September 10, 2018
By: Larry McHugh
In a clear sign that summer is winding down and fall is approaching, football season is underway and the baseball pennant races are heating up. However, before I cover the many chamber events and activities that are on the horizon, I want to acknowledge the fact that Tuesday is a somber anniversary for our nation. 17 years ago, the September 11, 2001 terror attacks took place in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. We will never forget that terrible day, those we lost, and the toll it took on our country. We will also never forget the shows of patriotism, togetherness, and sense of a common purpose that we all experienced in the aftermath of the attacks. This year’s September 11th Remembrance in Middletown will be held at Veterans Memorial Park on Walnut Grove Road. This event will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. at the Trees of Honor Memorial. The public is invited to attend. In the Town of Cromwell, the public is invited to attend a remembrance ceremony from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.at Riverport Park at Frisbie Landing overlooking the Connecticut River. America keeps moving forward, that is all we can do, but we will always remember those we lost, and we will keep their families in our thoughts today and every day.
September is in full swing in Middlesex County and the chamber is very much on the move. Our divisions continued their monthly meeting schedule last week after a brief hiatus through the summer months. The Portland & East Hampton Division held a terrific meeting at Saint Clement’s Castle on Wednesday, the Central Business Bureau met on Thursday at the chamber, and our Chester, Deep River & Essex Division met on Friday. This week is sure to be another busy one throughout Middlesex County. Our Executive Committee will meet today at the chamber office from 11:30-1:00 p.m. This committee, led by Chairman Jay Polke, is our top governing body and it represents all industry sectors in Middlesex County. On Wednesday, our Durham and Middlefield Division makes its annual visit to the Durham Fairgrounds, and our Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council will meet at the chamber office. Finally, our Cromwell Division will meet at Covenant Village of Cromwell on Thursday morning, and our Health Care Council Steering Committee will meet at the chamber office.
In addition to a packed division and committee schedule, this week’s calendar also includes a very important business seminar and a Business After Work Networking Reception.
The seminar, which is the latest installment of the KeyBank Workshop Series, will be held on Tuesday morning, September 11 at 8:00 a.m. at the chamber office. This session is titled, Learn How to Make Your Business Stand Out Across All Forms of Social Media. Presented by Patrick Ganino of Social Tuna, the workshop will provide practical tips on how to make social media work for your business. From the small nuances that allow your business to use social media effectively, to creating an effective posting schedule, to proper posting techniques, to email collection, this workshop is comprehensive. Please visit www.middlesexchamber.com for registration information. This important chamber Workshop Series is sponsored by KeyBank, and I continue to appreciate the support of Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team.
Our September Business After Work networking reception, which will be held aboard the Lady Katharine Cruise Boat, “Mystique”, is scheduled for this Wednesday, September 12. “Mystique” is docked at Harbor Park, 80 Harbor Drive in Middletown. Members can board the boat at 5 p.m. and network while docked until 6:00 p.m. At approximately 6:00 p.m., the Mystique will take a trip down river and will return at the close of the Business After Work at 7:00 p.m. This event, as all of our Business After Work events do, will feature a terrific spread of food and drink and of course, the best networking around. The visit to the “Mystique” is for key employees of chamber members only. All members who are interested in attending must register in advance of the event by visiting www.middlesexchamber.com or by contacting the chamber office. On behalf of the chamber, I want to thank the owner of Lady Katharine Cruises, Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, for hosting this event and for their strong support of our chamber. Kevin Dodd and his team continue to do great work throughout the region, and we continue to appreciate their effort.
On the Member Breakfast front, the chamber will welcome FedEx Ground President & CEO Henry Maier as guest speaker on Friday, September 21. This event is jointly sponsored by the City of Middletown and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Maier assumed his role in June 2013 and is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the company. He also serves on the FedEx Corp. Strategic Management Committee. His visit coincides with the opening of the 525,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art distribution hub in the Westfield section of Middletown. FedEx Ground has more than 90,000 employees, an average daily volume of 8 million packages, and annual revenue of $18 billion (FY2017). More to come on this event as we get closer, but we certainly look forward to an exciting morning on September 21. The Member Breakfast Meeting will be immediately followed by a Lenders Forum which will feature a panel discussion and mini expo with representatives of bank, non-bank, and community lending sources. Attendees will learn how to access the money they may need either now or in the future. The event will also feature information on SBA & DECD loan programs and other important topics about financing your business. Please visit www.middlesexchamber.com for more information.
I mentioned earlier in this week’s column that we have an important division meeting scheduled on the Durham Fairgrounds this Wednesday. Durham Fair President Dan Miramant and his committed team of volunteers have been hard at work preparing for this year’s fair, the 99th in its rich history. The Durham Fair, a 100-percent volunteer-led event, continues to provide four terrific days of good clean wholesome fun. From entertainment headliners like Melissa Ethridge, Scott McCreery, and the USO Show Troupe, to livestock barns featuring prize-winning animals, to the educational Discovery Tent, to arts and crafts and a number of shopping options, the Durham Fair has it all. The Fair will also once again feature an array of food options, a number of games, and outstanding events and activities. As I have noted many times, we are very lucky to have this large-scale agricultural event in Middlesex County. The Durham Fair is the largest fair in North America managed entirely by unpaid volunteers, and it is truly a unique event. This year’s event is scheduled from September 27 – 30, 2018. For more information, please visit www.durhamfair.com.
I want to close this week’s column by offering a sincere congratulations to two gentlemen who continue to make the State of Connecticut very proud.
I was honored to attend last Friday evening’s ceremonies at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA which served as the official induction of Ray Allen and the rest of the Class of 2018. Ray Allen is a two-time NBA Champion, ten-time NBA All-Star, and a 2000 Olympic gold medal recipient. He holds the record as the NBA career leader in total three-point field goals made. All of this, of course, is in addition to his outstanding collegiate career at UConn. This is a well-deserved honor for Ray who has also supported a variety of charities and community causes throughout his life and career. He recently spoke at a packed chamber Member Breakfast Meeting where he discussed his new book, “From the Outside: My Journey through Life and the Game I Love.” I congratulate Ray once again on this remarkable achievement, and thank him for his support of our chamber and of our state.
I also want to congratulate Xavier graduate Tim Boyle on being named to the 53-man roster of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. I know that all of us who have followed Tim’s career are so proud of this achievement which is truly amazing. Tim was an outstanding high school football player at Xavier who led the team to two state championships during his tenure. He also had a successful collegiate career at UConn and Eastern Kentucky, and all of his hard work has now culminated in an NFL roster spot. More importantly than all of this however, he is an even better person than he is a football player. We wish him the best, and look forward to following him during this season and beyond.
The summer is quickly coming to an end, but the chamber continues to be on the move.