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UConn Coach Pasqualoni Guest at Chamber Breakfast

Chamber President Larry McHugh recognizes the Side Street to Main Street Supplemental Program “Business Know-How,” remembers Vin Amato, and looks ahead to another busy week in Middlesex County.

I would like to begin this week’s column by announcing the presentation of certificates to 15 people, who this spring welcomed the opportunity to participate in a special Side Street to Main Street Supplemental Program “Business Know-How,” a new and unique program designed specifically to assist those who had previously applied for the Minority Business & Leadership Development Program, but were not accepted after they submitted qualified applications.

The award-winning Side Street to Main Street Minority Business & Leadership Development Program attracts more applicants every year for the 16 available openings than can be accommodated. 

In an average year, 25 to 35 qualified applications are received, but between nine and 19 applicants have to be turned away. Many applications from those who did not make the cut are of high quality and clearly, many applicants are disappointed that they cannot be part of the program. 

While these applicants will be given preferential consideration if they apply again the following year, there is an unfilled need in the “minority community” that the Chamber recognized.

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, through its non-profit foundation, Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County, applied for, and received a generous funding grant from the Connecticut Light & Power Company and Yankee Gas allowing the Chamber to provide the Side Street to Main Street Supplemental Program “Business Know-How."

A presentation of certificates took place on Aug. 14 at the Chamber office, where Theresa Hopkins-Staten, director, Connecticut Public Affairs, Northeast Utilities was in attendance, and presented the participants with their certificates.

I would like to thank Connecticut Light & Power Company and Yankee Gas for their outstanding support of this special Side Street to Main Street Supplemental Program “Business Know-How.”

On Tuesday of this week, the Chamber’s Support the Troops/Honor the Veterans Committee will meet to continue planning for our 11th Annual Support the Troops/Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast which will be held on Nov. 5.  Each November, we gather to honor the Veterans who have served our country so bravely, and show our unwavering support for the troops who are currently serving. 

This year’s keynote speaker is Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz, Superintendent, United States Coast Guard Academy. This is also the event where we present the William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award in honor of William “Bill” Pomfret. This year’s winner will be selected by a committee of the award’s past recipients. The Support the Troops Breakfast has always been a great event, and this year will be no different.

Paul Pasqualoni, head football coach at the University of Connecticut, will serve as guest speaker at the Chamber’s next Member Breakfast Meeting Aug. 23. 

The Breakfast will be held at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell, with networking beginning at 7 a.m., Breakfast Buffet opens at 7:45 am. and the breakfast meeting program 8-9 a.m.

Pasqualoni became the 28th Head Football Coach at UConn on Jan. 14, 2011. A native of Cheshire, he has extensive coaching experience on the high school, college, and professional levels.  

Before taking the Connecticut position, Pasqualoni served as Head Coach at Syracuse University from 1991-2004 where he led the Orange to nine bowl games and concluded his 14-year tenure with a record of 107-59-1.  He developed a solid contingent of professional players at Syracuse, including a string of 17 selections in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, seven in the first round.  The school produced at least two NFL draft selections in 11 of Pasqualoni's 14 years as head coach.

During his tenure at Syracuse as an assistant and head coach, the Orange were recognized with the AFCA Academic Achievement Honorable Mention Award for having a graduation rate better than 70 percent a total of 14 times.  In 1999, Syracuse won the American Football Coaches Association Academic Achievement Award for posting a 100 percent graduation rate for the class that enrolled in 1994.

He was also an assistant coach in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins. 

Middletown lost a real giant when .  As I put together these words of remembrance over the past week or so, and after talking to many of Vin's family and friends, memories of this terrific and dedicated man kept coming back to me.  I could go on for pages trying to recapture such a wonderful life, led by this outstanding public servant and business leader.

, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the entire Amato family. We have lost a man who loved life, his family, his friends, his country, and his community. 

We will all remember his advice, his deep concern for Middletown, especially Main Street, and his determination to not let Main Street die like many others during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s.  However, it was not only Main Street, but the industrial area of Middletown along the I-91 corridor that Vinny, along with other elected officials and dedicated business leaders, worked hard to support.  This has become a strong and vibrant area of Middletown. 

Vin’s many awards and recognitions include Small Business Man of the Year in Connecticut, and The Distinguished Citizen Award in Middlesex County.  He was a true gentleman, and he will be missed. 

For information, contact Jeff Pugliese at jpugliese@middlesexchamber.com.

 

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