Chet Doheny persevered and found his way to success
BY ANDREAS YILMA
OUTLOOK – Chet Doheny wasn’t raised in the most stable home environment as a child, but that hasn’t hampered his current success in life, which in turn helps those in need.
“Finding solutions to what seems impossible and difficult to overcome is what drives me and has made me who I am today,” said Doheny.
The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce honored Doheny as the 45th recipient of the 101st Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award on January 19 at Aria Banquet Hall in Prospect.
The award, presented annually by the Chamber, recognizes an individual’s outstanding contributions to Naugatuck’s business and socioeconomic well-being.
The award is named for Lewis Acker Dibble Sr., who lived in Naugatuck and played an influential role in founding the chamber in the 1920s, helping give the county’s YMCA its first building in 1923, and assisting in the effort to establish Peter Paul in 1926 to develop into a giant confectionery company, said Naugatuck Chamber chairman of the board, Attorney Kevin H. McSherry.
McSherry said Doheny was similar to Mr. Dibble in many ways.
“He (Doheny) has proven himself over the years, he’s demonstrated his intuition, his compassion for people,” McSherry said.
Doheny, originally from Milwaukee, Wisc. said he lived in almost every state except Alaska and Hawaii for the first five years of his life, mostly in motels and out of two suitcases — one for his toys and the other for his clothes. He never met his father and his immediate family had a history of mental health and addiction issues. Doheny dropped out of school at the age of 17.
After working a few government jobs, he began working at the Institute for Professional Practice and rose as high as he could before being turned away from the director’s position for not having a master’s degree.
Coincidentally, Doheny had started a small business at the time to help some troubled families with children with behavioral problems, but it was the late former Executive Director of the Institute of Professional Practice, Michael Richards, who convinced Doheny to start his own business.
Doheny founded the staffing agency We Do Life…Together (a division of ICES, Inc.) in 1998 and is the organization’s CEO, President and General Manager. Based in Naugatuck, the company supports people with cognitive disorders, mental illness and people on the autism spectrum
ICES is licensed by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Developmental Services and works with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, local school systems, and other service providers. They are members of the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed, and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Doheny is also involved with various other organizations, including serving as vice chairman of the board of directors for the Waterbury Regional Chamber, owner and CEO of Connecticut Transportation Solutions, which provides services that assist school districts and state agencies with transportation needs for students of all abilities. Established SAKE LLC, a real estate company providing housing to vulnerable populations in safe areas and created 440 Maintenance, which provides licensed and affordable home maintenance services.
“All of these organizations fit into making things happen for people with cognitive issues, mental health issues and autism,” McSherry said. “Those things that are being addressed and the man who is making life worth living and making life mainstream for these people is amazing and that’s tremendous work.”
Doheny also serves on the boards of several youth arts programs, including City Youth Theater and 3D Music Academy. Just over a dozen kids at 3D Music Academy performed the song “Lean on Me” about halfway through Doheny’s speech.
“I know with all my heart that I would not be here today if it weren’t for those who have supported me and perhaps been with me on the sometimes bumpy journey,” Doheny said. “I am blessed not only to be disconnected from the business community of Naugatuck, Waterbury and the surrounding areas, but have been able to take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities available in these communities, not only for my business but also for my family.”