Looking ahead to election, Veterans Day this week

November 6, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

We have reached an important week in Middlesex County and throughout our great nation. This week includes Election Day on Tuesday, and Veterans Day on Saturday. Election Day is not only a day when we choose our elected officials, but it is a symbol of our democracy, and it represents our commitment to a peaceful transfer of power and responsibility. Veterans Day is a special day that is designed to honor all the veterans that have served this nation with distinction and bravery. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce continues to support our active duty, reserves, and guard personnel, and the many local veterans that have served in the United States Armed Forces. Our 16th Annual Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting will be held this morning at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. We are pleased to welcome as guest speaker, Colonel Christopher Beckert, Director at Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. We are very proud that this event has become such a key part of Veterans Week in Middlesex County and we certainly look forward to welcoming Colonel Beckert to our event. In addition to the keynote remarks and other important agenda items, the chamber will present the 2017 William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award to Thomas Goglia of Middletown. The William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award 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. In addition to the Pomfret Award, we will also be presenting the AT&T Veteran Support Business of the Year Award. This award, established last year with the support of AT&T, honors a Middlesex County business that goes above and beyond in support of our nation’s active duty, reserves, and guard personnel, and our veterans. This year’s award winner is Middlesex Hospital which is doing amazing work under the leadership of past chamber Chairman Vin Capece. AT&T Connecticut President John Emra will present Vin with the award and will share the thanks of all of us for the good work of Middlesex Hospital. Middlesex Hospital has sponsored this event for a number of years now, and I want to thank Vin Capece and his team for their strong support. Vin always does a terrific job introducing our guest speaker, and I know that he looks forward to introducing Colonel Beckert on Monday morning. I also want to thank the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard, the Middletown PBA Pipes and Drums, and everyone that has a role in making this annual event so special to so many. Most notably, I have to thank our Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Committee which is led by its Chairman, Phil Cacciola. This group, comprised of local veterans that are all dedicated to serving the community, works hard to plan and execute this event every year. The Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting is one of our finest events of the year because it provides us the opportunity to show our appreciation for the troops and the veterans that have served us all so well. As you travel throughout the county this week, be sure to thank a veteran, they have certainly earned it. Finally, be sure to vote on Tuesday. It is very important that we do our civic duty, visit our polling stations, and participate in the election process. We are very lucky to live in a nation where we choose our leaders at the ballot box, and we should all take seriously, our responsibility to vote on Election Day.

The Executive Committee for the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC) will meet immediately following the Member Breakfast Meeting at the Radisson on Monday morning. MCSAAC continues its important work to reduce substance abuse in Middlesex County. I appreciate the efforts of Board President Tony Salvatore and Director Betsey Chadwick, and look forward to another productive meeting.

A busy Monday continues at the chamber office at 12 Noon with a meeting of the chamber’s Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is our top governing body, and it is currently under the leadership of our Chairman, Rick Morin. I continue to appreciate the support of this outstanding group which is truly representative of the business community in Middlesex County. We look forward to another productive meeting which will cover a variety of important topics.

Monday closes with an exciting Grand Opening celebration for My Hair Studio at its Main Street Cromwell location. My Hair Studio is a full-service salon dedicated to consistently providing high customer satisfaction by rendering excellent service and quality products. I look forward to joining chamber Chairman Rick Morin, Vice Chairman Jay Polke, Cromwell Mayor Enzo Faienza, and Town Manager Tony Salvatore as we officially welcome MyHang Phan and the entire My Hair Studio team to the Middlesex business community.

Two important chamber division meetings are also scheduled this week. The Durham and Middlefield Division will meet this Wednesday morning at A Second Chance CPR & First Aid Training in Durham. The meeting will feature local and chamber updates along with an update on The MEWS+. Our Cromwell Division will meet on Thursday at Chicago Sam’s Sports Bar & Grille where local updates will be provided by key municipal and business officials. As I have noted many times, our divisions continue to be a critical piece of the chamber’s infrastructure.

Excitement continues to build for this Wednesday’s Business After Work Networking Reception at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam. Our members and their guests always look forward to the delicious spread of food and drink provided by the Riverhouse team, along with outstanding networking opportunities that the event provides. The Business After Work event will feature the annual Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction. Beautifully decorated wreaths will be displayed for viewing and bidding until the auction closes at 6:45 p.m. The funds that are raised will benefit the Annual Holiday on Main Street, presented by Pratt & Whitney, and the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program. Liberty Bank donated the artificial wreaths for chamber member businesses to decorate, and we certainly appreciate that continued support. We look forward to a fun evening in Haddam on Wednesday night, and I want to once again thank Owner Jim Bucko, General Manager Hattie Donner, and the entire Riverhouse team for hosting this outstanding event.

This coming Saturday, Nov. 11, I have the pleasure of attending the Pratt & Whitney Engineering & Technology Center Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening at 10:00 a.m. in East Hartford.  This state of the art facility is just another example of Pratt & Whitney’s continued growth in our state. The company is a critical stakeholder in Middlesex County through its Middletown Engine Center, and is an outstanding corporate citizen that supports a number of important community initiatives. I look forward to attending the event and appreciate Pratt’s continued support.

Looking ahead to next week, on Tuesday, Nov. 14, the chamber’s KeyBank Workshop Series sponsors a session on Conflict Management presented by Pullman & Comely, LLC. Conflict management is the process of resolving a conflict or dispute by identifying and satisfying some or all of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Knowing how to manage and resolve conflict is essential for leading an organization, managing a department, building and enhancing your interpersonal relations within your workplace, your family and community. Attendees will learn how to embrace conflict and build understanding and better relationships for greater personal and professional success. I would like to thank Pullman & Comley for presenting the session, and KeyBank for its continued support of this important chamber initiative. 

Before closing this week’s column, I want to be sure to note that last week featured a number of important municipal meetings at City Hall in Middletown. The chamber submitted testimony in support of a number of items including: the city’s proposal to redevelop the Mary Shepherd Home on the CT. Valley Hospital campus into a state of the art supportive housing facility with a focus on veterans, the Durham Waterline Remediation Project which we believe is an important regional infrastructure project which will bring City of Middletown water into parts of Durham that have groundwater contamination issues, the proposed  35,000 sq. ft. addition at Pegasus Manufacturing on 422 Timber Ridge Road, and the proposed active adult community, Phase II of Founders Ridge, with 53 unit condominiums on Ridgewood Road. The chamber believes that all of these projects are good for our city and for our region, and we will to continue to urge all relevant city commissions to support their passage.

I would like to close this week’s column by asking chamber members to save the date of Tuesday, Dec. 12 for our annual Governor’s Breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, now approaching his eighth and final year in office, has appeared at our December Member Breakfast Meeting in every year of his administration, as have all of our sitting governors, going back to the administration of Governor William A. O’Neill in the 1980’s. We appreciate the support of Eversource, who not only sponsors this breakfast meeting on an annual basis, but supports a number of other chamber programs and initiatives. We look forward to welcoming Gov. Malloy and a number of other key state officials for this sold out chamber event.

Veterans Week is upon us in Middlesex County. We appreciate and honor their service not only this week, but every week of the year. The sun always shines in Middlesex County!

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