specialized discounts or offers, redeemable only to those who have purchased the Shop Local – Save Now! Key Tag through the Chamber.

We ask that your business put forth a unique offer for Key Tag holders; one that is not currently available to the general public. Chambers throughout the United States have exhibited success in their own way through Key Tags, so we are hopeful Shop Local – Save Now! will encourage the SouthCoast community to shop local, eat local and be local!

According to a study published in 2012, shopping at locally owned small businesses generates four times more economic impact if compared to the spending of money at chain retail stores. Similarly, the recirculation of revenue within the community is at a higher percentage compared to that of national chains. This means that with every dollar spent, a dollar is staying within our local communities.

Along with money being retained in our area, shopping local can also aide in the creation of jobs, advance environmental sustainability, diversify the local economy, support healthy communities and create vibrancy and prosperity for all.

Participation in Shop Local – Save Now! means that your business will consent to a one year commitment with the program, from May 2017 to May 2018. All employees must be aware of the Key Tag Program and in compliance with it. The Chamber will supply your business with a notice of participation that must be hung in an area that is easily recognizable to consumers.

Businesses must be members of the Chamber to offer a discount for the Shop Local – Save Now! program. For general inquisitions or more information on participation in this program, please contact Ian Abreu, Manager of Business Development & Public Policy at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, at (508) 999-5231 ext. 24 or [email protected] Key tags will be available for purchase in May at the Greater New Bedford Home, Health & Wellness Show, at the Chamber office and online at

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Chamber Announces Partnership with L.J. Rogers, Offering International & Domestic Transportation and Logistics Discounts to Members

The New Bedford Area Chamber is pleased to announce a new program in partnership with L.J. Rogers to offer member businesses discounts on transportation and logistics services. Since 1996 it has been the mission of L. J. Rogers, Inc. to achieve, manage and deliver the highest quality of personalized customer service in all facets of Customs Clearing, international & domestic transportation and logistics. They utilize the knowledge of their dedicated skilled employees, expertise in compliance, and proprietary cutting-edge technological tools, individually tailored to their client’s needs, to achieve this goal. At L.J. Rogers, they pay strict attention to the details and answer your call knowing it is not just a shipment it is your life. L.J. Rogers has collaborated with the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce to bring this proprietary opportunity for our members.

1)    Offering Customs Clearing and Consulting on complicated New Customs Requirements

2)    Offering Competitive Freight Rates around the world.

3)    Offering preferred independent Global Partners Network.

4)    Offering Proprietary on-line, real-time shipment tracking software.

The team at L.J. Rogers is looking forward to the opportunity to serve the loyal Chamber Community. For more information on their services, please contact Kevin Loflin at 508-672-8888  or email [email protected]

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Government Affairs Committee Announces Washington, DC Fly-In

By: Ian Abreu


Are you interested in where and how your federal tax dollars are spent? Do you have questions or concerns regarding healthcare, infrastructure, transportation, education, energy, economic development or regulatory reform at the federal level?

If you have answered “yes” to any of the above, then you need to join the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee on its first ever Washington, DC Fly-In this upcoming May to meet with both our federal senatorial and legislative delegation.

The Fly-In will take place between May 16-18 of 2017, and will include exclusive meetings with 9th Congressional District Representative William Keating, United States Senator Edward Markey, and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Chief of Staff.

Additionally, there is also a briefing scheduled with the US Chamber of Commerce.

The cost per person is $699 (double occupancy hotel rate), and it includes: a two-night stay at the Capitol Hilton Hotel, round-trip airfare from Providence to Washington DC (BWI), airport to hotel round-trip transfers, and a Washington Explorer Pass ( which includes: a riverboat cruise with prime views of DC monuments, a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Washington, DC and Madame Tussauds DC).

Also included will be a private tour of the Capitol Hill building (courtesy of Representative Keating’s office).

The Chamber is sponsoring this Washington, DC Fly-In in partnership with Sagres Vacations; a family-owned full service travel agency and tour operator that is headquartered in Fall River, MA.

Washington DC Registration Form

If you would like more information about this wonderful networking and professional development opportunity, please contact Ian Abreu, Manager of Business Development & Public Policy at: (508) 999-5231, ext. 24, or, via email at [email protected].


The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce coordinates government affairs efforts on behalf of its members and the SouthCoast business community. The Chamber’s member driven Government Affairs Program includes establishing positions on issues that impact our members and the economic advancement of the region, educating elected officials about these issues and encouraging membership involvement in the Chamber’s advocacy efforts. The Chamber has established a non-partisan Government Affairs Committee comprised of members from diverse industries. This committee is responsible for helping to guide the Chamber’s advocacy efforts by reviewing pending legislation and regulations for their impact on the membership, developing positions that will enhance economic growth and developing programs that inform and encourage members to participate in the Chamber’sgovernment affairs initiatives.

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New Bedford High School Career Fair- A Great Success For Students

On December 12, 2016 about 350 ninth grade New Bedford High school students made their way down to the Blue House cafeteria to attend the 2nd Annual 9th grade Exploratory Career Fair. The Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Partnership and Junior Achievement helped to co-sponsor the annual “Career Academy Fair” which was a huge success. Students were engaged at the fair and had many wonderful businesses to choose from to speak with as they walked about the cafeteria.

We were lucky enough to have over 60 individuals at the Career Fair representing businesses from all different career pathways! Student had the chance to complete an assignment for class credit and spoke with employers about their past educational experience, their workforce skills and their outlook on that particular field. The Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Partnership would like to thank each and every individual who attended the Career Fair. Your participation and effort helped inform students about career pursuits and guide students toward choosing an Academy that they will follow for the next three years!

Representatives from the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County who represented the Academy of Arts and Humanities were amazed at the engagement of the students. Andrea Souza, a Forensic Interviewer at the CAC stated, “I wish I had an event like this back when I was in high school. The Career Fair is an awesome opportunity for these kids to get informed and learn more about careers that they could potentially want to pursue later in life.”

The Academy of Engineering was also well represented, with many businesses eager to engage the students with interactive materials and exhibits that were brought along with them. When asked about how he felt the Career Fair went, Ken Campanale from Tegra Medical LLC stated, “I feel the fair was a success. The students were well behaved and well prepared. They followed the questions on the assignment booklet and asked follow up questions. Some of the students who had a strong interest in the company were very conversational!”

The Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Partnership would also like to mention that we will begin placing students in internships for the Spring semester! If any business is looking to host a high school intern or would like to just learn more information about the program, please reach out to Brenna Souza, at 508-999-5231 x29 or [email protected]

About the Connecting Activities Partnership
The Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Partnership, a collaboration of the City of New Bedford Office of the Mayor, the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board and Youth Council, Bristol Community College and the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, promotes the connecting of academic and workplace learning through Connecting Activities workplace internships. Area employers assist High School seniors to make more informed decisions about their future education and career choices. Currently, we service students at Dartmouth High School, Fairhaven High School, New Bedford High School, Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School and Old Rochester Regional High School. More information about the partnership is available at or by calling (508) 999-5231.

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