Thursday, September 23, 2021

Person of the Week

Ray Andrewsen Brings Deep Roots to Quinnipiac Chamber

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Ray Andrewsen, who has a lifelong history of working, volunteering, and living in North Haven, was named executive director of the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce in March. Photo courtesy of Ray Andrewsen

Ray Andrewsen, who has a lifelong history of working, volunteering, and living in North Haven, was named executive director of the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce in March. (Photo courtesy of Ray Andrewsen)

Ray Andrewsen’s family history in North Haven dates back to the 1920s when his grandparents moved to town from Norway with Ray’s mother. They built one of the first houses on Sackett Point Road and set their roots in town for generations to come.

Ray was born and raised in North Haven and then, when he married Lynn, the couple decided to raise their two sons, Christian and Chandler, in town. In addition to living in town, Ray’s work has always seemed to touch North Haven. This past March, he was hired as the executive director of the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, which serves North Haven and Wallingford.

“This job is a homecoming of sorts and I’m very happy in my position,” says Ray. “It’s a great mix of my experience and skills and I’m looking forward to making a positive impact on my town.”

While this is Ray’s first position with the Quinnipiac Chamber, he was the general manager and morning show host of Quinnipiac University’s commercially licensed WQUN for 22 years of his three-plus-decade commercial broadcasting career. As general manager, Ray created regularly scheduled weekly programming to provide regional audience access for the Quinnipiac, Hamden, and Cheshire chambers of commerce membership to promote their member businesses.

WQUN shut down in 2019 after what Ray says was a “great, wonderful run” where he was able to make connections throughout the community. Through those connections, Ray was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the Hamden Chamber of Commerce, which he did for about six years.

Ray was looking for a new opportunity after WQUN and soon became the director of member services with the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. He was hired in January 2020, but just two months later, “all hell broke loose with COVID.”

“It was a difficult year, but it was a year of checking in, caring about businesses, and becoming an information center,” says Ray. “A chamber is an aggregator of business information and when we can’t answer all the questions, we direct them to where they can find the answers.”

When the executive director position of the Quinnipiac Chamber opened up, president and CEO of the chamber Garrett Sheehan suggested that Ray apply. As Ray and Lynn still live in town, he was excited to take a position that would help local businesses.

As the executive director, Ray does a little bit of everything from emptying wastebaskets and installing air conditioners to overseeing the chamber’s general day-to-to operations. He helps to organize and plan events for the 450 members and promote membership, as well as help with community outreach.

“I serve as an ambassador of local business and business owners, advocate on behalf of our membership to create a healthy workforce, advocate at state capital for local businesses, and create events and platforms for people to network and share business needs,” says Ray, whose favorite part of the job is being able to help people. “My quote to our membership is a simple one: ‘I’d love to hear your successes and I’d love to hear your challenges.’ I want them to tell me the things they’re proud of that they want thus to tell the world and confide in me with their problems that I can hopefully help solve.”

The Quinnipiac Chamber also often partners with the Greater New Haven Chamber, which provides regional and large-scale events that smaller chambers can’t typically provide such as forums, expos, and more. The next event is a Manufacturing Expo at the Best Western on Washington Avenue in North Haven on Saturday, July 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“There are plenty of jobs available in our area and with so many manufactures in the Wallingford, North Haven, and Greater New Haven area, our mission is to connect employer and employee,” says Ray, stressing that the chamber serves both the town’s businesses and the community at large. “The chamber is about the business community and those two words are each important. You can have businesses in a thriving community, but if they’re not connected, you suffer. The chamber helps connect people together. We’re here to help the wider community.”

Over the years, Ray has volunteered in a number of capacities in order to help the wider community. He serves as the president of the board of directors for the New Haven Salvation Army and is also a member of the Clifford Beers Clinic and Four Havens Music Society boards.

Previously he was a longstanding board member of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, the Hamden Chamber of Commerce, Christian Community Action, Schooner, Inc., and Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers. He has served on the North Haven Town Recovery Committee and the Hamden Juvenile Review Board and is a member of New Haven Rotary and a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. He is a past president of the Ridge Hill Elementary school PTA. Ray has served on several executive search committees and has been a longstanding American Legion baseball coach.

Ray’s efforts have been recognized by various organizations as he has received the Community Impact Award from the Quinnipiac and Hamden Chamber of Commerce, Citizen of the Year Award from the Hamden Elks, the Arnold Dean Award from the Franciscan Life Center for Broadcasting Impact, and the Community Citizen of the Year from the Muhammad Islamic Center.

When Ray isn’t working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with his family and their dog, Jackson. Ray is an avid outdoorsman, hiker, and birdwatcher. Ray has also not given up his love for news and is an “incorrigible reader and information and news junkie.” He and his wife love trying new restaurants as self-proclaimed “foodies and adventurous eaters.” They also enjoy traveling.

Even though Ray has been entrenched in the Town of North Haven since his birth, for the past several months, he has enjoyed learning even more about the town and building relationships with town business owners and town officials.

“I’ve known many community leaders for years and now I get to be even more engaged with them,” says Ray, who is happy to work in the town he loves. “When I look around the Town Green, there are so many buildings that have touched my life or been important to me—the church I was baptized in, working in Town Hall, my uncle’s package store, the barber shop where we always got our haircut, and our longtime family doctor. I’m very centered in North Haven. Since coming here from Norway, our family has prospered and this town has helped us do that.”

For more information on the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, email randrewsen@quinncham.com or call 203-269-9891.


Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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