Mike Abbate to receive Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will present its 2020 Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award to Mike Abbate, who has worked tirelessly for the economic betterment of Chautauqua County and to address the critical issues of education and food resources in our communities.
“I am humbled and honored to be this year’s recipient of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award,” Mike Abbate said.
Abbate started at the Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant in 1981 and served in a variety of roles there. In 2013, he was named Plant Manager, serving in that capacity until 2018. During his plant manager tenure, the plant celebrated the production of the 1.5 millionth engine and made significant investments towards the plant’s future.
Most notably, the plant secured a significant capital investment to install a new block machining line, an investment that illustrated Cummins’ commitment to the people and products of the Jamestown plant, and the local community.
In June 2017, Abbate received one of Cummins highest awards, the J. Irwin Award of Excellence, presented in recognition of his commitment to Cummins Employees and his leadership in the community.
“Cummins realized many years ago the correlation between the viability and success of a manufacturing site, and the viability and success of the surrounding community, creating a strong desire within Cummins to partner with our communities to improve, optimize and grow. Efforts like the Chautauqua County Education Coalition and initiatives like ‘Dream It, Do It’ grew out of this desire,” Abbate said.
“Mike has been a leader and a mentor to many people, both in the Cummins facility and in the community,” said Anna Dibble, Cummins plant manager. “Cummins has a long tradition of being a responsible corporate partner within the community. Cummins mission is to serve and improve the communities in which we live. Our priority areas are education, environment, and equality of opportunity. Mike’s work both in the plant and in the community have been an excellent demonstration of how to take the Cummins mission and community priorities and put them into action. This recognition is well deserved.”
While his work with the Jamestown Engine Plant is notable, there is much more to Abbate, much of which has been unseen by the public. He was deeply involved in the formation of the Chautauqua County Education Coalition, which in 2019 was named by the Lumina Foundation as one of the nearly 100 community partnerships nationwide to be part of the Lumina Community Network to help understand best practices and how resources can best make an impact. The CCEC secured a $66,000 multi-year National Grid STEM grant for reinvestment of micro-grants to support programming in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in Chautauqua County. Mike has also served on a number of boards of directors in the community including the board of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown this past year, Abbate remained busy working with United Ways in Chautauqua County on a project that would help with much-needed food distribution.
“He played a critical volunteer role in putting together a system for tracking data and outcomes for emergency food pantries and providers (like school districts) across Chautauqua County in the midst of the COVID crisis,” said Amy Rohler, executive director of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. “Not only did he dive into a group of organizations that felt a bit like “herding cats,” but helped us logistically think through a way to address transport, communicate, and share resources in this sector, especially in the early days of COVID when services were changing rapidly, and we weren’t sure yet what food access for needy families would be.”
She added, “He co-convened with our staff weekly zoom meetings to share information, addresses challenges, and share changes to data in a group that ranged from tiny rural food pantries housed in churches to FeedMore WNY, which serves 4 counties. It was a privilege to work with him. All in all, his deep sense of caring for this community and level-headed energy were the right fit at the right time.”
“During my tenure as plant manager, I appreciated the partnership and insight of Todd Tranum, the MAST board, the Chamber, and numerous other leaders and organizations in our community. As we work to recover from the economic and social impacts of COVID I know it is going to take a collaborative effort from all organizations and segments of our community to restore our community to health,” Abbate said.
Tranum said, “The presentation of the Pam Lydic Award each year highlights important work happening in our county that may otherwise go unseen. This year’s award to Mike Abbate demonstrates clearly how one person can make a significant contribution to the community through both their actions in the workplace and in the community by connecting organizations and resources. We applaud Mike Abbate.”
The Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award recognizes an individual in the region who has worked hard to bring groups of people together around a common goal or objective. This award is presented to an individual that has helped move the region forward in a positive direction through collaboration and by building partnerships. The award is particularly focused on those who have done their work consistently and often times in the background. It is named in memory of Pam Lydic, the first President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, who was instrumental in bringing together smaller Chambers of Commerce to create a countywide entity 20 years ago. The award includes a $500 donation from the Chamber of Commerce to a non-profit charity of the recipients’ choice. Mike has selected the United Christian Advocacy Network to receive the donation.
The award will be presented during the joint Chamber-MAST Annual Meeting which will be held online at noon, Friday, Jan. 22. The keynote speaker will be Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. The event marks the 20th anniversary of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the 120th year of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier. To register for the event visit www.chamberrsvp.org.