Senate Majority Leader Duff to kick off Legislative event series

April 10, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

I would like to begin this week’s chamber column with a few thoughts on last Monday’s meeting of the Middletown Common Council. I attended the meeting to speak on a number of issues including the appointment of Joe Samolis as Middletown’s new Director of Planning, Conservation and Development, an appropriation of $300,000 for the planning, design, engineering and construction of the Greater Middletown Military Museum, the city’s co-sponsoring of three major downtown events this summer, and the authorization of a sublease with Charles IT for 20 parking spaces the City currently leases on William Street. I am very pleased that all of these measures passed the council. Joe Samolis is the right person to lead this key city department. I look forward to working with him as we move forward. We should support the veterans because they have done so much to support us. The summer events represent a great opportunity for us to showcase our vibrant downtown and outstanding local businesses. Finally, Charles IT is a growing local company that we need to retain. I thank the council members, as always, for their willingness to serve, and I appreciate their support of these important measures.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Inland Wetland Watercourses Agency, the chamber also supported the mixed use/retail development proposed by Abe Kaoud on Washington Street near the intersection with Plaza Drive. Past history shows that Mr. Kaoud has brought excellent projects to the City of Middletown and I know this one will be no different. I thank the Inland Wetland Watercourses Agency for approving the measure at Wednesday’s meeting. The chamber will be a constructive partner as this process moves forward, and will continue to support strategic commercial and manufacturing development in Middlesex County.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I attended a Reception and Open House to celebrate The Connection’s CEO Lisa DeMatteis-Lepore. Lisa was officially named CEO in March after serving in an interim capacity. She has also served as Chief Operating Officer as part of her 25 year career at the agency. I congratulate Lisa on the appointment and appreciate the invitation to attend the reception. She will do an outstanding job!

Our 2017 Legislative Event Series continues this Monday, April 10 at 9 a.m. when welcome Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff to the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell. At this special meeting, sponsored by Eversource, Sen. Duff will visit with chamber members to discuss the 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about the session, and discuss some important issues on our 2017 Public Policy Agenda. I appreciate Sen. Duff’s willingness to once again come and visit with our members during this very busy legislative session. The Legislative Event Series concludes on Tuesday, April 25, when we welcome House Minority Leader Themis Klarides to a special leadership event at the Inn at Middletown. The event, sponsored by Kronenberger & Sons Restoration, will begin at 8 a.m. These important events are follow-ups to our 2017 Legislative Breakfast with our legislative delegation, and special leadership events with Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz and Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano. The chamber’s Legislative Committee will continue to stay engaged throughout this legislative session.

The KeyBank Workshop Series continues this Tuesday, April 11, with a session on Connecting with Your Customers for Business Success presented by TGezo Business Consulting. This important workshop will focus on identifying and connecting with ideal customers, identifying and responding what truly matters to those customers, growing and retaining a vibrant customer base, managing social media to grow and retain customers, and optimizing website content for customer engagement. More details and registration information is available at www.middlesexchamber.com. We again thank KeyBank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team for their continued support of this initiative.

Chamber divisions are off to a fast start in the month of April. Last Wednesday’s Portland & East Hampton Division meeting with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman had over 45 members in attendance. It was a great discussion and we were happy to welcome back, the Lt. Gov. to Middlesex County. The Chester, Deep River and Essex Division met on Friday at Camp Hazen YMCA in Chester, our Durham and Middlefield Division meets on Wednesday at Torrison Stone & Garden in Durham, and our Cromwell Division meets on Thursday at Chicago Sam’s Sports Bar & Grill. Our divisions remain very active.

I look forward to attending Wednesday’s meeting of The Kiwanis Club of Middletown at Carmela’s on the Extension. I appreciate their annual invitation to come and talk about some key chamber events and activities that are upcoming. These meetings always feature a great discussion and I look forward to reconnecting with the Kiwanis group on Wednesday.

Following the division meeting on Thursday, chamber Vice President Jeff Pugliese and I will visit Northeast Quality Services in Cromwell. Northeast Quality Service is a precision manufacturing and assembly company with over 100,000 sq. feet of machining, assembly, and purchasing services. We look forward to visiting with Ralph Coppola Jr. and members of this team.

April’s Business After Work, hosted by Lady Katharine Cruises, will take place in Middletown next Thursday, April 20. Beginning at 5 p.m. on the ship “Mystique”, the event will feature fantastic river views with a terrific spread of food and drinks, and outstanding spring networking for chamber members and their guests. Parking is available at Middletown’s Melilli lot with tunnel access to Harbor Park where the ship is docked. Limited parking will also be available at Harbor Park. The Mystique is a terrific place to meet and network with other business people because as our friends at Lady Katharine Cruises’ say, “Everything is better on the water.” I would like to thank the Lady Katherine Cruises team for hosting this outstanding Business After Work networking reception.

Our April Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 24 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. We look forward to welcoming Congressman Joe Courtney as keynote speaker at this event which is sponsored by Pratt & Whitney. Congressman Courtney’s district includes some important down county towns within the chamber’s service area. His remarks will touch on the many important issues that he is working on as he represents his constituents in Washington D.C. Congressman Courtney serves on some very important committees including the House Armed Services Committee, the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, the Readiness subcommittee, House Education and Workforce Committee, the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee and the Higher Education and Workforce Training subcommittee. The Member Breakfast Meeting will kick off Connecticut Export Week 2017, which is a unique initiative of the District Export Council and U.S. Commercial Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. I want to thank Congressman Courtney for speaking to our membership once again, and Pratt & Whitney for its support of this event and of so many community-based initiatives.

April is moving right along in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

Comments