Northwest Connecticut Economic Development Corporation
333 Kennedy Drive, Torrington, CT 06790
860.567.2204 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nwctedc.com
Meeting Minutes -Board of Directors
Monday, January 25, 2016
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
The meeting was called to order by President Doug Parker at 8:00 a.m.
Attendance: Jocelyn Ayer, Bill Baxter, Sabrina Beck, Peter Bevivino, Bill Burgess, Susie Clayton, Fran Delaney, Ed Drapp, Rick Lynn, Mark Lyon, Laura McCarthy, Rich Meinert, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, Leo Paul, Jr., JoAnn Ryan, Don Stein, Kevin Sullivan, Larry Sweeney, Sharon Waagner, Steve Zarrella
Guests: Michael Rooke, Thomas Dzialo, Sharon Gusky, Tara Jo Holmberg, Mark Waterhouse, Bob Axon, Larry Pomerleau, Dawn Pietrefase, Pam Kaczer, Robin Ledversis, Hilary Delage, Teresa Pagcin, Janice Beekman, Sherie Power, Ben Paletsky, Bonnie Nadler, Angela Brightly, William Pizzuto, Diane DeGray, Patty Hannon, Kim Roland, Michael Lisowski
I. Annual Meeting
A. Re-election to NWCTEDC BOD (3 yrs, Jan. 2016 - Dec. 2018)
Bill Baxter made a motion to approve the slate as presented. Don Stein seconded the motion. There was no discussion. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Jocelyn Ayer (NHCOG, Community Econ. Dev. Dir.)
- Bill Burgess (Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities)
- Frank Chiaramonte (NWCTEDC Board Secretary)
- Susan Clayton (North Canaan Selectman)
- Rick Lynn (NHCOG Executive Director)
- Patricia Mechare (Falls Village First Selectman)
- Doug Parker (NWCTEDC Board Chair/President)
- Leo Paul, Jr. (Litchfield First Selectman)
- Sharon Waagner (Torrington Downtown Partners)
B. Election to NWCTEDC BOD (3 yrs, Jan. 2016 - Dec. 2018)
Sharon Waagner made a motion to approve the slate as presented. Steve Zarrella seconded the motion. There was no discussion. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Laura McCarthy (NW CT Community College)
- Dan Sherr (Washington, CT)
- Paul Patch (O&G)
- Kevin Sullivan (NW Hills Dealerships & Sullivan Honda)
- Peter Bevivino (Pres. of Burlington Chamber)
C. Election of NWCTEDC Officers (one year term)
Don Stein made a motion to approve the slate as presented. Sharon Waagner seconded the motion. There was no discussion. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Doug Parker, Chairman/President
- JoAnn Ryan, Vice President
- Frank Chiaramonte - Secretary
- Lou Helt, Treasurer
D. Election to NWCTEDC Executive Committee (one year term)
Don Stein made a motion to amend the slate as presented to include two at-large members from the NHCOG. Fran Delaney seconded the motion. After a brief discussion the motion was approved unanimously.
Steve Zarella made a motion to approve the slate as presented with the addition of two at-large NHCOG members. Ed Drapp seconded the motion. There was no discussion. The motion was approved unanimously.
- NWCTEDC Chairman/President (Doug Parker)
- NWCTEDC Vice President/NW CT Chamber President (JoAnn Ryan)
- NWCTEDC Treasurer/Union Savings Bank VP (Lou Helt)
- NWCTEDC Secretary (Frank Chiaramonte)
- NHCOG Chair & Vice Chair (Don Stein & Mark Lyon)
- NHCOG At-Large (two to be selected by the NHCOG)
- NHCOG Staff (Rick Lynn or Jocelyn Ayer)
- Torrington Representative (Elinor Carbone or Erin Wilson)
- Winchester Representative (Town Manager or EDC Chair)
- NW CT Chamber Representative (Paul Patch)
- Private Sector Rep. (David Dean, Litchfield County Commercial RE)
II. NWCTEDC Meeting Schedule
2016 Board meetings will be held at the NW CT Chamber of Commerce from 8:00-9:30 a.m. on Monday, January 25; Monday, March 21; Monday, May 16; No July meeting; Monday, September 19; and Monday, November 21, 2016
2016 Executive Committee meetings will be held at the NW CT Chamber of Commerce from 8:00-9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 22; Monday, April 18; No June meeting; Monday, August 15; Monday, October 17; No December Meeting
III. NW CT Manufacturer's Coalition
Sabrina Beck, Chair of NW CT Manufacturer's Coalition - Sabrina provided a brief overview of the NW CT Manufacturing Coalition. The group meets at the NW CT Chamber of Commerce once a month on a Friday morning to discuss common issues and concerns. Attracting competent workers is the number one concern. They are looking for workers with a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn. Some skills are required, but in many cases skill training can be provided by the companies.
Altek Company (Sabrina Beck) - Altek assembles computer circuit boards at their plant located in Torrington. The company started in 1972 and currently employs 160 full time workers. The biggest challenge is attracting qualified workers. Collaboration with Oliver Wolcott Tech and NW CT Community College has been beneficial in training employees.
West State Mechanical (Fran Delaney) - West State Mechanical is located in East Litchfield and provides service for HVAC. They have been in operation since 1982 and currently have 14 employees. The biggest challenge is an eroding customer base.
Seitz (Hilary Delage) - Seitz has been in business for 67 years. Products are made using injection molding. They currently have 140 employees. Their greatest need is for skilled engineers and mechanics.
Alcoa (Paul Masucci, Bonnie Nadler) - Alcoa has been in Winchester since 1982 and employs 140 workers. They produce aluminum jet engine parts. Many airlines are replacing their fleets, so they have been busy.
FuelCell Energy (Michael Lisowski and Kim Roland) - FCE is in the process of expanding their Torrington manufacturing facility by 100,000 square feet. They produce clean energy fuel cells and have a backlog of orders. They employ 620 workers worldwide with 530 in NW CT and 265 in the Torrington facility. They started in Danbury in 1969. The biggest challenge is attracting qualified workers.
RBC (Pam Kaczer) - RBC produces ball bearings and currently has 185 employees. They have been in NW CT since 2004. They are seeking competent and capable workers with a good work ethic. Skills as machinists, toolmakers and technicians are needed. Global competition has pressured their profit margins.
Lauren Zordan (NW CT Chamber) - Lauren has been working with school guidance counselors and businesses to create networking opportunities for students to learn more about job opportunities in NW CT through School-to-Career programs.
IV. Regional Education Updates/Initiatives
Ed Drapp, Region 6 Superintendent - Dedicated MakerSpace areas within the Region 6 schools encourage students to create, collaborate, invent and learn. The activities are unstructured and dynamic allowing for students to control the direction of the explorations. Students develop problem solving skills, learn to collaborate, make decisions and take risks.
Region 6 also partners with Bristol Tech to allow juniors and seniors to earn certifications as a plumber, electrician, or earn Microsoft certification. Students earn joint high school credits at both Bristol Tech and Wamogo.
Bob Axon, Oliver Wolcott Tech Principal - Oliver Wolcott Tech offers training for 12 trades for students in grades 9-12 at their Torrington campus. OWT combines academic and skills training for the trades and prepares students to be career and college ready. They work closely with regional employers to allow interns an opportunity to get first-hand practical experiences. Bob also serves as the Director for Bristol Tech which prepares junior and senior students in 6 trades. Bob sees the need for more skilled workers and works closely with the NW CT Manufacturing Coalition.
Larry Pomerleau, Oliver Wolcott Tech Instructor - OWT now offers 9 credentials programs in precision machining, NIMS credentials and lean manufacturing. They have added over $850,000 in new equipment to train students with the latest technology.
Mike Rooke, NCCC President - Mike was recently selected as the new president of Northwestern CT Community College. He has extensive experience in manufacturing and was at Manchester and Tunxis Community Colleges prior to coming to NCCC. His background is in engineering and manufacturing. NCCC now offers five manufacturing courses with support from National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. The latest NIMS class from Torrington High School had a 100% passing rate. NCCC has worked closely with the NW CT Manufacturers Coalition to align skills training with industry needs.
Bill Pizzuto & Angela Brightly, UConn-Torrington - Bill is the Director of both the UConn-Torrington and UConn-Waterbury campuses. Angela Brightly is the Associate Director at UConn-Torrington. UConn-Torrington now offers several online hybrid courses allowing for more flexibility for students with part-time jobs. Enrollment has been dropping at the UConn-Torrington branch, but has been increasing at the UConn-Waterbury branch. Public transportation is a major issue for many students.
Jonathan Costa, Education Connection Program Director - Jonathan announced that Education Connection will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the spring. Education Connection is one of six regional educational service centers throughout the state. They offer program support for local public school systems in STEM, and NSF "Skills 21" training. A Saturday morning Lego League program has been very popular attracting students from multiple school systems in NW CT. Jon has also worked with several school systems with declining enrollments to explore options for cooperation with neighboring districts.
NHCOG - Agriculture Viability Grant - Jocelyn Ayer shared a handout outlining the present status of an Agriculture Viability Grant submitted by the NHCOG to explore the concept of a regional food hub. NW CT Food Hub
NW CT Chamber - JoAnn Ryan discussed an upcoming event at GEER in North Canaan.
VI. Adjourn (9:30 am)
NW CT Economic Development Corporation