Schlacter retires as Marlborough Regional Chamber president


Schlacter retires as Marlborough Regional Chamber president
Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Schlacter speaks Heroes Among Us event at the Portuguese Club in Hudson in 2022. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – It still seems strange to Robert Schlacter.

As of March 31, the president of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce retired.

“I never thought I’d be talking about retirement,” he said.

Schlacter likes being busy. He spent the majority of his career as an executive in corporate America before becoming president of the chamber in 2019.

For the first six months in the chamber, Schlacter sought an answer to a basic question – what is the real value proposition of a membership in the chamber?

“I listened to what members wanted,” he said.

The chamber was relaunched with a new brand and mission statement, and lots of new programming.

“We’ve added a layer of networking events – monthly meetings at breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said.

In addition, the chamber has added how-to programs for chamber members, from creating a 401k program for your business to how to apply for grants to forming networking groups.

Less than a year after he joined, he found himself with a challenge that kept everyone busy for the next two-plus years – the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID hit, and we were told to go home,” said Schlacter.

Instead of putting everything on hold, the chamber pivoted and executed almost everything – including most events – virtually. This included a tri-chamber program, partnered with the Collings Foundation, that honored veterans. The program included a virtual tour of the American Heritage Museum in Hudson.

“We continued to grow through COVID thanks to our amazing staff, which was incredible considering every event was virtual. What really moved me was how members rallied around the chamber,” said Schlacter.

In addition, the chamber helped members navigate local, state and federal regulations regarding COVID-19, including the Paycheck Protection Program and obtaining loans.

“The chamber did a great job advocating for our members,” he said. “There were incredible acts of selflessness by chamber members.”

Looking back, and forward

With the pandemic easing, Schlacter can look back on the last four years with pride.

The chamber currently includes 400 business members – “every industry you can think of,” he said.

“I made the change from a large corporation to a regional, nonprofit membership organization. It was one of the best experiences I had in my professional career,” he added. “I applied my experience growing business units, and it has been extremely rewarding .”

On Marlborough’s future development, Schlacter said, “I’m very hopeful for future development in the city. I’m hopeful that some of the new proposed development plans take hold. It can be a phenomenal downtown to live, work and play.”

“Downtown has all the makings for a destination location and we have enjoyed a great relationship with the Marlborough Economic Development Corp.,” he said.

Schlacter said he will provide “as much support as I can” to the chamber’s new president, Steve Messineo.

“The four years went by very quickly – I will miss all the relationships I’ve made,” said Schlacter.

The Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce is at 11 Florence St. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For information on programs and events, visit


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