On Sunday, May 27th, a massive fire devastated the Bevin Brothers Manufacturing building in East Hampton. Bevin Brothers has been an outstanding company for 180 years that has produced countless bells for many different events, activities and occasions. This a real shame because owner Matt Bevin has done a remarkable job turning this company around in recent years. P.S.I. Plus, a company that has produced tubular compressed gas cylinders at the Bevin facility since 1991, was also displaced by this terrible fire. The Middlesex Chamber has offered to work with Matt Bevin and P.S.I. President Doug Dilla and will provide whatever support we can during this very difficult time.
I was honored to speak at an event last Tuesday that recognized the outstanding work of John Biddiscombe, the retiring Athletic Director at Wesleyan University. John did a great job leading Wesleyan’s Athletic Department and has been with the school for over 37 years. John is a good friend to the Middlesex Chamber and the entire Middlesex County community and I wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.
Last Friday, I attended the Grand Opening of Wireless Zone of Cromwell which is located at 127 Berlin Road in Cromwell. I would like to officially welcome Wireless Zone to the Middlesex business community and to Chamber membership.
I would like to take a moment to extend well wishes to three members of the Chamber family that have suffered significant injuries in the past few weeks. Joan Wood, who has served as my Executive Assistant for 23 years, is currently resting comfortably at Apple Rehab in Middletown after surgery to repair a broken leg. Joan is a wonderful person and all of us on the Chamber staff and our entire membership wish her a quick recovery. Paul Hughes has served as Administrator for the Middletown Small Business Development Center here at the Chamber since 2006. He is also the Administrator for the Middlesex County Revitalization Commission and is a very valuable member of the Chamber staff. Paul is currently resting comfortably at the McLean Rehab Facility in Simsbury after a bicycle accident. Get well soon Paul. Finally, Hal Kaplan, former Principal at Lawrence School and current Coordinator of the Middletown Mentor Program, is out of critical care and is resting comfortably at Middlesex Hospital after some recent ailments. Hal is a terrific guy who has done so much for this community and I know I speak for all of us when wishing him a speedy recovery.
Looking ahead, we are very excited for another busy week at the Chamber. This morning, we are proud to welcome Warde J. Manuel, Director of Athletics, University of Connecticut, as guest speaker at our member breakfast meeting. Warde has done a great job since taking over the AD role at UCONN and our membership is looking forward to hearing his remarks.
The Chamber’s Annual Dinner will be held this Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell. We are really looking forward to honoring our 2012 Distinguished Citizen Award winners, Robert C. Fusari, Michael “Jay” Polke and John W. Rafal, JD, and our Michael L. Green Award winner Lester “Scotty” Scott of Westbrook. As I noted in last week’s column, these recipients are true gentlemen, and I am really looking forward to sharing this special night with them and their families.
The Chamber’s 2012 Scholarship Award winners will also be recognized at the Annual Dinner. The 2012 Judge Raymond E. Baldwin Scholarship has been awarded to Olivia DeFrances of Mercy High School, The Harry H.S. Phillips, Jr. Scholarship has been awarded to Rachel Roberts of Haddam Killingworth High School and The Lorraine C. McHugh Scholarship has been awarded to Lydia Walter of Nathan Hale-Ray High School. We are very proud of our 2012 scholarship winners.
The Annual Dinner will also give us a chance to thank the Chamber’s outgoing Chairperson, Kelly Smith. Kelly has done such a great job leading our organization and it is comforting to know that she is not going far. Kelly will remain on our Executive Committee and will stay very active with the Chamber. Chandler Howard, President of Liberty Bank, will be taking over the Chairmanship. Anyone who knows Chandler knows that he is a true leader and a consummate professional. We know he will do a great job leading our Board of Directors and our entire organization in the next year.
The following day, Thursday, June 7th, will be the Chamber’s Annual Real Estate Luncheon at the Mattabassett Canoe Club at Harbor Park from 11:30 AM until 1:30 PM. Our Real Estate Council continues to be very active and I appreciate the strong support of its members. I also want to thank Danny Cronin and his staff at the Canoe Club for hosting this event.
June has arrived in Middlesex County and the Chamber continues to be on the move.
For more information on Chamber events and activities, please contact Jeff Pugliese at firstname.lastname@example.org.