Business After Work, Taste of Middlesex County ahead

January 2, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

Happy New Year, Middlesex County.

Now that 2016 is in the books and the new year is upon us, I would like to wish everyone in Middlesex County and throughout the great State of Connecticut a very Happy New Year.  The beginning of a new year always brings optimism and the chance for a fresh start. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is excited about the year ahead. We look forward to continuing our work on behalf of the business community in Middlesex County on a number of fronts. We will continue to develop our divisions and committees so that members can engage with state and local officials and address issues of importance to their region or their industry sector. We will continue to host large scale Member Breakfast Meetings with terrific speakers, and outstanding networking events that benefit our members. We will continue to reach out to non-member businesses and organizations and invite them to come aboard. Finally, we will continue to implement vital workforce development and educational training programs that are helping to develop the community and create and retain jobs. I am very optimistic about 2017, and you can bet that the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will be on the move in the New Year.

The first week of the year is a busy one with three important division meetings being held at different sites throughout the county. On Wednesday, the Portland and East Hampton Division will hold its January meeting at WAVES in East Hampton. The meeting will feature economic development and other important updates from both towns along with a chamber update. The Central Business Bureau will hold its first meeting of the year on Thursday morning at the chamber office. Mayor Dan Drew and a number of city department directors will provide reports to the downtown business community. Finally, the Chester, Deep River and Essex Division will meet on Friday morning at the River COG office in Essex. Town reports from all three towns will take place, and a member of the River COG team will provide an update on their activities. Our divisions continue to play a pivotal role in the success of the chamber, and I appreciate the support of our division chairs, town officials and chamber members who support these meetings on a monthly basis.

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 visit www.middlesexchamber.com or 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 continued support.

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 Powder Ridge project which is creating jobs and additional tourism buzz for our region. Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, tubing and much, much more. Powder Ridge also has Fire at the Ridge Restaurant and Lounge and the Ridgeside Tavern right on site, and both offer outstanding and unique dining experiences. I know our members look forward to this exciting first Business After Work event of the year on Jan. 11.

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 2017 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 and for the bank’s longtime support of our chamber.

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 once again thank Comcast Business for its strong support of Taste of Middlesex County which is an exciting week for our chamber and for our region. Save your appetite for the week of January 16-22, and please visit one or more of our many wonderful participating restaurants. The current list of participating restaurants is as follows: Amici Italian Grill, Eli Cannon's Tap Room, El Pulpo & Tapas Bar, Esca Restaurant and Wine Bar, Hachi, Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant, Mattabesett Canoe Club at Harbor Park, Moonlight Sushi Bar & Grill, Tavern at the Armory, and Tuscany Grill in Middletown, Baci Grill and Sheffield's Restaurant and Lounge at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, Angelico’s Lake House Restaurant, Rossini's Italian Restaurant, and WAVES in East Hampton, Fire at the Ridge and Ridgeside Tavern in Middlefield, Griswold Inn in Essex, and On the Rocks at Fox Hopyard in East Haddam. Please visit the Taste of Middlesex County tab on www.middlesexchamber.com and keep an eye for additional participating restaurants as we get close to Jan. 16.

The 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly begins Wednesday, Jan. 4th at the Legislative Office Building and State Capitol in Hartford. The chamber’s Legislative Committee has been busy working on our organization’s 2017 Public Policy Agenda and planning our 2017 legislative events. The chamber remains committed to promoting a positive business climate in Middlesex County, and we will certainly stay engaged with our Middlesex County delegation and with legislative leadership throughout this important session. Our 2017 Legislative Breakfast will take place on Friday, Jan. 27 at the Courtyard by Marriot in Cromwell. This event, sponsored by Comcast, will feature legislators that represent the 15 Middlesex County towns in the State Senate and in the House of Representatives. The Legislative Breakfast represents a great opportunity, on an annual basis, for our members to network with these important elected leaders. We look forward to another successful event and will have more information to share as we get closer.

2017 is upon us, and the chamber team is off to a strong start in the new year.

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