Drew Pickering, Sr. Memorial Fund

Est. 2023 by the Pickering Family.

Drew Pickering, Sr.

Live like there’s no tomorrow, celebrate big, make memories, cherish old traditions, and never forget to start new ones, laugh, and be happy -- that was Drew Pickering, Sr. He was also a wisecracker right up until his last days. Big Drew, as his family fondly called him, embodied the spirit of the Valley. He grew up and lived in Shelton most of his life and when he passed away in 2022, he left a life filled with love for family, friends, and a career in Connecticut manufacturing. 

He had a big heart, visions, ideas, and love for his family and friends. But his love for his grandchildren knew no bounds. He became “Papa” to Casey, Sheamus, McKenzie, and Brooks and they were his pride and joy and changed his world. 

His journey in manufacturing started after he graduated from Shelton High School in 1965 when he picked up his father’s toolbox and worked his way through the State of Connecticut’s Tool & Diemakers apprenticeship program. Drew started working at Vangor Engineering Corporation in Stratford. In 1968, after completing 8,000 hours of training and technical school, he became a third-generation certified Tool & Diemaker. 

The dedication to his craft as a tool and die tradesman spanned decades, leaving an imprint not only in his intricate progressive die designs, products, and machinery he worked with but also in the hearts of colleagues and those he mentored along the way. In 1985, after working through the ranks at different manufacturing companies in the area, Drew expanded his vision for the trades and started his own company, Kingswood Technology, with a longtime friend and coworker, Michael Chernesky, and with the love and support of his wife, Candy Pickering. 

“Dad passed down his extensive knowledge of the trade and I was able to complete my State of Connecticut Tool and Diemaker apprenticeship at Kingswood,” said Drew Pickering, Jr., Drew’s son.  

Thanks to his family, that legacy of love and skilled success will continue through the Drew Pickering, Sr. Memorial Fund, established at the Valley Community Foundation by his devoted wife, and their children, Drew Jr., and Nicole Fitzgerald. 

The fund aims to carry forward Big Drew’s legacy and desire to keep manufacturing alive in the Valley. It will encourage and steer young people towards the Connecticut Apprenticeship Program for Manufacturing. This will continue throughout generations to come and keep his memory alive, his family said. 

“This is a perfect way to honor Dad’s legacy and give back to the Valley he cherished and adored,” Nicole said. 

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Drew Pickering, Sr. Memorial Fund