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EDITORIAL: Bill Guglielmo, the face of Rome’s business community for decades, will be missed

Posted 1/20/23

Much has changed over the past 50 years. Smartphones have replaced land lines. A world of information is available with a few taps on the keyboard.

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EDITORIAL: Bill Guglielmo, the face of Rome’s business community for decades, will be missed


Much has changed over the past 50 years. Smartphones have replaced land lines. A world of information is available with a few taps on the keyboard. TikTok doesn’t refer solely to the sounds that a clock makes, and, without much effort, you can find political commentary of some sort 24/7 on a TV network.

But one thing that hadn’t changed over the past half-century, until now, has been William K. “Bill” Guglielmo as the face of Rome’s business community.

After 50 years of service, Guglielmo, on Wednesday, announced his retirement as president of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce.

He began his career at the chamber in February 1973 during the Richard Nixon administration. He began as a staff assistant with the Rome Chamber in 1973.

At the time, the chamber was located on the second floor of the Niagara Mohawk Building at 127 W. Liberty St. Guglielmo worked his way up to director of Government Affairs & Membership Development, administrator, executive vice-president and then president in 1996.

For much of the past half-century, he was synonymous with business development in the Copper City.

He was known throughout the city as a staunch advocate for the community and its business sector, for his incredible work ethic, for his thoughtfulness, integrity and a wonderfully witty sense of humor dispatched with a disarming smile.

While the economic climate in the region has definitely been in an upswing recently, Guglielmo helped the local business community through some really tough times, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the realignment of Griffiss Air Force Base in the mid 1990s and, using his vast experience as a guide, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During these times and throughout his tenure at the chamber, the city and the region as a whole, benefited from Bill’s steady hand and consistent leadership.

His stewardship of local business projects, programs and events demonstrated the ease at which he worked with a diverse group of individuals and organizations to help achieve common goals.

As is Bill’s nature, he is quick to credit others for his much-deserved accolades.

“During my 50-year career with the chamber, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the dedicated membership who volunteered their time, talent and resources, offering programs to promote business opportunities and encourage economic growth in Rome and the region,” wrote Guglielmo in a letter to the chamber’s Executive Board announcing his retirement.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside so many creative, dedicated, and sincere people. I will miss all of them dearly, and with very fond remembrances,” he continued.

“Thank you for the opportunity to play a part in successfully advocating for the Rome business community,” Guglielmo added.

Those who worked with Guglielmo hailed him, personally and professionally.

John Calabrese, the current chamber chairman of the board, said Guglielmo’s life work has been the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce “and making Rome a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

“He is a pillar in the Rome community and rest assured, any significant advancement that we have experienced in our community, Bill Guglielmo played a role in that advancement, in a way only Bill can,” Calabrese said.

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo recalled memories of working with Guglielmo as a staff assistant with the Rome Chamber.

“Bill Guglielmo is one of my greatest friends in the City of Rome, and one of my first jobs out of college was working as a staff assistant at the chamber, and Bill was already there,” Izzo remembered.

“We became great friends, and that friendship has continued for about 40 years,” she said.

“I don’t have enough good things to say about Bill. He’s lead the chamber very well. He’s been a big part of this community for his entire life, and especially in his professional life,” the mayor said.

“I don’t know if anyone else has been involved in every aspect of the community as Bill has been. Bill has done many things to help people and be a champion of the community,” she added.

Bill was also instrumental in the development of the area’s Chamber Association, which brought the many local chambers of commerce together to collaborate in areas of mutual interest. The organization has proven in just a short time to be highly capable and highly successful — and a key regional asset and advocate.

You can add our newsroom to the vast group of area residents who wish Guglielmo well in his retirement and who will miss him professionally. No matter what we asked of him, he always had an answer — and a smile.


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