For 11 years Eric Gaynor, Executive Director of the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, has been working with the community to beautify the town, expand local businesses, and frame the neighborhood around families. He has made lifelong friendships, discovered his passions and encouraged growth. Now he wants to take the next step in furthering his profession.
“I feel very blessed and lucky to have such great work experiences,” says Gaynor, who fell in love with Winthrop.
Dr. Paul McGee, president of the Chamber of Commerce, praised Gaynor’s service to the organization that has grown to more than 400 members.
“Eric is going to be sorely missed,” said McGee. “He brought a unique set of skills to the job. He kind of helped develop the job essentially. There have been some executive directors before him, but he really made it his own in the 11 years he was there. He brought a lot of passion and a real commitment to the job. He was always someone who was willing to go that extra mile, that extra step, to make things work and make things successful.”
Gaynor studied communications at Syracuse University, and his interest in non-profit organizations led him to a career in that sector. He began working in Winthrop at Winthrop Community Access Television where he served as Executive Director for several years. From there he moved onto the Medford Chamber of Commerce, and later, Winthrop, where he excelled.
As a leader in the Chamber he has made considerable accomplishments in improving the economy of Winthrop. He feels that his biggest achievement has been facilitating the organization’s growth.
“Over time I think we’ve enhanced in many regards,” Gaynor says. “We’ve also given back to the community in many ways. I feel like the Chamber has done a lot more and increased out membership substantially.”
He is proud of the beautification efforts that have been made like planting trees and flowers around the neighborhood, making façade improvements, placing liter receptacles around town, and constructing a new “Welcome to Winthrop” sign that will be going up on the Belle Isle Bridge.
The Chamber has also been providing members with more networking opportunities and benefits, helping businesses open up and expand.
“Being here has been an education in itself,” Gaynor says. “I feel like I’ve absorbed a great deal and I hope to carry that with me.”
His involvement with the Chamber has taught him about budgeting, planning, and organizing finances; and with that new knowledge, Gaynor will be pursuing a career in accounting.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity. This job has been fantastic,” exclaims Gaynor. “A lot of people don’t get to work in such a positive environment with really good people, and I have.”
Gaynor hopes that residents think of him as an advocator for businesses who raised awareness about what local companies provide for the community.
“The Winthrop businesses are contributing all the time. It’s unbelievable,” Gaynor says proudly. “They care about the community. They’re invested.”
The best thing that has ever happened to him was becoming a father to now 5-month-old Ellen, Gaynor describes with a glow. She has been his motivation to undertake new challenges. Although he will miss the Chamber, he and his wife are most excited about attending community events as a family.
Many of the Chamber events are geared toward family togetherness, like the holiday lighting and day at the beach. Gaynor sees the same families every year and watches children grow. He believes that these traditions are what set Winthrop apart from other towns, and he appreciates them more now that he has a daughter of his own.
“To be able to give kids those kinds of memories is priceless,” Gaynor says. “They gather everybody in the town center. It’s quaint and important. It brings the community together.”