Week ahead includes women’s conference, honoring of local leaders, legends

June 25, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

It is hard to believe, but we have reached the final week of July in Middlesex County and throughout our great nation.

One of the true highlights of this job is witnessing the opening of new businesses and observing the amazing entrepreneurship that exists in our region.

An exciting Grand Opening celebration was held last Monday at Creative Girl Studios on Main Street in Middletown. I was happy to attend this event along with Deputy Mayor Bob Santangelo, Middletown Small Business Development Counselor Paul Dodge, and other city and local business representatives. Creative Girl Studios specializes in craft & art workshops, kids’ parties, and fun nights out for adults and kids alike. I congratulate owner Laurie-Lynne Zlotowski on her new location on Main Street and wish her and her team all the best moving forward. Another Grand Opening celebration, this one for Stage Left Dance in Middletown’s Riverview Center, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Stage Left Dance offers classes for students from age two to throughout adulthood. The offerings include a range of dance styles, from Ballet and Lyrical, to Tap and Hip Hop. I look forward to joining Deputy Mayor Bob Santangelo as we officially welcome Leah Maille and her team to the local business community. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to working with them.

Last Friday brought me to Haddam where I joined chamber Vice Presidents Jeff Pugliese and Johanna Bond for a meeting at the Nehemiah Brainerd House Bed and Breakfast. Maryan & Jeff Muthersbaugh were gracious hosts for this gathering which included a discussion on the importance of tourism in the state of Connecticut and the need for dedicated tourism marketing funding at the state level. The Nehemiah Brainerd House B&B, and Laurel Cottage Guest House, both looked terrific as usual. This facility, along with many other B&B establishments in Middlesex County, bring in many important visitors to our region. These visitors not only come to experience our many local attractions, but they spend money while they are here and they contribute to the economic strength of Middlesex County. I thank Jeff and Maryan for hosting this meeting, and for their commitment to tourism in Middlesex County and beyond.

This week features a few more important chamber events and activities. Our Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Committee, chaired by Phil Cacciola, will meet for the first time in 2016 this Wednesday morning in the chamber conference room. The Support the Troops Committee consists of representatives of the many veterans’ organizations in Middlesex County, and the past recipients of the William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award which is presented annually to a veteran of the United States Armed Forces in recognition of his or her distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut and selfless commitment to public service. The committee is tasked with planning and executing the chamber’s Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans’ Member Breakfast Meeting held every November. This year’s event, scheduled for Monday, November 7, 2016, will feature keynote speaker Captain Paul Whitescarver, Commanding Officer, Naval Submarine Base New London. We look forward to Wednesday’s planning meeting and certainly look forward to what will be our 15th Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting on November 7.

I also look forward to attending this Wednesday evening’s reception at the Wadsworth Mansion hosted by our friends at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. This event is a celebration of local leaders and local legends, and it will honor those who go above and beyond for Middlesex County. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County continues to do great work in our region, and I want to once again thank President and CEO Cynthia Clegg, Senior Director of Programs & Operations Thayer Talbott, and the entire CFMC team for their support of so many community-based initiatives.

The 2016 Women in Business Leadership Conference, Luncheon, and Health & Wellness Fair is scheduled for this Thursday, July 28 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. Sponsored by Citizens Bank, the event will feature Keynote Luncheon Speaker Faith Salie who appears on CBS News Sunday Morning and is the author of the critically acclaimed book, “Approval Junkie.” The program will also feature Gina Barreca, the brilliant weekly columnist from the Hartford Courant, Grace Killelea, “The Confidence Effect” author and highly sought after keynote speaker who is appearing at the conference thanks to the support of Comcast, and Kara Sundlun, two-time Emmy award-winning news anchor for WFSB. The Keynote Luncheon and Book Signing featuring Faith Salie will begin at noon. Faith is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and a panelist on NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! She also hosts the PBS show, Science Goes To The Movies. As a commentator on politics and pop culture, she has been interviewed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill O'Reilly, and Anderson Cooper. As a television and public radio host, she herself has interviewed newsmakers from Lorne Michaels to President Carter to Robert Redford. “Approval Junkie” is a collection of daring, funny essays chronicling the author's adventures during her lifelong quest for approval. We look forward to this highly anticipated event and thank our friends at Citizens Bank for sponsoring. I also want to thank our friends at RJ Julia Booksellers for their continued partnership on exciting chamber events. Men will also find a lot of interesting content at this event, and there is also a luncheon only option for those who would just like to attend that portion of the event. For more information or to register online, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.

This year’s Travelers Championship, scheduled for next week, August 1-7 at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, will once again bring large numbers of spectators, players, and tournament support staff to Middlesex County. The Travelers Championship is a major economic generator that fills our area hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. This major PGA event not only attracts most of the best golfers in the world, but it also attracts huge crowds to Cromwell and generates a lot of money for charity. This year’s Travelers Championship is packed with an outstanding Player Field which includes Jim Furyk, Kevin Chappel, Vijay Singh and Luke Donald, all ranked in the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings, along with 152 other players. Each year during tournament week, the chamber is honored to host a Member Breakfast Meeting with a PGA Tour Pro serving as keynote speaker. This year’s Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. Our speaker will be 2012 Travelers Championship winner Marc Leishman who is currently the 39th ranked golfer in the world. Discounted tickets for the 2016 Travelers Championship are available at the chamber office, 393 Main Street in Middletown. All tickets available at the chamber are general admission “Grounds” tickets. Cost is $24 per ticket, a $21 savings on the gate price of $45 per ticket for “Grounds” admission. As I have noted many times, we are so lucky to have the Travelers Championship in our region, and we certainly look forward to another great tournament week in Middlesex County. We are also excited to welcome Marc Leishman to Middlesex County for the Member Breakfast Meeting and appreciate his willingness to speak to our members. I look forward to seeing everyone out at the TPC River Highlands next week for the Travelers Championship.

The 11th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania, presented by Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines & the Hunter Family, and driven by Haymond Law Office, will be held on Wednesday, August 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event is held in memory of Dan M. Hunter, a founding sponsor of Middletown Motorcycle Mania. Over 6,000 bikes are expected to converge on Main Street for the 11th anniversary of this annual Middletown event which will showcase custom and vintage motorcycles. In 2015, there were over 6,000 motorcycles on display along with thousands of spectators. All bikes are welcome to come out for the largest one-day summer motorcycle event in New England, an event that is sure to be a fantastic time for everyone involved. I will have more on the 11th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania as we get closer, but everyone should save the date of August 10, and the rain date of August 17.

August is almost upon us, and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce continues to be on the move.

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