UConn Coach Hurley guest at next breakfast

October 15, 2018


By: Larry McHugh


We have reached mid-October in Middlesex County, and the chamber continues to be on the move.


This week is highlighted by two major events, a Membership Open House at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex on Tuesday evening, and a Member Breakfast Meeting with UConn Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dan Hurley at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell on Thursday morning.


The Membership Open House and Networking Reception will be held along the banks of the Connecticut River, outside the museum under a large tent, courtesy of Connecticut Rental, and the Connecticut River Museum. The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and food and drinks will be served, thanks to the sponsorship of Essex Savings Bank. The kickoff speaker at the open house is Essex native Brad Galiette who serves as Product Manager at Google NYC where he helps drive the roadmap and execution for Google's Display and Video Ad products. Growing up in the region, Brad is passionate about Middlesex County and is proud to speak about his experiences as a young professional who is succeeding in business. We have invited existing members and prospective members to what is sure to be a wonderful evening in Essex. The Connecticut River Museum strives to lead in the study, preservation, and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. I thank the museum for hosting, Tom Byrne and Connecticut Rental for their support of the event, and Brad for his willingness to visit with our group. Finally, I want to thank Greg Shook and the entire team at Essex Savings Bank for sponsoring the event. Greg is a past chairman of our chamber and a longtime friend and supporter. We appreciate it very much. I know all of us look forward to a great event.


On the business development front, I look forward to joining chamber Chairman Jay Polke and Cromwell Mayor Enzo Faienza at the Grand Opening celebration for Super Hair & Nail Salon on Shunpike Road in Cromwell on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. I wish Peter Nguyen nothing but the best as he works to grow this new local business.


Thursday morning’s Member Breakfast Meeting with Coach Hurley, sponsored by our friends at ConnectiCare, will be a sold out chamber event. We look forward to welcoming the coach who comes to UConn from the University of Rhode Island (URI) where he enjoyed a very successful six year run as head coach. He will offer a preview of this year’s Husky team for the hoops fans in the audience, and will provide us with some insight on his leadership and management style. We look forward a great event on Thursday morning.


A busy and productive Thursday continues with a meeting of the chamber’s Board of Directors at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. As I have noted many times, Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort is a key economic generator in our region along with its sister property in Portland, Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park. I congratulate Sean Hayes on his continued success in our region, and thank him for hosting an important meeting of our board.


The week closes with a meeting of the Connecticut Tourism Coalition on Friday at the Saybrook Point Inn. As I have noted many times, tourism is a critical economic generator in our state, and I look forward to attending this important meeting along with chamber Vice President Johanna Bond who also serves as Executive Director of the Central Regional Tourism District.


Speaking of major events, Middlesex County’s Premier Business Expo, Connecticut Connections 2018, is scheduled for next Wednesday, October 24 at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell. This full day of events and activities will include the main expo hall with over 105 exhibitors from a wide variety of industry sectors, a career fair with over 50 employers who are hiring, our annual Small Business Awards Celebration Luncheon which will honor a number of our small business champions, and other content ranging from tourism, to economic resilience, to entrepreneurship, to substance abuse prevention and more.


The morning will kick off with a session hosted by the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC) titled, The Honest Truth: Opioid Addiction-Resources for the Workplace and for Families. This workshop will feature a panel discussion covering access to treatment, recovering in the workplace, and the role of insurance in treatment. It is free and open to all, and is a particularly important discussion for employers, professionals, and families. I would like to thank MCSAAC President Tony Salvatore and the Advisory Committee for their continued support of MCSAAC through challenging times.


The general public is invited to visit with over 105 exhibitors, from a number of different industries, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Connecticut Connections is a great opportunity to display and showcase your products and services face-to-face with potential new customers in your target market.


The Middlesex County Fall Career Fair, featuring over 50 employers that are currently hiring, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Middlesex County Fall Career Fair is sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Labor, Workforce Alliance, and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. Professional Resume Writers will be on site to assist in the development of resumes and cover letters. For a list of participating companies and positions available, please visit http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/jobfairs/.


The Small Business Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Comcast Business, will feature remarks from DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith and CNBC Senior Analyst & Commentator Ron Insana. I am proud to announce that the 2018 Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards recipients are: Business of the Year (1-30 employees)-Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, LLC, Middletown, Business of the Year (31+ employees)-Essex Savings Bank, Essex, Business Growth & Expansion-Reality Interactive, Middletown, Manufacturer of the Year-Ripley Tools, LLC, Cromwell, Minority Owned Business of the Year- Change, Inc., Middletown, Outstanding New Business Under 5 Years-Mizzi Cosmetics, Portland, Retail Business of the Year-Torrison Stone and Garden, Durham, Tourism/Hospitality Business of the Year-The Griswold Inn, Essex, Family Owned Business of the Year-A&A Office Systems, Inc., Middletown. We are very proud of our 2018 Small Business Award winners who were all nominated by other members of the chamber. They come from many different industry sectors, but they all share a commitment to Middlesex County and they are all great representatives of our business community. We look forward to celebrating their success on October 24.


The Business After Work Executive Evening Event for Members only, to be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., will feature a great spread of complimentary food, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks, over 105 exhibitors, raffle prizes, and terrific networking.  Also included in the Executive Evening event is the Witch’s Brew, Lorraine C. McHugh Scholarship Benefit Room. Proceeds will benefit the Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County.


More information on Connecticut Connections, a full day of events and activities, will be shared in next week’s column, and you can always visit www.middlesexchamber.com for more information.


After the Connecticut Connections Expo event wraps up, attention turns to the 17th Annual Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting which is scheduled for Monday, November 5, 2018. Retired United States Army Colonel Kevin Brown, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, will serve as Keynote Speaker at this major event which is sponsored by Middlesex Hospital. As I noted last week, a key part of this event every year is the presentation of the William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award. This prestigious award, presented annually at our Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting, honors a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces for distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut, and selfless commitment to public service. This year’s recipient is Morton “Morty” Pear of Middletown who has a fantastic record of veteran and community service. I will have much more as we get closer, but please save the date.


The sun always shines in Middlesex County


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