This week marks both Election Day and Veterans Day

November 7, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

We have reached an important week in Middlesex County and throughout our great nation. This week includes Election Day on Tuesday and Veterans Day on Friday. Election Day is not only a day when we choose our elected officials for the next two or four years, but it is a symbol of our democracy, and it represents our commitment to a peaceful transfer of power and responsibility. Veterans’ Day is a special day that is designed to honor all the veterans that have served this nation with distinction and bravery. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce continues to support our active duty and guard personnel, and the many local veterans that have served in the United States Armed Forces. Our 15th Annual Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting will be held this morning at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. We are pleased to welcome as guest speaker, Captain Paul Whitescarver, Commanding Officer of The Naval Submarine Base New London. We are very proud that this event has become such a key part of Veterans Week in Middlesex County and we certainly look forward to welcoming the captain to our event. 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. In addition to the presentation of the Pomfret Award, the chamber will present our inaugural Veteran Support Business of the Year. This award, which will be presented annually moving forward, will honor a business that supports active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families through employment, philanthropy, spousal support, and other means. I am proud to announce that our inaugural recipient is AT&T. AT&T supports our armed forces in a variety of ways. From recruiting veterans into their workforce, to actively supporting their existing employees that are involved with the armed forces, to community service efforts that support veteran causes, AT&T is a leading example of a strong corporate citizen stepping up to the plate to support veterans and their families. I look forward to welcoming AT&T Connecticut President John Emra who will accept the award on behalf of the company and will offer some remarks. I want to again thank Middlesex Hospital for sponsoring this major chamber event every year. I know CEO Vin Capece, who is Immediate Past Chairman of our chamber, will do a great job introducing Capt. Whitescarver. I also want to thank the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard, the Middletown PBA Pipes and Drums, and everyone that has a role in making this annual event so special to so many. Most notably, I have to thank our Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Committee which is led by its Chairman, Phil Cacciola. This group, comprised of local veterans that are all dedicated to serving the community, works hard to plan and execute this event every year. The Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting is one of our finest events of the year because it provides us the opportunity to show our appreciation for the troops and the veterans that have served us all so well. As you travel throughout the county this week, be sure to thank a veteran, they have certainly earned it. Finally, be sure to vote on Tuesday. It is very important that we do our civic duty, visit our polling station, and participate in the election process. We are very lucky to live a nation where we choose our leaders at the ballot box, and we should all take seriously our responsibility to vote on Election Day.

The chamber’s KeyBank Workshop Series continues this Tuesday, Nov. 8 with a session titled “Building Your Team- Recruiting U.S. and Non-U.S. Talent.” The seminar will be held at the chamber office from 8 a.m. to10 a.m. Important topics that will be discussed include: legal issues involved in employing and retaining talent for startup companies, confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation agreements, proprietary information and invention agreements, employees vs. independent contractors, incentives and compensation alternatives, immigration issues, hiring foreign nationals and much more. The seminar will be led by Gregg Lallier and Dana Bucin from Updike Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. Attorneys Lallier and Bucin are well versed in legal issues surrounding the employment and retention of talent, and also have an extensive experience in immigration-related issues. We look forward to another productive seminar for our members.

The chamber’s Durham and Middlefield Division will meet this Wednesday morning at A Second Chance CPR & First Aid Training in Durham. The meeting, co-hosted by Sykes Family Chiropractic and A Second Chance CPR & First Aid Training, will feature Stephanie Moran of the Durham/ Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition. Our Cromwell Division will meet on Thursday at Adelbrook Behavioral & Developmental Services where local updates will be provided by key municipal and business officials. Our divisions continue to be a critical piece of the chamber’s infrastructure.

Our November Business After Work Networking Reception is scheduled for this Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam. Our members and their guests always look forward to the delicious spread of food and drink provided by the Riverhouse team, along with outstanding networking opportunities that the event provides. 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 their great support. We look forward to a fun evening in Haddam on Wednesday night, and I want to once again thank Jim Bucko and the Riverhouse team for hosting this outstanding event.

I look forward to visiting the UConn Middlesex County Extension Center in Haddam on Thursday for a meeting and a tour. This facility is a key component of UConn’s Department of Extension and College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. I look forward to my visit and appreciate the faculty and staff at the center which is committed to Middlesex County and to the University of Connecticut.

Later on Thursday, I will attend a celebration of the United States Marine Corps’ 241st Birthday presented by and held at First & Last Tavern in Middletown. This event will benefit the Association for Veterans of Korea, Vietnam, and Saudi Wars. This is one of the many important events scheduled this week throughout our region that are designed to support veteran based causes.

Finally, I will also attend an Open House event on Thursday which is hosted by JCJ Architecture in Hartford. JCJ Architecture is a planning, architecture and interior design firm that enjoys a strong reputation in our state and is a valued member of our chamber. I appreciate the invitation and look forward to the Open House event.

I want to take a moment to congratulate the Town of Cromwell and the Cromwell Downtown Merchants Association (CDMA) on an extremely successful Halloween on Main event which was held in downtown Cromwell on Oct. 29. This event attracted thousands of people to downtown Cromwell, and the guests had the opportunity to enjoy a haunted house, safari animal rides, haunted hayride, fun train rides, candy, bonfires, food vendors and more. Rodney Bitgood and Cara Ehlers serve as co-chairs of the CDMA and they do a great job. They are also strong chamber supporters and outstanding representatives of the local business community. Middlesex County is lucky to be home to many events that not only bring people together, but have an economic impact at the local level.

I will close this week’s column by asking members to save the dates of Nov. 21, which is our Member Breakfast Meeting with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and Dec. 14 for our Member Breakfast Meeting with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. More information to come on these important chamber events.

Veterans’ Week is upon us in Middlesex County. We appreciate and honor their service not only this week, but every week of the year.

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