By Jennifer Meek, Director of Marketing at Charlotte Products

We’re proud of our CEO, Matt Strano, for becoming the 2022 Peterborough and Kawarthas Business Citizen of the Year! Those of us who’ve worked with Matt at Charlotte know what an inspiring leader and devoted community member he is, so it comes as no surprise that the Peterborough and Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce recognizes these traits, too. Each year, the organisation gives one citizen this prestigious award to recognize their role and lasting impact on the local business community. 

When Matt joined Charlotte Products as CEO, one of the first initiatives he introduced was Charlotte Cares, a program that supports local organizations within the Peterborough community through volunteerism, partnerships and donations. This program represents our commitment and passion for helping others. Through Charlotte Cares, we have been able to educate people on how to clean properly and inspire others to help people in need. Since 2017, Charlotte Cares initiatives have helped a number of local charitable organisations, including Habitat for Humanity, Hospice Peterborough, One City One Roof, Five Counties Children’s Center, Good Neighbor Care Center, Peterborough Humane Society, Junior Achievement, Mombassadors, CMHA, Canada Council for the Blind Peterborough Council and more.

Matt’s recent involvement in forming a joint venture with Merit Precision helped to cut Charlotte’s carbon footprint by manufacturing bottles in our community, secure the upstream supply chain and to create jobs in the middle of a pandemic. Under Matt’s leadership, Charlotte Products doubled production capacity within two weeks of the pandemic starting. This rapid development occurred without a playbook, with significant unknowns and navigation challenges. The Charlotte team remained outbreak free, safe and committed to support the tremendous demand of cleaners, disinfectants and sanitizers throughout North America.

Matt grew up right here in Peterborough, and his family ran a local food distribution business. You might even say that supporting local business is in his blood. After leaving the area for two decades, he returned to his hometown to take the position as CEO with Charlotte Products and devoted his personal and professional efforts to bettering the local community. Beyond his contributions with the Charlotte Cares program, Matt has proven himself to be a dedicated community volunteer personally. He is a volunteer mentor and coach with the Peterborough City Soccer Club. In 2020, Matt was named Volunteer of the Year at the Peterborough Soccer Club for his contribution of products and knowledge during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Matt serves as a Board Member on the Peterborough & Kawartha Economic Development, promoting and facilitating business opportunities to create a thriving economy for the City and County of Peterborough. Matt is passionate about sharing his knowledge and leadership skills with the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development group who serve our vibrant community and for the betterment of our community.

Matt is also very active within the Kawartha Manufacturers Association, supporting their efforts to strengthen local manufacturing in any way he can. He provided guided video walkthroughs of the Charlotte sites and information sessions to help encourage students to learn more about working in manufacturing. 

Matt is an active participant in Junior Achievement, which encourages youth to develop skills and consider a career in the manufacturing and processing sectors. His support and participation in regular World of Choices Mentoring events where he generously donates his time to help prepare and inspire Canadian youth as they prepare for their future to succeed in a global economy.

Matt leads by example with his family following in his footsteps offering volunteering assistance and support throughout our community. Whether spending Christmas Eve preparing food at One Roof Shelter for those in need as a family, wrapping Christmas presents in support of Big Brothers & Sisters during the Christmas season or participating in weekly donations of sandwiches to One Roof through Sandwich Sisters, the Stranos are always available to help those in need.

Learn more about Matt and this award in The Peterborough Examiner, or this video.