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Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Announces Resignation of Sven Amirian

Sven AmirianThe Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce has announced the resignation of Sven Amirian as head of the organization.  Amirian submitted his resignation to the Chamber Board of Directors stating that he has enjoyed his time as the President of the Chamber but is leaving to pursue other opportunities.  His last day will be June 30th.

“I am so appreciative of the time I have spent leading this great organization”, said Amirian.  “I have had the chance to work with some incredibly talented business and community leaders over my two year tenure and I would like to thank my staff, the board and our entire membership for their support. While it was certainly not an easy decision for me to leave, I am currently evaluating two job offers that present some incredible opportunities for my family and me.”

Mr. Amirian has held his position with the Chamber since 2012.  During his tenure, the Chamber has enjoyed resurgence in the business community, as well as forming successful partnerships with the Amesbury, Lowell, Newburyport, and Salem (NH) Chambers, with whom Haverhill has staged numerous joint events.   Passionate about green energy, Amirian combined his love of the green movement with Chamber member promotions, by creating a NASCAR-like promotional vehicle – an all-electric vehicle adorned with member logos.  He was also instrumental in helping to obtain a cultural district designation for the City of Haverhill.

A search committee has been named to recruit and hire the Chamber’s new President and will work to ensure his/her success going forward. Clare Macoul, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors will lead the group in finding the next leader of the organization. She comments, “Sven has worked tremendously hard for the Chamber over the past two years.  His vision and energy has brought the Chamber back into the forefront of the Haverhill business community and he will definitely be missed.”  With regard to the hiring process at hand, Macoul states, “We, as a Board, now have the task of finding Sven’s replacement.  We will be looking for someone who can maintain the current momentum and continue to lead the Chamber in the future.  The City of Haverhill is in the midst of exciting new economic development and a renaissance of the downtown.  We hope that the Chamber can play a strong role in those endeavors.”

A formal job posting may be found by clicking here. Applicants are asked to send their confidential resumes to

Chamber Letter to the Editor

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and its partner, Creative Haverhill,heartily applaud Representative Brian S. Dempsey and the House of Representatives for recommending additional budget support for the MA Cultural Council (MCC). The MA House of Representatives reversed a proposed cut to arts and cultural funding by voting to increase MCC’s budget by $1.6 million in the coming fiscal year.

It was a victory for Haverhill advocates of state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences. We are especially encouraged because the MCC’s prestigious Adams Arts grant program for economic development helps to support Creative Haverhill’s mission. Creative Haverhill exists to support a local, creative workforce by providing jobs, promotion, and programming. Increased funding would set state cultural funding at just over $11 million for fiscal year 2014, a significant step toward restoring funds that were lost through budget cuts over the past decade.

In the past two weeks more than 100 state Representatives signed onto an amendment to restore MCC funding. Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, authored the amendment and led the effort to enlist cosponsors for it. The strong statewide support for this effort reflected vigorous advocacy from a coalition led by MASSCreative in coordination with MCC, Mass Humanities, Creative Haverhill, and the Haverhill Cultural Council.

We thank House Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, along with Chairwoman Atkins and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, for their support of MCC funding that provides jobs for Haverhill’s creative workforce and cultural programming for its residents and visitors.

We also thank the many creative businesses, cultural and civic organizations, as well as the City of Haverhill, our loyal sponsors, the Chamber’s Board of Directors and its members, for establishing Creative Haverhill as the central resource for arts, culture and recreation. Haverhill’s renewed vigor is enriched with MCC funding for programming like Make Some Noise with the Haverhill Cultural Council, the Essex St. Gateway Mural with Team Haverhill, and Public and Private Passions with Haverhill Community Television.

We look forward to serving our community together for years to come with the help of increased funding for the MA Cultural Council, the state’s arts agency.

Chamber and Creative Haverhill Blend Operations

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recent merger with Creative Haverhill, effective Monday, April 1, 2013. Creative Haverhill, formerly located in City Hall, has been relocated to the Chamber office located at 80 Merrimack Street in downtown Haverhill.

The blending of the organizations was devised by the Chamber’s board, the City of Haverhill and multiple stakeholders interested in a strategy to cohesively and strategically drive economic development in the city. The coordinated efforts of both organizations will further expand opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper, in particular the creative economy.

Beginning April 1st, Creative Haverhill began working with the Chamber’s staff and Board of Directors to provide a central resource for arts and culture in the city. The Chamber is pleased to be working with Creative Haverhill’s David Zoffoli as the Arts & Culture Coordinator and the newest member of the Chamber team. Chamber President Sven Amirian is excited about the expanded cultural and economic capacity Zoffoli will bring as a new employee of the Chamber. "David brings years of experience and an impressive set of skills working with artists and cultural and educational institutions. I'm very happy to have him as part of our team."

Zoffoli, a seasoned veteran in the arts and culture sector, shares with the Chamber his 30+ year career as a theater director, producer, administrator and educator, notably working with the North Shore Music Theatre and the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, as well as with Boston University, Northeastern, Harvard, UMASS Lowell, and Middlesex Community College.

In 2004, Zoffoli introduced the city to the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) prestigious John and Abigail Adams Arts Grant program when Mayor James Fiorentini appointed him to the all-volunteer Haverhill Cultural Council. He has stewarded five successful years of Haverhill arts programming with MCC funding for the Haverhill Cultural Council and Creative Haverhill, which has become the central resource for arts and culture in the city.

The Adams Art Grant program, which provides resources to Massachusetts cities that want to leverage local assets to drive the Creative Economy, was the financial catalyst to birth Creative Haverhill when Haverhill was awarded the grant money in 2010. The state funding is matched at the local level to drive economic development and build the capacity of creative micro-enterprise, such as local artists and cultural institutions.

Creative Haverhill identifies, nurtures and promotes a regional creative workforce, supporting creative businesses and organizations by building their capacities to do what they do with more tools to operate smarter. Creative Haverhill provides the public with creative programming which features hundreds of things to do and learn about in Haverhill. For more information on Creative Haverhill, please visit

Chamber Promotes Two Staff, Employs Two More

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the promotion of Jennifer Cantwell to Vice President and Susan Richard to Finance Manager of the Chamber. A unanimous vote by the Chamber's Board of Directors approved the promotions on Wednesday, November 14th.

Cantwell has worked for the Chamber since 2007. Her tenure began under the leadership of past Chamber President James Jajuga, as an intern researching grant opportunities for small businesses. In 2008, she was hired as the Administrative Assistant and facilitated the Chamber’s website and assisted in event planning and marketing. In 2009, she was promoted to Event Coordinator, organizing events and assisting the Chamber’s many committees with administrative support and organization. This job evolved in 2010 when Cantwell became the Program & Planning Director, charged with organizing and executing all programming, events, marketing, and assisting the President with fundraising efforts. Her most recent promotion to Vice President, will allow Cantwell to work with President Sven Amirian as an executive team to implement strategic initiatives and manage the organization's staff. She will remain the lead organizer for all major events and marketing efforts for the Chamber. Cantwell holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and is a proud, lifelong resident of Haverhill.

Richard, employed with the Chamber since May of 2012, has been responsible for the accounting duties at the Chamber. As Finance Manager, she will work with the Chamber's finance committee to coordinate and facilitate the organization’s budget and will oversee all financial responsibilities. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from Merrimack College. Richard has over 16 years of accounting experience in various industries including manufacturing, consulting, hydropower, and property management. She is the proud mom of Julia Violet and a lifelong resident of Methuen.

"The Chamber's Board of Directors believes that the foundation to a strong organization is in the strength of the staff. Both Jen Cantwell and Sue Richard have gone above and beyond in fulfilling duties in their previous roles and we are excited to utilize their expertise to help propel the Chamber to another level. Personally, I am thrilled to have observed first-hand the hard work and tireless dedication exhibited by both of these exceptional people, and I look forward to working with them in the future,” said Amirian.

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is also pleased to announce the addition of two new employees, Elizabeth Morrow, Office & Projects Manager, and Melissa Seavey, Member Relations Coordinator. Morrow and Seavey began their employment with the Chamber the week of November 12.

With a background in operations, sales and marketing, Morrow's broad expertise of project management and customer service is a welcome addition to the organization. Morrow will be managing the Chamber office and will focus on special projects in the area of business resources, education, and community outreach. She graduated from Salem State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Written Communication. Morrow currently resides in Bradford with her husband, Ed, and sons Josiah and Eamon.

Seavey’s role with the Chamber focuses on the Chamber’s membership, including outreach, recruitment, retention and other member-supportive services and programs. Her background in marketing, sales and administrative work, in addition to outgoing and warm personality provides her with a solid foundation to support the needs of the membership. Seavey graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Northeastern University. She resides in Bradford with her husband, Chris, and twins Madeline and Will.

Amirian comments that the growth of the Chamber internally should send an encouraging message to the membership and community at large. "The promotion of our current staff and the addition of two more employees should communicate to our valued members that we are continually looking to improve our services. Our Chamber is dedicated to providing the educational and programming benefits, advocacy and networking opportunities necessary to build the business community in the Greater Haverhill area. With our expanded staff, we will be able to offer even more to our current and new members."

The Chamber will be hosting a Holiday Open House to celebrate the staff promotions, the hiring of new employees, and welcome the holiday season in the month of December. More information will be available on the organization’s website shortly.

A New Twist: Annual Christmas Stroll Planned for Two Nights

Haverhill, MA- Due to popular demand, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Downtown Haverhill Committee has unanimously decided to occupy two evenings with winter-themed activities. This year, the Annual Penguin Pub Crawl will take place on Friday, December 7, 5:30 – 9:00 pm and the Christmas Stroll will take place on Saturday, December 8, 4:00 – 8:00 pm, both in Downtown Haverhill.

The 2011 Stroll and Pub Crawl promoted downtown with thousands of guests, hundreds of crawl participants, and tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for downtown merchants. Due to the popularity of the event, the committee has divided the pub crawl and stroll.

“We expect that adding an extra day to our already successful events will only enhance our efforts more. The pub crawl acting as a stand-alone event will allow adults and parents to participate, and still give them an opportunity to include their children and families on the following night. Additionally, we hope that bringing residents and outside visitors into our downtown two nights in a row will give greater exposure to our city and bigger revenue for our downtown businesses,” said Sven Amirian, President of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.

The committee will also feature guest emcee Matt Noyes, NECN’s weekday evening meteorologist, to host the annual event for a second year in a row. Noyes, a Haverhill native, wears many hats: meteorologist, college-level instructor, spokesman for the New England-wide Red Cross Blood Drive and guest auctioneer/emcee for many charity functions in the area. The GHCC is thrilled to welcome Noyes on board again.

As the ever-popular Penguin Pub Crawl continues to grow, the format has slightly changed: The event will host two divisions, an Individual Division which is free to participate and will award entry into raffle prize drawings, and a Team Division which will come with a higher tier of prizes and includes gift bags for participants. To participate in the Team Division, teams must pay $100. Typically open to all participants, the celebration “after-party” will be open to teams only and there is a limit of 25 teams. Sign-up information will be released shortly.

This year’s Christmas Stroll will boast a spectacular tree-lighting ceremony and many favorite activities: including Creative Haverhill’s Shops@90Wash which promotes shopping with local artisans, locally prepared food in the tented Food Court; “A Christmas Carol” on Wingate Street; fun rides up and down downtown streets compliments of Haverhill Bank; kids’ activities including gingerbread decorating, ornament making and face painting; traditional and new music live in Washington Square; Christmas village at Haverhill Bank; Christmas Castle at Pentucket Bank, shopping, dining and so much more.

The annual Christmas Stroll is a free event. It was recently voted “the most anticipated community event” by a Creative Haverhill survey.


The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) announced today that in a unanimous vote by its board of directors Sven A. Amirian has been selected to succeed James Jajuga as president of the Chamber.  Mr. Amirian will be introduced at the Chamber’s annual dinner on Thursday, June 14 and will begin his new role on July 2, 2012.

Mr. Amirian was chosen from a field of more than 50 applicants from all over the USA by a specially convened nine member search committee that included: representatives from the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce finance and executive committees, as well as representatives from the City of Haverhill and the Greater Haverhill Foundation.  Mr. Amirian was presented to the full twenty five member board of directors for final approval today.

"This marks a new and exciting beginning for the Chamber," comments John Chemaly chairman of the board of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and president of Trinity EMS.  "While we will miss Jim Jajuga, we are confident that Sven’s enthusiasm, energy, and leadership will take a great organization and help it reach new heights of growth and prosperity; and bring continued economic growth to greater Haverhill. We are excited by Haverhill’s future, from the potential for development along the Merrimack River, to new innovative and creative companies moving here; this is our time."

Sven A. Amirian is a fourth generation and lifelong resident of Haverhill.  He has founded two successful businesses in the City and has served as a volunteer on numerous committees and boards.  He has been a City Council member since 2010.  He will remain on the City Council through the budget planning and approval process that is expected to be complete by July 10, at which time he will leave the City Council to focus 100% of his energy on the Chamber.

"I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce," comments Mr. Amirian.  "This is an exciting and pivotal time for both the Chamber and the City of Haverhill and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with the business and civic leaders of our community during this formative period. One of my first goals as I assume the Chamber leadership will be to reestablish the relevance of the Chamber to the wide spectrum of business organizations in our service area. By identifying the types and numbers of businesses, we can develop appropriate programming and services that are innovative and engaging. Over the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting our dedicated members and receiving their valuable insight and suggestions. I am also eager to begin my collaboration with our Board of Directors whom I hold in the highest regard."

For comments and further information please contact:

John Chemaly, Chairman of the Board, at Trinity EMS, 978-683-4708

Sven A. Amirian, incoming President of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, 978-360-4063

Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Seeks Executive Director to Replace Jim Jajuga

Board of Directors Votes to Remain Haverhill’s Chamber

Haverhill, MA February 29, 2012 – The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) announced today that a search committee has been named to recruit and hire the Chamber’s next executive director.  James Jajuga resigned earlier this month and will leave by June of 2012.  The search committee includes representatives from the Chamber’s finance and executive committees, and a representative from the Greater Haverhill Foundation.  A formal job posting is expected within the next two weeks.  Applicants are asked to send their confidential resumes to

After a review by the executive and finance committees of the goals and market opportunities of GHCC, a recommendation was made to the full board of directors for the organization to continue as the premiere business organization representing Haverhill and the surrounding communities including Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac & West Newbury in Massachusetts, Atkinson, Danville, East Kingston, Hampstead, Kingston, Newton, Plaistow & Sandown in New Hampshire.  At a regular meeting of the 25 member board of directors today, the board unanimously voted to continue as an independent organization at this time.  As previously reported, the leadership of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is not in discussions to merge with the Merrimack Valley Chamber.

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1888.  It provides advocacy, information, education, marketing and networking opportunities for new and growing businesses.

“Jim Jajuga has been huge asset to the Greater Haverhill Chamber and he will be missed,” comments John Chemaly chairman of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce board and president of Trinity EMS.  “Jim’s leaving marks the beginning of a new era for the Chamber.  It’s a time to take a look inside of our organization and outside at the economic influences and opportunities.  The finance and executive committees have been evaluating the Chamber’s opportunities and challenges and we are all excited about the future of the Haverhill area.  From the potential for development along the Merrimack River, to new innovative and creative companies moving here; this is our time. The search committee will recruit and hire the new executive director and will ensure his/her success going forward.  It’s an exciting time for us.”

Search committee members include:

John Chemaly, Trinity EMS
Dianne McDermott, McDermott & Company Marketing
Clare Macoul, Bank of New England
Heather Hewitt, Suffolk University
Jeff Linehan, Diversified Business Systems
Jean Poth, Northern Essex Community College
Greater Haverhill Foundation Representative

For comments and further information please contact:

John Chemaly, Chairman of the Board, at Trinity EMS, 978-683-4708

Greater Haverhill Chamber Leads Haverhill Renaissance

Business growth results in jobs, increased consumer spending and economic prosperity across the community. Haverhill in general, and particularly the downtown has been the site of a tremendous renaissance and rebirth in the past several years. Our award winning restaurants serve world-class cuisine to customers from all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Unique shops offer art, gifts and treasures from around the world. The expanding Riverwalk gives visitors and Hillies a way to appreciate the Merrimack River.

Every day there’s mJim Jajugaore growth in Haverhill. Haverhill’s own chamber of commerce has actively supported the community since 1888 by helping to promote the new restaurants, shops and other businesses as they move here and expand. With nearly 700 members in Haverhill and in the surrounding communities, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) is the voice of business and the heart of the community.

The Chamber is well known for organizing successful annual downtown events. KidsFest, ItalianFest and the annual Christmas Stroll are widely publicized and enjoyed by the entire community. Each event brings 5,000 - 10,000 residents and visitors to Haverhill.

“We’re proud to bring events that provide fun, entertainment and new business to our community,” comments Dianne McDermott, McDermott and Company Marketing and Chairman of the Board for the Chamber. “We capitalize on the shop, buy, eat local movement that is sweeping across the country in support of local businesses.”

The role of any chamber of commerce is to give businesses the opportunity to connect a company with a product/service to someone with a need for that product. The Greater Haverhill Chamber supports its members with a wide range of opportunities to network and to make valuable connections.


Fostering Opportunities

• 25+ local business nRibbon Cutting Wound Care Centeretworking events each year bring customers and suppliers together to make connections.

• The annual regional expo showcases products and services. This year, the Greater Haverhill Chamber has partnered with the Greater Salem NH Chamber of Commerce and is planning an expo that will showcase more than 200 businesses.

Educational events keep businesses up to date on everything from new privacy laws to the latest new marketing techniques and practices.

Annual WOW event (now in its 15th year) brings women business leaders together with nationally recognized speakers and experts for a day of motivation, education and networking.

• The GHCC web site, one of the most advanced chamber web sites in the country, provides both chamber members and community groups the opportunity to actively promote their products, services and events. Community events are posted free of charge.


Economic Development

Shoe-La-BrationGHCC partners with the Haverhill Foundation to proactively foster economic growth and job creation.

Jefferson Davis, of Coldwell Banker and a member of both the Haverhill Chamber board of directors and the Haverhill Foundation comments, “Together the Foundation and the Chamber market designated properties for re-use and work to bring high paying jobs to Haverhill. “

The development of what is now Ward Hill is an example of the projects completed by the Haverhill Foundation. The relocation and expansion of Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital is another successful joint Haverhill Chamber/Haverhill Foundation endeavor.

The Greater Haverhill Chamber is particularly proud to have been part of the launch of Team Haverhill. Team Haverhill was created as a politically independent, all volunteer, community grass roots organization which has become a force in Haverhill championing expanded recycling efforts, launching the popular Shoe-La-Bration and River Ruckus events.


Connections: U.S. Senator Scott Brown in Haverhill

Jim Jajuga (president/CEO) and Senator BrownU.S. Sen. Scott Brown addressed members of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and their family and friends at the annual dinner at Michael’s Function Hall. The popular event was a sell out with the excitement of Senator Brown’s first appearance in the Merrimack Valley. The senator greeted attendees at each table, signing autographs and having pictures taken. “We are honored to be the first stop for Senator Brown in the Merrimack Valley”, comments Jajuga. “I don’t like to brag, but his appearance at our annual dinner really shows the strength of the Greater Haverhill Chamber in getting things done for our members and the community.” Read about the dinner.

This isn’t the first time The Chamber has worked to bring national exposure to the Haverhill area. The launch of the ‘Haverhill Means Business’ web site in conjunction with the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission provided developers from all over the country with a tool that helped them with site selection in Haverhill. The success of the tool – the first of its kind – led MVPC to expand the tool to support the entire Merrimack Valley. See for a demonstration.


Legislative Action

Legislative Action CommitteeThe Greater Haverhill Chamber has a number of active committees working on issues throughout the community. The Legislative Action Committee has been active at the local level working with the City of Haverhill, at the State level in both MA and NH, and at the Federal level.

Jeff Linehan, president of Diversified Business Systems comments, “We have tackled hot business issues such as Higher Energy and health care Costs. Our actions were a driving force in the health care cost freeze imposed by the State of MA for small businesses.”

Each year GHCC has sent representatives from businesses in the Haverhill area to Washington to discuss these and other issues with both House and Senate members.


Moving Forward

ParadeThe Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is actively moving forward with expanded programming to provide value and opportunity for members. This years leadership team is working to continue to expand and enhance business in the greater Haverhill area.

This year Dianne McDermott of McDermott & Company Marketing is Chairman of the Board. John Chemaly of Trinity EMS is Vice Chairman. Clare MaCoul of Bank of New England and Mike Collins of Merrimack Valley Hospital join treasurer Barbara Rowell of Sullivan Bille, and Former Chairman Bob Iannaco round out the 2011 executive board.

“As the voice of business and heart of the community, The Chamber will continue, as it has since 1888, to work for jobs and economic prosperity for our members and to showcase the uniqueness of Greater Haverhill”, said McDermott. “The energy and excitement of Senator Brown’s appearance was the perfect start to this year’s success and, is a launching pad for new initiatives and programs for next year. Stay tuned as we move forward.”