Congressman Courtney to keynote Middlesex Chamber breakfast

April 24, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

Another busy week for the chamber team kicks off this morning with our April Member Breakfast Meeting featuring Congressman Joe Courtney. Congressman Courtney’s district includes many of the down-county towns within the chamber’s service area. His remarks will touch on the important issues that he is working on as he represents his constituents in Washington, D.C. Congressman Courtney serves on some very important committees, including the House Armed Services Committee, the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee, the Readiness subcommittee, House Education and Workforce Committee, the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions subcommittee and the Higher Education and Workforce Training subcommittee. This event, sponsored by Pratt & Whitney, will also serve as the official kick off of Export Week 2017 in the State of Connecticut. The U.S. Commercial Service and the Connecticut District Export Council have teamed up to create a series of events throughout Connecticut and throughout this week. Connecticut Export Week 2017 will educate businesses on initiating and or expanding their global market. There is a series of events scheduled for Monday after the Member Breakfast Meeting at the Radisson Hotel. Anne Evans, Director of the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration which is based in Middletown, has done a great job putting this week of important activities together, and we appreciate her longtime partnership and support. I want to once again thank Congressman Courtney for speaking to our membership at the Member Breakfast Meeting, and Pratt & Whitney for its support of this event and of so many community-based initiatives.

Tourism Advocacy Day is also scheduled for today, April 24. This important event will be held at the Legislative Office Building and State Capitol in Hartford. I look forward to attending along with chamber Vice President Johanna Bond and some of our members from this critical industry sector. Tourism Advocacy Day is an initiative of The Connecticut Tourism Coalition which is an alliance of advocates from all sectors of the Connecticut tourism industry. They organized this day to advocate for a more sustainable source of annual funding for tourism which is a proven economic driver in Middlesex County and throughout the state. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce continues to be a strong supporter of tourism in our region.

Our Legislative Leadership Event Series is set to conclude this Tuesday with a visit from House Minority Leader Themis Klarides. Sponsored by Kronenberger & Sons Restoration, the event will take place at the Inn at Middletown from 8-9:30 a.m. At this special meeting, Rep. Klarides will visit with chamber members to discuss the 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly. The chamber’s Board of Directors and Legislative Committee will have the opportunity to ask questions about the session, and discuss some important issues on our 2017 Public Policy Agenda. We value our relationship with legislative leadership and certainly look forward to this event. This meeting will wrap up a great run of chamber legislative events which included our 2017 Legislative Breakfast with Middlesex County’s legislative delegation, and special leadership events with Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. I appreciate Rep. Klarides’ willingness to visit with our group once again, along with the sponsorship support of Kronenberger & Sons Restoration. Brian Kronenberger is a key member of our Legislative Committee and of our Board of Directors. We look forward to a productive discussion Tuesday at the Inn at Middletown.

On Tuesday afternoon, I look forward to meeting with my fellow executives from Connecticut’s eight metro chambers of commerce. This working group continues to offer the support and expertise of the private sector, while also advocating for important legislative priorities such as a lockbox for transportation initiatives in our state, and the pursuit of legislation that encourages Connecticut businesses to invest and grow opportunities for good, well-paying jobs. This group will continue to stay engaged on the many issues facing the business community in our state.

The chamber will be well represented at a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating the newly renovated “Short Stay” area at Autumn Lake Healthcare at Cromwell. The event will be held on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. We wish the entire Autumn Lake Healthcare team continued success with this important facility that is dedicated to the highest standards of nursing and rehabilitative care.

Our East Haddam and Haddam Division will meet this Thursday, April 27 in Haddam. The meeting, hosted by Connecticut River Expeditions, will include updates from the chamber’s Legislative Committee as well as local town updates from key personnel. Connecticut River Expeditions provides the general public with access to the lower CT River, along with education to all passengers on its ecology and beauty. I thank Captain Mark Yuknat and his team for hosting our group as he does on an annual basis.

The 2017 High School Career Fair Expo is scheduled for this Thursday at the Spurrier-Snyder Ice Rink at Freeman Athletic Center on the campus of Wesleyan University. Presented by the chamber’s Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council, The Middlesex Consortium of Schools, and Wesleyan University’s Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, this 12th Annual Career Fair Expo will be attended by over 1200 students from all over Middlesex County. The Career Fair Expo is an exploration event, a way to introduce our high school students to the many different career fields out there. We believe that it is very important to connect local students to the many industry sectors that are critical to the economy in our region and in our state, and this event is an important part of that effort. Over 260 presenters, representing over 130 businesses, are set to network throughout the event with students from all over Middlesex County. I would like to once again express a big thank you to those business and career professionals who will be on hand to present and share their career experiences with the students. This major annual event is made possible by sponsorship support from Eversource and Pratt & Whitney to the chamber’s Business & Education Partnership, and Wesleyan University for the Spurrier-Snyder Ice Rink facility to hold this event.  This is truly a great partnership, and we very much appreciate our Business & Education sponsors. We look forward to another terrific Career Expo on Thursday.

On Tuesday, May 2, our Manufacturers’ Council will meet at Whelen Engineering Co. in Chester. The meeting will feature a brief presentation from DECD Deputy Commissioner Bart Kollen on the many incentives that are available to manufacturers in the state, in addition to a guided tour of Whelen’s outstanding facility. Whelen designs and manufactures reliable and powerful warning lights, white illumination lighting, sirens, controllers, and high-powered warning systems for Automotive, Aviation, and Mass Notification industries worldwide. It is an outstanding company that we are lucky to have in Middlesex County. I know our members certainly look forward to the visit and the tour, and I thank company President George Whelen V for hosting us.

The sold out, 34th Annual Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, will be held on Friday, May 5 at Portland Golf Course. Our Golf Committee has done a terrific job once again, and I am so appreciative of all of our sponsors, our players, those who are donating gifts, those who purchased tee signs, and many other members of our chamber who offer their support in a number of different ways. I will have more as we get closer, but it is safe to say that our members and staff certainly look forward to another great tournament.

The 30th Annual Business & Education Partnership and Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program Recognition Breakfast is scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at the Radisson in Cromwell. The chamber’s Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council serves as a link between member businesses and educational leaders from Middlesex County Schools. As I noted earlier, this important chamber group also puts on the Annual High School Career Fair Expo. The Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program is a partnership between the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and the Middletown Board of Education that provides students with mentors from the community. The keynote speaker for the event will be UConn President Susan Herbst. We will certainly have more to share on this important breakfast event as we get closer, but members should certainly save the date.

Spring is moving right along in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

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