Ben Lathrop leads Chamber

Ben Lathrop, new Norwich Chamber president, fields a question at the ceremony announcing his new role

The Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce has selected former Norwich mayor Benjamin P. Lathrop to become President and Executive Director for the Chamber, based at 112 Main Street in Norwich.

“Ben is an experienced businessperson who understands the challenges that face businesses, both large and small. He will be great at connecting people to the products, services, and resources offered by our Chamber to help them succeed,” said Stacie Lambert, Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

“His vision for the business community is aligned with our mission and we are pleased to have him leading the charge for the Greater Norwich Area Chamber.”

Lathrop succeeds Nancy Gray, who in July accepted a position with the Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF).

For the last 35 years, Ben has worked for Shipman’s Fire Equipment Company of Waterford. In addition to his record of public service, he has been active in the Chamber, which is the voice of business in the northern half of New London County.

Todd Postler, Vice Chair of the Board, said that the selection was “a natural fit and a positive development for the organization. The entire board is excited about having Ben join us and working with him to make our service area a better place to live, work, and play.”

Board member and founding Chairman Ted Phillips added that “Ben’s enthusiasm for everything he gets involved with is contagious. I can’t think of a better selection, and we are honored that he has accepted the position.” The Chamber’s volunteer-driven culture is not expected to change, he noted.

Lathrop lives in Norwich with his wife, Barbara. He is a record-holding coastal-water rower and enjoys many outdoor activities. A talented rug-hooker, he has created rugs that are in public and private collections. Ben enjoys spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren Abby, Katie, and Maxwell.

David Paige, CEO of Shipman’s, which is a member of the Chamber, said “Ben has been instrumental in Shipman’s becoming the premier fire-equipment business it is today. His new position with the Chamber is ideally suited for his charismatic personality, sense of humor, and optimistic business attitude. We are pleased to extend our best wishes to Ben, and look forward to working with him in his new position.”

The Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce can be contacted at 860.887.1647, or through its website,