Since making the move to Springfield on December 1st, I have met many inspiring entrepreneurs, and even more great people in general. I have felt welcomed here and can really feel a sense of hope, excitement and determination throughout the city as it seems new projects and/or improvements are announced each day. Springfield has had a hard time, as many manufacturing areas have in the last few decades. Then, in 2011, an F3 tornado struck the heart of the city, followed a year later by a major downtown gas explosion decimated a number of city blocks. Despite all of this, and many more general setbacks and negatives, the spirit of this city was and always is about the same thing – moving forward. After all, Springfield is the city where the automobile was invented. The city of Dr. Seuss. The birthplace of Basketball. The site that George Washington chose for the first major US armory and much, much more. They have always lived up to their name; the City of Firsts. They also have elected a Mayor that embodies that spirit, and mixes it with an old school style and substance that makes you stop with your cynicism of politicians for a minute and take a second look.
I come from an old Massachusetts family that served the Commonwealth in politics or public service from 1930 to 2008. Growing up I met and watched Governors, Senators, Representatives, Police Commissioners, you name it. I noticed how many of them had a side to them meant for public consumption, and then, a very different private side. The genuine article was always very rare to find and even rarer to get elected. Mayor Sarno is one of those rare public servants. As with any elected official, he enjoys his share of friends and detractors, but they all get the same guy. With him or against him, he tells you what he thinks and then he is off to act on it. Under his watch MGM is on its way, the Union Station project is finally taking off, Springfield was awarded a state declared Cultural District, UMass Springfield is a reality and much more. I have watched him work just as hard to help a single mom find fuel assistance to keep her and her kids warm, as I have seen him fight to help an important civic business leader keep his company safe from a disastrous merger.
In the interest of full disclosure, I already consider him a close friend and he has shown an unflappable support and excitement for ReVenture’s move to the city and the goals we hope to achieve. But with that being said, in my opinion, this is exactly the right leader at exactly the right time for Springfield.