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Chamber's Legislative Breakfast a Huge Success

Chamber President Larry McHugh reviews the first Business After Work Networking Event of the year and the 2013 Legislative Breakfast.

Last week was a busy one in Middlesex County full of terrific Chamber events.  The first Business After Work Networking Event of 2013 was held on Thursday at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam.  Over 250 Chamber members enjoyed a great spread of food from all of the different Riverhouse facilities throughout the state. 

The group also enjoyed complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks.  I want to once again thank the entire Riverhouse team for hosting this event and for their unending support of our Chamber.  I want to especially thank Kelley Smith, Corporate Sales Manager, and Jim Bucko, Riverhouse Managing Partner and member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, for their support. 

The Chamber’s 2013 Legislative Breakfast was held last Friday, January 18th at the Courtyard By Marriott in Cromwell.  This important event, sponsored by our good friends at Comcast, was attended by over 85 Chamber members and 13 legislators that represent Middlesex County towns. 

It was a great discussion from start to finish and I would like to publicly thank all of the legislators that came to the event: State Reps. Christie Carpino, Joe Serra, Melissa Ziobron, Tom Vicino, Matt Lesser, Phil Miller, Vincent Candelora, Noreen Kokoruda, and Emil “Buddy” Altobello, and State Sens. Paul Doyle, Dante Bartolomeo, Art Linares and Len Fasano. 

Many of these faces are new to our members after redistricting and the 2012 election results brought big changes to the Middlesex County delegation.  Our Legislative Committee, led by Rich Carella and Rick Parmelee, will continue to maintain a productive dialogue with our elected officials throughout this legislative session. 

The January meeting of the Chamber’s Board of Directors was held last Thursday at Baci Grill in Cromwell.  We invited Sean Hayes, Owner and Operator of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland and Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield.  We asked Sean to give a presentation on the major restoration effort that is ongoing at the Powder Ridge property.  Sean and his team are planning a year round, family friendly facility loaded with activities. 

Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort will preserve the history of the property while providing a dynamic facility that will offer skiing, tubing, snowboarding, biking, extreme sports and much more.  The Chamber has supported this important project from the beginning and I want to publicly thank Sean and his team for their hard work.  We are so proud of the job they have done at Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, which has become a major tourist destination and economic driver, and we are very excited about the new park in Middlefield. 

Last Tuesday, I was honored to attend a Grand Opening at Sonoma Woods, a 68-home Active Adult development in Middletown.  I would like to thank Bob Wiedenmann and Amy Wiedenmann of Wallingford-based Sunwood Development Corp, and Marie Coughlin, Terence Beaty, and Beth DiLoreto of Prudential Connecticut Realty for hosting me and Jeff Pugliese from the Chamber staff.    

This week features meetings of both our Middlesex Businesswomen’s Alliance (MBA), and Young Professionals’ Alliance (YPA).  MBA meets on Wednesday morning at the Village at South Farms where they will have a program titled, "Changing Gears, Switching Careers."

A tenured panel of human resource professionals will address a timely and relevant topic as you head into a new year and possibly a new career direction. The group will explore how the job market really looks, how to convey transferable skill sets to a prospective employer, and the hidden opportunities that are out there. The Young Professionals’ Alliance has their annual Winter Networking Reception on Thursday evening at the Inn at Middletown beginning at 5:30 PM.  YPA is expecting a big crowd for this event which will feature high quality networking and a business card raffle. 

Michael Aresco, Commissioner, Big East Conference, will serve as Guest Speaker at the Chamber’s January Member Breakfast Meeting to be held on Monday, January 28, 2013.  The Breakfast will be held at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell, with Networking beginning at 7:00 A.M., Breakfast Buffet opens at 7:45 A.M. and the Breakfast Meeting Program 8:00 to 9:00 A.M.  Cost is $20 for Chamber members and $30 for non-members. 

The event is sponsored by Webster Bank.  Mike Aresco, one of the most influential leaders in collegiate sports television, was named Commissioner of The BIG EAST Conference on August 14, 2012.  Aresco came to the BIG EAST from CBS Sports where he was Executive Vice President of Programming. He was responsible for all college sports programming for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. 

Aresco oversaw the acquisition and management of CBS Sports college properties, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, regular-season college basketball and football, conference basketball championship games, football bowl games and other programming. His responsibilities included game selection and scheduling, day-to-day operations, contract negotiations, identification of future acquisitions, development of programming strategies and coordination of new media and marketing initiatives.  We are looking forward to what Mike has to say about this busy time in college athletics. 

The Manufacturers’ Council will visit Whelen Engineering in Chester on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.  The meeting will focus on the manufacturing partnership that exists between the company and Regional School District 4.  Students from Valley Regional High School go to the Whelen facility once per day from 11:30 AM until around 12:30 PM for a class titled, Introduction to Manufacturing.  The class is a credit elective that is running all four marking periods this school year. 

14 students per quarter are in enrolled in the class for the 2012-2013 school year, with 50 students on the waiting list for the 2013-2014 school year.  The Introduction to Manufacturing class is designed to make certain that students develop career awareness as related to the world of manufacturing while participating in real life on the job experiences. 

The visit by the Chamber’s Manufacturers’ Council is designed to expose the business community to this great program.  We hear all too often that manufacturers have jobs available but cannot find enough qualified applicants to fill them. 

This program hopes to be a model that is adopted by other communities.  Introduction to Manufacturing can truly become a bridge between highly skilled job seekers and Connecticut employers and the Chamber will continue to support this initiative. 

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

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