Wesleyan University to launch solar voltaic system this week

October 31, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

A busy October comes to an end and a busy November begins as the calendar turns this week in Middlesex County and throughout our great nation.

Chamber Vice President Jeff Pugliese will represent the chamber at an exciting event scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Wesleyan University which will celebrate the installation of a ground mounted solar photo voltaic system.  The ribbon cutting event will take place at the location of the solar array system, on Wesleyan’s Long Lane campus at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street.  This array is under a Power Purchase Agreement with Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Middletown-based solar energy company and member of our chamber. It will produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy each year. The solar array will take the university closer to its goal of being a carbon neutral campus as well as increasing its energy self-reliance. I applaud Wesleyan for these efforts and thank them for inviting the chamber to be part of the event.

The chamber’s Portland and East Hampton Division November meeting will be held this Wednesday at Portland Library. The meeting will be hosted by Burt Realty and will feature updates from local officials and representatives of local businesses. This Thursday, our Central Business Bureau will hold its November meeting at the chamber. CBB meetings always feature reports from the mayor and a number of city department directors. This Friday, our Chester, Deep River, and Essex Division will meet at Mount St. John Academy in Deep River. Local reports will be given along with a presentation by Chief Administrator at Mount St. John, Kathy White. Our divisions continue to bring together chamber members and important officials and I appreciate the support of all of our division chairs that are spread out throughout the county.

This Wednesday, I will join Mayor Dan Drew and Middletown’s Small Business Development Center Counselor Paul Dodge at the Grand Re-Opening of Servpro of Middletown at 4 p.m. Since 1967, Servpro has specialized in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage. Servpro is a great chamber member and we look forward to celebrating their newly renovated facility with General Manager Al Conroy and his team.

On Wednesday evening, I will attend the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame 23rd Annual Induction Ceremony at the Connecticut Convention Center with my wife Patty. The Induction Ceremony is the signature program of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame which is designed to provide a forum for women to gather, share stories and celebrate their achievements. This year’s inductees are Rebecca Lobo, Jane Pauley, and Dr. Joyce Yerwood. Rebecca is well known to citizens in our state thanks to her outstanding basketball career at UConn and in the WNBA, and through her broadcasting work on ESPN. She is also a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. I am honored to serve with Rebecca on the UConn Board of Trustees. I congratulate her and her fellow inductees and look forward to a great event on Wednesday evening in Hartford.

The chamber’s 15th Annual Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast meeting is scheduled for next Monday, Nov. 7 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. This major chamber event, sponsored by Middlesex Hospital, will feature Captain Paul Whitescarver, Commanding Officer of The Naval Submarine Base New London, as keynote speaker. Capt. Whitescarver became the 51st Commanding Officer of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., in December 2015. While the installation’s history dates back to 1868, Naval Submarine Base New London was designated the Navy’s first Submarine Base in June 1916 and it is currently celebrating the 100th Anniversary of that designation. Today, the base occupies more than 680 acres, and serves as home to more than 70 tenant commands and 15 attack submarines. We are very proud that this event has become such a key part of Veterans Week in Middlesex County and look forward to welcoming the captain. In addition to keynote remarks from Capt. Whitescarver and other important updates, the chamber will present the 2016 William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award to Larry Riley of Middletown. The William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award is presented annually to a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces in recognition of his or her distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut and selfless commitment to public service. This award is chosen by a committee of its past recipients. I am very proud that Larry Riley is this year’s recipient. Larry is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He went on to have a distinguished career in the U.S. Secret Service where among many other things, he worked for four Presidents of the United States including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Larry also has a long record of supporting a number of veteran and other community service initiatives. He served as Commander of the Veterans of the Vietnam War for five years and served two one-year terms as Commander of the Middletown Council of Veterans Organizations. Currently, he is the Commander of American Legion Post 75, is an officer in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Veterans of the Vietnam War, and through the Veterans Administration, Larry is training pound and shelter dogs to be companion dogs for Veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, and other ailments that often lead to isolation. He is also very active with St. Luke’s Community Services, the Greater Middletown Military Museum, the Middletown Community Senior Center, the VA Commissioner’s Veterans Service Organizations Advisory Committee, the Board of Trustees for Indian Hill Cemetery, and is a member of the local Community Emergency Response Team. Chamber members recognize Larry as the leader of the Pledge of Allegiance at each of our monthly Member Breakfast Meetings. We very much look forward to honoring our friend Larry and look forward to another great Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans event. For more information, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com. I urge those who are interested in attending to register right away as we expect this event to sell out this week.

Our November Business After Work Networking Reception for members and their guests will be held at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam next Wednesday, Nov. 9. This is one of our most popular Business After Work networking receptions of the year and for good reason. The Riverhouse team always puts out a delicious spread of food and drink, and this event always features outstanding networking and a huge crowd. The Business After Work event will once again feature The Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction. Beautifully decorated wreaths will be displayed for viewing and bidding until the auction closes at 6:45 p.m. The funds that are raised will benefit the Annual Holiday on Main Street, presented by Pratt & Whitney and the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program. Liberty Bank is donating the 30 artificial wreaths for chamber member businesses to decorate and we certainly appreciate that. We look forward to a fun evening in Haddam on Nov 9. I thank Jim Bucko and the Riverhouse team for once again hosting this outstanding event.

As we enter November, I also want to make sure that our members save the date of Dec. 14 which is our annual Governor’s Breakfast at the Radisson Hotel. This event, sponsored by Eversource, will feature keynote remarks from Governor Dannel P. Malloy and other important chamber updates. Our chamber has welcomed Connecticut’s sitting governor since the administration of Gov. William A. O’Neill in the 1980’s. We look forward to continuing this tradition on Dec. 14. More on this major chamber event to come.

November is upon us, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

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