The Economic Development Council of Western Mass (EDC) recently held its 2021 Annual Meeting at the Student Prince/Fort Restaurant in downtown Springfield.  The in person meeting was a statement by the region’s business community that Western Mass is open for business.  The highlight of the meeting was a heartfelt goodbye to outgoing Chair, Kevin Vann, Chair and Founder of the Vann Group and a welcome to the new EDC Chair Tricia Canavan, President of United Personnel.

Kevin was feted by Leader Joe Wagner, a longtime friend, who brought greetings from the Statehouse but also regaled the audience with some personal stories about Kevin.  Kevin has been a longtime member, Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair of the EDC, and along with Charlie D’Amour, President/CEO Big Y. whom Kevin called a true statesman of the business community, Kevin is revered as the historian of the region’s business community.  In his emotional farewell speech Kevin said, “I am going to miss many of you that I’ve had either the long-term privilege of working with or the new found recent relationships. I am going to miss working on our mission together……the mission of making our region a better place to live and work and I’m certainly going to miss my role as a leader.”

In addition to Charlie D’Amour Kevin recognized many of the leaders, mentors and friends who served before him, including MassMutual Chairman Tom Wheeler, Baystate Health President Mike Daley, Chjcopee Mayor Joe Chessey, Dick Stebbins (Bay Bank and Bank of Boston, Al Griggs (A.L.Griggs Industries), George Arwady, Publisher of the Republican and  EDC founding President/CEO Alan Blair. He said that the EDC has been blessed with so many great leaders and mentors and that he personally grew because of them”.

Helping to celebrate with Kevin were his wife, Joy, his three daughters….., and his son Michael, who participated remotely as he had a work commitment but reminded his Dad to enjoy his day and “Drink the Good Wine”.