AUGUSTA — “My biggest goal was to see the whole area improve.”

That philosophy from John Fallona is part of the reason he will be honored by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce when it presents its Kenney Awards on Jan. 25 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Fallona, 79, will be honored as this year’s recipient of the Peter G. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award, named after a longtime former Chamber president. It is given to business and professional leaders who have had a lasting effect on the business climate in our area.

Born in Portland, Fallona spent most of his adult life in Kennebec County, growing up in Gardiner and Augusta. After graduating from Cony High School and attending vocational school in South Portland, he began working at Central Maine Power in 1964.

Fallona climbed through the ranks to become vice president of operations at the company, serving during the ice storm of January 1998.

“That was probably the biggest ice storm that we had in 100 years,” he said. “You had people from coming in from all over the country to work on it.”

“There were a lot of sleepless nights,” Fallona added. “It was 24 hours, around the clock.”

After 40 years at the power provider, he purchased utilities contractor On Target. It had been started by CMP in 1994, but was spun off into its own entity in 2004, and Fallona managed the Gardiner-based operation for a decade before buying it.

On Target started with 35 employees, he said, and has since ballooned to more than 300 in offices in Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut. It was acquired by US Infrastructure Corp. in June 2018, and Fallona retired. He sold his Augusta home and moved to Scarborough.

Peter Thompson — for whom the award is named — and Fallona worked together for 21 years at CMP. Thompson worked in public relations and recalled learning the specifics of electricity delivery from Fallona when he began in 1968.

“He (John) was just always delightful to work with,” he said. “He was an even-tempered man; I always found it a delight to work with him.”

In 2016, the Kennebec Journal reported that On Target had hired nearly 100 apprentices from the Kennebec Valley Community College Electrical Lineworker Technology Program since 2002. Fallona was a supporter of local education institutions, also donating to Waterville’s Thomas College.

Thompson said the Chamber of Commerce encouraged large companies, such as On Target, Pine State and E.J. Prescott, to stay in the Kennebec Valley.

“We’re so fortunate to have (those businesses) based here,” he said. “They tend to be larger taxpayers, and that’s very significant for the growth (of the area).”

Thompson said Fallona is a worthy recipient of his namesake award.

“I’m extremely honored to see John get it,” he said. “I’m honored that my name is even attached to it.”

In additional to his commercial contributions, Fallona has given back to numerous community organizations and was affiliated with the Kennebec Valley YMCA and the Capital Area Recreation Center. He also said he was a donor to a number of Kennebec County organizations, including MaineGeneral Medical Center and Lithgow Public Library.

Fallona was recognized in September by the United Way for making consistent leadership-level contributions. In 2012, the Kennebec Journal reported that Fallona donated $5,000 and manpower to aid the construction of a playground for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kennebec Valley.

Ingrid Stanchfield, chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kennebec Valley, said Fallona has served on the organization’s planning committee and is always quick to donate or lend a hand on projects.

“He’s just really committed and selfless when it comes to the kids and the families,” she said. “He’s one in a million. We are very lucky to have him.”

Katie Doherty, Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said the Chamber’s nominating committee recognized Fallona for his effect on the community.

“He was able to financially support a lot of (youth sports) teams and local organizations,” she said. “They’re the future of the Kennebec Valley.”

Fallona said On Target’s success has enabled him to support the community.

“I’ve spent a lot of time being involved in youth activities,” he said. “The business was successful and that meant the community got more benefits.”

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME


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