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Chamber Corner with Larry McHugh

Chamber President Larry McHugh looks back at the blizzard and looks ahead to another busy week in Middlesex County.

 

We are now more than a week past the major blizzard that slammed Middlesex County and the State of Connecticut.  The sheer volume of snow was extraordinary, and brought inconvenience to all of us.  I want to take a moment to thank all of our municipal officials for their leadership and hard work throughout the storm and its aftermath.  I also want to thank all the Public Works employees and contractors, both at the state and local levels, who spent many long hours clearing the roads and sidewalks so we could return to normalcy.  I also want to recognize the hard work of our police, fire and emergency personnel.  This was certainly not an easy storm to deal with, and all of these hard working individuals have our thanks. 

It was my pleasure to attend the Grand Opening for the new Chester branch of Essex Savings Bank last Tuesday.  As I noted last week, Essex Savings Bank is a high quality institution and a strong member of our Chamber.  I have no doubt that this branch will be a success. 

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo served as Guest Speaker at our Cromwell Division meeting held last Thursday at Convenant Village of Cromwell where he did a terrific job updating our members.  Kevin will be visiting all of the Chamber’s divisions over the next few months and I very much appreciate his willingness to do so. 

Tomorrow evening, February 19th, the Chamber will hold its monthly members only Networking Event, Business After Work, hosted by the Hawthorne Inn Restaurant, 2421 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin.  This event, as always, will feature a great spread of food, free beer, wine and soft drinks, and will run from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M.  I want to publicly thank Hawthorne General Manager Michael Diennor for hosting members of our Chamber, at what is sure to be a great event.

Lan Chi’s, a new downtown restaurant featuring Vietnamese fare, has a Grand Opening scheduled for this Wednesday, February 20th at its location in the new 505 Main Street building.  The site looks great and I am looking forward to the event on Wednesday. 

Our next Member Breakfast Meeting, sponsored by Pratt & Whitney, will be held on February 25th and will feature United States Senator Richard Blumenthal.  We are looking forward to hearing from Senator Blumenthal on the many important issues that are being discussed in our nation’s capital.  I want to publicly thank Pratt & Whitney for sponsoring this important event, and for their strong support of our Chamber. 

The event with Senator Blumenthal will be followed by an Energy Forum titled “Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Plan:  What Impact Will It Have On Your Business?”  This event is hosted by our Environment, Land Use and Energy Committee and sponsored by Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.  The Forum will feature a high level discussion on energy policy that will focus on how the State of Connecticut’s proposed Comprehensive Energy Plan will affect the business community.  It will identify the pros and cons of implementing the state’s energy plan and will assess the economic impacts of enacting it as proposed.  The forum will also explore the feasibility of implementing alternative energy sources and will explain how the regulatory structure would work.  The entire program will be split into two panels:  The first will be a Regulatory and Administrative Discussion featuring state officials and a leading Connecticut economist, and the second panel will be an Industry and Technical Discussion featuring representatives from the energy industry.  Each segment will have an extensive question and answer period, which promise to be interactive Forums that will educate and help our members make informed decisions about Connecticut’s energy future as it relates to business.  The first panel, which will engage in a regulatory and administrative discussion, will feature: Tracy Babbidge, Bureau Chief of Energy, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Michael Caron, Director, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), Peter Gioia, Economist, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), and State Representative Lonnie Reed, House Energy & Technology Committee Chairwoman, 102nd District. 

The second panel, which will engage in an industry and technical discussion, will feature: Michael Collins, Manager of Sales, Yankee Gas, Michael Dirrane, Director of Northeast Marketing, Spectra Energy, David Foster, President, Wilcox Energy, Jonathan Gordon, Board of Directors, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Business Association, Inc. (REEBA), Tom Santa, CEO, Santa Energy Corporation, and Joe Colella, Vice President of Pipelines, Buckeye Partners, L.P.

We are looking forward to this very important Forum on energy policy.  I want to thank our friends at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. for sponsoring the event and Bill Corvo, President, William Corvo Consultants, Inc., for serving as our moderator. 

The economic activity has really picked up across our region.  We are looking forward to a terrific second quarter of the year and are working with businesses that are considering expansions and others that are looking to relocate into Middlesex County. 

February is moving right along, and the Chamber is on the move. 

For more information on Chamber events and activities, please contact Jeff Pugliese at jpugliese@middlesexchamber.com.

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