Bristol County Chamber and SouthCoast Chamber Announce Branding for Combined Entity

At separate meetings held in June, the boards of directors of the Bristol County Chamber and the SouthCoast Chamber agreed to integrate under a single corporate umbrella, effective January 1, 2020. Shortly after voting to integrate, the chambers secured a branding consultant to lead the process of choosing a new corporate name and identity. The chambers worked with New Bedford based business Moore & Isherwood, Communications, Inc. on naming the new combined chamber and local designer, Sergio Dabdoub of BadMonkeyPics, to create the logo.

The boards of directors of both the SouthCoast Chamber and Bristol County Chamber voted to approve the new corporate entity name of “One SouthCoast Chamber”, tagline of “The Voice of Business”, and the new logo design. The new logo is a visual representation of two strong organizations coming together to form one. The nautical knot shape is also a nod to the maritime history in the communities served by the Chambers.

“This is an exciting time for the business community of the South Coast. We are one region, with a common set of goals and challenges that require we speak with one voice. This wonderful outcome signifies that we are a region on the rise.” said Rick Kidder, President and CEO of the SouthCoast Chamber.

Mike O’Sullivan, CEO of the Bristol County Chamber said “The economy has been regionalizing for quite some time. This has presented us a great opportunity to increase our value to all of the chamber members. This includes a particular focus on small business, which is the backbone of our membership, education, government affairs and healthcare. The SouthCoast is a region that continues to advance, led by two cities that continue to grow and offer tremendous economic opportunities and quality of life to the region.”

In the coming months, the chambers will work to reflect the new branding on the website, both offices, and marketing collateral in order to prepare for the January launch of One SouthCoast Chamber. Businesses and organizations that are a member of either the SouthCoast Chamber or Bristol County Chamber, will become a member of One SouthCoast Chamber. Members will be notified via email of changes to their member profiles including increased services and benefits.

With combined memberships of nearly 1,600 businesses, representing tens of thousands of employees in the South Coast region, One SouthCoast Chamber will become the second largest in the Commonwealth in number of member companies. One SouthCoast Chamber will serve the entire South Coast region – from Wareham to eastern Rhode Island.

 

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Celebrating Small Business Week!

The SouthCoast Chamber and Bristol County Chamber of Commerce are excited to announce that the region’s first “Celebrating Small Business Week” will begin Sunday September 15, and end Saturday September 22, 2019. This week of small business appreciation will feature chamber-sponsored events including a dinner with Governor Charlie Baker, an “Off the Clock” event with the SouthCoast Young Professionals Network, a Business After Hours, a small business seminar with SEED and BankFive, and a SouthCoast Business Builder’s Breakfast.

The Chambers recently announced an integration of operations effective January 1, 2020. They will be collaborating to put on the Celebrating Small Business Week.

Dinner with Gov. Baker will take place on Tuesday, September 17th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at White’s of Westport 66 State Rd, Westport, MA 02790. The governor will be addressing topics such as regionalism, early education, small business, and SouthCoast Rail. The cost to attend, which includes dinner, is $65 per person and registration is required. Register here.

The SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfasts are well-known and well-loved by chamber members. This next installment will take place Wednesday, September 18th at Bittersweet Farm Restaurant and Tavern, 438 Main Rd, Westport, MA 02790. This event provides the Chambers’ members, guests and friends an early-morning opportunity to increase your access to leads, build your book of business, and encourages meaningful professional relationships. The cost to attend, which includes a light breakfast, is $15 per person and registration is required. Register here.

Lastly, on Thursday, September 19th professionals between the ages of 21-39 who live, work, or play in the SouthCoast are invited to attend “Off the Clock” at Merrill’s on the Waterfront, 36 Homer’s Wharf New Bedford, MA 02740. This unique event blends educational opportunities with peer-to-peer networking. The event will include appetizers, cash bar and networking. This event is free but registration is required. Register here.

 

For more information or to register for one of these events, please contact the SouthCoast Chamber at (508) 999-5231 or visit southcoastchamber.com.

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PFML (Paid Family & Medical Leave) is HERE!

Submitted by: Curtis Nelson, President/Broker, Nelson Insurance & Financial Services Fall River MA

The Massachusetts Legislature as part of the “Grand Bargain” passed PFML Paid Family & Medical Leave, and Governor Charlie Baker signed it into law last year. The purpose of the law is to provide Massachusetts workers (self-employed and business owners) with short term medical leave pay and family leave pay. The program will replace a portion of a workers pay up to 20 weeks for a serious health condition and 12 weeks to care for a family member. Payments into the program begin this coming October 1st, but workers won’t be able to make a medical claim until January 1st of 2021 or family leave claim until July of 2021.

PFML is going to be funded with a new payroll deduction. The start date for required PFML Paid Family & Medical Leave withholding is October 1, 2019. On that date, employers who do not have an approved exempt private leave plan must begin withholding PFML contributions from employee qualifying earnings. Employers will be responsible for remitting employee and (if applicable) employer contributions for the October 1 to December 31 quarter through MassTaxConnect by January 31, 2020.

Depending on the makeup of your Massachusetts workforce, you may be responsible for remitting contributions for both Massachusetts W-2 employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal) and Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors. Employers must register on Masstaxconnect.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2019, as an employer, you’re responsible for:
• Reporting wages paid, payment for contract services rendered, and other information about your workforce
• Determining contribution amounts for your workforce and for any contribution due from you as an employer where applicable
• Making deductions to cover worker contributions from payments you make to your workforce, either as wages or as payments for services from Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors
• Notifying your workforce of the PFML law by September 30th

Employers must also display the Paid Family and Medical Leave workplace poster in a highly-visible location,
provide written notice of contributions, benefits, and workforce protections to Massachusetts W-2 employees and Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors. There are 2 notices; one for employers with 25 or more employees with 1099 employees and one without. The links to both are:
https://www.mass.gov/doc/employer-notice-for-a-workforce-with-25-or-more-covered-individuals/download
https://www.mass.gov/doc/employer-notice-to-self-employed-individual-for-a-workforce-with-25-or-more-covered-5/download

Employers must collect signed acknowledgments of receipt of such notice from Massachusetts W-2 employees and Massachusetts 1099-MISC contractors by September 30th 2019.

Employers with more than 25 employees MUST contribute to the Medical leave portion.

Some September 2019 wages may be subject to PFML assessments if paid on or after October 1, 2019.
PFML definition of wages has been aligned to match the definition of wages for MA unemployment.

Most foreign visa program workers are covered individuals under PFML.

Self employed individuals can participate in the program if they like.

The above is for informational purposes only and does not represent a complete guide as to the responsibility’s employers have under PFML as such Employers are encouraged to contact their respective payroll providers, accountants or tax preparers for clarification and guidance. Or contact the DFML Department of Family Medical Leave at (617) 626-6565 hours of operation: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Questions about making payments – DOR (617) 887-6367 (800) 392-6089 (toll-free in Massachusetts) DOR hours of operation: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

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Membership Referral Program in Full Swing

By Meighread Dandeneau, Communications Intern

The new membership referral program has been making waves at the Chamber, and as we’ve reached the halfway point in the year, we’re ready to report a preliminary tally!

More about the Membership Referral Program; for every new member brought on board, references are eligible to receive a free month’s membership* or a $25 Visa gift card! There is no limit to how much your business can earn. For example, if you send the South Coast Chamber twelve new businesses who join the Chamber, your business/organization would receive a free year worth of Chamber membership. Every time your referral signs up and joins our Chamber, your name will also be entered into our database, and at the end of the year you’ll receive one entry for every new member referred into a drawing of a VISA $500 gift card. The more referrals you send us, the better your chances are at winning this $500 gift card!

*Only businesses with 24 or fewer employees are eligible to have their membership extended.

 

Now, for the tally!

 

Mitch Zucker (Nerds to Go) leads the race for most referrals!

 

Following in a cheery second place are Ana Araujo and Chris Johnson (Servpro)

 

Third is shared by Eric Miranda (First Citizens Federal Credit Union), Tracey Medeiros (New Bedford Credit Union), and Stacey Silva-Boutwell (Stacey Cakes).

 

Erin Lemeiux (Commonwealth Financial) and Pete Wilde (Simply Sierra Jewelry) hold a respectable fourth.

 

It’s still anyone’s game. Check back in at the end of the year for the final tally!
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Meet the SouthCoast Chamber Summer Interns!

Hello! My name is Meighread Dandeneau and I’m a recent graduate from Fitchburg State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications Media. I chose to do my internship with the SouthCoast Chamber to strengthen my marketing skills through event assistance and business connectivity on the South Coast. I’ve really enjoyed my time so far, helping with multiple networking events and creating written content for the Chamber. Already, I feel much more in tune with the commerce of the South Coast. I feel like I’m getting great experience to help me enter the workforce. I look forward to working on the SouthCoast Chamber’s 14th Annual Chowderfest preparations!

Hello my name is Galena Gutierrez, and I am a student at Bristol Community College. I am currently studying Business Administration. I’ve decided to do an internship program this summer to help better guide me into opening my own business in fashion and jewelry in the New Bedford area. The SouthCoast Chamber is a great way to learn the in’s and out about my community and get more involved. My first day was great, as everyone is very friendly and so kind. I already got to jump into my internship experience by joining the Global Charter School for their Presentations of Leaning (POL) Day. As a reviewer, I got to help rate student’s presentations using a rubric that was provided. Also, I helped the Chamber by looking up restaurants from Westport to Wareham in preparation for the upcoming Chowder Festival. I’m very excited to learn and network with Chamber members to gain a better understanding prior to starting my own business one day. I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to work with the SouthCoast Chamber.

Rebecca Laliberte, Communications Manager at the Chamber says “We are excited to have Galena and Meighread with us for their summer internships. Both Galena and Meighread have already demonstrated a high level of professionalism. We hope to provide a valuable learning experience and help them develop skills they will utilize as they continue to pursue education and career goals. ”

Meighread can be reached at mdandeneau@southcoastchamber.com and Galena can be reached at ggutierrez@southcoastchamber.com.

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Bristol County Chamber and SouthCoast Chamber Announce Integration

At separate meetings held on June 27, the Boards of Directors of the Bristol County Chamber and the SouthCoast Chamber agreed to integrate under a single corporate umbrella, effective January 1, 2020. With these votes, the two chambers have declared a goal of establishing a (yet unnamed) non-profit corporate entity with both existing chambers as affiliates.

The chambers have engaged in a six-month process through Board appointed representatives of each chamber and professional facilitation. The Integration Task Force was charged with making due diligence recommendations including the following: whether to integrate, the governance model, financial viability, and the leadership model. Their recommendations formed the basis of the due diligence documents and the final Board resolutions on which the two Boards voted.

The Boards of the two founding organizations provided the Integration Task Force with several non-negotiables to help frame their recommendations that included: maintaining two corporate offices, building an inclusive governance model, and building efficiencies without loss of staff positions. Kim Perry, Chair of the SouthCoast Chamber Board, said, “This integration has always been about impacts, not efficiencies. While we knew that efficiencies would emerge, the staff and leadership of each organization are its most important assets. Each organization has a long and storied history supporting the communities each serves, and in building this new model, we needed staff and volunteer leadership to know that their continued service was necessary to the organization’s success. All companies represented on the Board will continue that service.”

With combined memberships of nearly 1,600 businesses, representing tens of thousands of employees in the South Coast region, the new chamber will become the second largest in the Commonwealth in number of member companies. Once brought together, the new chamber will serve the entire South Coast region – from Wareham to eastern Rhode Island. The new chamber will maintain existing offices and staff, but new efficiencies will emerge along with a series of superior value propositions for all sized businesses, especially the small and micro-businesses that make up the vast majority of every chamber’s membership base.

Brian LeComte, Chair of the Bristol County Chamber Board, said “These two healthy organizations, once combined, will present new and exciting opportunities for our business

members that only scale can provide. Whether it is a single, unified voice on Beacon Hill and in Washington or small business opportunities for growth through larger and more targeted programs for business growth, this new chamber will build on the successes of the past and reach for new heights in supporting our region’s business base.”

The new organization will operate with a Co-CEO model, retaining Mike O’Sullivan, the current CEO of the Bristol County Chamber, and Rick Kidder, the current CEO of the SouthCoast Chamber, and with current technology no necessity to relocate staff. Mike O’Sullivan said, “Rick and I have worked out with the Task Force a delineation of responsibilities that will allow members and staff absolute clarity regarding whom to contact and how office operations will take place in order to maximize efficiency and productivity.”

Rick Kidder added, “With this vote, there is much work Mike and I need to accomplish prior to the January 1, 2020 launch. We will be back at work with the Task Force establishing a name and corporate identity for the parent company, filing all appropriate paperwork at the state and federal level, refining bylaws and building a final budget and scope of work for the new Board of Directors to approve in September. Our sole goal is the best possible member experience.”

In a joint statement to both memberships, Kim Perry and Brian LeComte stated, “A new day has begun, one where the South Coast region has a single business voice and an everyday commitment to the success of businesses of all sizes. We are grateful for the hard work of the Integration Task Force and the deep commitment of our staff leaders without whom this integration would not have been possible. Every member will benefit from this coming together of two great chambers.”

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Celebrating the History of the Supported Employment Network Program

By Joanne Rego, Support Employment Network Coordinator

It is amazing the treasures that you find when preparing for a move. Such was the case when sorting through the many boxes and files that the Supported Employment Network Program accumulated for over 30 years. Old photos, article and letters tell the remarkable story of this SouthCoast Chamber’s Supported Employment Network Program.

The Supported Employment Network Program was an idea that was developed in 1987 by a group of interested professionals who worked with individuals with developmental disabilities. This group included the office of the Department of Developmental Services. DDS approached the SouthCoast Chamber with a proposal to form a partnership between the two agencies. This partnership created a new and innovative approach to creating job opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

Since its inception, the Chamber’s Supported Employment Network has been molded and changed in many different ways in order to meet the needs of the people it served. Over the years, the Supported Employment Network not only addressed the needs of the job seekers, but also provided a valuable resource for chamber members who were looking to hire trained, skilled and capable employees.

The Southcoast Chamber’s Supported Employment Network proved to be a uniquely designed and successful program like no other program within any Chamber of Commerce in this country. The SouthCoast Chamber’s achievements did not go unnoticed. Its outstanding accomplishment has led to not only state recognition, but also led to recognition within the United States and most astounding is that the program has received worldwide recognition.

In 2000, the SouthCoast Chamber received recognition and an award at the ADA 10 year celebration ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2005, hte SouthCoast Chamber was listed in the United States Department of Labor’s guide and handbook for employers throughout the country who hire employees with disabilities. Our Chamber was listed as the STAR program when it came to practices and procedures to promote hiring people with disabilities. The Chamber’s Supported Employment Network was also highlighted in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s newsletter for its outstanding program.

One of the Supported Employment Network’s most fascinating experiences was meeting with representatives from Rotary Russia. The committee from Russia was given a presentation on the SouthCoast Chamber’s Supported Employment Network Program’s history and accomplishments which included showing the committee the video that the Network had developed “Supported Employment: Make It Work for You.” The Russian committee was so impressed with the message in the video that they were determined not to leave unless the Network gave them a copy of the video. This was a request that the Network was pleased to accommodate. The Russian committee’s plan was to show the Network’s video and its progressive services for people with disabilities at large conferences throughout Russia including in big cities like Moscow, Siberia, Saint Petersburg and Novosibirsk.

Throughout the years, in addition to developing the Supported Employment video, the Network committee also developed a brochure, participated in a UMass Center for Marketing Research survey, met with a mayor and gave panel discussions and presentation at seminars. The Southcoast Supported Employment Network hosted an annual information session for the Greater New Bedford community titled “Social Security and Working: How it Effects Social Security Benefits”. The Supported Employment Network also had a regular column call Enterprising Minds in the SouthCoast Chamber’s Focus newsletter. Articles often highlighted success stories of employees with disabilities who were working in the community, skilled job seekers with disabilities and stories that inspired reader about the many benefits of hiring a skilled, talented and loyal employee with disabilities.

Most recently, there were some individuals who stood out because of their outstanding accomplishments.


-Reece Arnold from Better Community Living, Inc. is a gifted musician who was hired by various members of the chamber to provide musical entertainment at their social events. Reece was hired by the SouthCoast Chamber to play music at the Member Appreciation event and also at the APEX Awards Reception.

-Chris Mercer from Lifestream, Inc. was hired by Donald Giumetti proprietor of Shepard Group, Inc. after Giumetti read an article in Enterprising Minds indicating that Chris was looking for employment, Giumetti said to himself, “I’m want to hire that guy.” The two continue to banter and share their love for sports in between performing job duties.


-Katie Brienzo from M.O .Life, Inc. was a unique and inspirational young woman. Ms. Brienzo was tragically killed at only 29 years old but had accomplished so much in her short life. Prior to her death she had been successfully employed at the New Bedford Economic Development Office, Stop and Shop and Market Basket. Katie was also the founder of “HOPES and DREAMS” and advocacy group for people with disabilities. Following her death, Katie was recognized by various groups for her accomplishments in life including an award from APSE in Washington D.C. In 2012 Katie was given the “Inspirational Person of the Year” Award from the New Bedford Standard Times. Additionally, each year an outstanding person with disabilities is given an award in memory of Katie at the annual M.O. Life Gala. This award is called the Katie Brienzo Lifetime Achievement Award.

These outstanding individuals are just a few of the hundreds of talented people with disabilities in our community who have enriched a local business by being a part of the company’s successful work team.

Hats off! to our chamber members who have hired an employee with disabilities. You already know it is a wise decision. Participating in supported employment has always been good for business. The SouthCoast Chamber is proud to have been a remarkable benefit to helping people with disabilities find meaningful employment in our community.

If you are interested in hiring a person with disabilities please call Better Community Living, Inc. at 508-999-4300, Lifestream, Inc. at 508-991-4840, or M.O.Life, Inc. at 508-992-5978.

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U.S. Senator Edward Markey to Speak at Legislative Lunch

United States Senator Edward Markey will be featured at the SouthCoast Chamber and Bristol County Chamber 2019 Legislative Luncheon on Friday, May 17 at White’s of Westport located at 6 State Rd., Westport, MA. Hear about his new policies and agenda and how he is working to make sure the SouthCoast has a voice in Washington D.C.

While serving for 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Edward Markey fought for his constituents throughout his Congressional District. Senator Markey, a consumer champion and national leader on energy, environmental protection and telecommunications policy, has a prolific legislative record on major issues across the policy spectrum and a deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Massachusetts and our country. Whether the issue is climate change, clean energy, safeguarding privacy, nuclear non-proliferation, investor protection or preserving an open Internet that spurs competition and consumer choice, Senator Markey stands up for the priorities and values of Massachusetts.

The cost to attend this event, which includes lunch, is $50 per person. Registration is required and can be made online here or by calling 508-999-5231.

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Meet the Chamber Interns

 

Julia Costa

My name is Julia Costa, and I’m in the Hospitality Program at Bristol Community
College. I chose to do my internship with the Southeastern Mass Visitors Bureau, which is located within the SouthCoast Chamber. The Bureau has increased my love for people, travel, and tourism. I’ve been to so many new places, to events hosted by the Chamber, and I’ve met extremely successful people during my time here. I’m excited to learn more about the business side of tourism as well as marketing and social media. I love the idea of finding an attraction or event that will grasp a tourist’s attention. The amount of research I’ve done on the history of Bristol County has increased my awareness of how far we’ve come as a community. It’s also made me love all the hidden little things that the south coast has to offer. I hope to take everything I’ve learned during this semester and continue to use them in the future as I’ll never forget everything I’ve experienced here.

 

Shana McAskill

Hello my name is Shana McAskill, and I am a student at Bristol Community College currently studying Business Administration. I ultimately decided to do an internship at the SouthCoast Chamber for the opportunity to learn different aspects of operating a business. I am excited to learn content creation and networking. Being involved in the events and being able to see them in person will give me the variety of useful information in operations and technology that I need. I have already begun to work on press releases and the event pages to give the site updated information. I look forward to going to events like Business After Hours and Meet Your Neighbors to have new experiences and gain new skills. Being here for only the past couple of weeks has already given me new experiences and great people to work alongside with. I hope to learn and grow with them the rest of the semester.

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