FedEx to break ground on distribution center Thursday

May 9, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

The 33rd Annual Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, originally scheduled for last Friday, was postponed to Friday, June 3rd due to inclement weather. Our Golf Committee, players, staff, and all other tournament supporters were looking forward to a great day on the course, but Mother Nature had other ideas last Friday. We still look forward to a sold out tournament on June 3rd, and will certainly continue to provide updates on the rescheduled event as we get closer.

This week includes three chamber division meetings which will all feature reports from important state officials. State Comptroller Kevin Lembo will attend Wednesday’s meeting at Cooper Atkins Corp. in Middlefield and Thursday’s meeting at Chicago Sam’s Sports Bar and Grille in Cromwell. Kevin Lembo has been a strong supporter of our chamber and even joined me for a tour of a few downtown Middletown small businesses last Thursday to celebrate Small Business Week in our great nation. Comptroller Kevin Lembo is a terrific public servant and we continue to appreciate his support of chamber events and activities. The previous occupant of the comptroller’s office is Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. Lt. Gov. Wyman was also a fantastic friend to our chamber during her tenure as comptroller, and she has continued that tradition while serving as Lt. Gov. She will visit with our Chester, Deep River and Essex Division on Friday morning at Chester Village West. We very much appreciate the support of these state officials, and continue to appreciate the support of our membership for these important chamber divisions.

I am honored to be traveling to the White House on Tuesday along with the National Champion UConn Women’s Basketball team. Coach Geno Auriemma, his coaches, and his players exemplify teamwork, commitment to each other and to a common goal, and excellence. They have earned this trip to our nation’s capital to once again visit with the White House and spend some time with the President of the United States. I want to congratulate the UConn Women’s Basketball team once again on their remarkable achievements, and on another national title. They continue to make us proud.

Back at the chamber this Tuesday, The First Niagara Workshop Series continues with a session focused on Advanced Selling "Secrets.” Small business owners not only have to deliver products and services and manage their businesses every day, but they also have to sell to be successful. Despite this fact, few owners or their people understand the human dynamics of the sales process. Successful salespeople earn the trust and loyalty of their customers and understand how to effectively find out what their customers really need so the sale will “stick”. Chamber members are invited to come and learn the principles and details of a successful consultative selling process based on actual field experience. This workshop begins at 8:00 a.m. and will wrap up around 10:00 a.m. Please visit www.middlesexchamber.com for more information. I would like to once again thank First Niagara Bank for their sponsorship of this chamber workshop series.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new FedEx Ground Distribution Center on Middle Street in Middletown is scheduled for this Thursday. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Mayor Dan Drew, members of the Common Council, and many other local dignitaries will attend the event to celebrate this major economic development initiative for Middletown and for our region. The FedEx project will create over 400 permanent jobs, hundreds of part time positions, and a number of construction jobs as the project comes to fruition. This is a big deal for the City of Middletown. FedEx is a globally renowned and successful company. I congratulate Mayor Drew and the City of Middletown for shepherding this project from conception to a shovel in the ground. We certainly look forward to welcoming FedEx to the Middlesex business community.

The chamber’s May Business After Work Networking Reception is scheduled for this Thursday at Connecticut Rental Center in Middletown. This event, as all of our Business After Work events do, will feature complimentary beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, a terrific spread of food, and of course, the best networking around for chamber members and their guests. Longtime chamber member and supporter Tom Byrne, who serves as Chairman of our Central Business Bureau, is hosting this event along with his outstanding team at Connecticut Rental.  Tom looks forward to showcasing his newly renovated showroom, and we certainly appreciate his willingness to host this event for our membership.

Xavier High School will host the dedication of Richard Magner Baseball Field this Saturday, May 14th. Rich Magner is an outstanding baseball coach who was a terrific player in his own right. He was drafted by both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and enjoyed a fine career as a player. More importantly however, he serves as Director of Guidance at Xavier, an incredibly important position to the development of these fine young men. I look forward to celebrating Coach Magner and the dedication of the baseball field in his name. I also had the honor of coaching and teaching with Rich during my career at Xavier. He is a great man and coach and I am really happy for him and his family.  

The chamber’s May Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 26th. This important event will feature remarks from Edison Liu, CEO of the Jackson Laboratory. The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit organization focusing on mammalian genetics research to advance human health. Their mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health. The Jackson Laboratory is doing amazing work in the genomic research field, and their entry into the state of Connecticut is proving to be a major economic development initiative. The Jackson Laboratory, in partnership with the state, has constructed a new nonprofit research institute in Farmington on the campus of the UCONN Health Center. This important facility for our state is called the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. The chamber supported this major economic development and research initiative for our state, and we look forward to hearing Dr. Liu’s remarks about the progress they are making in Farmington. This Member Breakfast Meeting is sponsored by our friends at Farmington Bank, and I would like to take a moment to thank John Patrick and the Farmington Bank team for their strong support of this event and of our chamber.

This breakfast with Dr. Liu will be immediately followed by the 2016 Middlesex County Energy Forum. This event, sponsored by Eversource, Connecticut Natural Gas, Southern Connecticut Gas, and Pullman & Comley LLC, will feature a packed agenda full of outstanding content focused on economic development through energy efficiency. The forum will include: an update on Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, an energy focused Economic Forecast, a State of Connecticut and Middlesex County energy infrastructure update, an update on best practices for energy efficiency and Energize CT Initiatives, and an energy related success story from a Middlesex County business. We look forward to a very productive morning on May 26th in Cromwell.  

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel Cromwell. Annual Dinner is of course a very important evening for our organization. This year’s event will begin with Conversation Hour at 5:30 p.m., and the Dinner and Meeting Program will begin at 6:30 p.m. Our Distinguished Citizen Committee nailed it once again this year, and I am proud to announce that our 2016 Distinguished Citizen Honorees are Darlene Briggs, Chandler J. Howard, and Larry W. Marino. These three outstanding individuals have shown a longtime commitment to our chamber, to our region, and to community service. We look forward to joining them and their families to celebrate this well-deserved honor. The Michael L. Green Award, presented annually to a member of the police or fire community for his or her outstanding service to the community and to the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, will also be presented at the Annual Awards Dinner. This year’s recipient is Middletown Emergency Management Director, and former Middletown Fire Chief, George P. Dunn. George is a true gentleman who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in Middletown. We look forward to honoring him as well on June 7th. The event will also include the formal presentation of the chamber’s scholarship awards to three outstanding Middlesex County high school students. Finally, the Annual Awards Dinner will mark the official handover of the chamber’s chairmanship from Middlesex Hospital CEO Vin Capece to Essex Savings Bank President Greg Shook. Vin has done an outstanding job in this leadership role over the past year. He has been a pleasure to work with and I want to thank him personally and on behalf of the chamber for serving as our chairman. Greg is another fine corporate leader and citizen, and we look forward to another strong year under his leadership. I will have more on the 2016 Annual Awards Dinner as we get closer, but please be sure to save the date.

For more information on chamber events and activities, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.

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