Editor's note - Richard C. Lord is President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Industries of Massachusetts. His comments come as AIM prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary tonight.
I grew up in North Adams, in a world defined by family, community and work.
The three elements existed symbiotically – families bonded around common values; neighborhoods
joined together to form communities; and innovative employers created jobs that allowed hard-working people to support their families.
North Adams was a tightly-knit Berkshire County mill town where almost everyone you knew (and you knew most everyone) worked either at Sprague Electric, GE Pittsfield or North Adams Regional Hospital.
Few people in North Adams could tell you what Associated Industries of Massachusetts was, but we all grew up breathing the air of its accomplishments. So did kids raised in Southbridge around American Optical, in Springfield near UT Diesel Systems or in Quincy by the shipyard.
Not to mention the ballfields, parks and street signs that companies often donated.
All this came back to me late last year when my father, who spent 40 years working for General Electric in Pittsfield, passed away on the eve of the 100th anniversary of AIM. I thought about all the fathers and mothers who have worked hard at AIM-member companies during the past century so they might create a future for their children, take them on vacation, pay for trips to the emergency room, send them to college and then and enjoy a bit of retirement.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts conducts its public policy advocacy in the marble halls of the State House on Beacon Hill, but the ultimate value of what we and our 4,500 member employers do each day is found in thousands of living rooms around the commonwealth.
We work with government to help employers create the kind of economic opportunity that will allow more moms and dads to set down their tools, computers, briefcases and research notes at the end of the day and enjoy the kind of life for which we all hope in the next century.