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Committees and Council

The Chamber has a number of industry based committees and councils.  These groups focus on issues of importance to the many sectors of the Middlesex County economy.


Chairman: Bob Fusari, Real Estate Services of CT, Inc.

Chamber Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese

Meetings occur on the fourth Friday of each month, at 9:30 AM, in the Chamber Conference Room.

The Affordable Housing Committee was created in 2007 to provide a voice for the business community in the important housing based conversations in Middlesex County. The committee includes developers, lenders, realtors, non-profit liaisons, attorneys and other professionals. The Affordable Housing Committee has hosted many successful events including a session on Planning for a Vibrant Downtown, an event connecting developers to available housing incentives, and a special luncheon with the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The committee will continue to work with other key stakeholders in Middlesex County to stress housing as an economic driver, and to be a resource to the chamber at large on housing related issues.

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Jim Cama, Cama & Associates
Kelly Therrien, Farrell, Geenty, Sheeley, Boccalatte & Guarino, P.C.

Staff Liaison: Daniellelee Gagnon-Smith

Ambassadors are highly visible, prestigious volunteers who serve as the Chamber's primary liaison to new Chamber members. Considered the goodwill arm of the Chamber, the Ambassador committee plays an essential role in member communication and retention, and each Ambassador is charged with conveying members needs, questions and concerns to Chamber staff, keeping our Chamber in line with our members desires. New members receive a call from Andrea Fassler to introduce the members to their Ambassador.




Chairman: Larry McHugh, President, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce

Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond

The Arrigoni Bridge Committee was established to provide a more formal communication channel between local elected officials, the Department of Transportation and the business community. Initially the meetings focused on safety issues and how to address situations where an accident has occurred. Establishing a traffic alert system for the public, the dissemination of alternative routes and improving responses have been some of the positive results of this committee.

The committee was reactivated for the recent bridge repair and rehabilitation project. Efforts were coordinated between state and local officials to mitigate any disruptions these repairs caused.

The committee will reconvene when needed.

Portland & East Hampton Division- Square


Chairman: Richard Parmelee, BlumShapiro

Staff LiasionNancy Prue


Rich Jukonski, Jukonski Auto Sales, Ltd.
Michael Turner, Portland Automotive

Staff Liaison: Lorenzo Marshall

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce began an Automotive Council in 1987 to promote good business and trade among the automotive industry in Middlesex County. Over the past 30 years, the council has worked hard to bring hot issues and current trends to the table for discussion and resolution. The Council has addressed many issues that have helped local businesses in this very important business cluster. Through the years, the chamber and council have maintained a working relationship with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, which allows our members a great avenue to utilize when questions or problems arise. The council continues to meet quarterly to address legislative, insurance, and other issues specific to the automotive dealers and repairers of Middlesex County.

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Chairman: Todd Corey, American Eagle Financial Credit Union

Co-Chairman:  Rosario Rizzo

Staff Liaison: Jennifer De Kine

Meetings occur on the second Wednesday of each month during the school year, at 8:00 a.m. in the Chamber Conference Room.

“A Partnership Today….A Better Future Tomorrow”
The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Education Partnership Program plays a key role in strengthening the ties between Business and Education in Middlesex County, and always welcome businesses to become members of the partnership.

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council continues to serve as a link between member businesses and educational leaders from Middlesex County Schools. Their Mission is to facilitate and encourage the development of mutually supportive partnerships between schools and businesses, for the purpose of enriching the educational process for our students, by providing services and opportunities, that assist our schools in preparing them for their future as responsible and productive citizens for our global economy.

The Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce’s Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council in partnership with Middlesex County's Schools and Wesleyan University’s Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, annually presents a Career Fair Expo for Middlesex County High School students.

The aim of the Career Fair Expo is to introduce students to an awareness of the many career options available to them, an exploration of what happens after school graduation, an opportunity to motivate them into better achievement goals and attendance in school, resulting in improved preparation for their future in the “real world of employment”.

Business and Career Professionals from all over Connecticut come to meet with over 1300 students from Middlesex County and surrounding area high schools, to present and share their career experiences, giving the students an excellent opportunity to explore potential careers, so that they may better plan their future educational goals.



Chairman: Joe Santaniello, Charles IT

Staff LiaisonHaley Stafford

The Car Cruise Committee plans and organizes the annual “Cruise Night on Main Street”. The committee helps plan all facets of the event including the registration of vintage cars, mapping out the placement of cars and vendors, seeking volunteers to assist with the event and public relations and more.  The Committee’s efforts provide a fun-filled evening of entertainment for people of all ages.

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Lou Brockett, A Second Chance CPR & First Aid Training   

Staff Liaison: Sandy Heinly

The CT Connections Committee meets monthly year round to plan one of Middlesex County's premier events. Transitioning to a business to business format, CT Connections provides an opportunity for people in the community to join together in discovering the goods and services offered by over 119 businesses throughout Middlesex County.

For over a quarter of a century, this fall tradition continuously grows as some of the finest names in the business will be present.


Chairman: Harry Burr, Brown & Brown of Ct. Inc d/b/a/McCutcheon Burr & Sons

Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond

Each year the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce presents the Distinguished Citizen Award to one or more individuals who "have served as an inspiration to others and is recognized by the Middlesex community as having unselfishly given his or her time and talent to produce a lasting benefit to the area." The committee which consists of past distinguished citizens makes its selection from a list of nominees made by Chamber members.


Tim Myjak, BL Companies

Staff LiaisonJeff Pugliese

Meetings occur on the first Wednesday of each month, at 8:00 a.m., in the Chamber Conference Room.

In 2017-2018, the chamber’s Environment, Land Use and Energy Committee officially re branded and has become the Environment and Infrastructure Council. In addition to its traditional areas of focus, the council is now also tasked with overseeing the chamber’s efforts on transportation and infrastructure. This includes not only roads, bridges, rail and waterways, but the electrical grid, natural gas pipelines, broadband and more. The council has also decided to focus on “economic resilience” by defending our members as best we can against the many threats that might face them, from weather to cyber and beyond. The Environment and Infrastructure Council looks forward to a busy, but productive future.

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Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond

The Chamber's Annual Golf Tournament is one of the premier amateur golf tournaments in the area. Proceeds from the tournament support Chamber programs and the Lorraine McHugh Scholarship, given to a graduating senior who will attend one of the Connecticut's State University System Schools.

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Al Santostefano

Staff LiaisonHaley Stafford

Holiday on Main Street has been a Middletown tradition since 1985. Main Street is decorated and special events occur on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving and on Saturday mornings until Christmas. Events include three tree lighting's, a parade with local band students, character story times, breakfast with Santa, wagon rides and more! Committee members assist in the planning of the event, coordinate volunteers, solicit sponsors and help on the day of the event.

2019 HOMS Logo


Staff LiaisonJohanna Bond

The Human Resource Council provides an opportunity for HR Professionals to discuss employment related topics, exchange ideas with their peers and receive professional development and training.  The council is in charge of creating engaging events, informational workshops and addressing recent legislative changes/requirements. Some of the topics for discussion include recruiting, termination policies and employee incentive and retention programs.

***NOTE TO INSPECTOR: All visible graphics are our own design, and were produced for this particular shoot.***


James Martinelli, Rice, Davis, Daley & Krenz RDDK
Darlene Kish - EBenefits Group Northeast

Staff LiaisonJohanna Bond

The Insurance Committee has recently met to address many issues that affect the rising costs of health insurance. The Committee took action against some pending legislation that could have widespread negative effects on all businesses. In addition to taking a stance against certain legislation, the group seeks to be an informational support group for the Chamber's member agents. By providing resources that cover many of the new, innovative plans, the Insurance Committee looks forward to a lasting contribution to the agent community.

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Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond

LEAD CT main strategic focus is to cultivate the region’s emerging leaders in their organizations, businesses and community. Our goal is to provide training both professionally and personally, develop peer to peer focus groups and introduce or further develop a variety of skills.  LEAD CT is a great platform for development and investment into the community by creating an opportunity to learn of ways to connect, build relationships, and become involved.



Richard Carella, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy
Maureen Westbrook, Connecticut Water Company

Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese

Meetings occur on the third Friday of each month, at 8:00 a.m., in the Chamber Conference Room.

This committee is a closed committee. If you would like more information on how you can get involved please contact Jeff Pugliese

The Legislative Committee works hard as the chamber’s voice on important public policy issues in the State of Connecticut.  The committee is responsible for creating the chamber’s Public Policy Agenda on a yearly basis, and hosts five major legislative events every year. These include: the Legislative Breakfast with the Middlesex County legislative delegation, and four leadership events featuring leaders from each of the legislative caucuses in Hartford. The Legislative Committee will continue to pursue legislation that encourages Connecticut businesses to invest and grow opportunities for good, well-paying jobs.

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Chairman: Chris DiPentima, Pegasus Manufacturing, Inc.

Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese

The Manufacturers’ Council focuses on the important issues facing the manufacturing community in Middlesex County. The council hosts informative breakfast meetings at different manufacturing facilities throughout our region. These events typically focus on legislative advocacy, best practices within manufacturing, workforce development, load management, and the health of the regional supply chain. The Manufacturers’ Council will continue to support this vital Middlesex County industry sector.



Staff Liaison: Charles Mitchell

Middlesex Substance Abuse Prevention Council works to reduce substance abuse in Middlesex County. By coordinating grassroots, community activities, we’ve been able to reduce the negative impact of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs on our population, along with prescription drug abuse and addictive gambling. The health of children and young adults is our primary focus. MCSAAC is a prevention organization. Our intent is to delay—or completely prevent—the use of addictive substances before they become a medical problem



Chairwoman: Teresa Opalacz, Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, LLC

Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond

The Nominating Committee reviews and recommends nominations for officers of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors. Members of the committee are past chairman of the Chamber.



Chairman: Harry Burr, Brown & Brown of Ct. Inc. d/b/a McCutcheon Burr & Sons

Staff Liaison: Charles Mitchell

The Chamber's Prevention Committee continues to build on past efforts to combat substance abuse in the workplace. The CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services awarded a grant to the Chamber to provide services for individual transitioning from treatment into the workforce. The Committee also assists in marketing the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for the benefit of our members. This program now covers more than 3,000 employees and works with Solutions EAP and Middlesex Hospital to provide access to counseling, referral and treatment resources for employees on a multitude of issues including bereavement, depression and anger management.

The Prevention Committee continues to address the unique challenges presented by substance abuse in the workplace by holding seminars and panel discussions throughout the year.


Nancy Currlin, William Raveis Real Estate

Juliet Cavanaugh - Cavanaugh & Company, LLC

Staff LiaisonJohanna Bond

The Steering Committee meets on the first Thursday of the month at 11:00 a.m., in the Chamber Conference Room.

This council is a closed council. If you would like more information on how you can get involved please contact Johanna Bond

The Real Estate Council’s mission is to provide opportunities for local real estate professionals to come together for networking, encouraging cooperation, sharing of ideas, to improve business relations through collaboration and educational experiences.

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Chairman: Phil Cacciola, American Legion Post #75

Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese

The Support the Troops Committee is tasked with planning and executing the chamber’s annual Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting that is held every November. The committee includes representatives of all of the local Veterans Organizations, past recipients of the William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award, and businesspeople from many different industry sectors. The Support the Troops Committee works to identify potential speakers for the major chamber event, and serves as a resource to the chamber at large on issues such as the employment of veterans and other important issues.

Support the Troops



Al Santostefano

Staff LiaisonHaley Stafford

For over 30 years an auction has been held to raise funds for the Holiday On Main Street Program. There is no fee to attend this exciting event (a benefit of membership). A highlight of the event is the "Taste of Downtown" where attendees can sample food from downtown restaurants while networking with other Chamber members. Central Business Bureau members and others donate over 100 items for the live Auction, as well as a Silent Auction, a Drawing, and a Beer/Wine Pull.  This event has an attendance of over 300 people.



Chairman:  Bob Bell, Destination Development Group

Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond

The Tourism Steering Committee's main focus is to position Middlesex County as a regionally, nationally and internationally recognized State of Connecticut destination through developing, promoting events, and destinations that attract guests and spur growth and economic development.


Chairwoman: Carolyn Innocenzi, Middlesex Community College

Staff Liaison: Cathy Duncan

The Women's Leadership Collaborative Network meets monthly. The mission of the WLCN is to provide challenges and seeks opportunities to educate, enrich and explore issues for women in business. Members brought the idea to the forefront because of increased awareness of the desire and need for a Professional Woman’s organization within the Chamber. The Steering Committee has worked hard to plan a speaker series that are both fun and educational.


Chairwoman: Barbara Taylor - Hatje, Morgan Stanley

Staff LiaisonJohanna Bond

The Women’s Leadership Collaborative joined the Chamber team in late fall of 2017 and is the premier resource for women to engage in professional development programs to promote personal and professional growth. Their goal is to unite a diverse mix of inspirational women leaders who empower women to achieve success. Led by Chairwoman Barbara Taylor-Hatje, the collaborative presented many activities for this year, including the 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference headlined by Jean Chatzky, the financial editor of NBC’s Today show, and the late spring luncheon featuring Joanne Lipman, bestselling author and former Editor in Chief USA TODAY and the USA TODAY Network. The collaborative has also been working on organizing a mentor program titled “Elevate Women” Mentoring for Women by Women which will kick off in the fall of 2018. Another important task the group is diving into, is an educational component which will feature a weekly quote titled “Monday Musings,” a monthly blog featuring great women in our area titled “Wednesday Wisdom”, and a book of the month club featuring an array of books courtesy of R.J. Julia Booksellers. Meetings occur on the last Wednesday of each month, at 8:30 a.m., in the Chamber Conference Room.


Chairman: Dan Jaskot, EMPOWER Leadership Sports & Adventure Center

Staff Liaison: Sierra Lopez

The Young Professionals' Alliance is a personal and professional development committee that is comprised of young Chamber members looking to make a difference. The YPA is designed to help young business people interact socially, exchange ideas and interests, and gain an insider's view of the regional business scene. YPA meets on a monthly basis and hosts many special events throughout the year. The alliance is currently exploring new and innovative ways to assist in the attraction, retention and development of young professionals in Middlesex County.