Chamber Member News
Check here for the latest updates and news from West Hartford Chamber of Commerce Members
PeoplesBank Set New $2.3 MM Record for 2022 Donations
For a second year in a row, PeoplesBank set a new annual record for donations to civic and charitable causes. The bank tallied $2.3 million for in donations for 2022, which is $1 million dollars more than last year’s record. Since 2011, the bank has donated well over $13 million to area causes.
“Supporting the community is essentially what we were set up to do,” explains Tom Senecal, President and CEO of PeoplesBank. “We are a mutual bank, chartered to serve our customers and the communities they live in. As a mutual bank, we do not have stockholders who would divert profits. Therefore, we are able to significantly support nonprofits and other community causes.”
Mr. Senecal added that, as a large regional employer whose values include community service, PeoplesBank is able to increase its support to the community and social service organizations through volunteerism. “We have a lot of talent in our organization and because of that we have a significant presence on area nonprofit boards of directors. We also look for opportunities to roll up our sleeves and serve, and we spend thousands of hours each year doing that.”
“PeoplesBank has been so amazing,” stated Hannah Bush, Company Manager for Ballet Hartford. “They welcomed us right into their facility and sat down with me as I explained Ballet Hartford and shared our heart, and they are behind us, asking how they can help.” Ballet Hartford produces programs that incorporate historical, classical ballet and new, artistically diverse choreographic works, providing their audiences with performances that both uphold tradition and celebrate innovation.
Chris Nikolis of Suffield Little League and Suffield PMC Kids Ride has experienced the depth of PeoplesBank’s support firsthand: “If you go to any event in town, whether it’s Suffield Little League or Suffield on the Green, you are going to see the PeoplesBank logo as a proud sponsor.”
From the start, Kate Shafer, Director of Development, Hands on Hartford, was impressed by the commitment PeoplesBank made when it opened its West Hartford Banking Center. “We have a new relationship with PeoplesBank, and I am just completely blown away by the support that they have given us.”
More information on PeoplesBank Corporate Responsibility and how to apply for a donation can be found at bankatpeoples.com/support.
PeoplesBank is a leader in innovation, corporate responsibility, environmental sustainability, and employee engagement. Our three LEED® certified offices are environmentally friendly, and we have financed more than $188 million in wind, hydroelectric, and solar energy projects.
As the largest community bank in the market, we have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through volunteer efforts and millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes.
PeoplesBank is a mutual bank and therefore is responsible to our depositors, employees, and the community. This organizational structure allows us to focus on the long-term viability of the bank and the best interests of our customers. We currently have 20 banking centers located in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
GCAi for PeoplesBank
Mary Cate Mannion, 413.736.2245
Bergenn Financial Group Opens Doors in West Hartford Center
West Hartford, CT: Eric Bergenn of West Hartford, CT has launched Bergenn Financial Group to serve local families and businesses with financial planning and investment management services. Bergenn Financial Group is located at 45 South Main Street, suite 203. Eric has been a Financial Advisor for about 10 years and has spent the last 4 with New England Financial Group in West Hartford Center.
“I’m excited to build on my longstanding business relationships in town and to offer an experience tailored to better serve my existing clients and others who may be seeking advice in West Hartford and the surrounding areas,” said Eric Bergenn – Financial Advisor, Founder, and President of Bergenn Financial Group. “Although I’ll miss working with some great people at New England Financial Group & Baystate Financial, I’m really excited to be able to build something that I think will benefit my clients and the community.”
Bergenn Financial Group is committed to being involved in the local community by joining the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, the West Hartford Center Business Association, and supporting other local businesses and causes.
For more information, please contact:
For more information on Bergenn Financial Group:
American Eagle’s “Cash Back to the Community” to Support Connecticut Children’s Foundation,
The Love MOM Foundation and The ARC of Connecticut
AEFCU has now donated $79,163 through “Cash Back to the Community” in 2022
American Eagle Financial Credit Union (AEFCU) announced this year’s third quarter winners of Cash Back to the Community—three nonprofits from AEFCU’s service area—who will receive $26,430 in total donations for garnering the most support during the latest round of voting for the Credit Union’s popular philanthropic program.
The 2022 third-quarter winners, who will each receive $8,810 from American Eagle, include:
- The Love MOM Foundation, Inc., based in Seymour, CT
- Connecticut Children’s Foundation, based in Hartford, CT
- The ARC of Connecticut, Inc., based in Meriden, CT
“American Eagle congratulates each of these organizations for this well-deserved recognition and we sincerely thank them for all they do in supporting our communities,” said Howard Brady, President & CEO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union
“American Eagle’s donation will help us provide free and immediate services to families after the sudden loss of a loved one—such as housecleaning, childcare, lawn services, household financial management, tutor services, meal planning, holiday planning and more,” said Lori Nespoli, Founder of The Love Mom XOXO Foundation, Inc. “Our goals for this year include building up our online peer-to-peer support forum and further developing our resource page, which will include educational workshops and webinars for parents and children.” You can learn more about The Love Mom XOXO Foundation, Inc. at lovemomxoxo.org.
“We are grateful for American Eagle Financial Credit Union’s support of Connecticut Children’s—the only health system in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children,” said Alyssa Horrall, Director of Corporate Relations of the Connecticut Children’s Foundation. “Their partnership plays an important role in our ability to provide exceptional care to more than 100,000 patients each year.” You can learn more about the Connecticut Children’s Foundation at connecticutchildrensfoundation.org.
“The Arc of Connecticut, Inc., is the oldest and largest advocacy organization in Connecticut dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (“IDD”) and promoting their inclusion in the full life of their community,” said Win Evarts, Executive Director of The Arc of Connecticut, Inc. “Our advocacy is aimed at supporting and improving Connecticut’s system of community-based supports by increasing the array of services provided, educating individuals with IDD and their parents/guardians to better navigate the system and engaging in policy advocacy in the areas of housing, employment, education, healthcare and civil rights.” You can learn more about The Arc of Connecticut, Inc. at thearcct.org.
About Cash Back to the Community
AEFCU donates one percent of its credit and debit card interchange income to three nonprofit and/or 501(c)(3) organizations each quarter through the Cash Back to the Community program. Funding for the program is generated each time its members use an American Eagle Financial Credit Union credit or debit card. At the end of each quarter, one percent of the total interchange income – the fee paid for credit and debit card transactions – is distributed to the three top qualified nonprofits as voted on by a combination of the Credit Union’s members and the public. More can be learned about Cash Back to the Community by visiting americaneagle.org/cashback.
Established in 1935, American Eagle Financial Credit Union (AEFCU) is a full-service credit union offering checking and savings accounts, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, business accounts and more. American Eagle offers banking online, through its mobile app, or at one of its 14 branches located in Connecticut. AEFCU has more than 165,000 members, over $2.3 billion in assets, and offers banking services to anyone who lives, works, attends school, or worships in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, and New Haven County in Connecticut, and Hampden County in Massachusetts. For more information about American Eagle Financial Credit Union, visit www.americaneagle.org.
Best Cleaners Marks Successful First Year in West Hartford
Community Appreciation Day Planned for Saturday 10/29
Coats For Connecticut Collection Kicks off Wednesday 11/2
West Hartford, CT – One year ago Best Cleaners opened its 14th environmentally-friendly dry cleaning and tailoring site at 17 Sedgwick Road in West Hartford and have since enjoyed a warm welcome and successful 12 months of operation. To celebrate, a special community appreciation day will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers and community members are invited to join Best Cleaners owners, managers, and staff for food, fun and prizes throughout the day. They are also encouraged to drop off gently-used coats to donate to Best’s annual COATS FOR CONNECTICUT collection, which kicks off on Wednesday, November 2 and runs through Saturday, November 12. Winter coats and jackets for all ages and sizes are needed. Best will clean and deliver them to local Salvation Army centers and shelters for distribution directly to families in need.
“Our first year in West Hartford has been a great experience for all of us at Best. We wanted to show our appreciation to our customers and the entire community in a fun way,” stated Best Cleaners Owner and President Shawn McCann, “We love the opportunity to get to know people and say thanks face to face.”
The third generation, family-owned dry-cleaning company leased the vacant Sedgwick Road location that was previously occupied by Victoria Cleaners, completely renovating the interior space and establishing its cornerstone GreenEarth Cleaning method, same-day service, tailoring, and free delivery. The 67-year-old, Middletown-based operation is known for its commitment to customer care and community service. Most notably, Best Cleaners was one of the first cleaners in Connecticut to make the commitment and financial investment to convert to an eco-friendly dry-cleaning process, earning recognition and a Green Circle award from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for voluntarily implementing a facility-wide pollution prevention plan in 2002. The company also developed the statewide COATS FOR CONNECTICUT campaign, having collected, cleaned and delivered more than 137,000 coats to those in need in Connecticut. Best also made a $1000 donation to Westmoor Park in support of its educational and recreational programs at last year’s West Hartford grand opening ceremony. More information can be found at bestcleaners.com or by calling 888-950-BEST (2378).
# # #
COMCAST INCREASING INTERNET SPEEDS AND LAUNCHES NEW
2 GIG SPEED TIER ACROSS THE NORTHEAST
Boosting Upload and Download Speeds Across Most Popular Tiers for Customers from Maine through Virginia
Launching 2 Gig Speeds in Five Major Markets Before the End of 2022
MANCHESTER, NH – October 17, 2022 – Comcast today announced it will increase speeds for its most popular Xfinity Internet tiers across 14 northeastern states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia. The company will also roll out new download speeds up to 2 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) – combined with up to 5x-to-10x faster upload speeds – for Xfinity customers in markets across the Northeast, including Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C before the end of the year.
“Comcast continues to be ahead of customer demand,” said Kevin Casey, Comcast Northeast Division President. “Through advanced digital network innovation, we are again evolving our network to provide faster speeds for customers and are excited to begin rolling out a multi-gig speed tier to customers in the Northeast.”
Boosting Internet Speeds for Most Popular Xfinity Tiers
The following speed increases will be offered to customers on Xfinity’s most popular speed tiers and will roll out over the coming weeks. This is the second time Comcast has increased speeds for customers in the Northeast this year, following our March 2022 speed increase.
Xfinity Internet Speed Increases:
- Performance Starter from 50/10 to 75/10 Mbps
- Doubling speeds for Performance from 100/10 to 200/10 Mbps
- Performance Pro from 300/10 to 400/10 Mbps
- Blast from 600/20 to 800/20 Mbps
- Extreme Pro from 900/20 to 1 Gbps/20 Mbps
- New Gigabit x2 tier in select markets for 2 Gbps/100 Mbps
Comcast will also be doubling upload speeds nationally for all Internet Essentials Plus customers, from 100/10 Mbps to 100/20 Mbps. Internet Essentials Plus includes a cable modem, access to millions of WiFi hotspots, and unlimited data for $29.95 per month; and customers who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program can get this tier of service for free.
New 2 Gig Speeds and Faster Upload Speeds for xFi Complete Customers
Comcast recently embarked on the largest- and fastest-ever multi-gig deployment in the United States that will make multi-gig speeds available to more than 50 million homes and business by the end of 2025. Comcast Northeast Division teams have begun enabling these upgrades in Boston, Hartford and Philadelphia and will continue in Baltimore and Washington D.C before the end of the year.
As markets launch, Xfinity Internet customers who subscribe to xFi Complete, will have their upload speeds increased between 5 and 10 times faster. xFi Complete includes an xFi gateway, advanced cybersecurity protection at home and on the go, tech auto-upgrades for a new gateway after three years, and wall-to-wall WiFi coverage with an xFi Pod included if recommended. Now, another benefit of xFi Complete is faster upload speeds.
New xFi Complete Speed Tiers:
- Performance Starter from 75/10 to 75/75 Mbps
- Performance from 200/10 to 200/100 Mbps
- Performance Pro from 400/10 to 400/100 Mbps
- Blast from 800/20 to 800/100 Mbps
- Extreme Pro from 1 Gbps/20 to 1 Gbps/100 Mbps
- Gigabit Plus from 1.2 Gbps/35 to 1.2 Gbps/200 Mbps
- New Gigabit x2 tier in select markets for 2 Gbps/200 Mbps
The network updates that enable multi-gig speeds and faster uploads also accelerate Comcast’s work to evolve its entire network to 10G, which will deliver multigigabit upload and download speeds to tens of millions of Americans over the connections they already have in their homes. Comcast will begin offering 10G-enabled multi-gig symmetrical services in 2023.
"We’re virtualizing our network to make it even smarter, faster and more reliable,” said Ed Marchetti, Senior Vice President, Technical Operations and Engineering, Comcast Northeast Division. “The technical work we are doing to move key components to the cloud allows us to bring multi-gig speeds to our entire Northeast footprint faster and more ubiquitously than anyone else.”
Speeds Supported by an Unbeatable WiFi Experience
While fast speeds are table stakes, Comcast is regularly introducing new capabilities to help our customers manage their increasingly connected homes:
- Next-Level Cybersecurity: Advanced cybersecurity that blocks threats at the gateway, before they reach devices, to keep everyone safe and secure online.
- WiFi Controls: A dashboard for all the devices connected to the home network with built-in capabilities to pause access, set up parental controls or automate screen-time rules.
- Wall-to-Wall Coverage: A reliable connection for all connected devices and coverage throughout the home with Xfinity xFi Pod WiFi extenders.
- Most Recommended Mobile: A top-ranked mobile service according to the ACSI, Xfinity Mobile combines the most reliable 5G with more than 20 million WiFi hotspots to deliver the fastest mobile speeds in Comcast service areas and save people hundreds of dollars per year.
- Unbeatable Entertainment: 4K streaming to enjoy content in one place and an award-winning voice remote to navigate between them seamlessly. Plus, thousands of hours of free entertainment.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on connectivity, aggregation, and streaming with 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia.
Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
Charter Oak State College Foundation Elects New President as a New Era of Enhanced Giving Begins
NEW BRITAIN, CT- September 8, 2022 The Charter Oak State College Foundation, (www.CharterOak.edu/foundation), has announced that Joyce Petrella, Managing Partner of Calculus of Talent, a global network of professional talent management practitioners, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the Charter Oak State College Foundation, Petrella is a resident of West Hartford, CT.
Having served on the Foundation Board for a decade and recruiting the best talent to serve alongside her, Petrella was the next natural leader to step into the role as successor to long-time president and Charter Oak Alum, Rebeka Scalia.
"Joyce has a super talent - the ability to foster cooperation and lead thought-provoking discussions as she creates enthusiasm for the plan ahead." Carol Hall, Executive Director of the Charter Oak State College Foundation, reported. "She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and dig in. Joyce is a volunteer extraordinaire, and I look forward to serving under her leadership."
Petrella shared her reasons for accepting the position, "I continue to volunteer for the Charter Oak State College Foundation for the same reasons that attracted me to the school in the first place - to support and accelerate adults who seek to complete their degree while managing their families and the challenges of modern life. Over the years, I have seen the COSC Foundation as an innovator of equity. We began lifting women up through the Women in Transition degree completion program and have created a variety of endowed scholarship funds. The Foundation continues to innovate to meet student need with programs like the Student Crisis Fund which provides financial support for unexpected financial emergencies that could stop a student from continuing with their education, and the Parents Intent on Improving Tomorrow Scholarship, an intentional resource created out of the Shea Lecture, aimed at parents in poverty."
Charter Oak State College President, Ed Klonoski is excited about both the Foundation's new President and its rededication to providing even more support to Charter Oak's students. "Joyce is deeply committed to the mission, talented, and resourceful. I look forward to her leadership. She and I have collaborated for many years, and I expect great things during her term of office."
The Foundation is committed to removing economic disparity in Higher Education by providing scholarships, grants, and emergency funding for our students. Petrella acknowledges that we have helped so many students over the years; however, she admits that the Foundation is at an inflection point, and the mission is critical now more than ever.
Petrella shared that the Board's aspirational goal is to fund more scholarships, reach more students, and reduce the financial barriers to our student's success. Student need is increasing due to a variety of factors, student loan debt is daunting, and employers need workforce ready candidates.
Petrella concludes, "if you are an employer looking for highly capable employees to stay competitive, let's talk! It's an exciting time!"
How can you help? We invite you to learn about Foundation President Petrella’s vision for the Foundation to improve lives through higher education degree completion. Learn how degree completion helps to enrich the lives of our students, their families, and by extension, our workforce, and communities. Please consider honoring Joyce with a gift of financial support for our scholarship fund or send an email to [firstname.lastname@example.org], join our conversation with Joyce and receive more information. The Charter Oak State College Foundation (www.CharterOak.edu/Foundation), established in 1977, is a non-profit tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting flexible and comprehensive degree completion opportunities for adults and technology innovations through the work of Charter Oak State College. The Foundation is a vehicle for accepting private gifts, donations, and bequests. Governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, the leadership provides direction for development activities and stewardship of the Foundation's assets. The Board is committed to assisting students meet their educational and career aspirations - Creating Brighter Futures, One Degree at a Time. Founded in 1973, Charter Oak State College (www.CharterOak.edu) is Connecticut's public online college, offering associate and bachelor's degrees in high-demand fields including Health Information Management, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education and Business Administration. The College offers master's degrees in Health Informatics, Health Care Administration and Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership. Charter Oak is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and governed by Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Education.