Profile: Entrepreneur builds bridges
Lamont Clemons, Rotary Club of Springfield, Mass.
“Busy day,” Lamont Clemons says, “and those are the best kind.” He’s driving to the site of the MGM Springfield, a giant casino under construction in Springfield, Mass. Clemons’ family business, S-Cel-O, is painting much of the 125,000-square-foot palace for MGM.
It’s just one of numerous work contracts competing for his attention with a half-dozen civic duties, including his new role as the first African-American president in the 102-year history of the Rotary Club of Springfield.
“I feel blessed. Excited. Ecstatic, even,” he says. He grew up in one of Springfield’s poorest, toughest neighborhoods. “Pretty humble,” he says of his youth, “but I was lucky to have a hardworking mother and father.”
Clemons attended private, mostly white Cathedral High School and learned to get along with people of all sorts – a skill he has used to help diversify the Rotary club. Springfield’s 56-member club boasts a growing number of Latino and African-American Rotarians.
Along with his Rotary duties, Clemons runs the city’s entrepreneur program for teens and sits on the board of the local YMCA.
“I want to create bridges,” he says. “Bridges leading young people and minorities to the business world. There aren’t all that many role models for minorities in Springfield. I’m hoping to be one.”
Clemons touches a new ring on his left hand, a wedding band. He spent a recent weekend getting married. Of course he was back at work on Monday morning.
– Kevin Cook
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