Wednesday is Hawaiian luau-themed Business After Work

July 10, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

We have the reached the middle part of July in Middlesex County and throughout our great nation, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

This week kicks off with an important meeting of the chamber’s Executive Committee, today at the chamber office. The chamber’s Executive Committee, our top governing body, represents all industry sectors in Middlesex County and continues to be very active and engaged. This is the first Executive Committee meeting that will be led by our new Chairman, Rick Morin of Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski. I continue to appreciate the support of all of our Executive Committee members, and we certainly look forward to another productive meeting.

Workforce development continues to be an important component of the chamber’s overall mission. The work experience portion of one of our key workforce development initiatives, the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program, kicks off today at over 30 worksites across Middletown. We are proud to put nearly 40 kids to work this summer in constructive employment environments throughout the city. This important program would of course not be possible without the support of our host worksites. These local, community minded businesses and organizations have stepped up to the plate this year to provide the work experience and supervision necessary to make this program work. I thank all of them on behalf of the chamber for their support. Our 2017 host worksites are as follows: Allstate Insurance, Amazing Grace Food Pantry, The Buttonwood Tree, Cavanaugh & Company LLC, Change Inc., Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Finesse Cuts LLC, Futures Inc., Godfrey Memorial Library, Goodwill Industries/Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity Restore of Middlesex County, ID Mail Systems, Inn at Middletown, Liberty Bank, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, Northern Middlesex YMCA, Middletown United Fathers Community Garden, North End Action Team, Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, One MacDonough Place, Pamela Roose Specialty Hand Knits, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc., Russell Library, Seasons Federal Credit Union, Shiloh Youth Intergenerational Program, Strike-A-Pose with Erica Hair & Spa Salon, Suburban Stationers, Tschudin Chocolates & Confections, William Raveis Real Estate, YMCA Camp Ingersoll, and Tonia’s Tailoring.

As I noted last week, the continuing uncertainty surrounding the state budget has led to a major reduction in funding for this program and the elimination of similar programs around the state. However, thanks to the leadership of the City of Middletown and an outstanding team of private and community funders, we are able to administer this year’s program. I want to again take a moment to thank our team of funders for the summer of 2017, for without them, this program would not be possible at all. They are: The City of Middletown, under the leadership of Mayor Dan Drew and the Common Council, Peach Pit Foundation, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Liberty Bank Foundation, Jarvis Products Corporation, MiddleOak, Pegasus Manufacturing, Greenwald Industries, Stone Investment Properties, Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, and Middlesex United Way. As I have repeatedly noted in the past, this program is truly developing the future of the workforce, and we appreciate everyone’s strong support. I will continue to provide updates on the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program as the summer progresses.

Chamber members and staff are looking forward to Wednesday’s Hawaiian Luau themed Business After Work networking reception at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell. The Courtyard team always does a great job with this annual event and we expect a large crowd for what is sure to be a fun night of networking and festivities in Cromwell. I want to once again thank the Courtyard by Marriott, led by GM Anthony Covino and Sales Director Dan Miller, for hosting this event on an annual basis and for their strong and longtime support of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

As I noted last week, the Joey Logano Foundation Driving Hope Home Golf Tournament, Dinner, Car Show and Auction will be held on Thursday in Southington. The Joey Logano Foundation invests in organizations offering second chances to children and young adults during times of crisis, and works to inspire others to live a life of generosity. The tournament, which will benefit the Joey Logano Foundation, the Connecticut Foster Care Program, and the Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, will be held at the Southington Country Club. After the tournament, the Dinner, Car Show and Auction will be held at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. We wish Joey and his team the best and look forward to supporting this important event. For more information, please visit www.joeyloganofoundation.com.

Business development is another critical piece of the chamber’s mission. We are very proud of the Side Street to Main Street Business and Leadership Development Program which has been supporting minority business development in our region since 1996. This program has been so successful, that a supplemental Business “Know-How” program was created in 2012 to extend the reach of this important curriculum. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce’s Side Street to Main Street Supplemental Program Business “Know-How” Class 6 Certificate Presentation Ceremony will be held next Tuesday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the chamber’s Main Street facility. Business “Know-How", generously funded with a grant from Eversource Energy, is an intensive four-session program which provides practical knowledge for starting and building a small business in Connecticut. The program is targeted for minority small business owners in Middlesex County and surrounding areas within the Eversource Energy foot print. Designed as a companion to the chamber’s award winning Side Street to Main Street Business and Leadership Development Program sponsored by Aetna, Inc., Business “Know-How”, offers a bridge for business owners hoping to participate in the program now entering its 21st year this fall. I appreciate Eversource’s support of this important community and economic development initiative, and we look forward to the ceremony next Tuesday.

Runners, supporters and fans of the Citizens Bank 5K Summer Fun Run should save the date of next Wednesday for the 2017 race which will once again be held in downtown Middletown. This unique family-oriented festival and road race will once again attract a huge field of runners and a number of supportive spectators. The half-mile Kids Fun Run begins at 6:30 p.m. and the 5K Road Race begins at 6:45 p.m. The post-race festivities and award presentations will be held between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The committee charged with planning and executing this event does a fine job every year, and I want to thank them for their hard work. Finally, we should all recognize the efforts of the city personnel who work hard to make this event safe and successful on an annual basis. I look forward to another fun evening in downtown Middletown next Wednesday.

Looking ahead to August, the chamber will host two sessions of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training on August 15, with the first session beginning at 8:00 a.m., and the second session at 10:15 a.m. The definition of sexual harassment, liability (your own and your organization's), and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace will be discussed. Attorneys from the law firm Jackson Lewis LLP will demonstrate how to limit your company's exposure to charges of sexual harassment. This session meets the State of Connecticut's requirement for two hours of sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors and managers. This important workshop is a key component of our Key Bank Workshop Series which has been very successful. I once again want to thank Key Bank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team for their outstanding support of this important chamber initiative.

August also features a major Business After Work networking reception on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook, and a Member Breakfast Meeting with UConn Head Football Coach Randy Edsall on Thursday, Aug. 24. The Water’s Edge team puts out a delicious spread of food and drink at this annual event which always includes a little extra shoreline flavor, and the views of the beach and water are remarkable. The Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by People’s United Bank, will feature an update from the coach on the upcoming season of Husky football which begins on Thursday, August 31 vs. Holy Cross. Coach Edsall recently returned to the position as Head Coach at UConn, and we are thrilled that he is back leading the Huskies. I will have more on both of these important chamber events as we get closer.

The sun always shines on Middlesex County!

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