A Message from our Chairman

Dear Chamber Member,


Thank you to everyone who came out last week to the 2023 Naugatuck Mayoral Debate that was hosted by the Chamber. It's important to hear directly from decision makers. Don't forget to vote on Tuesday, November 7.

Are you looking for a free opportunity to connect with other business leaders and companies in the area? The next Wake Up Your Business networking event will be held next week on Friday, October 27 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Ion Bank Community Building at 270 Church Street. You can register by clicking here. Keep scrolling to see some photos from last month's lively discussion.

The Chamber's next Out for Business will take place on Wednesday, November 15 at The Shoppes/Take 5 Audio in Middlebury. Stay tuned for registration details..

If you missed picking up a copy of the Republican American yesterday, we have the Chamber's Manufacturing Today resource guide available online. This special Chamber publication highlights many of the manufacturers in the Borough and across the region. Check out a preview of a feature on Naugatuck Glass, LLC below. You can also view the supplement online here.

Thank you for your continued membership,
Kevin H. McSherry
McSherry Law Office
Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Board
In This Issue
  • Chairman's Note
  • Member Profile Story
  • Renewing Members
  • Upcoming Events
  • Submit Your Content
  • Upcoming Events
  • Hiring & Training Programs Available
  • HR Corner Corner by Carmody, Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP

Naugatuck Glass, LLC: Nearly a Century of Tradition

By Steve Bigham

This article was published in the October 19, 2023 Edition of the Waterbury Regional Chamber's Manufacturing Today supplement that was distributed by the Republican American.

Naugatuck Glass, LLC – a leading supplier of custom-cut glass and mirrors for the aviation, aerospace, cosmetics, and marine industries – started from some very humble beginnings nearly a century ago.

Winfield S. Witherwax first established Naugatuck Glass out of his garage, but soon after, moved his business to 451 Church Street in Naugatuck. The then-tiny shop manufactured glass coverings that went over the keyboard letters on a manual typewriter.

During World War II, the company built specially designed glass domes for US Army tanks, the first step to its current leading role in custom-cut glass.

And although the company has changed hands a few times since Witherwax started it all, Naugatuck Glass, LLC remains viable thanks to a staff of experienced local men and women who have remained with the company for, in some cases, nearly 50 years.

From Makeup to Up Up and Away

Among the products Naugatuck Glass, LLC makes are the circular mirrors found in small cosmetic containers or makeup compacts.

But it doesn’t end there.

“We’ve got parts that go into Boeing 7-37’s,” said plant manager Stephen Greene.

He said the company produces the glass to cover and protect certain instruments and gauges inside an airplane’s cockpit and on the wings.

Naugatuck Glass, LLC also produces precision-made bent, metaled, and coated glass products, providing protection from the elements and reducing glare, which is particularly important for gauges on boats and motorcycles.

Made in Connecticut

Greene said Naugatuck Glass, LLC is just one example of the many area companies that make the little things that go inside bigger things, everyday items that most people simply do not know are made in their own backyard.

“Connecticut surprises you,” Greene said. “You go around the hill and there will be some factory that you’ve never heard of doing the subcontracting for bigger companies.”

Greene refers to much of Naugatuck Glass, LLC's output as “niche” products, items that simply cannot be found or made elsewhere: things like beveled-edge glass, optical filters, decorated glass, ground-edge glass and wedged instrument glass -- a specialized product for lighting aircraft instruments that allows for uniform light to be cast over the dial for easy readability.

And, Greene added, these “niche” items are the reason the company remains in existence after nearly closing up shop two years ago.

“We informed one of our customers in the boat and marine industry that we were closing,” Greene said. “They couldn’t find another supplier, so they bought us and saved us from being closed.”

Pride in History

The new owners, a consortium of management investors, wasted no time in having the well-known “Naugatuck Glass” sign hung back up after the company’s name was temporarily changed to Flabeg Technical Glass from 2009 to 2022.

At its peak, Naugatuck Glass, LLC employed as many as 300 employees, a number that had shrunk to around 200 about 20 years ago, and now stands at just 24.

However, the company continues to grow and was recently bolstered by a $100,000 federal grant to assist in the modernization of its equipment.

Under its new ownership, the company has resumed production of its “legacy products,” some of which it had moved away from under previous owners.

Human Resources manager Donna Andrew of Ansonia has been with the company for 23 years. She says there is a feeling of pride for the impact the company has in the production of everyday products, all made right here in the Naugatuck Valley.

“We had saved the original sign and it was an honor to be able to hang that sign back up. That’s what is on the building now,” Andrew said.

She said the sign represents a sort of homecoming for the company, which even though it had changed names had never left. Andrew said the company’s return to its roots is an homage to its history here in town and its ability to survive the many challenges of the last decades.

A mark on the wall in the company’s lobby indicates how high the water from the nearby Naugatuck River rose during the infamous flood of 1955.

“We even survived the flood,” Andrew said.


Thank You to Our Members Who Renewed in September

CW Resources

Ed's Do It Best Hardware

Sibby's Automotive, Inc.

Stokes Counseling Services

Trinity Health of New England Urgent Care

Webster Bank

October 27: Wake Up Your Business

8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Ion Bank Community Room

270 Church Street, Naugatuck

Register Now

Save the Date: January 25, 2024 - Dibble Awards

Chamber Information Update: Response Requested
From time to time, the Chamber is made aware of opportunities for women-owned, veteran-owned, and diverse business enterprises, and we want to be sure we are getting that information to the relevant members.
To help us ensure we are reaching you with the best possible information, we are asking interested members to fill out the demographics form at the following link: https://web.waterburychamber.com/atlas/forms/general/4
Sharing this data is completely voluntary on your part and will be used for informational purposes only. If you so choose, there is a section on this form that will allow us to share your self-identified categories on our website. This will add your listing to a new page designed to encourage members and visitors to support your business.
Thank you for being a valued member of the Naugatuck Chamber and our affiliates. We appreciate those members who have already provided a response.
Submit Your News and Social Media Content
Do you have upcoming events, company news, specials, or other-related information you'd like the Chamber to promote in our next Chamber Member newsletter or on one of our many social media platforms? You can submit your content by emailing Communications Director David Huck. Leverage the Chamber and allow us to spread your message to thousands of individuals.

Thursday, November 16: Creating Content that Connects

Speaker: Courtney Ligi, Owner and Founder, The Social Circle

Discover your business’s social media brand and learn the steps to take to reach your target audience. This session will cover a variety of content and post ideas for any product or service based business, plus learn the best strategies to reach potential customers. This training will bring your social media efforts to the next level so be sure to bring your ideas to the table as we work together to create content that drives results. 

About the speaker

Courtney offers personalized social media strategies to her clients and works with them to help their business build brand awareness, increase engagement, and create a line of communication with consumers through various social media platforms. Her expertise in the industry has helped her clients gain statewide recognition and reach consumers that have not been targeted before. With a commitment to delivering exceptional results, Courtney's business has quickly become a go-to for businesses seeking to expand their online presence. 

Register Now

Photos: September 22 Wake Up Your Business

Hiring & Training Programs Available
Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board: Connecticut Workforce High tech Industries Partnership Grant (CTWHISP)/Incumbent Worker Training Program 

Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is a type of work-based, employer-driven training for employees who need training to upgrade their skills to
  • secure full-time employment,
  • advance in their careers, or
  • retain their current employment in H-1B occupations and industries.

IWT is developed in collaboration with the employer. It requires long term planning and commitment on the part of the employer's CEO, CFO, HR, supervisors and employees.

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NRWIB) reimburses contracted training costs up to $2,000 per employee for IT training, and up to $3,000 per employee for manufacturing training. To get the proposal and contract process started please contact Jeffrey Chorches - [email protected].

The workforce board contracts with the employer to arrange the training. The employer chooses the job training course, the training provider, training schedule, and the employees who will participate. Employers are encouraged to backfill open positions that result from incumbent worker training with unemployed and underemployed individuals. One of the goals of U. S. Dept. of Labor Hl-b grants is to make U.S. employers less dependent upon non-citizens.
More Information

HR Corner: Employers Take Note: EEOC Releases Its Strategic Enforcement Plan

This HR Corner is brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by Attorney Nick Zaino

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate, harass and retaliate against job applicants or employees based on a protected class, such as race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and related conditions, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

On September 21, 2023, the EEOC released its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2024—2028. The SEP establishes the agency’s top priorities for the coming years. The EEOC identified six subject matter priorities that they will scrutinize to determine if individuals are being discriminated against based on a protected category:


1.     Recruitment and hiring practices including employer use of artificial intelligence (AI) to target job advertisements, recruit applicants or make or assist in hiring decisions; channeling individuals into certain jobs; policies that limit on-the-job training, advancement opportunities and temp-to-hire positions; policies that limit employees exclusively to temporary work when permanent positions are available; and reliance on restrictive application processes, such as online systems, that are difficult for certain individuals to access. The EEOC will also focus on the underrepresentation of women and workers of color in certain industries and sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, high tech, STEM, finance, and industries that benefit from substantial federal investment.


2.     Discrimination of vulnerable workers including claims of unequal pay and disparate working conditions. Such workers include immigrants and migrants, people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, individuals with criminal records, LGBTQI+ individuals, temporary workers, older workers, low wage earners, survivors of gender-based violence, Native Americans, and persons with limited literacy or English proficiency.


3.     Addressing emerging and developing issues including policies and practices that discriminate against workers with disabilities; protecting workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions; addressing discrimination influenced by or arising as backlash in response to news events such as bias that stems from recurring historical prejudices; COVID-19 discrimination; and the use of technology, including AI, in making employment decisions.


4.     Pay discrimination based on gender or any other protected category. The EEOC will focus on policies and practices that may impede equal pay or contribute to pay disparities such as pay secrecy policies, discouraging or prohibiting workers from asking about pay or sharing their pay with coworkers, and reliance on past salary history or an applicants’ salary expectations to set pay.


5.     Preserving access to the legal system including focusing on overly broad waivers, releases, non-disclosure agreements, non-disparagement agreements, mandatory arbitration provisions, employers’ failure to keep required applicant and employee data, and retaliatory practices that could dissuade employees from exercising their rights under employment discrimination laws.


6.     Preventing and remedying systemic harassment on any protected basis. The EEOC will give priority to complaints filed by an individual or a small group that claim a widespread pattern or practice of harassment. The EEOC also will continue to focus not only on securing appropriate monetary relief, but also targeted equitable equitable relief to prevent future harassment such as promoting comprehensive anti-harassment programs and practices, including training tailored to the employer’s workplace and workforce.


Employers should be cognizant of these enforcement priorities and proactively address any policies and procedures that the EEOC may scrutinize based on its Strategic Enforcement Plan. Our Labor & Employment team is available to assist and answer your questions. 

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.

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