Tag Archives: L&M Hospital

Art Costa: Building Resilience Into New London’s Economy

by Jon Persson

A new bookcase at the New London Library, a gift of the Thames Valley Sustainable Connection, carries messages. On its shelves are books—also gifts from the TVSC—about sustainable communities, local food supplies, energy conservation, carbon-footprint reduction, and more.

The objective is to educate people about the advantages inherent in a movement to buy local, farm local, and conserve energy—and thereby build sustainable and prosperous communities. New London has within its business sector an emerging and increasingly successful component working hard to help transform this small city into a healthy place for people and businesses.

Art Costa, president of the Thames Valley Sustainable Connection and also of the New London Local First organization says the TVSC’s goal is to build a “local economy that is resilient” and not at the mercy of “up and down cycles” of the global economy.

“New London is not part of the global economy” Art explained, because the city is “dependent on imports” and does not export to the outside world. When people buy imported products,  “much of their money simply leaves New London and goes to large corporations and even other countries.” For example, if one spends a dollar at a locally owned business, .68 cents will remain within the local economy, while a dollar spent at a chain store sees .57 cents leave the local economy entirely.

But by purchasing locally made (and grown) items, he emphasizes, a series of positive effects are set in motion which help create prosperity and resilience. “More of your money stays in the area” Art continues, “creating more local jobs,” which will stay in the area year after year. And, “buying local and regional” products, most notably foods, “lessens the energy use and carbon footprint” of purchasing food and other products.

To achieve this end, New London now has two farmers’ markets, Fields of Greens on the Parade Plaza (Fridays, on State Street) and Field of Greens at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital (Wednesdays). These provide a convenient and carbon-efficient connection between local shoppers and regional farmers.

Art is aware that New London is not capable of being completely independent economically, which has expanded his attention to include both regional and local sources. Keeping people’s purchasing choices generally in the area helps everyone by maintaining the economic resilience Art repeatedly stresses.

Community Supported Agriculture, where people buy a share of future harvests from a local farmer, is yet another way that consumers may focus their purchasing power. “Farmers use this money to buy seeds and pay other expenses,” while investors receive fresh produce as it is harvested in return, Art said. New London Field of Greens has been acting as a drop-off place for these small-scale programs, something he hopes to see expand in the future.

There is power in the “small” as well as the “big,” he stresses. Art and his organizations are also working to bring local investors and small businesses together. He points out that attracting big corporations  for the sake of bringing jobs to the area “costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per job” while small businesses create jobs for a fraction of that cost. And, small businesses tend to stay in the area, again adding resilience to the local economy. Big corporations “think globally and not locally” and tend to “pull up and go anywhere cheaper,” leaving economic devastation behind.

New London Local First, which presently has over a hundred local business members, offers as an added incentive—a “$hare” card, available for $10. Holders of the $hare card are eligible for discounts on products and services from participating businesses, and cards remain valid throughout the calendar year….another real-life example of how the organizations headed by Art are working to build a strong local economy.

Information about the organizations of which Art Costa is president and co-chair may be found at: www.newlondonlocalfirst.org; www.newlondonfieldofgreens.org; and, www.greaternewlondonfarmtocity.org. Details about member businesses, the $hare Card, and more may be accessed at these sites.

Outstanding Leadership Award Honors Ulysses Hammond and CorePlus Federal Credit Union

story & photos
by Alexis Ann

Inside the Gathering Space at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center on an unusually hot June 12th, a couple of hundred business leaders and family members joined together to honor Ulysses Hammond, Vice President for Administration, Conn College, as the Outstanding Leadership Award recipient and Core Plus Federal Credit Union as the Community Service Awardee presented by the CT Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America. The evening’s celebration began with a tour of the Museum followed by cocktails, dinner and ceremony.

Keith Fontaine, Eagle Scout (1976), VP for Corporate Communications, Backus Hospital, Norwich, served as Master of Ceremonies. Kenneth Capano, Sr., owner of ShopRite and former Community Service Award recipient co-chaired the gala with Jeffrey Godley, Eagle Scout, member of Brown Jacobson, P.C..

The Outstanding Leadership Award is presented annually by the Boy Scouts to publicly acknowledge the accomplishments of an outstanding community leader; a person who lives by the Scout Oath and Law in his or her daily life. “Certainly, Ulysses Hammond is a person who exemplifies these characteristics,” said Bill Stanley, L&M Hospital, as he introduced the honoree. Bill served side-by-side with Ulysses on the Boards of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT and the United Way of Southeastern CT, described Ulysses as, “A true leader, a true community champion, a true gentleman and as good a friend as anyone could have in the world.”

“While he was not a Boy Scout himself, Ulysses did experience vicarious Boy Scout life through his son, Damon, who did, fortunately have access to a Scout troop while he was growing up,” Bill said. “Ulysses Hammond also lives each day as a Boy Scout would, demonstrating that he is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

At Conn College, Ulysses serves as the chief administrative and business operations officer and is coordinator of the college’s legal and community affairs. Currently, Ulysses is leading the college’s $53M, 10-year campus renewal effort.

A leader on campus and in the community, Ulysses holds numerous honors and awards, including OIC of New London’s 2008 Community Champion Award, Dominion Nuclear’s “Strong Men & Women: Excellence in Leadership” Award, the 2006 Connecticut Man of the Year Award, and the “Measure of a Man” Award from the Washington Inter-Alumni Council of the College Fund/United Negro College Fund and he is co-founder of the Tutoring for Success/Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program in the New London Public Schools.

Of all the organizations for which Ulysses serves, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund is “near and dear to his heart.” He is also vice chair on the board of directors at L&M Hospital, and is past board chair of both the United Way of SECT and Chamber of Commerce of ECT. As experienced and knowledgeable as Ulysses Hammond is, his favorite service to the community involves rolling up his sleeves to wash dishers at the New London Meal Center, where he volunteers as a member of the Rotary Club of NL.

In acceptance of the award, Ulysses Hammond stressed the importance of character development in our youth and thanked the Boy Scouts of America for its vital role in this mission. Ulysses thanked the attendees, his dear wife and his close friend, Reverend Watts for being there in his time of need. It was a tear-breaking moment, as he relayed his fight to beat prostate cancer.

The Community Service Award is presented annually too to organizations and individuals who play a vital role in the development and growth of a community. The spirit of Eastern CT is greatly enriched by the continual support of our business community and CT Rivers Council, BSA, is pleased to recognize those organizations that make a significant contribution to the quality of life in the communities it serves. On behalf of Core Plus Federal Credit Union, Warren P. Scholl, President & CEO, accepted the Community Service Award.

“In 1936, Core Plus started with 27 members and $15.00. Today, we are proud to provide sound financial health to over 20,000 members and over $180M in assets,” said Warren. “Core Plus is extremely honored to receive this award and we are especially privileged to share the evening with Ulysses Hammond.”

“Scouting touches lives! In more ways than we realize the fundamental lessons learned in scouting carry over as preeminent indicators of good character and right thinking in our society.”

“Whether an individual’s encounter with scouting was brief or whether they, as individuals, rose through the ranks to soar with eagles, scouting touches lives.”

“Do our best to do our duty” because scouting touches lives!