We, as human beings, never stop learning if we are open to new experiences and yearn for knowledge. Meet the two winners of the 2011 Eastern Area Agency on Aging George Hale Silver Frame Award for the category of Life-Long Learner-Entrepreneur.
Dave Tomm, from Rockland, won for age 60-75. He was nominated by Cheryl Feldpausch.
Tomm is a retired business owner from Connecticut and by his own admission, a serial entrepreneur, wrote Feldpausch.
“Dave is an innovator who found a way to address an important social issue and begin his own new career,” she said. “He is, indeed, an exceptional role model with a great deal of vision, and very worthy of recognition.”
Tomm has had strong interest in the “aging work force” since 2002, when he led a study of the aging work force for the chambers of commerce in the midcoast area.
He discovered that people 50 and older were the fastest-growing population in the state and were losing their jobs, some because of the economy while others retired, but were looking for supplemental income.
Many of these older adults reported that it was difficult to find employment, while businesses revealed that it was difficult to find reliable help. Tomm stepped up.
“Seeing the need and therefore an opportunity, Dave formed a company, Seasoned Workforce LLC, and has become the leading advocate for seasoned workers in Maine,” Feldpausch wrote in her letter.
Tomm uses his leadership skills to offer free Seasoned Worker Forums in conjunction with adult education departments, chambers of commerce and CareerCenters around the state.
More than 1,700 people have had the opportunity to attend these forums from York County to Madawaska in the last 18 months.
Tomm advises unemployed people to stay healthy and continue making valuable contributions to society through extra training, volunteering and networking. He also advises business leaders who are looking for good workers to take notice of the talent, maturity and skills that seasoned workers can offer.
Richard Fickett of Cherryfield won for Life-Long Learner-Entrepreneur, age 76-plus. He was nominated by Melody Johnson and Billie-Jo Stanwood.
Quite the entrepreneur, Fickett is president of Fickett Property Management, with a portfolio of seven affordable housing projects and several family and commercial rentals in Washington and Hancock counties.
Fickett also is a selectman for the town of Cherryfield, secretary of the Cherryfield Alumni Association, secretary of the Downeast Gideons, financial secretary of the First Baptist Church of Cherryfield, and acting chairman of the Loan Committee, Eastern Maine Development Corp.
For years Fickett subsidized a meals program in Cherryfield so that area seniors had a place to socialize and get a nutritional hot meal twice a week. He is a strong community leader and helps to make our community a better place to live in by staying active in town politics and community-based organizations aimed at strengthening the community, said both nominators.
Fickett continues to set a positive example for everyone he meets and treats people with respect and kindness in all areas of his business and personal life, said both nominators. He thinks not only with his head but with his heart, and is worthy of being recognized as exceptional role model “big picture” thinker that he is.
Next time, read about more winners. And remember that you can nominate an inspiring senior for the 2012 George Hale Silver Frame Awards anytime. We take nominations all year.
Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Email Higgins Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, email email@example.com or visit http://www.EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.