By Rod Lee
These are heady days for both the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the city of Worcester, a fact that will be celebrated at the Auburn Chamber’s 57th annual general meeting on April 30 at J Anthony’s Italian Grill.
The event, which starts with cocktails at 5:30, will kick off a spring and summer crammed with Auburn Chamber happenings, Steve Londregan of Chuck’s Steak House & Margarita Grille said on April 10th in looking forward to an appearance by Dr. Charles Steinberg of the new Worcester Red Sox as guest speaker later this month.
Mr. Londregan has every reason to feel excited about where the Auburn Chamber is at. He is beginning a two-year term as president of the organization, succeeding Francis P. DeFalco of DeFalco Family Chiropractic in that role.
That a “Woo” town flavor will be predominant at J Anthony’s is perfectly appropriate, Mr. Londregan said.
“We have probably the closest affiliation with the Worcester Regional Chamber, Worcester is growing fast and furious and we are closest in proximity to Worcester, so our hotels and restaurants can feed off” the resurgence that is taking place in the city, Mr. Londregan said.
The Auburn Chamber is on a comparable roll. With a revamped website, an emphasis on social media campaigns and a push to bolster membership, things are coming together from every angle, Mr. Londregan said.
“At the annual meeting,” he noted, by way of invitation, “any businessperson who brings a business card to the event gets a free one-year membership to show what we can do for them.”
Ahead after that for the Auburn Chamber are the annual town-wide cleanup on May 4, the annual scholarship breakfast on May 29 at the Auburn/Webster Lodge of Elks at which Worcester Regional Chamber President Tim Murray will speak, a MEGA networking event on June 13 at Indian Ranch, a summer concert in the park on July 18 at the Pappas Pavilion and the annual school/business golf tournament on September 9th at a new venue: Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton.
Management and membership of the Auburn Chamber are particularly keen on hearing from “Dr. Charles” a week from next Tuesday, given the imminent arrival of the Worcester Red Sox in a stadium just up the road that will open for business in 2021—coinciding with the start of that year’s International League season.
Dr. Steinberg’s credentials in the National Pastime are longstanding and impressive. A native of Baltimore who has worked for four major league teams (the Orioles, the Padres, the Dodgers and the Red Sox), he has been involved with the game from the age of seventeen and at this point in his career is a recognized master of communication, marketing and public relations. Just as an example, in 2013, he helped orchestrate the April 20 ceremony at Fenway Park that followed the Boston Marathon tragedy of April 15—this occurring one year to the day after he assisted in the 100th anniversary of the famed ballpark. He is also largely responsible for having created the fan-friendly atmosphere that now prevails at Fenway Park and for developing the team’s passionate fan base.
Dr. Steinberg’s well-rounded resume does not end there. He is a musician and songwriter who performed “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on the Fenway Park organ at Jimmy Buffet concerts in 2014. He had a cameo in the hit film “Fever Pitch.”
Carrie Cross, admissions/marketing director at the Life Care Center of Auburn and president ex-officio of the Auburn Chamber, agrees with Mr. Londregan in asserting that the organization is thriving.
“In the last year we have put a focus on having promotional events” targeting a younger demographic, in order for upcoming professionals to “grow their role,” Ms. Cross said. “Our Programs Committee is working on fun events and being more innovative to showcase different business. We listened to some members who weren’t thrilled with our golf event, we’ll try a new site for that. Our recent Expo was a success.”
Ms. Cross emphasized that “we want feedback—good, bad or indifferent.”
During her own two-year stint as president, “we did a lot of growing and I’m proud of that. We had fantastic times. We upped the amount of the Chamber’s scholarship (more than $300,000 has been awarded to deserving students since 1995), we concentrated on membership and members’ wants. Toward the end of my term Tim Murray and I had a standing joke, counting down the hours and minutes until I got married. Now I’m an old married woman!”
The Auburn Chamber, Ms. Cross, “has really gotten on the map in the last few years.”
Mr. Londregan said Chuck’s has been a member of the Auburn Chamber “almost from our inception.” The moment is right for him to step up as president, he said. “The restaurant is in good shape because of my team here, my kids are grown and I have four grandchildren with another on the way.”
Asked, tongue-in-cheek, if he is “ready” for the task of leading the organization, he said “yes. The president is a very good delegater!” In testament of this, for instance, he said, “I am leaning on Kerri Fuller Cunningham (of Fuller Automotive Companies of Auburn) and Lynne Ellis (of Savers Bank)” to ramp up the Chamber’s social media presence. Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Ellis are both directors.
Ms. Cross pointed out that “we’ve always had a great connection with the Worcester Regional Chamber. We operate directly with Tim Murray and his staff.”
Mr. Londregan has every intention of solidifying that relationship.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.
Dr. Charles Steinberg, president of the new Worcester Red Sox, will be addressing members and guests at the Auburn Chamber’s annual general meeting.