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Chamber President: Arrigoni Bridge Work Completion in Crosshairs

Chamber President Larry McHugh recaps another busy week and looks ahead to the 2012 Middlesex County Business to Business Expo.

 

Last week was a busy one full of great events and activities throughout Middlesex County. 

I was honored to attend the second annual Middlesex United Way Leadership Circle “Roast” on Thursday night which honored Gary and Pat Gomola.  It was certainly a fun night filled with a lot of laughs.  Gary and Pat are two special people in our area and I was happy to help honor them at this terrific event held at the Inn at Middletown.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, the Chamber partnered with Workforce Alliance to host an Informational Breakfast Meeting for Manufacturers’.  The subject of this event was the Technical Skills Training Initiative, a new federally funded grant received by the workforce investment board.  The Technical Skills Training Initiative is designed to increase the competitiveness of Connecticut’s companies and workers by offering hiring incentives to employers in the fields of manufacturing and information technology. This informational breakfast was very worthwhile and was attended by some of our top manufacturers including Pratt & Whitney, Zygo Corporation, Holo-Krome, Pegasus Manufacturing, Capewell Components, Ripley Company, and PDQ, Inc.  Some of our fine IT companies were also in attendance including Jaroop, POW R PC, and The Walker Group.  I would like to thank Workforce Alliance for their support of manufacturing and for their continued support of the Middlesex Chamber. 

The Middlesex Young Professionals’ Alliance, a professional development committee that is comprised of young Chamber members, held its 3rd Annual Speed Networking Event on Wednesday evening.  This event was held at TD Bank, Middletown Store, and featured over 30 young professionals networking through an organized rotation.  I would like to thank Jeff Hubbard, Senior Vice President, Kristie Dammling, Vice President and Regional Market Manager, and Sheila Iglesias, Store Manager of TD Bank Middletown, for their sponsorship of this event and for their outstanding support of our Chamber.  I would also like to thank Howard and McMillan Counselors at Law for their support of this event. 

On Friday night, there was a Grand Opening Block Party for the First Tee of Connecticut David and Geri Epstein Learning Center.  This event was held at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.  I would like to thank the First Tee of Connecticut Board of Directors, Webster Financial Advisors, and Babbidge Facilities Construction for inviting me to this great community event. 

Tomorrow afternoon, I will join Governor Dannel Malloy, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, and Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield at an Arrigoni Bridge event that will mark the impending end of construction on this vital river crossing.  I want to once again thank Ken Fargnoli, Assistant District Engineer at DOT, and his entire team for their great work throughout this project.  I also want to recognize Middlesex Corporation for their professionalism, and thank them for keeping the lines of communication open throughout this entire process.  A special thank you goes out to the Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments from Middletown, Portland, and Cromwell, and also Middlesex Hospital, and all of the local emergency services personnel.  Finally, I want to recognize the great support of our local municipal leaders, especially the First Selectman's office in Portland, and the Mayor's office in Middletown.  I am looking forward to tomorrow’s event. 

We are now just over a week away from the 2012 Middlesex County Business to Business Expo.  This year’s event, which will be held next Tuesday, October 30th at the Crowne Plaza, is shaping up to be another great one.  The Expo will be open to the general public from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM and will re-open from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM for a Middlesex Chamber Members Only Executive Evening Event.  In addition to the over 110 exhibitors in the ballroom, the Expo will feature a full day of events and activities. 

Our Health Care Reform Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by Comcast Business Class, will begin at 7:45 AM, and will end at 9:30 AM.  The program will focus on where we are headed now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act.  A distinguished panel of experts will provide valuable information for businesses as they prepare for full implementation of the law.  Our panel is comprised of: Kevin Counihan, Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange, Arthur “Buddy” McDowell, Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Middlesex Hospital, Lynn Giroux, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Essex Savings Bank, Marta Maciuba, Small Group Sales and Service Director, Aetna Inc., John Porter, Vice President of Client Services, Nurtur, and Margaret Flinter, Senior Vice President and Clinical Director, Community Health Center. 

Our first ever Small Business of the Year Awards Luncheon will begin at 11:30 AM and will feature guest speaker, Commissioner Catherine Smith, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.  This event is also sponsored by Comcast Business Class.  The Small Business of the Year Awards program is designed to recognize the dedication, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by Connecticut's small businesses.  We received over 30 nominations from Chamber members throughout Middlesex County.  I would like to congratulate all of our winners on these well-deserved awards.  The Make a Difference “Shoot for the Stars” Award goes to the Crowne Plaza Cromwell.  The Crowne Plaza hosts many of our major events and their professional staff is a pleasure to work with throughout the year.  The Business of the Year Award, 1-30 Employees, goes to gener8or communications and the Studios of Moving Pictures.  Darlene Scirpo and Steve Lovelace are very active in the Middletown community and have won three local Emmy Awards for their outstanding work.  The Business of the Year Award, 31+ Employees, goes to Lorensen Auto Group which has three dealerships in the Town of Westbrook.  Lorensen is a strong corporate citizen and is a major economic generator on the shoreline and throughout the state.  The Minority Business of the Year Award goes to Cindy Gondek and Advanced Copy Technologies, Inc.  Advanced Copy, located in Cromwell, is a fast growing company that has become a leader in office equipment and document management services.  The Business Growth & Expansion Award goes to Jarvis Products Corp. of Middletown.  Jarvis, manufacturer of highly specialized meat processing products, is constructing a 30,000 square foot addition to its high level facility which will bring significant jobs and economic development to the area.  Finally, The Hometown Main Street Business of the Year goes to NoRA Cupcake Company which is located north of Rapallo Avenue, on Main Street in Middletown.  Carrie Carella is doing a wonderful job producing delicious cupcakes and helping to spark a revival in the north end.

The Middlesex County Career Fair is another critical part of this year’s Expo.  The fair is sponsored by the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and Workforce Alliance, and will run from 10:00 AM until 2:30 PM. This event will feature over 50 companies that have positions available which is great economic news for our region. 

Tickets for the 2012 Middlesex County Business to Business Expo are available at the Chamber office and at each of our exhibitor’s business locations. 

I will have more on the Business to Business Expo in next week’s column. 

For more information on Chamber events and activities, please contact Jeff Pugliese at jpugliese@middlesexchamber.com.

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