Committees and Councils


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 11:00 AM, in the Chamber Conference Room.


The Affordable Housing Committee was created in 2007 to provide a voice for the business community on important housing issues in Middlesex County. The committee is comprised of developers, lenders, realtors, non-profit liaisons, attorneys and other professionals. The Affordable Housing Committee has hosted many successful seminars including a session on Planning for a Vibrant Downtown, and a special luncheon which featured the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The committee will continue to work with other key stakeholders in Middlesex County on these important issues.




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


Sub-Committee Chairmen
Robert Shea - Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management, Town of Portland
Gary Ouellette - Fire Chief, City of Middletown


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. 




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


Staff Liaison: Lorenzo Marshall


Meetings occur on the fourth Thursday of every other month, at 6:00 p.m., at Cantina Cafe Ristorante, 74 Court Street, Middletown.


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 20 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 friendship with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which allows our members a great avenue to use when questions or problems arise.




Chairman: Thomas Serra, Middletown Sports Hall of Fame


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 the Middlesex Consortium of Schools and Wesleyan University’s 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: Foster Charles, Charles Computer Services


Staff LiaisonCathy Duncan


The Car Cruise Committee plans and organizes the Annual Car Cruise Night on Main Street. They help coordinate the registration of vintage cars, communications with downtown restaurants, signing up vendors, musical acts and establish areas for family oriented games. Their work provides a fun-filled evening of entertainment for people of all ages.




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.




Chairman: Marc Gallagher, POW R PC


Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese

The chamber’s Entrepreneur Council was launched in early 2017. This new council will work to identify and engage key entrepreneurs in our region with the goal of creating an innovative eco system in the chamber’s service area. Under the leadership of Chairman Marc Gallagher, the council will also work to promote the sharing of information through social and professional interaction, and will assist in the attraction of high growth companies and disruptive ideas to Middlesex County.




Andrew Lord, Murtha Cullina LLP
Tim Myjak, EnSafe, Inc.


Staff LiaisonJeff Pugliese


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


The Environment, Land Use, and Energy Committee is comprised of attorneys, engineers, environmental specialists, developers and other professionals. The committee focuses on important environment, land use and energy issues that have a direct impact on the business community in Middlesex County. Recent efforts include an examination of the Comprehensive Energy Strategy in Connecticut, and outreach to businesses regarding effective energy efficiency strategies. 




Lou Brockett, A Second Chance CPR & First Aid Training  


Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond


Meetings occur following the Member Breakfast Meetings, at 9:15 a.m., at the Radisson Hotel, Cromwell.


The Expo Committee meets monthly year round to plan one of Middlesex County's premier events. Transitioning to a business to business format, the Expo 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.




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.




Kelly Smith, KGS Insurance Services, LLC


Staff LiaisonJohanna Bond


Meeting occur on the second Thursday of each month, at 7:30 a.m., in the Chamber Conference Room.


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


The council's mission is to develop lines of communication between the business and health care community. The dialogue is designed to gain a better understanding of the different constituency groups and in the process, the council will explore solutions to particular issues resulting in a more efficient, high quality and cost effective health care system.


Throughout the past several years, the council has created several exciting programs and initiatives. With the help of many dedicated business and health care representatives, the council strives to bring the tough issues to the table for discussion.





Al Santostefano, Middletown Fire Department
Rich Greco, Consultant


Staff LiaisonCathy Duncan


Holiday on Main Street has been a Middletown tradition since 1985. Main Street is decorated and special events occur on the Friday after Thanksgiving and on Saturdays until Christmas.


Events include tree lightings, a parade, story time, Breakfast with Santa, and hayrides. Committee members assist in the planning of the event, coordinate volunteers, solicit sponsors and help on the day of the event.




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.




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.


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 legislative events every year: The Legislative Breakfast with the Middlesex County legislative delegation, and leadership events with leaders from both parties in the House and Senate. 




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 conservation and load management strategies, or workforce development within manufacturing. The Manufacturers’ Council meets quarterly throughout Middlesex County. 


Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC)


Staff Liaison: Betsey Chadwick


The Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council is recognized as one of thirteen public/private partnerships (Regional Action Councils) across the State of Connecticut. Established in 1991, MCSAAC is a council of the Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County, a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. Its purpose is to reduce the incidence of alcohol and other drug abuse. MCSAAC receives funding from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and other public, private and municipal resources.


Middletown Motorcycle Mania


Chairman: Rich Greco, Consultant


Staff Liaison: Cathy Duncan


Middletown Motorcycle Mania is an outstanding event that draws over 5,000 motorcyclists into Downtown Middletown and gives them the opportunity to showcase their bikes and relax in a fun setting!  The attendance is over 12,000 people and the event includes entertainment, vendors, food and lots of bikes! Committee members assist in the planning of the event, coordinate volunteers, solicit sponsors and help on the day of the event.


For the latest information on Middletown Motorcycle Mania, please visit 


Nominating Committee


Chairman: 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.


Prevention Committee


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


Staff LiaisonBetsey Chadwick


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. 


Real Estate Council


David Gallitto, RE/MAX Edge
Nancy Currlin, William Raveis Real Estate


Staff LiaisonJohanna Bond


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


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.


Sports Events & Conventions Committee


Chairman: Phil Cacciola


Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese


This committee meets quarterly at the Courtyard by Marriott, 4 Sebethe Drive, Cromwell.


The Sports Events & Conventions Committee works to support and promote the major sporting events in Middlesex County.  These events include the Travelers Championship and the American Legion Northeast Regional Baseball Tournament. The committee also highlights the athletic successes of Middlesex County’s resident universities and high schools.  The group works with local hotels to make sure that visiting fans are properly accommodated during their stay in Middlesex County.  Committee members include representatives from the Middletown Hall of Fame, the print and electronic media, local athletic directors, hotel executives and everyday businesses people.


Taste of Downtown Auction Committee



Al Santostefano, City of Middletown

Rich Greco, Consultant


Staff LiaisonCathy Duncan


For over 20 years an auction has been held to raise funds for the Holiday On Main Street Program and is held during Business After Work in the springtime. There is no fee to attend this exciting event (a benefit of membership). A highlight of the event is the "Taste of Downtown." Attendees can sample food from downtown restaurants while networking with other business members. Central Business Bureau members and others donate over 200 items for the live Auction, as well as a Silent Auction, and a Raffle. This event has an attendance of over 300 people.


Technology Committee


Chairman: Marc Gallagher, POW R PC


Staff Liaison: Michael Fallon


The Technology Committee assists the Chamber staff in the determination and implementation of software, website and other technological matters.  

The Technology Council of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is looking for members.  As technology has become an everyday necessity, we believe the council should step up its role at the Chamber.

Suggested goals for the Technology Council:

Enhance the Chamber website with more social media connectivity via LinkedIn and Twitter for instant contact with members.
*Create LinkedIn groups for each council or division so the chairperson/staff person can develop up-to-date content for members and followers.
*Recognize members by adding multimedia content to our website to make it more compelling to members to visit and stay on the website with the use of photos and bios of members, chairpersons and staff, and photos from events.
*Add more compelling member content such as council and division updates, legislative updates and the like which can only be accessed via a member login.
*Create technology seminars for our members to keep them up to date on the latest technology.
*Communicate directly with members via mobile devices, such as text message reminders of upcoming events.
*Add members to the council to develop current and future initiatives.

If you or someone from your office would like to be a part to the Technology Council, please contact Michael Fallon: [email protected] 

Tourism Steering Commission 


Chairman:  Bob Bell, Destination Development Group


Staff Liaison: Johanna Bond


The Tourism Steering Commission'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.


Transportation and Rail Council




Staff LiaisonJeff Pugliese


The Transportation and Rail Council focused on the major transportation and infrastructure issues affecting the business community in Middlesex County.  The council is comprised of local transit officials, engineers, architects, planning officials and other professionals.  The Transportation Council meets quarterly in the Chamber Conference Room. 


Women's Business Alliance (WBA)

Chairwoman: Barbara Taylor-Hatje - Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Staff Liaison: Cathy Duncan


The Women's Business Alliance meets monthly. The Mission of the WBA 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.


Young Professionals' Alliance (YPA)


Chairman: Dan Jaskot, EMPOWER Leadership Sports & Adventure Center 


Staff Liaison: Jeff Pugliese


The Middlesex County 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 Middlesex County Young Professionals' Alliance is comprised of future leaders of our region and our state and is the premier young professionals’ organization in Middlesex County.

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