Business networking, dining week ahead in Middlesex County

December 19, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

We have reached the holidays in Middlesex County and throughout our great nation. The holiday season is a time to reflect on the past year, express appreciation for those most important to us, and look ahead with a positive attitude to the year ahead.  I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce for their terrific support in 2016.  Our chamber is truly lucky to have a dedicated Board of Directors which is led by our outstanding Chairman, Essex Savings Bank President Greg Shook. Greg, and all of our past chairs exemplify what this chamber is all about, working together every day to make sure Middlesex County is a great place to live, work and play. I continue to be proud of my dedicated staff that works hard every day for the business community in Middlesex County. I continue to appreciate the unwavering support of our entire membership. From the members of our Executive Committee and Board of Directors, to our division and committee chairs, to our many supporters throughout Middlesex County, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would like to wish everyone in our region, and throughout the State of Connecticut, a very safe, joyous, and happy holiday season. I also ask that as we celebrate the holidays, we keep in mind the men and women of our armed forces who are serving at home, and around the world, to keep us safe and free. Please also keep in mind those who are less fortunate. May they experience joy and happiness during this holiday season and beyond.

Last week was a sprint from start to finish for me and the entire chamber team. On Wednesday morning, we continued a longtime Middlesex County tradition as we welcomed Governor Dannel P. Malloy to our December Member Breakfast Meeting in Cromwell. Gov. Malloy spoke to a sold out crowd at the Radisson in Cromwell and did a great job as he struck a positive and optimistic tone. In addition to Gov. Malloy, we were honored to welcome Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, various state commissioners, college presidents, state legislators, and many more state and local officials. Eversource President and CEO Jim Judge did an excellent job introducing the governor and offering remarks on behalf of the company. We continue to appreciate the strong support of Jim and the entire Eversource team. Another successful chamber Governor’s Breakfast is in the books. On Wednesday afternoon, four members of the chamber team attended the Client Appreciation Party at Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell. It is a pleasure to work with the Courtyard team throughout the year and I thank them for their support of the chamber. We look forward to working with its new General Manager, Anthony Covino, as we look to 2017. Last Thursday afternoon, the chamber’s Board of Directors held its December meeting at The Gelston House in East Haddam. The Gelston House looked terrific as always, and the lunch that their staff served was delicious.  In addition to committee reports and remarks from key staff, Attorney General George Jepsen spoke to our board on some of the many important issues that he and his staff deal with on a daily basis. Anthony Assante, a past chairman of our chamber and longtime supporter of the organization, sponsored the meeting as he does on an annual basis. I thank Anthony and his company, Egidio Assante Wealth Management, and Iso Dedushaj and his team at The Gelston House for another terrific meeting.

Starting in January of 2017, the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will reintroduce its Seminar Series under the new title, KeyBank Workshop Series. Our first session, Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the chamber office. The definition of sexual harassment, liability, and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace will be discussed. Attorneys from the law firm Jackson Lewis, LLP will demonstrate how to limit your company's exposure to charges of sexual harassment. This session meets the State of Connecticut's requirement for two hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors and managers. Please contact the chamber for registration information. This important chamber Workshop Series is sponsored by KeyBank, and I want to again thank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team for their support.

Looking ahead to January, the chamber’s first Business After Work networking reception of the new year will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield. In addition to the best networking around, this event will feature free beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and a great spread of food courtesy of Sean Hayes and his team. I thank Sean not only for hosting this event for our chamber, but for his commitment to this project which is creating jobs and additional tourism buzz for our region.

The first chamber Member Breakfast Meeting of the year is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. Our keynote speaker, and recipient of our 2016 Role Model Award, is Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill. Rich is a Massachusetts native and has Connecticut ties through his brother Larry who lives in Durham. We look forward to welcoming Rich who will touch on what life is like as a pitcher in the big leagues, and some of the challenges he has endured and overcome along the way. Rich is having a fine career, and he just signed a three year deal to remain in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. We look forward to another chamber Role Model Breakfast Meeting, and thank our friends at Webster Bank for sponsoring.

Also planned for the month of January is the second annual "Taste of Middlesex County" which is brought to you by Comcast Business. Taste of Middlesex County is scheduled for January 16-22. The goal of this initiative is to highlight the numerous and diverse dining experiences within the greater Middlesex region. From the beautiful shores of Westbrook to the home of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, there is something for everyone. Restaurants offer a pre-fixed menu to give diners the opportunity to experience the area’s fine dining landscape without breaking the bank. This will be a fixed price 3-course meal for $20.17 (does not include beverages, tax or gratuity). I want to thank Comcast Business for its strong support of Taste of Middlesex County, and Johanna Bond from the chamber team who has put in a lot of time and effort on coordination and logistics. Save your appetite for the week of January 16-22, and please visit one or more of our many wonderful participating restaurants. More info to come!

I will close this week’s column by once again wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a joyous New Year with family and friends. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce continues to be on the move, and we look forward to another great year in 2017.

Happy Holidays!

For more information on chamber events and activities, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com

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