By Kevin Wilhelm
We are so lucky to have the best volunteers. Every year, when we elect and appoint new members to our Board of Directors, I am inspired by their excitement and willingness to serve. At our annual meeting January 28, we welcomed six new board members: Coleen Duffy, Cathy Lechowicz, Chu K. Ngo, Robert Rose, Jr, Rick Waterman, and Barry Abramowitz.
Coleen Duffy, of Cromwell, is a CPA with Hintz & Company, LLC, in Portland. Before joining Hintz & Company, Duffy was self-employed as a CPA for nine years, and held various positions at Aenta for 17. She holds a Master’s Degree in taxation from the University of Hartford and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Connecticut. Duffy has been a member of Arrigoni Business Networking International for five years and has been involved with United Way Days of Caring for several years.
Cathy Lechowicz, of Middletown, is the Director of the Center for Community Partnerships at Wesleyan University. Lechowicz has worked for Wesleyan University for more than a decade, supporting and cultivating university-community partnerships. She previously worked on education reform research and served as an AmeriCorps member. Lechowicz holds a Bachelor’s Degree in education and a Master’s Degree in public administration. She is currently on the boards of NEAT, Neighborhood Preschool and the Middlesex Coalition for Children.
Chu K. Ngo, of Middletown, is the owner and proprietor of Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant in Middletown. Before opening Lan Chi three years ago, Ngo worked for 14 years as a research scientist with Neurogen and Bristol Meyers Squibb, researching ion channels, infectious diseases, neuropathic pain, and cardiac safety. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Connecticut. She is active with the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce and the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society.
Robert Rose, Jr., of Clinton, is a financial representative with MW Financial Group Ltd. He has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including mergers and acquisitions, life, disability, long-term care, and investments. Rose has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Jacksonville University and is licensed in insurance and securities. He will serve as chair of the Middlesex United Way Investment Committee. He is a member of Arrigoni BNI and volunteers with Clinton Youth Football and Cheer.
Rick Waterman, of Cromwell, is an insurance agent with L.H. Brenner Insurance Agency. He has 17 years of experience as an insurance agent specializing in commercial insurance and worker’s compensation. Waterman has been a Steering Committee member with the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society since 2012, leading efforts of the group, including volunteer projects and events. He also serves on the boards of Middlesex YMCA and KidSafe CT and on MARC Community Resources’ Business Advisory Council.
We also welcomed Barry Abramowitz to the board late last year. Abramowitz is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Liberty Bank. He has more than 30 years of experience in banking, specializing in technology, operations and strategic planning. He has served as CIO for the past 20 years. Abramowitz has served as a campaign chair for the Liberty Bank United Way campaign. He is currently chair of the Connecticut Banker’s Association Technology Committee and a longtime volunteer at House of Bread in Harford. Abramowitz has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from SUNY Albany.
We are fortunate at Middlesex United Way to work with approximately 1,000 volunteers during the year to help advance our mission. We have a staff of five full-time staff and four part-time staff, so our volunteer support is crucial, helps keep our overhead low, and means we have a volunteer-to-staff ratio of 111 to 1.
Welcome to our new board members. I look forward to working with them in the coming year.
Photo: Clockwise from top left: Chu Ngo, Cathy Lechowicz, Rick Waterman and Barry Abramowitz. Not pictured, Coleen Duffy and Robert Rose, Jr.