A city man has been honored by of committee of the Maine Department of Labor, which has renamed its annual employer award in his memory.

The State Workforce Investment Board’s Older Workers Committee will present its annual Silver Collar Award in the name of the late Dave Tomm of Rockland, who died in April. The award honors the best Maine employers for workers aged over 50.

Tomm was a Connecticut native who retired to Rockland in 2000 with more than 30 years of self-employed business experience. The inactivity of retirement made him recognize how much he wanted to go back to work, and he was elected chairman of the Seasoned Workforce Program Committee of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2002.

In September 2006 he transformed the program into a private sector business, the Seasoned WorkforceTM LLC., that worked in the public and private sectors to raise awareness of issues surrounding workers over age 50 who are re-entering the workforce. He advocated for these people with major companies throughout Maine, and conducted forums to help them brush up on their skills and to network with potential employers. Many older workers in Maine found jobs through Tomm’s efforts.

According to the Department of Labor, Tomm had strong opinions about the need to value and employ older workers. He was respected for his dedication and tenacity, even among people with whom he disagreed. He always began his forums by saying, "I call us seasoned, because none of us will ever be old, only a few of us ever really want to retire, and most of us will probably never be mature."

In 2003, Tomm served as chairman of the Older Workers Committee of what was then called the Maine Jobs Council. He spearheaded several efforts statewide to recognize and employ seasoned workers. After a hiatus during which he concentrated his efforts on Seasoned Workforce LLC, he returned to the committee in 2012.

In 2008, Mainebiz magazine named him to their annual “Next List” of 10 people shaping the future of Maine's economy."

In 2009, he received the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber’s Business Innovation and Collaboration Award in recognition of his work on behalf of business and the seasoned workforce.

Tomm was energetic and had a broad reach. With a grant from the US Department of Labor, in a short nine-month period his program presented 77 seasoned workforce forums statewide, attended by more than 1,900 jobseekers. He collaborated with over 25 different organizations, all 12 of Maine’s CareerCenters, and 11 chambers of commerce.

According to Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, the older population is projected to be the source of all population growth in Maine between 2000 and 2030. Many people plan to continue working well into retirement and some plan never to retire. This drastic growth in the number of people 50 and older who will still be working will provide a whole new dynamic to Maine’s workforce.

The former Maine Jobs Council designed the Silver Collar award in 2006 to acknowledge businesses that realize the value and reliability of older workers. Many Maine employers are taking care that their policies and practices match the needs of their older workers. They provide a positive environment where the skills and experience, strong work ethic and enthusiasm of the older workforce can flourish as well as benefit the company’s bottom line.

Among previous winners of this award are the following Midcoast employers.

2011 – Athena Health of Belfast

2009 – R.H Reny’s of Newcastle

2007 – Hannaford Brothers in Rockland and ASK…for Home Care of South Thomaston

Nominations for the 2013 Dave Tomm Silver Collar Award can be made through July 24. Self-nominations are welcomed. Application forms can be obtained by emailing a request to the State Workforce Investment Board at swib.dol@maine.gov. Please write “Silver Collar” in the subject line.