December 31, 2018
By: Larry McHugh
Happy New Year, Middlesex County!
Now that 2018 is in the books and the New Year is upon us, I would like to wish everyone in Middlesex County and throughout the great State of Connecticut a very Happy New Year. The beginning of a new year always brings optimism and the chance for a fresh start. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is excited about the year ahead and we look forward to continuing our work on behalf of the business community in Middlesex County on a number of fronts. We will continue to develop our divisions and committees so that members can engage with state and local officials and address issues of importance to their region or their industry sector. We will continue to host large scale Member Breakfast Meetings with terrific speakers, and outstanding networking events that benefit our members. We will continue to reach out to non-member businesses and organizations and invite them to come aboard. We will continue to implement vital workforce development and educational training programs that are helping to develop the community and create and retain jobs. We will continue to develop an innovation eco-system in Middletown and throughout Middlesex County. Finally, we will expand on our efforts to promote Middlesex County as a key tourism hub in the northeast, and will form new partnerships between our manufacturers and our school districts as we work collectively to develop this critical workforce pipeline. I am very optimistic about 2019, and you can bet that the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will be on the move in the New Year.
The first week of the year is a busy one with three important division meetings being held at different sites throughout the county. On Wednesday, the Portland and East Hampton Division will hold its January meeting at Angelico’s Lake House Restaurant in East Hampton. The Central Business Bureau will hold its first meeting of the year on Thursday morning at the chamber office. Hosted by The Rotary Club of Middletown, the meeting will feature reports from Mayor Drew and key city directors, a wrap up of the 2018 Holiday on Main Street festivities, a discussion of the 2019 Taste of Middlesex County, and other important updates. Finally, the Chester, Deep River and Essex Division will meet on Friday morning at YMCA Camp Hazen in Chester. Our divisions continue to play a pivotal role in the success of the chamber, and I continue to appreciate the support of our division chairs, town officials and chamber members who support these meetings on a monthly basis.
Switching gears a bit, I am happy to announce that the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will continue the very successful KeyBank Workshop Series in the New Year. Our first session, Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the chamber office. The definition of sexual harassment, liability, and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace will be discussed. Attorneys Alexa M. Farmer and Sara R. Simeonidis 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. Please contact the chamber for registration information. This important chamber Workshop Series is sponsored by KeyBank, and I want to again thank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team for their support.
On Wednesday evening, Jan. 9, 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 thank Sean not only for hosting this event for our chamber, but for his commitment to Middlefield, to Portland through Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, and to the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.
This exciting Business After Work event at Powder Ridge will also serve as the official kick off of the Fourth Annual "Taste of Middlesex County" Restaurant Week, brought to you by Comcast Business. Taste of Middlesex County is scheduled for January 14-20 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. From the beautiful shores of Westbrook to the home of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, there is something for everyone. 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 $20.19, and the other for $30.19 (does not include beverages, tax or gratuity). I want to once again thank Comcast Business for its strong support of Taste of Middlesex County which is an exciting week for our chamber and for our region. Save your appetite for the week of January 14-20, and please visit one or more of our many wonderful participating restaurants. That list currently includes: Baci Grill in Cromwell, Esca Restaurant and Wine Bar in Middletown, Red House in Deep River, Lan Chi's Vietnamese Restaurant in Middletown, Scotch Plains Tavern in Essex, Water's Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook, The Griswold Inn in Essex, Amici Italian Grill in Middletown, Inn at Middletown’s Tavern at the Armory, Herd Restaurant in Middletown, Tuscany Grill in Middletown, Brizo in Rocky Hill, and Fire at the Ridge and Ridgeside Tavern in Middlefield. 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. 14. We will be sure to keep everyone updated in the chamber column and through other promotional means. Bon Appetit!
Looking ahead to later in the month, we are very much looking forward to the chamber’s 2019 Legislative Breakfast which is scheduled for Friday, January 18, 2019 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell. This event, sponsored by Comcast, will feature legislators that represent the 15 Middlesex County towns in the State Senate and in the House of Representatives. The Legislative Breakfast represents a great opportunity, on an annual basis, for our members to network with these important elected leaders. We have a number of new legislators in our delegation this year so this breakfast is even more important than ever. The 2019 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly begins on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at the Legislative Office Building and State Capitol in Hartford. I will continue to provide updates on the Legislative Breakfast as we get closer including which legislators plan to attend. I want to again thank Comcast for its great support of this important chamber event.
Finally, save the dates of January 25 and January 29 as we will make a final announcement in coming days, for our January Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by Webster Bank, featuring Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy. According to his official biography on the Boston Red Sox website, Kennedy, 44, is a native of Brookline, MA who grew up within walking distance of Fenway Park. He joined the Red Sox as Vice President of Corporate Partnerships in 2002. He was among the first wave of executives the current ownership group brought to Boston from the San Diego Padres, where Kennedy had worked the previous six years. Kennedy immediately distinguished himself, playing a key role in the revitalization of the Red Sox brand and the dramatic growth of the team's financial base through the creation of new revenue streams. Kennedy was also intimately involved in the preservation and transformation of Fenway Park and the transformation of the ballpark experience. He is also a 1995 graduate of Trinity College who has strong Connecticut ties. I appreciate Sam’s willingness to come to Middlesex County to visit with our group and we certainly look forward to a terrific event. This Member Breakfast Meeting would not be possible without the support of Webster Bank. Not only are they sponsoring the event, but Executive Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Bill Wrang and Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate James Lane were instrumental in getting Sam Kennedy to come. I thank them both for their longtime friendship and support of our chamber.
2019 is here, and we look forward to a great year.