Holiday Business After Work set for Nov. 28 in Haddam

November 12, 2018


By: Larry McHugh


As we all know, Election Day 2018 was held last Tuesday throughout the state and the nation. I again want to applaud and thank all the candidates for their willingness to run and serve our state and our nation. It was a long, and at times, contentious campaign. Now that the results are in, let’s recommit to the important work that we all must do to ensure our collective prosperity. We at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce certainly look forward to working with all of our elected officials in the months and years ahead. I continue to be very optimistic about the State of Connecticut and the United States of America.


Another busy chamber week kicks off with an exciting 20 year celebration of Baci Grill in Cromwell. As I noted last week, sisters-in-law Brenda and Lynne Reilly have done a fantastic job with this local restaurant and banquet facility since it opened in 1998. From the beginning of their journey, Brenda and Lynne have provided delicious food, have supported many community causes, and have done it all with grace and class. Baci Grill is going strong, and I look forward to celebrating with Brenda, Lynne, Cromwell Mayor Enzo Faienza, Town Manager Tony Salvatore, Cromwell Division Chairman Rodney Bitgood, Chamber Chairman Jay Polke and many other friends and supporters.


In addition to the event at Baci on Monday, the week features a number of important committee, division and council meetings at various times and locations throughout the region. Our Women’s Business Alliance meets on Tuesday evening at Baci Grill, Cromwell, on Wednesday morning, the Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council meets at Middletown High School for a special presentation from the Students of Middletown’s Distributive Education Club of America-DECA, and Durham & Middlefield Division meets at A Second Chance CPR and First Aid Training in Durham. Our Haddam & East Haddam Division meets on Thursday morning at Old Haddam Town Hall, with our Board of Directors meeting on Thursday afternoon at the Middletown Elks Lodge. Our Legislative Committee, and Affordable Housing Committee will meet on Friday morning at the chamber office.


Prior to the chamber board meeting on Thursday, I will attend a meeting of the Workforce Alliance Executive Committee where we will continue our discussions on developing a prepared productive workforce in our state. Workforce Alliance is committed to delivering employment solutions that connect people with jobs or training, and employers with skilled workers in South Central CT. The chamber is proud of its relationship with Workforce Alliance and we will continue to work to connect job seekers to employers in our region. The Board of Directors meeting is hosted by Brown and Brown of CT and MiddleOak, and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Elks Lodge.  In addition to reports from committee chairs and key chamber staff, the meeting will feature remarks from Arthur House, Chief Cyber Security Risk Officer for the State of Connecticut. Art is responsible for managing the state’s cyber security prevention and protection efforts which he does in a comprehensive, cross-agency and cross-sector manner. I look forward to seeing Art again and thank him for visiting with our members to address this critically important topic.


A packed Thursday continues in the evening at the Aqua Turf in Southington where I have the honor of serving as Master of Ceremonies at the 42nd annual CT. High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. I congratulate the eight coaches and one member of the media who will be inducted at this year’s event, and look forward to another great evening.


Rounding out the week on Saturday, I will attend the CASHO Annual Awards Banquet also at the Aqua Turf in Southington. CASHO is a not-for-profit educational association whose mission is to provide education on public works functions throughout the state. I would like to congratulate chamber members Nathan L. Jacobson & Associates, Inc. who will be honored with CASHO’s Distinguished Service Award at the event. This Chester based firm is led by a longtime friend to the chamber and chairman of our Chester, Deep River and Essex Division, Geoffrey Jacobson. Another chamber member, Joseph A. Cermola, President of Cardinal Engineering Associates, will be honored with the Royal W. Thompson - Angelo Tomasso, Jr Lifetime Achievement Award. I congratulate Joe and his team on this well-deserved honor. I look forward to the event on Saturday night and appreciate the invitation from Joe Serra who serves as Secretary-Treasurer of CASHO.


Looking ahead to later in the month, excitement continues to build for our upcoming Business After Work Networking Reception at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam on Wednesday, Nov. 28th. The Business After Work event will feature the Central Business Bureau’s 2018 Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction. Beautifully decorated wreaths will be displayed for viewing and bidding until the auction closes at 6:30 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 annually sponsor, and donates the artificial wreaths for chamber member businesses to decorate, and we certainly appreciate that continued support. 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. We certainly look forward to a fun evening in Haddam on that 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.


Before closing, I want to make everyone aware of two important workshops scheduled for December. On Tuesday morning, December 11 from 8-10:00 a.m., the Key Bank Workshop series continues with a session titled “Time Management, The Two Faces of Time Management.”  Presented by Jim Jackson of the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, the workshop will cover practical techniques that you can use to immediately gain control over our day and more effectively manage interruptions and distractions. The second workshop will take place on December 12 from 5:30-7:00 p.m., at the Community Health Center on Main Street in Middletown. This workshop is titled, “Accidentally on Purpose: The Blurred Line Between Drug Abuse and Suicide.” This is a difficult topic but it is a very important one for the business community, and for the community at large. I want to thank our partners in this effort, Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council, the City of Middletown, Middlesex Hospital, Wesleyan University, the Community Health Center, and Rushford for all of their great work and support. More information on both events is available on, and I will continue to provide updates in this column as we get closer.


In closing, I ask that members and other interested parties save the date of Wednesday, December 19 for an important chamber morning in Cromwell. We look forward to welcoming as keynote speaker for the final time, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at our annual Governor’s Breakfast at the Red Lion Hotel. Gov. Malloy 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. Gov. Malloy has given eight years of his life to the State of Connecticut and he deserves our respect and appreciation. We look forward to thanking him for his service at this important chamber event on Dec. 19. I also 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. The company will also sponsor an important workshop immediately following the Member Breakfast Meeting which will focus on emergency preparedness and economic resilience. Our working title for this event is “Is Your Business and Community Resilient to Serious Incidents or Disasters?” Speakers will stress the importance of developing an Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Plan, and will provide some important information on the local preparedness infrastructure in Middlesex County. More information will be available in the coming weeks, but please save the date for this important morning.


November is moving right along, and the chamber team continues to be on the move. The sun always shines in Middlesex County!


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