Lynn commercial baker named businessperson of the year

LYNN ? With a $5.5-million loan from Sovereign Bank and a $400,000 low-interest financial kick-start from the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corp. (EDIC), Fitzroy Alexander bet his baker’s apron that the Traditional Breads factory he planned to build just off the Lynnway would become a city landmark and key employer.He was right on both counts.On Thursday, Alexander will join five other local business owners or organizations in receiving awards from the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC). His honor will top the list as Businessperson of the Year.When the Business Excellence Awards are handed out at the Knights of Columbus Hall, the recipients will also include Dr. Wayne Burton, president of North Shore Community College, honored with the David J. Solimine, Sr. Community Service Award; Non-Profit Business of the Year Award to Project COPE, Inc.; the City Pride Award to Jamie Marsh, chief of staff for Mayor Edward J. Clancy, Jr.; the “Buddy” Fennell Hall of Fame Award to Richard Rehal; and the Richard J. Rehal President’s Award to Marc Paster.Like many immigrants, Alexander left his home village on the Caribbean island of Grenada to travel to the U.S. in search of the American dream. He found it in Lynn where the biggest in a series of bakeries he either worked at or founded now makes its home.The company, Traditional Breads started in 1999 in the Lydia Pinkham building and quickly outgrew its quarters. Alexander purchased the former plastics factory at 161 Pleasant St., completely gutted and rehabbed the premises, and got back to the business of making thousands of breads each day.”My employees are my family and I will be nothing without them,” he said, noting that Traditional Breads specializes in wholesale artisan breads and currently employs 70.Alexander is also involved in the local community, supporting Operation Bootstrap and local school projects.”Fitzroy is a true entrepreneur,” said LACC Executive Director Leslie Gould. “He took risks, worked hard and rose to the occasion. His success is truly Lynn’s success. His humility, dedication and philanthropy to his community are reasons he is deserving of this award.”Chris Bibby, an LACC board member, added, “Fitzroy is living proof that the American dream is alive and well.”Burton, president of NSCC since June 2000, believes in the value of community service and leads by example, currently serving on the boards of a dozen community and national boards. He is chairman-elect for the North Shore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He served on Governor Deval Patrick’s Transition Committee in November 2006. Born and raised in Belmont, he earned his doctorate in higher education leadership from Vanderbilt University after serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army in Germany and Vietnam. A New Hampshire resident, he served terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.LACC President John Olson said Burton played a key role regarding the biotech curriculum that the chamber has helped implement at Lynn English High School. “Wayne and his staff led the charge and modeled the biotech program after a similar course at NSCC,” he said, noting the college staff has helped the school design the course program. “They are working to an accreditation agreement where kids who complete the course at English and pass a test will receive credits at NSCC. This is what community service is all about.”Project COPE was recognized for its continuous dedication and commitment to advocating for individuals needing specialized services. “Their mission is focused on helping those in need through developing new and creative programming and they’ve stayed true to that mission for almost 40 years,” said Olson.Nick Sarantopoulos, a chamber board member, said Project COPE “is committed to working with underserved, hard-to-reach, high-risk populations in the city of Lynn. In the past year Project COPE acquired three properties in Lynn to offer affordable housing to women in recovery and their c

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