Leading in Central MA: Casey Cormier, VP of Angel-Guard Products
Monday, March 17, 2014
A Conversation with Casey Cormier
SW: When was Angel Guard Products founded and by whom?
CC: Angel-Guard was founded in 1991 by my father, Fred Cormier. My uncles Dave Cormier and Scot Peterson joined as partners a few years later. My father had an idea for a foam broom used to quickly clear snow off of cars. Now, more than 20 years later, the Sno Brum is still one of the top selling snow tools in the country. The best part is that nearly all the components are manufactured here in New England, and all assembly and packaging is done right here at our facility in Worcester. In fact, one of my first jobs when I was a teenager was assembling Sno Brums. Growing up in a small, family business afforded me the opportunity to learn and work in all aspects of the business. I'm very grateful for that.
SW: Can you describe how you help bring inventions to market?
CC: Inventors come to us usually on reputation or recommendation. Typically an inventor will come to us with a patented and, often, prototyped invention. We license the invention, and work closely with the inventor on the design to make sure the product can be manufactured in a cost effective way without sacrificing quality. Once we have arrived on a final design, we source and oversee the manufacturing. The majority of our products are made here in MA. With more than 20 years in business we have been able to build close relationships with some truly fabulous companies in the area. This has allowed us to be competitive against the larger corporations manufacturing overseas. Final assembly and packaging is done at our facility. Marketing, branding and sales are all handled in house as well. It's unique in that we get to see an idea take shape from an inventor, and go all the way to market.
SW: Have you brought some of your own inventions to the market?
CC: Unfortunately my inventions, so to speak, haven't made it past the drawing board or prototype stage. Hopefully some day I'll come up with the right product at the right time, but until then I'm happy working with inventors. It's always amazing getting a call from one of the inventors after he has seen his product on the shelf or in a catalog for the first time.
SW: What is on the drawing board for Angel Guard Products in 2014?
CC: This is going to be a very exciting year for us. We have several contractor and homeowner tools launching in Home Depot this spring. Additionally we have been working with an inventor from Connecticut who seems to turn out inventions faster than I can keep up with. We'll be launching several more new tools this year at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas and at the Deck Expo/Remodeling Show in Baltimore.
SW: Are you involved in the community?
CC: Our core value is creating employment opportunities for disabled individuals within our community. When my father first founded the company, he had it written into the corporate bylaws that as much assembly and packaging as possible is to be performed by people with disabilities. To this day nearly 90% of our assembly and packaging provides employment due those with disabilities. We have worked closely with the Center of Hope in Southbridge for a number of years. Giving back to the community and helping folks in need was always a huge part of my family’s life, and that has certainly carried over to the business as well.
SW: Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
CC: First and foremost would be my parents. My mother, Dale, is one of the kindest and warmest people I know. She taught me the value in truly listening to people. Of course you can see my father's influence in my business life, but it is his integrity and generosity not just with friends and family, but with complete strangers as well that has always inspired me. My wife, Jamie, has a level of compassion for others that I can only hope to try and keep up with. And of course my kids; kids have a funny way of changing your perspective on just about everything.
SW: Your favorite quote?
CC: That is tough one. A lot of great quotes come to mind depending on the situation, but if I had to choose:
"A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting."
- Jon Pertwee, as the Third Doctor from Doctor Who
SW: What is something that few people know about you?
CC: I read just about anything I can get my hands on, and I'm typically reading 2 to 3 books at any one time. Always a book on improving an aspect of our business (or myself within the business), usually some sort of philosophy book, and a sci-fi or fantasy book because a little escape from reality grants a little bit of mindful rest and often times sparks my creativity in the real world.
SW: How do you spend your free time?
CC: I have a 3 year-old son and a 2 year-old daughter, so I use the term free time very loosely. Every opportunity I have I spend with them, and when they finally fall asleep you can usually find me either reading a book or watching a Doctor Who marathon.
SW: How do you define success?
CC: Success, to me, is a life well lived. I don't remember who said it, but there is a quote that goes "it's not the years in your life, but the life in your years." When I look back years from now I want to know that, without a doubt, I lived my life to the fullest of my potential.
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CC: I would certainly like to see Angel-Guard grow into a nationally recognized brand as a company that fosters creativity, innovation and quality into all out products. To me, that continued growth would help create a number of opportunities for folks in the Worcester area both at Angel-Guard and at the local companies that we work with. (And maybe by then some of my own inventions will have made their way onto retail shelves as well!)
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens. If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].
Related Slideshow: 14 To Watch in Central Mass in 2014
EcoTarium's Cox, who took the helm in 2012, is one to certainly watch in 2014. If you don't know Joe, he helped raise over $26.5 million at his previous post at the Galisano Children's Museum in Florida – and broke attendance projections in the process. If a track record of success is any indicator of a future one, expect to see amazing things at the Ecotarium.
Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, EcoTarium will soon house one of the most unique exhibits in the country. A team of researchers led by Robert L. Ryan, professor of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, along with Worcester's Clark University and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, will integrate the science of urban systems into a new "City Science" exhibit.
Next City Manager
With Michael O'Brien's departure from the City Manager post he'd held since 2004 for the private sector, Ed Augustus got tapped from his Director of Communications post at Holy Cross to fill O'Brien's shoes – but for an interim basis only. The former McGovern staffer and State Senator will take the helm for nine months only, leaving the big question in 2014 as to who will be the next City Manager.
The next City Manager will have a myriad of issues to deal with, from economic development, to crime – a top issue as far as residents are concerned. Will the next City Manager address the fact that while more than 40 percent of Worcester's population is a minority, the City has more than 1,600 full- and part-time city employees and well over 80 percent of them are white. Will city government ever reflect the population of Worcester?
The Hamilton native, who did a stint at Syracuse before declaring for the NBA draft this year, is already making an impact as a pro.
In February, GoLocal's John Barone broke the news that Hamilton native, and Syracuse Orange guard, Michael Carter-Williams would declare for the 2013 NBA draft after his sophomore season.
Carter-Williams, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American at St. Andrews in Rhode Island, was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently having himself quite a rookie year, with 17.6 point and 7.8 assist per game averages.
Dr. Dickson, who was named President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care this past February, will no doubt continue to have an influential role in the community.
During his tenure to date, challenges have included financial and labor issues, but also oversight of major changes as well -- Dickson appointed a new president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, Patrick Muldoon, and embarked on closer collaboration with Baystate Health to improve quality, access, and affordability of care.
Republican activist and Boylston school committee member Brad Wyatt will definitely be someone to watch in 2014, having just announced he's running for State Representative.
Wyatt is eyeing Hank Naughton's seat in the 12th Worcester District, as Naughton's now seeking the office of Attorney General. According to the Red Mass Group, the district, which includes Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster, and Berlin is the 38th most Republican leaning district in the Commonwealth. Scott Brown took the 12th in 2010 63-36, and Charlie Baker got 51% to Deval Patrick's 40%. Could Wyatt see a similar success in 2014? Stay tuned.
The Holy Cross senior is no stranger to politics – both locally, and in Washington, DC, having worked as an intern in the Office of Communications at The White House (and before that both in the office of the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Worcester.)
As President and co-founder of the Worcester Student Government Association, Hakim told GoLocal's Susan Wagner, "Lately I have been describing myself as a pragmatist. I’m definitely a dreamer, but I believe the only way to get anything done is to make an honest assessment of where things stand and then go from there."
Who will get medical marijuana licenses in Worcester County will be watched for certain in 2014.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health in November released the names the 100 applicants for potential medicinal marijuana dispensaries who made it through to Phase 2 of the state’s licensing process. Worcester was named by 10 different applicants, more than any other city. The county itself has 14 finalists for dispensaries, more than any other county than neighboring Middlesex, which has almost twice the population.
Future of the T&G
What will become of the Telegram and Gazette will no doubt be closely watched in 2014.
GoLocal's Dean Starkman wrote in November of the scenario, "The Telegram and Gazette, a wallflower among New England newspapers that has suffered years of benign neglect by distant owners, seemed poised for a revival, after John Henry scooped it up as part of his landmark deal to buy the Boston Globe. Now a month later, he’s putting it on the block."
The potential future of the paper that has a nearly 150-year presence in the city and circulation of roughly 75,000 was broken down by Starkman. One of the major question marks is if new ownership would be local, or a return to a New York parent company.
The quintessential power player in Worcester has been a tireless advocate for the Commonwealth's tourism and visitor industry – with clear focus on developing the Canal District and the Blackstone Valley.
Giangregorio sits on the boards of Preservation Worcester and the Worcester Convention and Visitor Bureau, and also serves on the steering committee of Citizens for Business and as representative for the Canal District on the Mayor's Small Business Roundtable.
Be Like Brit
The legacy of Britney Gengel, who perished in the 2010 Haiti earthquake while on a service trip with Lynn University, continues to move forward through the Be Like Brit orphanage.
What started as a project built in her memory is now home to 35 children, and employs more than 40 full-time employees. According to the Be Like Brit website, hundreds of American and Canadian college students and other volunteers visit or volunteer at Be Like Brit each year.
He might have gotten the nod earlier this year for his cool factor, but GoLocal is putting Corazzini on our list of people to watch because of his "kid" factor.
While we feature the business and political minds needed to move Worcester – and all of Central Mass – forward, we recognize that the future of the Commonwealth depends on the education, and development, of our youth.
Waterman, the CEO of Girls, Inc., didn't always know she'd end up in the role of spearheading the 97-year-old organization in Worcester that allows girls the ability to participate in enrichment programs and get the tools, opportunities, and encouragement needed to grow.
A 20 year veteran of the mortgage banking industry, Waterman created "Divorce Mortgage Specialists" to help women in transition, before switching gears to head up Leading Women Massachusetts as President, providing cutting-edge leadership development solutions for women in organizations. Now, Waterman is setting her sights on the 100 year anniversary of Girls Inc. in 2016.
Central Rock Gym
Could 2014 be the year you start climbing to the top? If you haven't already been to a Central Rock Gym, watch out, because you could just catch the climbing bug.
Now in four locations in MA and CT, the gym offers climbing opportunities for all ages and abilities, and hosts climbing camps, regional, national – and international – competitions.
Trial attorney Paczkowski is as busy out of the courtroom as she is in – sitting on the Community Legal Aid Access to Justice Campaign Leadership Committee and co-chair of the Young Lawyers' Division of the Worcester County Bar Association, Paczkowksi is also the founding member and President of the Young Professionals Women's Association.
With goals of serving as a platform for women to share their voice on issues relating to the region's vitality, connecting with women through social and educational events, and providing opportunities for self-enrichment, the YPWA's esteemed found was recently named a 2013 Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star.
- Leading in Central MA: Betsy Fuller, Dean of Becker College
- Leading in Central MA: Heather C. Arndt, VP of BofA Merrill Lynch
- Leading in Central MA: Worcester Local First’s Julie Theriault
- Women Leading in Central MA: Top Divorce Mediator Polly Tatum
- Women Leading in Central Mass: Realtor Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor
- Leading In Central MA: Ctr. for Nonviolent Solutions’ Christa Drew
- Leading in Central MA: Bob Caron, Co-Founder of Body Therapeutics
- Leading in Central MA: Joe Cox, President of the EcoTarium
- Leading in Central Ma: Worcester Center for Crafts’ Honee A. Hess
- Women Leading in Central MA: Worcester Food Bank’s Jean McMurray
- Leading In Central MA: Hospitality Entrepreneur Michael Covino
- Leading in Central MA: Body Therapeutics Co-Founder Jennifer Caron
- Leading in Central MA: Joshua Ahearn - VP of Ahearn Equipment
- Leading in Central Massachusetts: BNY Mellon VP, Tina Potenti
- Women Leading in Central MA: Workforce Consultant Amy Mosher
- Leading in Central MA: Mary Beth Benison, Living Her Dream
- Leading in Central MA: Cheryll Toney Holley, Chief, Nipmuc Nation
- Leading in Central MA: Justin Jarboe, CEO, The Jarboe Group
- Leading in Central Massachusetts: Pamela Boisvert – CEO MassEdCO
- Women Leading in Central Mass.: Cancer Crusader Corrie Painter
- Leading in Central MA: Activist/Philanthropist Mary DeFeudis
- Leading in Central MA: Entrepreneur, Jacqueline Dube
- Leading in Central MA: Marcela Uribe-Jennings, Asst. Dean at WSU
- Women CEOs Leading in Central MA
- Women Leading in Central Mass.: Child Advocate Rose Pavlov
- Leading in Central MA: Artist + Executive Helen Sheldon Beaumont
- Leading in Central MA: Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong
- Leading in Central MA: Paul Overton of The Center at Eagle Hill
- Women Leading in Central MA: Cancer Activist Audrey Kurlan-Marcy
- Women Leading in Central Mass: Broker/Activist Anna Ling Pierce
- Leading in Central MA: Audio Journal’s Vince Lombardi
- Leading in Central MA: Gallery of African Art’s Zach Combs
- Leading in Central MA: Ricci W. Hall, Principal Claremont Academy
- Women Leading in Central MA: Healthcare Leader Janice B. Yost
- Women Leading in Central Mass: Child Activist Dr. Teresa Rafferty
- Leading in Central MA: Bay State Savings’ Diane Giampa
- Leading in Central MA: Girls, Inc. CEO Victoria Waterman
- Leading in Central MA: Sweet’s Alina Eisenhauer
- Women Leading in Central MA: South High Principal Maureen Binienda
- Women Leading in Central Mass: Fitness Guru Lin Hultgren