PEPPERELL — With great camaraderie, lots of laughs and a few tears, the baton for the Pepperell Business Association was passed to fresh faces Wednesday.

Derek Ten Broeck, the outgoing president of the Pepperell Business Association, spoke about the progress the PBA has made in the five years he spent in office. The group met at the North Middlesex Savings Bank on Wednesday.

What he is most proud of, the owner of Ten Broeck Insurance said, is bringing business people together. He had numbers to back up the accomplishment. Membership grew from 80 to over 200. Attendance at networking functions at breakfast and in the evening is high.

Part of the reason is that dues are only $25 per year. “Everyone can afford it,” he said.

As a team, Ten Broeck said, the association has done much to support the community.

“There’s so much talent in this room,” he said, “Is this a business association, a Rotary or a Lion’s?”

PBA members support the Santa Fund and PACH Outreach. Members turn up to help with breakfasts for veterans and meals for seniors, he said.

After five years in the hot seat, Ten Broeck was happy to turn over the duties of leadership. “My biggest pleasure is to turn this over to Mark,” he said. “I truly believe the best is yet to come for this great association.”

“I’m really excited to take this on,” Mark Vasapolli of Primerica said.

“Thank God,” Ten Broeck replied to laughter.

The new president spoke about his vision for the association. “It’s really crucial to build relationships,” Vasapolli said. Business people help each other out and just as importantly, help others in the community.

“A whole bunch of us wouldn’t be in business without the community,” he said.

If he meets someone in town who needs help, Vasapolli said he reaches out to people in the PBA for recommendations. The need can be as simple as finding the right person to complete a home improvement project for a neighbor.

Also on his agenda is improving communication through new media such as Facebook and to work with Pepperell Community Media to increase awareness of businesses in town with television programming.

Ten Broeck was just one of the long-term leaders to step aside this year. The outgoing president asked Carol Babineau to come to the front of the room.

Babineau started the duck race, raising money for scholarships, 11 years ago, he said. This year, Deb Hayes is organizing the race, and Babineau is helping.

“The association is so much better because of you,” he said before giving her a bouquet.

“I should have known something was up,” Babineau said while sniffing just a bit, because her sons and grandchildren were at the meeting.

Babineau said she wants to see the duck race continue to grow. “It is for the children of Pepperell,” she said, emphasizing the “is.”

Past President Dick Conway introduced the slate of officers. In addition to Vasapolli as the new president, Rolland Nutter of AdviCoach is the new vice president and Janet Bohling of Janet Bohling Advertising and Graphic Design is the new secretary. Susan Casserly, vice president branch management of North Middlesex Savings Bank in Pepperell returns as treasurer.

Conway praised Ten Broeck, who succeeded him in office. The number of members and how many tickets have been sold can be measured, he said to the outgoing president.

He got a laugh when he continued, “What isn’t measurable is your enthusiasm. You’re relentless.”

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