January 8, 2018
By: Larry McHugh
The chamber team is off to a fast start in 2018 and we are just getting warmed up.
This first full business week of the year features a number of important events and activities throughout our region. The chamber’s Executive Committee, our top governing body, holds it January meeting at the chamber office on Monday afternoon. The Executive Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Rick Morin, will cover a number of important topics including the chamber’s 2018 Public Policy Agenda and the progress of important economic development projects in the county. I continue to appreciate the support of our Executive Committee members who collectively represent all of the key industry sectors in our region.
A very busy Tuesday kicks off with an important installment of the chamber’s KeyBank Workshop Series. This first session of 2018 will focus on Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and will be held at the chamber office. The definition of sexual harassment, liability, and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace will be discussed. Allison Dearington and Sarah Simeonidis, 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. Two separate sessions are scheduled, the first beginning at 8:00 a.m., and the second beginning at 10:15 a.m. Chamber members and other interested parties should visit www.middlesexchamber.com or contact the chamber for registration information. This important Workshop Series is sponsored by KeyBank, and I want to once again thank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team for their continued support of our chamber.
Later on Tuesday, two important chamber committees will hold constructive meetings in Middletown. The Women's Business Alliance (WBA) will meet at The Pavilion in Founders Hall at Middlesex Community College from 5-6:30 p.m. In addition to networking and a spread of hors d’oeuvres, the meeting will feature a discussion of the latest trends in employment and education. The Mission of the WBA is to provide challenges and seek opportunities to educate, enrich and explore issues for women in business. I know the group looks forward to another productive meeting. Beginning at 6 p.m. at Cantina Café Ristorante, our Automotive Council will hold its first meeting of the year. The group will be joined by DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra and COO James Rio who will provide an update on DMV’s streamlining initiative and on other important topics. I appreciate these two gentlemen visiting with our committee and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with the department.
The pace continues on Wednesday morning with a meeting of our Durham and Middlefield Division, at 8 a.m. at the Middlefield Community Center. The meeting will continue to focus on issues of importance to the business community in those two member towns. Looking ahead to Wednesday evening, the chamber’s first Business After Work Networking Reception of the New Year will be held at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield. In addition to the best networking around, this event will feature free beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and a great spread of food courtesy of Sean Hayes and his team. I want to again thank Sean not only for hosting this event for our chamber, but for his commitment to this project which is creating jobs and additional tourism buzz for our region. This exciting Business After Work event will also serve as the official kick off of the third annual "Taste of Middlesex County" Restaurant Week, brought to you by Comcast Business, which is back by popular demand in 2018. Immediately prior to the BAW, a “Restaurant Showdown” will take place featuring a number of our participating restaurants. Taste of Middlesex County is scheduled for January 15-21 at delicious dining locations throughout our region. The goal of this initiative is to highlight the numerous and diverse dining experiences within the greater Middlesex region. Restaurants offer a pre-fixed menu to give diners the opportunity to experience the area’s fine dining landscape without breaking the bank. This year, there will be two dining options both with a prix-fixe 3-course meal, one for $20.18, and the other for $30.18 (does not include beverages, tax or gratuity). The current list of participating restaurants is as follows: Amici Italian Grill in Middletown; Angelico's Lake House Restaurant in East Hampton; Baci Grill in Cromwell; The Common House Kitchen & Bar at Sheraton Hartford South Hotel in Rocky Hill; Eli Cannon’s Tap Room in Middletown; Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar in Middletown; Fire at the Ridge in Middlefield; First and Last Tavern in Middletown; Gelston House in East Haddam; Griswold Inn in Essex; Grown in Middletown; Herd Restaurant in Middletown; Lan Chi's Vietnamese Restaurant in Middletown; On The Rocks at Fox Hopyard in East Haddam; OSA Restaurant in Middletown; Red House in Deep River; Roma Pizza in Middletown; Sheffield’s Restaurant & Lounge at Radisson Hotel in Cromwell; Taino Smokehouse in Middletown; Tavern at the Armory Restaurant at the Inn at Middletown, Tea Roses Tea Room in Cromwell; Tuscany Grill in Middletown; WAVES in East Hampton and Westbrook Lobster in Clinton. Please visit the Taste of Middlesex County tab on the chamber’s website and keep an eye out for additional participating restaurants as we get closer to Jan. 15. We will be sure to keep everyone updated in the chamber column and through other promotional means. Bon Appetit!
A busy Thursday means another quick turnaround is in store for members of the chamber team. Our Cromwell Division meets at 8 a.m. at The Mattabassett District, and our Real Estate Council, and Health Care Council Steering Committee will hold meetings at the chamber office at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. respectively. As you can see, the chamber is truly on the move as 2018 heats up.
On the Member Breakfast front, we certainly look forward to Tuesday, January 23 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell where we will welcome Jim Penders, University of Connecticut Head Baseball Coach, as guest speaker. Jim Penders has worked with UConn’s baseball program in 26 of the last 28 years, being associated with the Huskies as a student-athlete, an assistant coach, and now head coach. He completed his 14th season at the helm of the program in 2017. A four-time conference Coach of the Year, Penders has overseen one of the most successful stretches in the 120 year history of UConn baseball. Current major leaguers that played for Coach Penders include 2017 World Series MVP George Springer of the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks Shortstop Nick Ahmed, Boston Red Sox Pitcher Matt Barnes, Colorado Rockies Pitcher Scott Oberg, and a number of other players that are currently in the minor leagues. We look forward to welcoming Jim to his first Member Breakfast meeting, and thank our friends at Webster Bank for sponsoring this important chamber event.
Looking ahead to February, we certainly look forward to welcoming Matthew Bromberg, President of Military Engines for Pratt & Whitney, as guest speaker at our second Member Breakfast Meeting of the year. Mr. Bromberg oversees development, production, and support of the company’s military offerings. Pratt & Whitney is a key player in our nation’s defense, a major employer in our state and in Middlesex County, and is an outstanding corporate citizen. I appreciate their support and look forward to a great Member Breakfast Meeting. Immediately following the Pratt & Whitney breakfast, the chamber will partner with the CT. Dept. of Labor on an information session for manufacturers which will focus on building solutions to the talent gap within this critical industry sector. We certainly look forward to a productive morning on Feb. 5 in Cromwell.
As I mentioned at the close of last week’s column, I was saddened by the recent passing of Walter "Bud" Arnold Seagrave, Jr. Bud served our nation in the United States Army during WWII in Japan during the Occupation. He was employed at the family business, Seagrave's Filling Station in Middletown, and was a member of the American Legion Post #105 in Cromwell, the Disabled Veterans Association, and the Cromwell Historical Society. Bud’s son, Jim Seagrave of Jim Seagrave & Associates in Middlefield, is a longtime member of our chamber. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim, his mother Nancy, his brother Gerald, and their entire network of family and friends at this difficult time. Bud Seagrave was a good man, and he will be missed. I was also saddened to learn of the recent passing of Wallace R. Miramant, Sr. Wallace’s son, Dan Miramant, is a longtime supporter of the chamber and was a student of mine at Xavier High School. He is currently President of the Durham Fair Association and does an outstanding job with the planning and execution of this major Middlesex County event. Wallace had a long and successful professional career and supported a number of civic and community organizations including the Knights of Columbus, BPOE #771 of Middletown, and MAPS (Middlesex Area Patient Services) for multiple sclerosis. He was also a man of faith who donated his time and energy to a number of church related causes. Our thoughts and prayers are with Wallace’s entire family at this difficult time. He will be missed by many, but he left a lasting legacy that his family is rightfully proud of. May both Walter "Bud" Arnold Seagrave, Jr., and Wallace R. Miramant, Sr., rest in peace.