Notice:  Route 9 North, Exit 18 will be closed to traffic on Saturday, October 22nd from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., due to an event!  Main Street (Route 99) in Cromwell will be closed to traffic from Route 372 (West St.) to South St. for “Halloween On Main Street”.  To access the event, take Exit 19 on Route 9 North.

Member breakfast to feature The Jackson Laboratory CEO

May 23, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

We are getting closer and closer to summer in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

Last week was another busy one in Middlesex County which featured meetings of our Women’s Business Alliance, East Haddam & Haddam Division, Board of Directors, Tourism Steering Committee and Legislative Committee. Last Tuesday, chamber Vice President Jeff Pugliese represented us at the Connecticut Brownfields Conference held in Hartford. Brownfield remediation and redevelopment is critical to economic development in our state, and I am glad that DECD and DEEP put on this important event which featured remarks from Gov. Dannel Malloy, DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith and Deputy Commissioner Tim Sullivan, DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee, and others. The chamber will continue to support its member towns as they work to assess and clean up the many brownfield sites in Middlesex County.

My wife Patty and I really enjoyed the Middlesex County Historical Society event that was held at Russell Library last Thursday evening. Bill Corvo did an outstanding job with a presentation on his father Max’s service during World War II. Max Corvo, along with other local patriots, was integral in the development of an espionage and partisan warfare project designed to free fascist controlled Italy. The Hubbard Room was packed for Bill’s presentation, and I know everyone who attended left with a renewed appreciation for the heroism exhibited by Max and his brothers in arms. Debbie Shapiro did a great job introducing Bill and offering remarks on behalf of the Middlesex County Historical Society which continues to connect our region to its remarkable past.

This week also features a number of important chamber events and activities.

Our Westbrook Division will hold its May meeting on Tuesday morning at Valley Shore YMCA. The chamber divisions continue to be very active and they all enjoy the strong support of our membership. The Westbrook Division, under the leadership of Phil Cocchiola of Oxford Academy, and Mary Brewster of Captain Stannard House B&B, is one of our key down county divisions and it is always engaged in the important conversations that are happening on the shoreline.

I look forward to joining Mayor Dan Drew at the Grand Opening Celebration for Vero Cucino Rustico in Trade Winds Plaza on Tuesday afternoon. Vero Cucino Rustico offers a terrific menu of pizza and Italian dishes, and we wish Executive Chef Frank Riggione and the entire team at this new local restaurant nothing but the best moving forward.

Our Golf Committee meets on Tuesday night at Luce Restaurant in Middletown. The 33rd Annual Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, June 3rd at Portland Golf Course. The 2016 tournament is sold out once again, and we are all very much looking forward to a terrific day on the course. Our Golf Committee has done a terrific job once again, and I am so appreciative of all of our sponsors, our players, those who donated gifts, those who purchased tee signs, and many other members of our chamber who offered their support in a number of different ways. Finally, I want to once again thank chamber Vice President Johanna Bond who has served as tournament coordinator for many years.

The chamber’s May Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for this 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 from the beginning, and we look forward to hearing Dr. Liu’s remarks about the progress they are making in Farmington and with their research. This Member Breakfast Meeting is sponsored by our friends at Farmington Bank, and I would like to once again 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. Finally, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa Manager Partner Stephen Tagliatela and Green Team Leader Kate Mosely will present at the forum on the many exciting green initiatives that they have implemented on their beautiful property in Old Saybrook. Saybrook Point Inn & Spa was the first full service hotel in Connecticut to receive the Energy Star rating back in 2007, and was designated as the state’s first Clean Marina back in 2003. We look forward to a terrific Member Breakfast Meeting and Energy Forum this Thursday morning.

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel Cromwell. The evening will begin with Conversation Hour at 5:30 p.m., and the Dinner and Meeting Program will begin at 6:30 p.m. We are very much looking forward to honoring our 2016 Distinguished Citizen Honorees, Darlene Briggs, Chandler J. Howard, and Larry W. Marino. As I noted last week, these three outstanding individuals have shown a longtime commitment to our chamber, to our region, and to community service. Darlene Briggs, owner and operator of Cominfortainment Inc. in Westbrook, is an outstanding supporter of not only our chamber, but of many organizations and initiatives in Middlesex County. Darlene is everywhere, and we continue to appreciate all of her efforts. Chandler Howard, President and CEO of Liberty Bank, has done a terrific job in leading Liberty to new heights in the banking sector, and new heights of corporate citizenship. Larry Marino has had a long and distinguished career in the local business community, and has also been a longtime supporter of our chamber and other organizations such as the Exchange Club, Rotary, Community Foundation of Middlesex County and others. 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. As I noted last week, George is a true gentleman who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in Middletown. He has dedicated a lifetime of public service to the city of Middletown, and we are very proud of him. The Annual Awards Dinner 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 changeover 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 once again 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. Both of these gentlemen represent the best of what the local business community and our chamber has to offer. They are hard-working family men who are not only dedicated to their institutions, but to the community at large. We look forward to recognizing their efforts, and certainly look forward to another terrific Annual Awards Dinner on the evening of June 7th.

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