“Basically, we’re pretty stable and doing pretty well,” said Richard Nunn, a 14-year veteran of the Economic Development Commission, as he summed up the local economy in Wallingford.
Nunn, who chaired the Economic Development Commission in Wallingford for 13 years before assuming the post of vice chairman last year, lauded the presence in the town of a good manufacturing base even as the manufacturing sector has dwindled across the state.
He termed the town’s economy “above average” for Connecticut municipalities at this time.
Nunn also praised the town’s mix of industrial and commercial enterprises, among them Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which completed its move from North Haven into a more than 200,000 square-foot space on Wallingford’s Leigus Road this year. The insurance giant is one company that, even in the weak economy, is expanding its space.
“Location, location, location,” said Nunn when asked one reason for the town’s appeal.
Another reason Anthem and other companies moved to Wallingford, according to Nunn, is the fact that Wallingford has quite possibly the lowest electric rates in the state — lower than the rates charged by United Illuminating or Northeast Utilities.
A part of the municipally owned Wallingford Public Utilities, the town’s Electric Division oversees the distribution of power that the town buys from the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative or CMEEC. The town owns its own wires, poles and streetlights.
“We have excellent power recovery during storms,” Nunn noted, “and a much better record with bringing companies back online after a storm or hurricane than UI or Northeast.”
Nunn has a keen understanding of how the town’s utilities work because he also serves on the town’s Public Utilities Commission.
"He's irreplaceable," said Mayor William Dickinson of Nunn. ”He has an enormous amount of knowledge. He keeps us on the right course.”
Although he grew up in rural Maine and graduated from the Newark Institute of Technology, Nunn established his firm Molded Industrial Plastics in Wallingford.
He continues to operate the company, which provides plastic molding services, in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. He travels locally — Meriden Precision Plastics is one of his clients — and sales representatives represent the company out of state.
Another group that rouses his interest is the Committtee on Aging, which he joined five years ago.
At the time, Nunn said, he was vice president of the board of the Wallingford Senior Center, which is primarily funded by the town.
“I was recruited,” he said of his presence on the committee. There, just as on the EDC, he serves as vice chairman. “The Senior Center is supported by the local government. We also have fundraising efforts. . . The privileges that we can offer to our membership are growing.”
In the future, he said he hoped to see the Center offer an exercise program.
“We’re quite proud of what we can offer to the citizens of Wallingford,” he said.
He takes great pleasure in the fact that the fifth of his and his wife's five children has moved back into the state, and he also enjoys the rural pleasures of Litchfield County, where he and his wife make trips to Lake Waramaug.
“I’ve been pretty active,” he conceded.
When asked why he has volunteered his time and expertise to the town for so many years, he said in his no-nonsense, succinct way, “I’d be bored without it.”