Cham­ber: Busi­ness expo prom­ises full day of ac­tiv­i­ties

Also this week, roast of re­tir­ing schools chief

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Larry McHugh Larry McHugh is pres­i­dent of the Mid­dle­sex County Cham­ber of Com­merce in Mid­dle­town.

MID­DLE­TOWN — It’s October in Mid­dle­sex County, which means the time has come for Con­necti­cut Con­nec­tions, Mid­dle­sex County’s Premier Busi­ness Show­case. How­ever, be­fore div­ing into what will be a full day of events and ac­tiv­i­ties on Wed­nes­day in Cromwell, I would like to quickly ad­dress a few other im­por­tant mat­ters.

The City of Mid­dle­town Com­mon Coun­cil held an im­por­tant meet­ing last week at City Hall, where it acted on a num­ber of im­por­tant agenda items. Cham­ber VP Jeff Pugliese spoke in pub­lic ses­sion to re­quest the city’s sup­port for a dy­namic cowork­ing ini­tia­tive that will com­ple­ment the many other eco­nomic devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives cur­rently un­der­way in Mid­dle­town. Our idea, as cur­rently stands, is called the MEWS+.

The plan for the MEWS+, which stands for Mid­dle­town En­trepreneurs Work Space and more, is to use the sec­ond floor at the cham­ber of­fice as head­quar­ters. It will also serve as the of­fi­cial cowork­ing space for now. The rea­son there is a plus sign in the name is be­cause we ex­pect this ini­tia­tive to be much more than just a cowork­ing space. We want our ini­tia­tive to be a re­source for free­lancers and en­trepreneurs, startup busi­nesses and small busi­nesses and the Wes­leyan Univer­sity and Mid­dle­sex Com­mu­nity Col­lege com­mu­ni­ties.

I would like to thank the coun­cil and mayor for sup­port­ing this ini­tia­tive, which is al­ready be­ing sup­ported by our part­ners at Wes­leyan, Liberty Bank and Mid­dle­sex Hospi­tal. Wes­leyan was es­pe­cially crit­i­cal to this process and I ap­pre­ci­ate the strong sup­port of Pres­i­dent Michael Roth, Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief of Staff Andy Tanaka, Vice Pres­i­dent for Fi­nance and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Nate Peters and their en­tire team.

We look for­ward to pro­vid­ing stu­dents, fac­ulty, staff and alumni the op­por­tu­nity to en­gage and net­work with lo­cal busi­ness peo­ple of all shapes and sizes, and from a va­ri­ety of in­dus­try sec­tors. Work has al­ready be­gun on de­vel­op­ing the space and the re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties, and the cham­ber will con­tinue to keep everyone ap­praised of our progress.

The coun­cil also voted to ap­prove the pro­posed lease agree­ment between the city and Con­necti­cut River Events for the Lady Katharine Cruise Line’s dock­age at the city’s river­front Har­bor Park. The cham­ber wholeheartedly sup­ports this lease and the part­ner­ship with The Val­ley Rail­road Com­pany it brings. Mid­dle­sex County is lucky to have the Es­sex Steam Train and River­boat as a key tourism stake­holder, and the cham­ber is proud to help the com­pany build its im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship with the city of Mid­dle­town.

In ad­di­tion to Con­necti­cut Con­nec­tions 2017, this week also fea­tures an im­por­tant event that will honor the re­tir­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools in Mid­dle­town, Dr. Pat Charles, and an ex­cit­ing grand open­ing event in Cromwell. The event for Dr. Charles is ac­tu­ally a re­tire­ment roast hosted by the Mid­dle­sex United Way Thurs­day at 5:30 p.m. at the River­house at Good­speed Sta­tion in Had­dam. Dr. Charles has done a fan­tas­tic job lead­ing the Mid­dle­town school sys­tem, and the West­brook school sys­tem be­fore that, and I look for­ward to at­tend­ing what I know will be a fun night of com­edy and phi­lan­thropy in Had­dam.

Ear­lier in the day, at 4 p.m., I look for­ward to join­ing Cromwell Mayor Enzo Faienza and Town Man­ager Tony Sal­va­tore at the grand open­ing cel­e­bra­tion for Molly Maid of Cen­tral Con­necti­cut on Country Squire Drive. Molly Maid, which spe­cial­izes in com­pre­hen­sive and pro­fes­sional house clean­ing, is a wel­come ad­di­tion to the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity and to cham­ber mem­ber­ship. I look for­ward to celebrating with their en­tire team Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

I want to take a mo­ment to men­tion that my wife Patty and I had a great time at J.R. Marino’s sur­prise birth­day party last Saturday night at Mat­tabes­sett Ca­noe Club at Har­bor Park. J.R. and his wife Tamba have been long­time friends and sup­port­ers of me and our cham­ber. We were happy to at­tend the event and ap­pre­ci­ate their con­tin­ued sup­port.

Fi­nally, I want to thank past cham­ber Chair­woman Darlene Briggs for do­ing an out­stand­ing job with her remarks at a re­cent memo­rial ser­vice for T. Ger­ald “Gerry” Dyar. Gerry Dyar was a mem­ber of our Board of Di­rec­tors, chair­man of our Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee and a re­cip­i­ent of our 2010 Dis­tin­guished Cit­i­zen Award. He was a long­time res­i­dent of West­brook, and was a key per­son who pushed for the merger of the West­brook Cham­ber and the Mid­dle­sex County Cham­ber of Com­merce. He was a good man, and Darlene did an out­stand­ing job hon­or­ing him at the ser­vice.

Wed­nes­day fea­tures 2017 Con­necti­cut Con­nec­tions, Mid­dle­sex County’s Premier Busi­ness Show­case at the Radisson Ho­tel Cromwell. The event will feature a full day of events and ac­tiv­i­ties. The pub­lic is in­vited to visit with over 115 ex­hibitors, from a num­ber of dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 2017 Con­necti­cut Con­nec­tions be­gins with open­ing cer­e­monies at 11 a.m., and will be im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by the Sixth An­nual Small Busi­ness Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. un­til 1 p.m. This luncheon event is spon­sored by Com­cast Busi­ness, and fea­tures remarks by Com­mis­sioner Cather­ine Smith of the Con­necti­cut Depart­ment of Eco­nomic and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment.

I am proud to an­nounce that this year’s win­ners are: Broth­ers Auto Body, Cromwell, Busi­ness of the Year (1 to 30 em­ploy­ees), Cit­i­zens Bank, county wide, Busi­ness of the Year (31+ em­ploy­ees), Pow­der Ridge Moun­tain Park & Re­sort, Mid­dle­field, Busi­ness Growth & Ex­pan­sion Awardee, Whe­len En­gi­neer­ing, Ch­ester, Man­u­fac­turer of the Year, Den­tal Health Care/Glo­ria F. Perry, DMD, Cromwell, Mi­nor­ity Owned Busi­ness of the Year, Vic­to­rian In­spi­ra­tions, Port­land, Out­stand­ing New Busi­ness Un­der 5 Years, Pock­et­ful of Posies, Mid­dle­town, Re­tail Busi­ness of the Year, Ivory­ton Play­house, Es­sex, Tourism/Hos­pi­tal­ity Busi­ness of the Year, and Charles IT, Mid­dle­town, Tech­nol­ogy Busi­ness of the Year.

The Mid­dle­sex County Fall Ca­reer Fair, fea­tur­ing over 50 em­ploy­ers that are cur­rently hir­ing, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It is spon­sored by the Con­necti­cut Depart­ment of La­bor, Work­force Al­liance and the Mid­dle­sex County Cham­ber of Com­merce. Pro­fes­sional re­sume writ­ers will be on site to as­sist in the devel­op­ment of re­sumes and cover letters. For a list of par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies and po­si­tions avail­able, please visit http:/www.ct­dol.state.ct.us/job­fairs/.

The An­nual Health and Well­ness Fair, spon­sored by Mid­dle­sex Hospi­tal, will high­light best prac­tices for pro­mot­ing health and well­ness in your com­pany and in your life. The Health and Well­ness Fair will feature a flu vac­ci­na­tion clinic (most in­sur­ances ac­cepted), blood pres­sure screen­ings, bal­ance test­ing and much more. All Health and Well­ness Fair ser­vices are free un­less oth­er­wise noted. More in­for­ma­tion on the Health & Well­ness Fair is avail­able at mid­dle­sex­cham­ber.com.

Con­necti­cut Con­nec­tions will feature three first ses­sion work­shops to choose from start­ing at 1:30 p.m. One workshop op­tion is the Mid­dle­sex Cham­ber Women’s Busi­ness Al­liance Workshop: Striv­ing for Ex­cel­lence not Per­fec­tion. It teaches the con­cept that striv­ing for ex­cel­lence can re­ally mo­ti­vate and in­spire you, while striv­ing for per­fec­tion can be com­pletely de­mor­al­iz­ing. Another workshop op­tion is an En­ergy and Ven­dor Fo­rum spon­sored by Ever­source. This workshop is de­signed to make your busi­ness more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient.

An ad­di­tional first ses­sion workshop to choose from is Im­prov­ing Em­ployee Health: Value Based In­sur­ance De­sign, which finds in­no­va­tive strate­gies that aim to im­prove em­ployee health, drive pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­sult in smarter health-care spend­ing. In the af­ter­noon at 3:15 p.m., there will be a sec­ond Mid­dle­sex Cham­ber Women’s Busi­ness Al­liance workshop, Power Pitch & Net­work­ing Event, which pro­vides a quick les­son on a killer el­e­va­tor pitch and then gives folks the op­por­tu­nity to test out their pitch live in per­son. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., the Tourism Steer­ing Com­mit­tee will present a Let’s Make A Deal event to cre­ate pack­age deals for tourism for the win­ter sea­son.

The mem­bers only Oc­to­ber­fest Ex­ec­u­tive Evening from 4 to 7 p.m. will feature a great spread of com­pli­men­tary food, beer, wine and non­al­co­holic drinks, over 115 ex­hibitors, raf­fle prizes and ter­rific net­work­ing. Cham­ber mem­bers can reg­is­ter on­line at www.mid­dle­sex­cham­ber.com.

The Mid­dle­sex County Cham­ber of Com­merce would like to thank all Con­necti­cut Con­nec­tions spon­sors for their strong sup­port of this ma­jor event.

They in­clude Pre­sent­ing Spon­sors: Com­cast Busi­ness, Radisson Ho­tel and Cham­ber In­sur­ance Trust. Me­dia Spon­sor: Hart­ford Busi­ness Jour­nal. Plat­inum Spon­sors: Bou­vier In­sur­ance, Ever­source En­ergy, Lan­tern En­ergy, Pratt & Whit­ney and Tower Lab­o­ra­to­ries Ltd. Ti­ta­nium Spon­sors: Con­necti­cut Lot­tery, Peo­ple’s United Bank and Work­force Al­liance; Gold Spon­sors: A&A Of­fice, Bank of Amer­ica, The Mat­tabas­sett District and Updike, Kelly & Spel­lacy, P.C. Sil­ver Spon­sors: Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ter, DATTCO, Ly­man Or­chards, Sub­ur­ban Sta­tion­ers and Xavier High School. Bronze Spon­sors: A Sec­ond Chance CPR & First Aid Train­ing LLC, Em­ploy­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of the North­east, Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fices, Sub­ur­ban Of­fice Fur­ni­ture and The Durham Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany.

Contributed photo /

Com­puter Man­age­ment Ser­vices held an open house Thurs­day in Es­sex. From left are CMS COO Greg Tis­dale, Es­sex Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Con­sul­tant Su­san Malan, CMS Pres­i­dent Su­san Pay­ton, Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales and Mar­ket­ing Har­vey Pay­ton and Pres­i­dent of the Mid­dle­sex County Cham­ber of Com­merce Larry McHugh.

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