Mickey's Mail - April 17, 2018

 Mickey's Mail - 4/17/18

Surviving the “Burning Platform” and
Achieving Fiscal Stability 
Occasionally, we here at the BRBC get to host an event that is extraordinarily special and important for our business community. 
That opportunity is upon us now as this Friday morning, April 20, we will have two distinguished guests speak to us at an 8:00 AM breakfast at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn. They are the co-chairs of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, Robert Patricelli and James Smith. They will present the commission’s report, which was just released last month, and report recommendations are before the state legislature right now.
I have known both Bob (for decades!) and Jim for a long time and can readily attest how critical their non-partisan report is for the future of our state.
I have seen their presentation twice and was riveted by it both times. They begin by discussing the “burning platform”, or the dire economic conditions our state faces, and then they focus on a series of recommendations to return our state to a fiscally stable condition.
Don’t miss this one. We all need to be fully apprised of the fiscal challenges our state faces. And some specific ways we can meet those challenges.
#WeToo – Navigating Workplace Harassment
Talk about a timely topic. 
The BRBC is holding a workshop event on April 26 at Housatonic Community College that is going to “Navigate” the topic of Workplace Harassment with a panel of experts in Human Resources, Leadership, and Employment Law. Our panel moderator and a member of the BRBC’s Executive Board, Mary Beth Nelsen, says, “These issues are not black and white, but often gray and it is the gray area that people and businesses struggle with”.
This is another “don’t miss event” – and we think this is a conversation everyone should have a voice in.
As a state, we are facing a big piece of this conversation right here, right now. Legislation that will make significant changes to the State's sexual harassment laws is headed to Connecticut’s Senate following committee approval this week.
Senate Bill 132 (SB132) is quite extensive and, while most applaud the bill’s intent, there are many seeing this bill as another small business jobs killer. Here is a link to a CBIA Issues and Policies article that offers “a business” perspective of the bill and it is worth the read…

Kudos to Bradley Airport
Last month, you read here of a not-so-great airplane traveling experience I had getting back from home from a trip down south. Several of you shared with me your own travel horror stories, including four months of suffering from Greater Bridgeport Symphony Treasurer Bob Flemming. He described sixteen (!) painful planned flights this winter to and from White Plains to Marquette, Michigan that made my one bad experience seem like child’s play.
So, let’s accentuate the positive, and talk about Connecticut’s own airport jewel: Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, now the second-largest airport in passenger traffic in New England. Bradley has been run by the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) since 2013 and has grown its passenger traffic every year since then. Last year’s year-over-year growth was almost 400,000, to a grand total of 6,436,207 passengers. We are proud to call CAA one of our BRBC members!
Its Board Chairman Charles R. Gray said, “the CAA will continue to prioritize efforts that will strengthen Bradley’s high standing in the industry and role as an economic driver for the region”. Here in the Bridgeport region, we often choose between Bradley or one of the New York airports. If you haven’t chosen Bradley recently, give it a try next time. You won’t be disappointed! Congrats to CAA’s Kevin Dillon and Sarah Spencer for the great job they are doing!  
Igor Sikorsky and Sikorsky Airport
And speaking of airports, our own Sikorsky Memorial Airport, owned by the City of Bridgeport but surrounded by the Town of Stratford, now has a “twin” airport named after celebrated engineer Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky.
Last month, the city council in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv (formerly Kiev) renamed one of its airports, its busy, business travel aviation hub, the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv International Airport.
Igor was born in Kyiv in 1889 when it was part of the Tsarist Russian Empire, and designed airplanes (not helicopters) for Russia’s use. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, Igor immigrated to the United States and founded the Sikorsky Manufacturing Co. in New York in 1923.  
Six years later, he relocated his operations to Stratford and, as they say, the rest is history. He passed away at his Easton home in 1972. His world-famous Sikorsky Aircraft company, as we all know, was purchased in 2015 by Lockheed Martin, and is now known as Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company. In the $9.1 billion purchase, Lockheed Martin paid $1 billion just for the use of the Sikorsky name.
If you ever have an opportunity to tour the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, you may get an opportunity to visit Igor’s office, which has been preserved as a museum. He was one of the world’s great aviation engineers, and those who knew him characterize him as one of the most unforgettable characters you would ever meet.