Flanagan named Chamber's Businessperson of the Year

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Tue., Jan. 21, 2014
Kevin Flanagan will be honored at the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting on Jan. 29. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Kevin Flanagan of Flanagan Industries is the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year. He said when he was told that he had earned the honor, he was “floored.”

“I was very, very surprised,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan Industries was started in 1946 by Flanagan's father and uncle. The two set up shop in their mother's basement in Glastonbury, creating and selling copper bowls and ashtrays.

The Flanagans kept taking their company to the next level, and handed it down to the next generation. Flanagan's brother and cousins also work for the company. Now, Flanagan Industries specializes in complex, large-diameter machine cases and services commercial and military aero and gas land-based turbines.

Flanagan Industries has been a Chamber member since the 1960s, and Flanagan's uncle was previously a Chamber president.

Flanagan said his company typically sponsors the Riverfront Music Festival and regularly attends functions. Not relying on networking locally as part of their mode of operations, Flanagan's role has always been more of a giving one, and that suits the business perfectly.

“Our business is not driven by the local public,” Flanagan said. “Our involvement has always been to be support behind the scenes. We don't look to get anything out of it. We just look to be a supportive member.”

Another exciting project is Flanagan's partnership with Asnuntuck Community College, and it provides scholarships for students in the manufacturing apprenticeship program. The students get their two-year manufacturing degrees while working at Flanagan, and then continue their employment there after graduation.

“It's huge. These are the kids that are running our newest, most expensive machines,” he said. “They are awesome. They are feeding our growth, while coming through with no college debt, and then hitting the ground running here.”

Flanagan is in the middle of overseeing the move of the company's operations to National Drive. The process began a year ago, and will take about another six months, due to the complex process of moving ultra-heavy machinery. Additionally challenging is keeping the business running during the move. “The customers love that you're expanding, but in the next breath, they ask if the move is going to affect productivity," he said.

As Flanagan Industries moves out of its location on New London Turnpike, that location is being converted into a $35 million 230-unit luxury apartment complex, which will be known as “Flanagans Landing.”

“That's something that my father and uncle tried to get developed 30 years ago,” he said. “We've got the approval, and we're looking forward to making that a reality.”

Flanagan said hundreds of construction jobs will utilize many local craftsmen, and the resulting project will also benefit the community. “When it's all said and developed, it's going to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the town. We've always enjoyed being part of the town,” Flanagan said, adding that while his company has received offers to leave Connecticut, it has no plans to do so.

“We're proud to be from Connecticut. We're prouder to be in Glastonbury. We're going to stay in Glastonbury and grow in Glastonbury. We're glad to do what we do in town, and plan to keep doing it,” he said.

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