After 32 Years, Merrimack Valley Chamber’s Wil Carpenter Moves Into Retirement Mode

Wilfred N. “Wil” Carpenter, left, thanks Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce members and President Joseph J. Bevilacqua during a meeting at the Tap Restaurant and Brew Pub in downtown Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

He has been an advocate for Merrimack Valley businesses—often seen, but more often playing critical roles behind the scenes.

Last night, however, members of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce bade farewell to Wilfred N. “Wil” Carpenter during a member event last night at the Tap Restaurant and Brew Pub in downtown Haverhill. While Carpenter is stepping down from his day-to-day duties as vice president of the Chamber, he told the crowd he isn’t retiring in the classic sense.

“What a long, strange trip this has been. My trip does not end here. I will be reinventing myself and doing things with my family—children and grandchildren—with my two properties in Methuen and Salisbury. I think you all know, I’m not the kind of guy to just sit on my butt,” he declared.

Carpenter first went to work for the Chamber 32 years ago, starting as membership director. He would later rise to second in command as vice president of sales and service. Among his accomplishments was modernizing Chamber communications as the internet took hold, expanding the Chamber’s business networking mixers from 14 to 28 programs annually and executing a successful member drive telethon.

Chamber President Joseph J. Bevilacqua told the audience Carpenter played a critical role in transforming the near-bankrupt Lawrence Chamber of Commerce into today’s Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“It takes staff members and team members to actually help make the Chamber work and I want to really give a lot of credit to Wil Carpenter. I want to give you a round of applause. Wil is retiring,” Bevilacqua said.

Incidentally, after the business mixer, Carpenter didn’t relax. He took charge of filing member materials, taking last-minute notes and cleaning up.

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