Today is my last day as BRBC’s President & CEO, so, befittingly, this is not only my 100th Mickey’s Mail but it is my sine die edition.
Tomorrow, my successor, Dan Onofrio, takes over (even though we have been working behind the scenes all month to get him as up to speed as possible).
Make no mistake about it: I have loved this job and have particularly enjoyed working with our great staff.
It is incontestably harder than I imagined, but that’s because of the time commitment that the job absolutely requires.
At the same time, I have loved promoting this great region where we live and work. And the job can be, at times, downright exhilarating in that respect.
One such time, for example, was our Annual Dinner at the Trumbull Marriott last December when MGM International Chairman and CEO (and Bridgeport and Fairfield native) Jim Murren brought down the house as our keynote speaker. He offered us a vision for our region which was simply put, extraordinary, and I saw first-hand exactly what he was talking about when my wife and I visited MGM’s National Harbor entertainment center in Prince Georges County, MD where I grew up, and their magnificent new complex in Springfield, MA which just opened in late August.
Another exhilarating time was when Susan Katz’s Mass Communications class at the University of Bridgeport dazzled us with their complete revamping of BRBC’s logo. The class also updated our Monday Morning Memo and Mickey’s Mail mastheads as well as offered us a host of other great ideas to support our branding efforts. I know that our BRBC team will look for more ways to leverage all the great work that the students did for us as they work together to market the BRBC going forward.
Much more recently, how about our big Business Expo at the Webster Bank Arena just two weeks ago?
For a first effort in several years, we made this huge undertaking work. We could not have done it without amazing support from so many of you including Webster Bank, our Presenting Sponsor; with Gold Sponsors, MGM Bridgeport, People's United Bank and PSEG Power Connecticut; Our Media Sponsors, WEBE 108, WICC 600, and Fairfield County Business Journal; and with event sponsors Ameican View Productions, Antinozzi Associates, Ashcroft, Berchem Moses, Hampford Research Inc., Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Mitchell & Sheahan PC, R.C. Bigelow, The Right Resource, and all of our exhibitors.
We built in a great lunch with Nitin Mhatre of Webster Bank as our speaker, and the Taste of Bridgeport Region cocktail reception after the expo was extra special!
Speaking of Fairfield County Business Journal - make sure you pick up a copy of this week's issue - you'll see a full-page feature of photos from the Expo on page 45!
I loved BRBC ribbon cuttings, “business after hours”, “pop ups”, bus tours, “coffee, contacts and conversation” meetings, and our capitol breakfasts and lunches.
I loved advocating politically for our business community, especially at the state legislature for an open, competitive bidding process for another casino in Connecticut.
I loved getting lunch every Thursday in the warmer months at DSSD’s Downtown Farmer’s Market on McLevy Green.
I love BRBC's new REGION Magazine and The QR, our highly recognized publication showcasing economic development projects in the region.
I loved watching that economic development “progress in action” with new projects coming to fruition such as Future Healthcare Systems, the medical waste recycling facility in the South End or the one-of-a-kind Wag Central dog care facility in Stratford.
I loved the opening of more apartments all over downtown Bridgeport, Harlan Haus - a new beer hall, Stress Factory Comedy Club, new restaurants throughout the region, and an expanding Two Roads Brewery.
And what about the mind-boggling coal-to-natural gas project underway with PSEG Connecticut, Bridgeport Boatworks, the Dockmaster Building, and Cherry Street Lofts? And there is so much more - I apologize for leaving out literally dozens and dozens of other exciting projects that are happening right now.
All this stuff leaves me beaming with pride as all of it is what defines OUR community. Including all the remarkable products and services our member companies produce and provide.
Sure, there are challenges, and not everything comes up roses all the time, but, IMHO, there is a lot more good than bad.
Truth be told, the past few months have been crazy and I am actually a little burned out right now. And, I really am looking forward to resting up through the holidays.
After that, you can bet I will be back as an advocate and activist in some capacity. Perhaps a couple board seats and/or consulting assignments in support of this wonderful area we call our home on the horizon!
So, there is just one more event I am promoting in earnest.
This party is a super opportunity for all of us to have a great time celebrating the past two years and to welcome Dan Onofrio as our new CEO in style.
It’s a special event Johnny Vazzano is hosting at Vazzano’s Four Seasons a week from tonight, on November 7, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
I’ve said this a few times over the past two years…
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
Both Dan and I would love you to join with us in raising a glass to a bright future for the BRBC!