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Riverhouse Business After Work Networking Event Highlight of Year

Chamber President Larry McHugh looks ahead to a busy early part of 2013.

Column- January 7, 2013

2013 is upon us, and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for a terrific year.  Before looking ahead, I would like to put a bow on 2012 and recognize the great efforts of the Middnight on Main team.  Middnight on Main was a fine event that brought thousands of people to downtown Middletown for the second straight year. 

Event Coordinator Lucy McMillan, along with Mark Masselli, Jen Alexander, the hundreds of volunteers and event sponsors deserve a special thank you for a job well done. 

Also, Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council, or MCSAAC, held its 7th Annual White Out Night on Friday, December 28th. This important, youth-led event featured participants walking down Main Street while wearing all white tee shirts that contained messages about safe and sober driving.  Betsey Chadwick, MCSAAC Executive Director, and Lisa Mason, Community Health Liaison, deserve a lot of credit for another terrific event.  I also want to thank Middletown Youth Services Bureau Director Justin Carbonella for his support of this initiative. 

Tomorrow, January 8th, the Chamber will host two separate sessions of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training.  The first session begins at 8:00 AM and the second at 10:15 AM.   The definition of sexual harassment, liability (your own and your organization’s), and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace will be discussed. Attorneys 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 training for supervisors and managers. Two hours mandatory attendance is required to receive the certificate.  The Chamber building is located at 393 Main Street in Middletown. 

I am looking forward to a great event also being held tomorrow which will honor the retirement of a real gentleman.  Calvin Price has served as Vice President of Community Development at Liberty Bank for many years.  While we are very happy for Cal as he enters a new chapter in his life, he will certainly be missed in the Chamber where he was an active member of our Affordable Housing Committee.  Congratulations Cal, and thank you for your service to Liberty Bank and to our community. 

Even though snow is on the ground, it is never too early to begin planning for the Chamber’s Golf Tournament which will be held on May 3, 2013 at Portland Golf Course.  We are fortunate to have a very active Golf Committee which does a great job with this event every year.  The Golf Committee is meeting this Thursday evening at Luce in Middletown for their first meeting of the year.  Don’t let the cold temperatures get you down, spring is on the way!

We are expecting a terrific crowd for our first Business After Work Networking Event of year which will be held on Thursday, January 17th at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam.  This event at the Riverhouse is always one of our most popular networking events of year, and will of course feature complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks, and a great spread of food for members of the Chamber.  This member only networking event begins at 5:00 PM.  

The start of a new calendar year also marks the start of a new legislative session in Hartford.  The 2013 session begins this Wednesday, January 9th.  The Chamber’s Annual Legislative Breakfast is scheduled for Friday, January 18th at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell.  The event will run from 8:00 AM until 9:30 AM and is sponsored by our good friends at Comcast.

This event allows our Legislative Committee and Board of Directors to present the Chamber’s 2013 Public Policy Agenda to the state legislators that represent Middlesex County.  Chamber members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the legislators about the critical 2013 legislative session.  Redistricting and the 2012 election results have provided us with a lot of new faces in the Middlesex Legislative Delegation which makes this event even more important in 2013. 

Our first Member Breakfast Meeting of 2013 will be held on Monday, January 28th at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell and will feature guest speaker Michael Aresco, Commissioner of the Big East Conference.  Commissioner Aresco, a Middletown native, will address our group for the second time but for the first time as head of the Big East.  We are expecting a large crowd for this event and we appreciate the fact that Mike is willing to visit with the Chamber membership during this very busy time in college athletics.    

Looking ahead, we are excited to welcome a good friend and longtime Chamber supporter back to Middlesex County.  Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman will visit with the Chamber’s All Middletown Division on Thursday, February 28th.  Nancy has continued the tradition of meeting with the Chamber’s geographically based divisions, a tradition which goes back to the early days of her tenure as State Comptroller.  Nancy has been very good to our organization over the years and we continue to work well with her now that she is in the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  The meeting of the All Middletown Division will be held at the Village at South Farms in Middletown and will begin at 8:00 AM.    

I would like to send out a note of congratulations to Middletown Downtown Business District Director Quentin “Q” Phipps for being named to Connecticut Magazine’s 40 Under 40 List, a prestigious honor in our state.  Keep up the good work Q.    

I must end this week’s column on a sad note.  William “Bill” Peterson passed away recently at his home in Rhode Island.  Bill was very active with our Chamber through his time at Peterson Oil in Portland and Bill’s Sport Shop in Middletown.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s family during this difficult time.  I would like to especially acknowledge his parents, Ernest and Phyllis, his son Raymond, his daughter Lauren, his two sisters Ann and Martha, his grandchild Mya, and all of their families.  Bill Peterson will be missed. 

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

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