We have reached the holiday season in Middlesex County, a time for fellowship and celebration. I attended the Celebrate Connecticut event last Wednesday night at the Bushnell in Hartford. This event, put on by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, or CERC, honors one company and one program from each region in the state that is having a positive economic and community impact. We had some terrific award winners from Middlesex County honored at the event. Our winner in the company category, GKN Aerospace Services Structures Corp., is a manufacturer of structural composite parts for aerospace applications which is embarking on a number of exciting initiatives in the near future. The company is partnering with the State of Connecticut as it expands its manufacturing capacity and technological development. Workers at GKN in Cromwell are making light weight parts for commercial aircraft engines made at the Pratt and Whitney plant in Middletown. GKN is proving to be a strong economic generator in Middlesex County, and indeed around the world. The company was represented at the event by its President, Tony Cacace. Our Program Winner was the 2012 Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program. Eighty student workers, all between the ages of 14 and 21, were placed into jobs for six weeks, at 15-20 hours per week, working through out 42 worksites in Greater Middletown. Workforce Alliance was again the primary funder. However, due to the strong demand, the waiting list would have been double the placement list. The City of Middletown committed $27,100, and donations from the private sector and local foundations exceeded that figure. Instead of 40 kids working this summer, there were 80. This was a true collaboration. The award was a celebration of the public/private partnership that funded the program. The city’s contribution sparked the private funds, and Middletown Deputy Mayor Bob Santangelo attended the event to accept the award. It was a terrific event and I congratulate all the award winners from around the state.
On Tuesday, December 11th, the Chamber will hold its annual Member Breakfast Meeting featuring the Governor of the State of Connecticut. Governor Dannel P. Malloy will address the Chamber membership at what will undoubtedly be a sold out event. The Breakfast will begin with Networking 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. The event is sponsored by Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas. This Member Breakfast Meeting featuring the sitting Governor has become a holiday tradition in Middlesex County, and we are certainly looking forward to an exciting morning.
Following the Breakfast, the Chamber’s Affordable Housing Committee will host a symposium titled Planning for a Vibrant Downtown. The event will feature a panel of experts with experience in successful downtown housing and commercial initiatives. The group will discuss ways to successfully navigate the political process; successfully build public support, how to attract developers, how to engage the local business community, what to avoid during the process, and other important issues. Panelists include: David Fink, Policy and Communications Director, Partnership for Strong Communities, Hiram Peck, Director of Planning, Simsbury, CT
Adam Turner, Town Planner, Colchester, CT, Bill Ferrigno, Owner and Operator, Sunlight Construction, Inc., and Carl P. Fortuna, First Selectman, Old Saybrook, CT.
The symposium, sponsored by Liberty Bank Foundation, will be held at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell, beginning at 9:30 AM and ending at 11:00 AM. For more information or to register for these events, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.
Last Saturday was another successful day for Middletown’s 27th Annual Holiday on Main Street. It was Rotary Club of Middletown Day and it was filled with events and activities. There was the Annual Holiday Fair at The Church of the Holy Trinity, The Fun Train, courtesy of Liberty Bank, The Giving Tree to benefit Middletown Parks & Recreation’s Holiday Program, sponsored by Webster Bank, and Holiday Story Time featuring Middletown Fire Chief Gary Ouellette. At the end of the reading, there was a Book Signing featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog which was sponsored by Broad Street Books. A Bounce House, provided by A Total Jump Inflatables, was set up in the gymnasium of the YMCA for the enjoyment of the kids. Finally, guests were able to greet Santa and enjoy free hayrides which were sponsored by Middlesex YMCA and Pratt &Whitney. I would like to thank Harvest Woods Audio for providing the terrific holiday music throughout the day. Finally, another special thank you goes out to our sponsors: The City of Middletown, Pratt & Whitney, Downtown Business District, Apple Rehab Middletown, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, Greco Design, Liberty Bank, Malloves Jewelers, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, Middlesex YMCA, Russell Library, St. Vincent DePaul Middletown, Webster Bank, Middlesex Hospital Community Council, and Rag & Bone. Middletown’s 27th Annual Holiday on Main Street continues on Saturday, December 8th, and Saturday, December 15th.
Looking ahead, the Chamber will hold two holiday events this coming Thursday. First, our Annual Real Estate Council Holiday Luncheon will be held at the Middletown Elks Lodge and will begin at 11:30 AM. This event is sponsored by McCue Mortgage. I want to publicly thank our member realtors for their great support of the Chamber, and my friend Bill McCue for sponsoring this annual event.
Thursday evening, the Middlesex Young Professionals’ Alliance will hold its Annual Holiday Social at the Mattabesett Canoe Club at Harbor Park. The Middlesex Young Professionals' Alliance is a personal and professional development committee that is comprised of young Chamber members looking to make a difference. It is designed to help young business people interact socially, exchange ideas and interests, and gain an insider's view of the regional business scene. The Alliance is chaired by Kelly Therrien of Farrell, Geenty, Sheeley, Boccalatte & Guarino Law Office, and Grant Messier of A&A Office Systems, and is comprised of future leaders of our region and our state.
Finally, it is time to put a bow on the 2012 Middlesex County Business to Business Expo, held last Monday at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell. This event was originally scheduled for October 30th, but Hurricane Sandy forced us to postpone. I want to once again thank our sponsors, our Expo Committee, and the Chamber staff for their hard work and dedication to this huge event. We are already looking ahead to next year.