Penta leaves a lasting impact on the Westborough EDC

WESTBOROUGH_ The Westborough Economic Development Committee (EDC) will have a change in leadership on June 30th as its Chairman, Deborah Penta, CEO of PENTA Communications, Inc. will officially pass the torch to her successor, Bonnie Sullivan, Vice President of Middlesex Savings Bank. Penta has been a member of the Westborough EDC for the past eight years, four of which she served as its first woman chairman.

Congressman Jim McGovern, who has served as a U.S. Representative for more than two decades and is the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, commended Penta’s longstanding commitment to economic growth.

“Deborah is a force of nature. She is a fierce and devoted advocate for economic vitality and growth not only in Westborough, but in communities throughout Central Massachusetts,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Her energy and passion will be sorely missed – but I know that she will continue to lend her time and talent to bettering our community and helping those around her, just as she always has.”

The Westborough Economic Development Committee (EDC) was formed from Article 4 of a Special Town Meeting on October 20, 2008. The purpose of this committee is to: promote business development in the Town of Westborough; provide advice to the Board of Selectmen on economic development policy; meet with current Westborough business and prospective business CEOs and management teams; and, work cooperatively with businesses and state agencies to retain current businesses and attract new business and development to Westborough. The Committee is comprised of town officials and four appointed business leaders from companies in the Town of Westborough.

EDC Incoming Chairman Bonnie Sullivan thanked Penta for the high standards she provided to the committee during her four-year tenure.

“We’re so grateful for your leadership, for your friendship, and for your high standards that you’ve held us all to. You’ve been so generous with your time and your resources, and we’re so thankful to you,” said Sullivan.

Penta is well-known throughout New England as a business leader, philanthropist, and the founder and CEO of PENTA Communications, Inc., a full service integrated and interactive marketing firm, established in 1989.

“Deborah Penta is a very talented business leader. Under her guidance as Chair, the Westborough Economic Development Committee has succeeded in its mission to create a commerce-friendly atmosphere for the Town’s dynamic business community,” said Westborough Town Planner Jim Robbins. “Deborah has led the way in making Westborough an attractive location to start and expand business opportunities. Whether it’s reaching out to local companies to identify and provide for their needs or honoring local businesses at the Annual Economic Development Awards Ceremony, her own creation, Deborah has established an environment attractive to businesses of all sizes and all philosophies. Businesses feel welcome and proud to call Westborough home. Her positive attitude and energetic approach to promoting a business perspective will leave an impact on the Town for years to come.  It has been a pleasure to work with her. The EDC will greatly miss her leadership,” said Robbins.

Leigh Emery, Chair of the Westborough Board of Selectman, highlighted the defining actions that helped the EDC gain visibility and strengthen the business community.

“You have steadfastly furthered the mission of the EDC to make Westborough a business-friendly town in which to locate and grow large and small businesses. You have provided dedicated and masterful leadership and fostered high standards of professionalism for the EDC and staff,” said Emery.

“We thank you for the uncounted contributions you and your company have afforded the EDC, among which are beautification of our downtown with flags and planters, to offering the services of PENTA Communications,” Emery added.

As a member of the Westborough EDC for nearly a decade, Penta was and will continue to be a forceful advocate for businesses of all sizes, dedicated to fostering the economic development of Westborough, and offering companies a warm neighborhood welcome, not only as a business but as a community member.

“Ms. Penta has been a leader in economic development, not only in Westborough, but in the 495/MetroWest region as well,” said Paul Matthews, Executive Director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership. “Her skills, experiences, and perspective on marketing Westborough and the region are unparalleled, and resulted in direct economic growth in Westborough and the region.”

One of the initiatives taken during Penta’s term was the commencement of the Annual Year in Review and Celebratory Event, which recaps financial highlights from the past fiscal year, while honoring Westborough companies that have made a profound impact on economic development through job creation, expansion, or new development projects.

“Your inspiration and launching of the Review and Celebratory Event, acknowledging accomplishments and engaging our business community, was a stroke of genius and supported inestimably by PENTA Communications to become a well-attended annual event acknowledged by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito,” said Emery.

Twelve award categories including Best Expansion Project, Sustainable Business, Innovation, and Civic Pride mark the outstanding achievements of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

“In her eight years as a member of the Westborough Economic Development Committee, including the last four years as Committee Chair, Deborah has helped elevate the committee to new heights. Building on the strong foundation set by her predecessors, Deborah brought her unique and special talents to bear in rebranding the EDC in both print and online and, most importantly, creating and developing an annual recognition event for the leading businesses in our community.  While we are sad to see her stepping down from her position, we are so appreciative of all her efforts and confident that she will remain an advocate and strong supporter of businesses in Westborough and the work of the Westborough EDC,” said Ian Johnson, Westborough Selectman.

Former Westborough EDC Chairman and EMSEAL CEO Lester Hensley spoke about Penta’s achievements during her leadership of the EDC.

“Deborah came in and put on top of the foundation that had been laid, the extraordinary professionalism, the branding that she does so well, and ultimately put the ‘community’ in the business community through the annual recognition event. I think it’s an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Hensley.

Last year, the Westborough EDC Annual Report reflected significant developments including aiding the sale and acquisition of over 1.8 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, an accumulation of nearly 600 new jobs, and the retention of more than 2,500 jobs with over 1,000 new positions forecasted for the future.

State elected officials also recognized Penta’s work as Chairman and offered their gratitude and well wishes.

“Deborah Penta has been a visible and engaged leader in Westborough and across the region for as long as I’ve known her,” said Representative Carolyn Dykema. “In addition to running a successful business in Westborough, Deborah always finds time for civic engagement and to give back to the community. She’s truly a role model for the next generation, and she’ll be greatly missed on the Westborough EDC.”

Fourth Middlesex Representative Danielle W. Gregoire also applauded Penta.

“It has been my honor to work with Deborah in her capacity as Chair of the Westborough Economic Development Committee,” said Representative Gregoire.  “Her contributions to our community will be long-lasting. I wish her much success and happiness in her future endeavors.”

Elected into her second term as Representative for the communities of Shrewsbury and Westborough, Representative Hannah Kane predicts Penta will continue to play a vital role in the business community.

“As Chair of the Westborough Economic Development Committee, Deborah Penta served as a strong economic steward for Westborough, and offered steady leadership and an ambitious vision for Westborough’s businesses and the community,” said Representative Kane. “It has been my pleasure to work with Deborah, and I am certain that while no longer Chair of Westborough EDC, she will continue to be an engaged and involved member of the Westborough community.”