Chapter Staff- CT ABC and CEC
Chris Syrek started at CT ABC in 2012 as Member Services Director. In 2014, he was promoted to Vice President and in 2015 became the President of the Connecticut Chapter. His current responsibilities include: leading the opposition against PLAs and RCOs, coordinating lobbying efforts at the State Capitol, and handling the Chapter's Membership efforts. Since joining the staff, he has been a tireless advocate in defending the Merit Shop philosophy and working for our members, while also helping the chapter obtain one of the highest membership retention rates in the country. Prior to joining CT ABC, Chris worked on a number of political campaigns including a Gubernatorial and U.S. Senate race, and also managed a Congressional Campaign. He uses his experience to help CT ABC and our members navigate through tough issues and the challenging Connecticut political landscape.
An avid sports fan, Chris enjoys playing basketball and working on his well below average golf game. He lives in West Hartford with his wife Michelle and Reagan the beagle.
Suzanne O’Brien joined CT ABC in 2006 as an Executive Assistant to the President. Her current responsibilities as Member Services Manager include a variety of member services: monthly newsletter, coordination of events including the Annual Dinner & Excellence in Construction Awards and golf outings, member communications, member referrals and maintenance of member data records. She is the organizational backbone for both organizations and the go-to person for special projects.
Joe joined CT ABC in August of 2015 as the Membership Director. His current responsibilities include: developing recruitment strategies to achieve desired membership goals, achieving sales growth, and retaining current members. Also, he helps maintain positive relations and expert knowledge of members while managing the association’s marketing efforts by developing effective marketing strategies. In addition, he assists the Chapter’s President in coordinating meetings with members and elected officials.Joe graduated from Stonehill College in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a minor in Political Science. Prior to joining CT ABC, he worked for two years in both direct sales and sales operations. Joe is an entrepreneurial minded, intellectually curious team player with a hard working attitude.
Audra Antrum- Special Events Director
Audra Antrum joined CT ABC in 2010 as the chapter’s Special Events Director after working with the association for several years. Her trademark enthusiasm and energy have helped raise the bar to unparalleled heights for our Annual Dinner & Excellence in Construction Awards program and Rodeo/Career Day Expo among other signature chapter events. Audra brings a depth and understanding of what our members expect for their participation that comes from being a business owner herself. With 25 years of fundraising event planning experience—the last 16 as a consultant and entrepreneur--Audra has proven that she is big on results and short on excuses.
Jennifer Philips joined ABC CT as the Education Director of the Construction Education Center in 2011. She plans, directs and coordinates the apprenticeship, continuing education and professional development programs. She has worked in higher education for over ten years and prior to ABC had been Assistant Director of Financial Aid for Fairfield University. Through working at private universities, proprietary schools, and trade schools, she has cultivated a broad perspective on different educational environments, identified relative strengths and weaknesses, and utilized this experience in developing effective programs. Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University and a Master Trainer certification; her Bachelor’s degree was in Psychology from St. Michael’s College.
Rachel Ricci Drake is the bookkeeper for ABC and CEC. She joined in February 2016 and handles all financial activities. She has been a bookkeeper for 10 years. In late 2007, she opened and is currently operating a bookkeeping service. In 2008, she began working as a Financial Director for an Association Management Company, working with multiple member-based nonprofit associations. Before getting her degree in Accounting, she worked as a Realtor and office/property manager for a large residential development group. Rachel resides in East Berlin, CT with her husband Christian, son Jacoby, daughter Lila, and dog Chili.
Mary Lester- Education Coordinator
Mary is our newest member to CT ABC. She comes from many years doing Safety Training as well as Human Resource support in the distribution and logistics world. Mary is a long time resident of Tolland CT. Mary has two children (Brandon, Ashley) and a dog named Talula. She spends her free time going to the gym, shopping, traveling and watching the Red Sox games with her husband Rich.