October 22, 2018
By: Larry McHugh
Connecticut Connections, Middlesex County’s Premier Business Expo, will take place this Wednesday, October 24th, 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 42 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 40 employers that are currently hiring, will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 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, and 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.
Other events scheduled for Connecticut Connections include a Professional Photo Event where exceptional professional photos will be available for business marketing and other purposes, a workshop session titled, “It’s Your Business- Own it and Rock it!” where attendees will learn to develop essential skills that will improve their business, a Central Regional Tourism District hosted Tourism Brochure Swap that will connect key tourism stakeholders, a Tourism Steering Committee sponsored “Let’s Make A Deal,” event that will create package deals for the winter season, a MEWS+ hosted “Perfecting your Business Pitch” workshop designed for students and entrepreneurs, Elevate Women, a new chamber initiative that will bring women together to share their collective wisdom, build connections and grow, an important Eversource sponsored workshop titled, “Is Your Business Resilient to Serious Incidents or Disasters?”, and from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Chamber Leadership Cabinet and Chamber Insurance Trust, in partnership with Roundstone, will roll out a new Medical Captive available to Chamber of Commerce members with 20 or more enrollees. Attendees will learn how employers can gain control of their health benefits by utilizing this cost effective self-funding strategy historically used by large enterprises.
The members only Executive Evening Event, 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 Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County.
Following the members only Executive Evening from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., stop by for a Trivia Night presented by the Young Professionals Alliance where teams of up to six will compete for fun prizes while networking and enjoying each other’s company.
As you can see, Connecticut Connections, Middlesex County’s Premier Business Expo, will be an excellent day full of exciting events and activities. For more information, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com. Join us!
In addition to the Expo event, this week features two exciting grand opening celebrations in Middletown. I look forward to joining chamber Chairman Jay Polke, Mayor Dan Drew, and Central Business Bureau Chairman Tom Byrne at the event for Miss Kelly’s Bakery and Café in Riverview Center on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. Kelly Travers and her team will continue to provide delicious baked goods at this great local establishment which was formerly known as Fusion Bakery. We certainly wish them the best and look forward to working with them as we move forward. On Thursday afternoon, I will again join Jay, Tom and the mayor at the Grand Opening celebration for Cigar Social which recently opened in Main Street Market. Ericka Whalen is off to a great start with her new business that specializes in cigars and other creative gift options. We wish her nothing but the best as she begins this exciting new journey, and look forward to supporting her along the way.
Before closing, I want to take a moment to thank Essex Savings Bank, Connecticut Rental, and the Connecticut River Museum for their support of our the Membership Open House and Networking Reception which was held in Essex last Tuesday evening. The Open House featured close to 100 attendees, great networking between existing members and prospective members, and outstanding keynote remarks form Essex native Brad Galiette who serves as Product Manager at Google NYC. We will continue to host these important events in the down county region, and throughout our service area.
I am afraid I must close this week’s column on a sad note after the recent passing of Phil Murphy, a Middletown native and a 1975 graduate of Xavier High School. Phil was an outstanding player on the field for me and an even better young man. He was a good student and an all-conference player that was heavily recruited by a number of top colleges and universities. Phil ended up choosing South Carolina State where he was an All-American in football and track and field, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1980 NFL draft. He went on to play for the Rams in the National Football League, and played football in other professional leagues during the 1980’s. He is a member of Xavier's Hall of Honors and the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was also inducted into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in North Carolina. While his athletic achievements were remarkable, I will remember Phil as a great player who ended up becoming a lifelong friend. He was a large man with a large heart who cared deeply about his family and friends. A celebration of Phil’s life will be held will be held this Saturday, October 27, 2018 at Rock Community Church in Harleysville, PA. My thoughts and prayers are with Phil’s entire family and his vast network of friends at this difficult time. He will certainly be missed by many.