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Chamber Mourns Labor Commissioner's Passing; Looks Ahead to Calhoun's Visit

Chamber President Larry McHugh recaps another busy week in Middlesex County.

 

Last Monday, the Chamber welcomed U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman as guest speaker at a Member Breakfast Meeting held at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell.  This was the final Chamber Breakfast for Joe Lieberman as a member of the United States Senate. 

He gave a great talk, as he always does, and he stressed that the challenges we face are real but that if we work together, they can be overcome. We were fortunate to also welcome Connecticut’s other sitting U.S. Sen., Richard Blumenthal. 

Blumenthal provided some great remarks which honored Joe Lieberman’s service to our state and to our nation.  It was a terrific event and I want to thank both of these fine public servants for joining us. 

There are some important items on the agenda for tonight’s Middletown Common Council meeting. The Chamber is in strong support of the agenda item proposing that the City of Middletown purchase the property at 40 Liberty Street which currently houses Automatic Machine Products Inc. 

Under this proposal, the buildings at 40 Liberty would be demolished in order to create a neighborhood parking facility for residents of the North End.  The city would then provide the company with a job creation/relocation grant which will allow AMP Inc. to move to the Remington Rand facility where it can grow and expand.  John Houston, Owner and President of Automatic Machine Products Inc., is a strong corporate citizen who is committed to staying in the City of Middletown. 

Seeing this plan through would relieve congestion on the northern part of Main Street, would help a local company that is growing, and would provide additional parking for the residents of the North End.  Our organization also stands in support of WinWholesale, Inc, a plumbing distributor based in Ohio, planning to move into a large facility in Middletown that will service the entire Northeast.  Finally, the Chamber also supports the resolution on tonight’s agenda that will authorize the city to sell the land at 182 Tuttle Road to DATTCO for an expansion project. 

DATTCO is a strong member of ours and has our support.  The Chamber looks forward to being a constructive partner on all of these important initiatives. 

The Durham Fair has wrapped up and despite some rainy weather, another good year is in the books. The Fair is a major economic generator for our entire region and I want to congratulate all of the volunteers, vendors, and fair goers on another terrific event. 

Since its inception in 1916, the Durham Fair has been successfully managed, and remains to be run, by an excellent all-volunteer team. It is a fantastic event which has endured over many years and it continues to get better each year.  I would like to thank Durham Fair President Gene Chiappetta and his entire team for their hard work and congratulate them on another job well done.

I was honored to attend the Grand Opening of the new ModSpace facility on Kenneth Dooley Drive in Middletown last Wednesday.  Modular Space Corporation, better known as ModSpace, is among the largest global suppliers of permanent modular construction and temporary modular space. 

The new building in Middletown, designed very efficiently as one would expect, is a terrific addition to the city and I want to publicly thank Brian Shakun, Northeast Sales Director, and his entire team for committing to our area.  Mayor Drew and many other city officials also attended the event to officially welcome ModSpace.  We look forward to having this fine company as an active member of our organization. 

Thursday evening brought me over to the Aqua Turf Club in Southington for the Connecticut Executive Choice Awards, to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Connecticut Chapter. Liberty Bank President, and current Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Chandler Howard, was presented with a prestigious Executive Choice Award at this great event. 

Chandler is doing a fantastic job at Liberty Bank and I want to congratulate him on this well-deserved award and thank him for his commitment to community service.  Also, the remarks of Mark Ojakian, which focused on what life is like for a family affected by multiple sclerosis, were outstanding and really conveyed how important it is that we work to conquer this awful disease. 

I was saddened by the recent passing of Shaun Cashman, former Commissioner of Labor in the State of Connecticut.  Shaun was a great man and a fine public servant.  He was a Veteran of the U.S. Navy and someone who had a long and distinguished career as a labor leader in this state.  Shaun was Business Manager for Laborers' Local Union 611 for over 25 years, Business Agent for the Connecticut Laborers' District Council, and President of the Connecticut State Building Trades.

During his career as a labor leader, Shaun completed the Harvard Trade Union Program in conjunction with the Harvard Business School. He was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Labor for the State of Connecticut in 2001 by Governor John G. Rowland, where he served for over six years under both the Rowland and Rell administrations. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy Leyden Cashman, and their family during this difficult time.  I was honored to coach or teach Shaun’s sons Shaun, Bill, and Tony, and I have known his daughter Cristin for many years.  Shaun was a close friend of our Chamber and he will be missed. 

Finally, we are right back at it this morning with another major Member Breakfast Meeting at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell. 

Today, we welcome former UCONN Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun as guest speaker to this SOLD OUT EVENT.  Jim Calhoun's phenomenal coaching success story includes three NCAA National Championships, and four appearances in the Final Four.  He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2005, and a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2006. 

Calhoun has been speaking to our Chamber since the 1980’s, and this event has always been one of our most popular Member Breakfast Meetings.  We look forward to his remarks at this morning’s event in Cromwell. 

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

 

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