Shared Solar Program In Connecticut Stalled Over Who Pays For What
BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR
Achillion CEO Milind Deshpande
Utility Companies Not Keen on “Shared” Solar By Jan Ellen Spiegel Shared solar – a way to make solar power available to homes that are unsuited for solar panels or renters who can’t have them – is having a balky go in Connecticut. After a two-session legislative battle that began in 2014 and resulted in approval of only a small pilot project, the state is now a month past the statutory deadline for getting the first part of that pilot up and running. And the finish line is not yet in sight.
The holdup is the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s request for clarification from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority on aspects of what is and is not allowed as part of the pilot project. Only when it receives a ruling from PURA will DEEP formulate a preliminary request for proposals – something that was supposed to have been finalized and issued by Jan 1.
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} SOLAR CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 It is also possible that to resolve the questions before PURA the whole matter will wind up back in the legislature in the upcoming session, delaying the pilot program even longer. Shared solar, also known as community solar, allows homeowners who can’t put up their own panels to subscribe to a system built wherever there’s a suitable site. It’s estimated that as many as 80 percent of Connecticut homes cannot have solar for any number of reasons, such as the roof facing the wrong way, it’s shaded, it’s too small or the home is a rental or apartment. The electricity generated in a shared solar installation doesn’t go directly into homes; it goes into the electric grid over the existing utility infrastructure of lines and poles, and the subscribers receive credit. DEEP asked PURA to look at a couple of specific issues – whether the existing legislation authorizes utilities to pass on to ratepayers costs related to shared solar, such as maintaining poles and wires, and whether the legislation permits utilities to administer such a program, which the state would like them to do. While it sounds pretty arcane and eye-glazing to most folks just trying to access renewable power, it has everything to do with how much those people will pay for the power.
Bill Dornbos, Connecticut director and senior attorney for Acadia Center, a regional environmental advocacy group that has fought for shared solar throughout the northeast said he was surprised all these issues hadn’t been addressed in the legislation. “Energy bills that involve utilities usually are fairly thorough and make sure there are cost recovery provisions,” he said. “This is a foreseeable issue.” But what’s happened through the PURA process is something of a rearguing of the whole shared-solar concept, despite the fact that it is already in use in many states. That, in turn, has revived earlier legislative clashes over renewable energy and who should pay how much and for what. “Our intent was not to litigate before PURA questions about the structure of the program,” said Katie Dykes, the deputy commissioner at DEEP who oversees the energy bureau. “It was really at this stage meant to go to PURA to seek the clarification that is necessary to attract good bids.” All of this is now playing out against a national backdrop in which utilities have been pushing back, often successfully, against financial incentives for renewable power that utilities see as harming their existing business models. And that has some in Connecticut
suspecting that a pushback may be at work here. “I am furious that the utilities appear to be working so hard to sabotage our shared solar pilot program,” said Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, a co-chair of the Energy and Technology committee and a strong shared solar supporter. “If there are issues that need to be clarified and resolved, let’s get together right now and get that done.” Reed led the effort for shared solar in 2014 and again in 2015, when she and others argued that, with so many shared solar programs around the country offering models, including in Massachusetts and Vermont, Connecticut could skip a pilot program and plunge right in. But all the legislature could muster was a six-megawatt shared clean energy (it doesn’t have to be solar) pilot project – four megawatts for Eversource’s territory and two for United Illuminating. (UI recently was purchased by Iberdrola and now operates under its subsidiary Avangrid.) That’s about enough power for 6,000 homes. “Right now, we’ve got multiple solar companies eager to participate in Connecticut’s RFP selection process for our shared solar pilot, and it’s important to sustain their enthusiasm, not frustrate it,” Reed said.
The thought is to get the outstanding questions answered before the RFP goes out so project developers don’t get blindsided later on. But the utilities’ joint comments to PURA on the matter seem to indicate that they have broader concerns. In their letter, Eversource and United Illuminating make it clear they are not interested in administering a shared solar program, which would amount to handling billing and credit duties. They would prefer developers do that. They also prefer a specific method of charging customers to recover costs.
The ‘net metering’ issue Another thing they have made clear is they do not favor a system currently in place in Connecticut – as well as throughout the country – for compensating the owners of renewable power systems for excess power they put back into the grid. That concept is called net metering. It has become a rallying cry for all parties in the renewable energy discussion. Net metering allows solar power customers to credit the extra power they put into the grid against the power they take from it when the sun isn’t shining. Those customers also pay lower service fees because the fees are based on the amount of grid power they use. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7
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} SOLAR CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 Nationally, utilities and the groups that speak for them have argued that it costs them the same amount to maintain their grid even if a customer isn’t taking power from it all the time. Therefore, they have argued, if a customer is paid for excess power at all, it should be at a lower rate, such as a wholesale rate, not a full retail rate, and they should pay a tariff to make up the difference in service fees. A number of states don’t allow net metering. Some, like Connecticut, do it at a retail rate, which renewable power advocates argue is necessary to make it cost-effective for homeowners who purchase solar systems. Even a wholesale rate, they say, could have a chilling effect on the adoption of renewable power.
for new solar customers but also for existing ones. Other states that have rolled back incentives and net metering have typically grandfathered existing systems.
value of the net metering construct to jumpstart and get this market going,” said Janet Besser, vice president of policy and government affairs for the Northeast Clean Energy Council.
The nation’s largest solar company, SolarCity, which has a huge presence in Connecticut and had told DEEP it was interested in participating in shared solar here, pulled out of Nevada, dumping 400 jobs. (SolarCity declined to speak with the Mirror for this story.) Another major company, Sunrun, also pulled out of Nevada.
But she also worried that the Connecticut shared solar pilot is so small that it may not attract many developers. “So you don’t want to restrict it any more than that,” she said. “The more restrictions you place on it, it’s not going to work.
Greenskies, a Middletown-based solar company that has installed a grid-scale solar project in East Lyme, is interested in developing shared solar projects in Connecticut, especially using brownfields, landfills and other unusable properties.
“Those customers that have distributed generation (such as solar) resources should pay their fair share of the cost of running and maintaining the grid,” said Camilo Serna, Eversource’s vice president of strategic planning and policy. “The fact that you have solar doesn’t mean that the grid goes away. It still has to be maintained, up kept.”
“Net metering is an essential element of distributed generation – it works,” said James Desantos, vice president of business development. “The wholesale rate is not advantageous.” Leah Schmalz, program director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, said shared solar was a real opportunity, especially in terms of environmental justice – being able to supply clean power to low-income communities.
Eversource, he said, would like to see wholesale rates replace the current retail ones.
For now, PURA has not issued a schedule for ruling on the shared solar matter. And concern is growing that if it’s not until after the legislative session and also doesn’t resolve everything, delays will continue indefinitely. “We’re looking at and thinking about here at DEEP what’s the most expeditious way to get these issues clarified,” said energy chief Dykes. “We would not be trying to seek clarification of these issues if we did not think it was a critical preliminary step to putting out the RFP.” It has everything to do with how or even whether developers can get the projects funded. “It’s really important,” she said, “to get these issues of cost recovery buttoned down.”
T ON COMMUNITY SERVICE Nationally this all boiled over recently in Nevada when the state raised the various fees for solar power customers and cut the net-metering rate, not only
“I hope that New England and the Northeast have more foresight than Nevada policymakers recognizing the value of clean energy and the
Edited and reprinted with permission from ctmirror.org
Market 32 by Price Chopper Supermarket to Open in Oxford 2016 will see the opening of a new grocery story in Oxford representing a new brand from an old player in the field. A Market 32 is currently under construction and is set to open this year, one of only 6 new locations in the Northeast. The Price Chopper Supermarkets’ new branding initiative, Market 32, will be a push for a more sophisticated shopping experience for younger, health-conscious shoppers including “a modern brand experience marked by open space, a décor filled with soft earth tones and productfocused displays, murals and lighting, convenient, ready-to-eat foods, fresh, handcrafted, and locally grown, produced and manufactured products, and intuitive product/department adjacencies.” In addition to the construction of the new stores, the company says the 135 existing Price Chopper stores, including 9 in Connecticut, will eventually get a makeover with the rebranding, as well, to the tune of $300 million. The construction of the new Oxford Market 32 is underway with commercial firm KBE Construction, located in Farmington and Norwalk, as well as in Maryland for $6.4 million. The finished Market 32 will be equipped with a full-service pharmacy, bakery, floral department, and fresh meat, seafood, and dairy departments.
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Newmark Holdings, a Manhattanbased real estate firm, sold One Long Wharf Drive, a 286,713-square-foot, seven-story medical office building to Healthcare Trust of America (NYSE: HTA) for $73 million. The building was acquired by Newmark Holdings in 2007, an outlier investment property for the firm, which also has an ownership interest in the Flatiron Building, but didn’t own any other properties in New Haven or investment properties anywhere else in the state. According to principals at Newmark, the final closed sale represents a pre-tax return of 332% or 37% per year over the nine-year period since it was first purchased. The building underwent capital improvements, including tenant fit-outs,
lot, located under the hotel at adjacent Three Long Wharf Drive, New Haven Village Suites. The buyer, Healthcare Trust of America, is a publicly traded REIT out of Scottsdale, Arizona, focusing on medical properties. The company’s portfolio includes medical campuses in 28 states and according to the company’s website, they are currently hiring a property manager for the New Haven market. David Noonan of NGKF Capital Markets and Richard Lee of OR&L Commercial LLC represented the seller in this transaction. The law firm of Goldberg Weprin Finkel Goldstein also represented the seller.
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The Trinity Episcopal Church on the New Haven Green will mark the 200th Anniversary of the 1814-16 construction and consecration of its current church building with a series of events and activities throughout the year. The biggest event, The Triumph of Tolerance: An 1816 Musical Celebration occurs on Saturday, April 23rd at 8pm at the church. Orchestra New England will revisit 1816 with a choral and orchestral event that brings the early 19th century back to musical life. The event will feature historical reenactors of New Haven dignitaries of the historical period, and many of those played by today’s New Haven dignitaries dressed to portray their 1816 predecessors – like Mayor Toni Harp to represent Mayor Elizur Goodrich (1761-1849) who served as New Haven’s mayor from 1803-1822; and U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, portraying Samuel Whittlesey Dana (1780-1830) who served in both houses of Congress, until retiring to Middletown in 1822. According to the church, “Trinity’s year-long celebration, labeled The Triumph of Tolerance, will commemorate not only Trinity’s historic “Gothick” second church, but the changing political and social landscape of the early nineteenth century that resulted in the legal separation of church and state, existent since the founding of Connecticut’s various settlements in the early 1630s.” For more information, visit www.trinitynewhaven.org. WWW.CONNTACT.COM
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FreshBev LLC and all of the winners at the 2016 Business and Civic Awards
Vol XX,II No.6 February 2016
Shared Solar Program In Connecticut Stalled Over Who Pays For What
Connecticut Getting $54 Million In ‘Disaster Resilience’ Money
THE YEAR BUSINESSPERSON OF
Achillion CEO Milind Deshpande
Federal Funds Distributed Widely To Shore Up At-Risk Communities
Utility CompaniesaNot Kenn on “Shared” Solar By Jan Ellen Spiegel power available Shared solar – a way to make solar panels or rentto homes that are unsuited for solar a balky go in ers who can’t have them – is having legislative battle Connecticut. After a two-session approval of only that began in 2014 and resulted in a month past a small pilot project, the state is now the first part of the statutory deadline for getting that pilot up and running.
By Mark Pazniokas and Jan Ellen Spiegel
And the finish line is not yet in sight.
Energy and The holdup is the Department of for clariEnvironmental Protection’s request Regulatory fication from the Public Utilities is not allowed Authority on aspects of what is and it receives a as part of the pilot project. Only when a prelimiruling from PURA will DEEP formulate that was nary request for proposals – something by Jan 1. issued and supposed to have been finalized
Business & Civic Awards 2015-2016
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ridgeport and the new administration of Mayor Joe Ganim appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of $54.2 million in federal funds awarded recently to Connecticut to help Fairfield and New Haven counties better prepare for coastal flooding and climate change.
Bridgeport and New Haven, Jim Himes of the 4th District and Rosa L. DeLauro of the 3rd District.
A number of Bridgeport’s coastal neighborhoods have suffered repeated flooding, most notably during Sandy and the earlier Tropical Storm Irene. Finch, who lost a Bridgeport Mayor Ganim Democratic primary last was at the White House Ganim, who was at the summer, had been active and received a welcome White House in connecin looking for means to gift for city. tion with a meeting of the remediate flooded areas, U.S. Conference of Mayors, was pulled which included moving some housing aside and told the city was receiving projects. The new Barnum train station about $38 million for flood control in the was partly designed to provide a transcity’s south end, said his spokesman, Av portation hub for those residents that Harris. might be moved to other areas of the city. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation as part of the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition for states and communities affected by major disasters between 2011 and 2013. Ganim’s predecessor, Bill Finch, was a strong backer of the application. “Climate change is real and we must think more seriously about how to plan for it,” said Julián Castro, the HUD secretary who recently visited Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. Connecticut’s entry on behalf of the state was put together by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, a joint center run by UConn and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Office of Policy and Management and other departments. It had asked for nearly $115 million for resiliency work in Bridgeport and New Haven and for resiliency planning in the Connecticut coastal counties most damaged by Storm Sandy. HUD only mentioned Bridgeport in its announcement, but the state also is receiving planning funds for floodplain design guidelines and further work on the “Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan” in Fairfield and New Haven counties. The HUD announcement upstaged plans for a press conference Friday at noon by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and the U.S. representative whose districts include
But it will be the new Ganim administration that will have to work with the institute and the Malloy administration on formal plans in keeping with the parameters of the application. “These initiatives transcend administrations,” April Capone, who is handling the application process as part of her intergovernmental affairs duties at the Office of Policy and Management, said in November. “Yes, we did have a mayor who was very progressive. This does not hinge on one elected official.” The new mayor was excited to receive the grant, Harris said. HUD said the state’s coastal resilience plan is focused on “reconnecting and protecting economically-isolated coastal neighborhoods through investments in mixed green and gray infrastructure that protect against flooding while strengthening their connectivity to existing transportation nodes.” Connecticut was among 40 finalist states, cities and counties applying for the funding. Thirteen received awards. New York and New Jersey were already promised at least $181 million. In the end, New York state ($176 million) and New York City ($38.5 million) got $214 million; New Jersey got only $15 million; and Louisiana and New Orleans got the most, nearly $234 million. Edited and reprinted with permission from ctmirror.org
Start Community Bank Marks A Milestone NEW HAVEN: Start Community Bank, based in New Haven, is entering into its sixth year as the only bank headquartered in New Haven. A bank press release said that as a “Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Start Bank expends more than 80% of its resources in the local New Haven Community”. Start Bank received its start when the New Haven Savings Bank went public as the New Alliance Bank in 2004. Then New Haven Mayor John DeStefano challenged the effort to convert the non-profit bank and won a settlement that included the financing to establish a local community bank. DeStefano joined the bank upon retiring after twenty years as New Haven’s mayor and is executive vice president. Start operates out of a single branch on Whalley Avenue in New Haven but markets to small businesses throughout greater New Haven. Maureen A. Frank, CEO. said, [Start] “has been the only bank in New England to earn a Business Enterprise Award from United States Department of the Treasury, and a recipient each year since the Bank became a CDFI in 2012.”
Halloran & Sage “Reaffirms” New Haven Ofice Halloran & Sage’s New Haven office recently relocated to a brand new office space located at One Century Tower, 265 Giaimo Church Street. Previously, the firm held space in the First Niagra Building, also in New Haven and just down the street at 195 Church Street. According to Managing Attorney Gerry Giaimo, “This move reaffirms our commitment to New Haven.” The updated space supports current and future growth in all facets of the Firm’s New Haven branch—which features fourteen on-site attorneys—and helps to accommodate its ever-growing client base.������������������������������� ” Since opening a New Haven office in 2011, that office has grown from 4 attorneys here to 14. The firm is primarily Hartford-based with offices located in New Haven, Hartford, Danbury, Middletown, New London and Westport, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. WWW.CONNTACT.COM
87 percent of respondents reported being able to “satisfy all their borrowing needs,” increasing from 79 percent last quarter CT Business Leaders Anticipate Growth in New Year The 2015 CBIA/Farmington Bank 4th Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey found that almost 87 percent of Connecticut Business Leaders who responded anticipate their workforce to remain stable or increase, up from 83 percent of respondents who said that last quarter.
UCONN and Alexion Come Together UCONN Health just recently announced they will be taking part in a second collaboration with Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in New Haven. The team up is in an effort to “seek out new and novel therapeutic interventions for treating rare and debilitating diseases.” This collaboration is also an extension of work by George Y. Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Hepatology Section, Division of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, and holder of the Herman Lopata Chair in Hepatitis Research, performing “targeted cellular repair platform work.” Dr. Wu partners with his wife, Dr. Catherine Wu, in the field of “targeted restoration of damaged cells.” This platform technology will be used in the collaboration to further research the “ability to restore normality to defective cell functions” which can ultimately cause rare diseases.
Similar results from the survey found that 87 percent of respondents reported being able to “satisfy all their borrowing needs,” increasing from 79 percent last quarter and about 27 percent said their business is “using earnings to finance operations,” and increase from 11 percent last quarter. This CBIA/Farmington Bank Survey was distributed to 1,750 Connecticut business leaders in December 2015 and January 2016 by email to which 175 replied.
170 guests joined Milford law firm Berchem Moses Devlin LLP, at the Race Brook Country Club in Orange on January 21 to celebrate principal Robert L. Berchem’s 50 years of practicing law in Connecticut. Milford Mayor Ben Blake declared it “Robert L. Berchem Day”. [left to right] Mayor Ben Blake, Senior Partner Richard J. Buturla, Bob Berchem.
Times and “digital platforms and news weeklies are the trusted source for independent news and information for service members and their families.”
Quinnipiac Business Loves Its Vets According to Military Times’ Best for Vets: Business Schools 2016 rankings released on Feb. 8, Quinnipiac University was ranked as the best business school catering to veterans in the state of Connecticut and the 24th best in the nation. This fourth annual Best for Vets: Business Schools survey seeks to analyze graduate business school’s offerings for veterans and what makes them a good fit through this “editorially independent news project.” The organization Military Times relies on Army Times, Navy Times, Air Forces Times and Marine Corps
First Niagara is proud to congratulate our community partner, Erik Clemons from Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology, on his well-deserved honor.
Payment in Lieu of Taxes and also Pequot Fund allocation, attributable to the university. In addition to the $400,000. Quinnipiac will be giving another $140,000. This will be used for the North Haven girls’ softball program for outdoor lighting.
Hamden Tax Firm Acquires Madison Office Quinnipiac Volunteers the Cash During a ceremony at the North Haven Town Hall, Quinnipiac University made a $400,000 voluntary payment to the town of North Haven. This volunteered cash represents 40 percent, $260,000 of the revenue the town receives from Connecticut’s
CPA Tax Solutions LLC of Hamden expanded its practice with the acquisition of the accounting firm of Mark J. White, CPA. With the acquisition, CPA Tax Solutions will operate a second location on Durham Road in Madison. Paul A. Caiafa, CPA, Managing Member of CPA Tax Solutions LLC, Anthony F. Lucci, CPA , principals and eight full and part-time professional and administrative staff will be joined by White as an employee.
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This Juice Innovator Is Not Afraid of the Pressure A New Haven-Based Start-Up Freshens Drink Options
By Rachel Bergman
IN N OVATO R O F TH E Y E A R Photo: Jimi Paterson
reshBev LLC is a New Haven-based fruit juice company looking to revolutionize the food industry. Not just juicing, like a health nut pulverizing kale into a glass, but orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice and your average cocktail will taste much much different with the FreshBev brand. The secret? They don’t pasteurize or add sugar and preservatives to their juices, they use a technology called HPP—high pressure processing—to pressurize the product, literally crushing bacteria and germs to death and stopping those negative growth processes that spoil food. It’s that creative approach to an industry that hasn’t seen much change in decades, and FreshBev’s commitment to innovation in their entire business structure right down to packaging and marketing, that makes them Business New Haven’s 2016 Innovator of the Year. Ryan Guimond and Michel Boissy, childhood friends from Wallingford, started the company at the end of 2009. Boissy was a process engineer with a background in the aircraft industry as part of a company his father started. While in college, however, he worked as a chef, which clued him in to a hole in the market for fresh juice in cocktails, instead of a corn syrupy, highly pasteurized and processed mix that sat on a shelf. In the early days of FreshBev and getting the process right, the partners would flash pasteurize fruit prior to juicing, but at much lower temperatures than traditional pasteurizing, until they were able to pressurize their product on a massive scale, like they do now. The machinery required for this undertaking is intense and costly. Proprietary systems for washing fruit and extracting the juice for maximum efficiency, a Hiperbaric-made High Pressure Processing machine (retailing about $2.5million), filling and bottling equipment added up to around $10-11 million in start-up costs. Guimond 12
took a buyout a few years ago, the financial commitment was a lot to ask, but in this fifth year of operations, CEO and founder Michel Boissy believes the company is about to break even. FreshBev’s RIPE brand is the first cold press bar juice product (cocktail mixer) to get on the market. Most recently, they’ve collaborated with grower’s cooperatives like Sunkist and Ocean Spray to make orange and cranberry juices, and the company buys all fruits and vegetables whole directly from growers—there is no middleman or fruit/vegetable alternatives or purees used. Usually, the day the produce arrives from growers, it is juiced and bottled within four hours, on average. Although the juice has a 75-90 day shelf life and stays refrigerated, Boissy explains “we never heat the juice, so there is zero degradation of color, flavor or nutrients. It’s 100% traceable to the grower, and we’re able to offer a decent price. We’re making juices people drink every day – fresh grapefruit, pineapple, apple and cranberry.” WWW.CONNTACT.COM
Bottles of fresh juice are put into a hyperbaric chamber, similar to what a military diver might go into after a day in the ocean. The chamber is then filled with water, locked into the hpp machine, and in about 90 seconds is pushed up to 87,000 PSI, equal to about 15 miles underneath the ocean, and more pressure than an organism would experience in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. The bottles sit in this high-pressure environment, which can accommodate up to 700 gallons of juice at a time, for up to two minutes. The company is currently producing between 75,000-80,000 gallons of juice per month. As an engineer, Boissy has also looked at a variety of packaging options outside of the bottle, like tap-able bags, and has worked on those designs himself.
Clean label is important because [we] can use fewer preservatives instead of costly and unhealthy preservatives.”
FreshBev’s first plant was in Wallingford, consisting of a few thousand square feet for production. The bar juice products did well with Whole Foods, package stores and area restaurants, so FreshBev moved to a new larger facility about 2 years ago in the Fair Haven manufacturing district of New Haven. They proudly hired most of their 60 or so employees locally.
He is confident about the company’s future. “The industry has the opportunity to change. Consumers are wanting better things, because organic isn’t enough anymore. If I can buy [juice] from a guy down the street versus an organic product from South America, that’s where the market is shifting.”
Co-packaging has been an important step towards profitability, and according to Boissy. FreshBev produces juices and extracts to be shipped and branded by other companies. The HPP technology is expensive and is a new part of the market, so co-packing allows niche juices like Temple Turmeric, a health food juice brand that uses FreshBev’s blends to produce flavors like coconut nectar elixir and mineral green, to thrive in the juice market. There are few true competitors in the HPP juice market right now, and none that are producing “household” juices at FreshBev’s prices. Boissy looks to other early arrivals to the market for inspiration, like Blueprint (purchased by Coca Cola) and Suja and doesn’t feel his company is making quite the same thing. “Our whole competitive set is based on few ingredients and traditional flavors that people drink every day, that people recognize, and we make it 100% fresh and 100% traceable,” says Boissy. “It’s more money [$4.38 at Whole Foods] for 12 oz. of our juice, but then maybe $1.99 for traditional juice. But when you get into never heating it, not decreasing the value of the juice, then you understand the value. We’re making really fresh juice, telling exactly what’s in it, who grew it and where it came from. FEBRUARY 2016
Each juice bottle carries a code that a consumer can use to go online and look up the origin of the fruit. The Evolution juice brand available at Starbucks and Whole Foods uses the HPP process, too, and retails anywhere from $5.99-7.99 depending on flavor blends. Boissy’s New Haven operation is running smoothly and these days, mostly without him as he’s on the road quite a bit. Most recently, he was invited to speak to about 200-250 employees of FreshBev’s latest partner, Ocean Spray, focusing his talk on the topics of passion and innovation and how to bring those elements to work.
Projections for growth at FreshBev, including new equipment and increased workforce, are 100-200% in the next few years. Boissy has help and support from the community with backers like DECD, Connecticut Innovations, and business loans from Webster Bank. Ginny Kozlowski, Executive Director of the REX Development Corporation in New Haven, was more than happy to help FreshBev locate a suitable location in the city to set up expanded operations from their initial Wallingford facility, saying “FreshBev continues to be an integral component to the New Haven Region’s exciting food manufacturing cluster. We look forward to continuing to assist them in the expansion of FreshBev’s burgeoning production of their unique product line. FreshBev embodies the innovative ethos so prevalent in the Region’s entrepreneurial movers and shakers.”
Celebrating the impact of local business. At Webster, we know that local businesses are the backbones of our communities. So we are pleased to congratulate those businesses whose contributions are being recognized by Business New Haven.
Special congratulations go out to our client Michel Boissy, CEO and Co-founder of FreshBev, and his team for winning the Innovator Award.
When asked to explain the company’s take on innovation, Boissy breaks it down in simple terms, “Sometimes innovation – people think they have to reinvent the wheel, but we’re just trying to make a more basic product. We know we’re going to make a real dent in the industry, right here in Connecticut.” . BNH
The Webster Symbol and Webster Bank are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Perry, saw the ‘great recession’ as special trouble for her ommunities, “this is an acute case we have to do heavy lifting.”
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
Photo: Derek Torrellas
Teaching and Living Tikun Olam
This Community Citizen Made Making Our Place Better A Lesson In Life
By Mitchell Young hinking about perhaps the most visible leader in New Haven’s Jewish Community, one might be surprised that she would have pursued her graduate work at the Hartford Theological Seminary in Islamic Studies. But surprised is how many people have come to understand Sydney Perry, including Perry sometimes herself.
She explains, “my parents were involved in Jewish communal life and civic life. They were both very interested in “giving back.” They felt very fortunate and saw it as obligation and a privilege.”
Perry, whose real background and passion is as an educator explained, “Maybe because I’m a child of the sixties. But I majored in African Studies and Islamic Studies.”
Perry has six children and apparently the lessons learned at the dinner table landed well. One son [Avi] serves as Assistant U.S. Attorney based in New Haven, another heads the Juvenile Offenders Program in New Orleans and a daughter in-law seems to have received the “message” also and will soon be working at a Yale Law School clinic as a public defender.
Perry stepped down January 4th as the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and the Jewish Community Center, ending twenty-eight years of service as teacher, dealmaker, administrator, fundraiser, cheerleader and community liaison and leader.
Perry, laughing as we discussed handling family and community disagreements, “I have defenders and prosecutors.”
Perry’s energetic efforts have been placed throughout both the Jewish and New Haven community. It’s not an easy task bringing and holding together and rebuilding New Haven’s Jewish and civic communities that by demographics and inertia were at the precipice of pulling apart.
Then she explained, “how do they get along? They learned at the Shabbos dinner table, we always had guests, it was always noisy, and we talked about major issues of ethics, the world, [laughing again] the
“I am probably an atypical federation exec. It used to be that people that became federation execs were social workers or were trained to raise money. Today many have business degrees as well as community service degrees.”
Perry discussed the challenge, “More and more people are moving to very special interests than to wider groups; the so called “me generation,” but I had excellent teachers.”
Continued on page 32 WWW.CONNTACT.COM
THIS IS WHAT THE HOLY ONE SAID TO ISRAEL: MY CHILDREN, WHAT DO I SEEK FROM YOU? I SEEK NO MORE THAN THAT YOU HAVE THE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER, HONOR ONE ANOTHER, AND THAT YOU HAVE AWE AND REVERENCE FOR ONE ANOTHER.
~ (Midrash) Tanna de Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 26:6 in both words and actions, sydney perry has inspired the greater new haven community to love, honor and care for one another.
To our friend, colleague, community leader and teacher, Sydney Perry, we extend our heartfelt congratulations on receiving the Business New Haven 2015 Citizen of the Year Award. We’re grateful for your many contributions to our community.
F A M I LY B U S I N E S S P E R S O N S O F T H E Y E A R
George Chatzopoulos and his sister Kostantina Chatzopoulos Bajko
Serving Up Family Values Brings Success The Pancakes Were Great So They Threw In With Chips
By Taylor Nicole Richards n the late 1980s, siblings George Chatzopoulos and Kostantina Chatzopoulos Bajko came to America with their family in hopes of eventually owning their own restaurant. The Chatzopoulos’ finally joined with the rest of their relatives in the greater New Haven area and immediately immersed themselves in the restaurant business. “I was working as a dishwasher and short-order cook for a while,” said Chatzopoulos. “I was always anxious though, telling myself ‘I gotta get my own place, I gotta get my own place.’ That’s why my family came to America, to find opportunities.”
The Chatzopoulos family bought a restaurant in 1995 called Eats and Sweets in West Haven, but it only lasted about four years. Chatzopoulos said he “thought he knew everything” about owning his own place, but ended up not being able to keep the restaurant afloat. After Eats and Sweets, he managed a diner in Milford and quickly discovered Chip’s Family Restaurant in Orange. “I had breakfast at Chip’s on my days off from the diner. They had the best pancakes; I was hooked. I got to know everyone in the restaurant really well, and I knew that the owner, Charles Marks, was a well-liked man in the area,” said Chatzopoulos. “Since I was a regular and familiar with one of the waitresses, I jokingly asked if they were selling the place. She said they were and told me to talk to the owner, then lawyers got involved and we made action.”
Charles Marks, or Chip, opened the restaurant in 1966. He died in 1997 and by 2003, his wife was tired of keeping up with the place and was ready to retire. Chatzopoulos arrived at the right time with the help of the rest of his family. Since they stepped in almost 40 years into the business, Chatzopoulos didn’t change the name of the place or even take anything off the menu right away. “When we took over, we remodeled and gave the place a little facelift. We didn’t change the menu for the first year to year and a half, only added to it. People were coming here from 1966, so we didn’t want to make any dramatic changes. Nothing was wrong with the place,” he said. In the beginning, Bajko was the manager and their parents were the chefs. Everything was, and still is, homemade. Chatzopoulos said that since he kept things the way they were and offered “good food for fair prices,” WWW.CONNTACT.COM
regulars stayed regulars after Chatsopoulos and Bajko took over. He wanted to “gain the trust” of people who had already been coming for years. This year is Chip’s 50th anniversary. In 2006, when celebrating their 40th anniversary, Chatzopoulos’ friend suggested doing 40 different varieties of pancake preparation. Chatzopoulos said an idea like this “naturally happens” when someone eats pancakes every day. These new combinations, along with new billboard advertising, drew many new people into his restaurant. Now, customers can order 245 different pancake flavor combinations and around 40 different omelet combinations. In 2011, Chip’s opened up their second location in Fairfield. Chatzopoulos said that business in Orange was booming, so it was natural to expand to a town where customers insisted they go to for “years.” Since then, they have expanded to Trumbull, Southbury, and Wethersfield. A new location is opening soon in Southington. They don’t have plans yet to expand out of Connecticut, but it is a possibility, according to Chatzopoulos. Twice a month, excluding December and summer months, Chip’s holds fundraisers at each of their locations for various causes. In the past they’ve donated
to high school sports teams, town fire departments, and Relay For Life. During fundraisers, there’s a fixed menu of meals $10-12 and 100 percent of the profits go to whoever they’re raising money for, except for waiter and waitress’ tips. Organizers who help out are usually in charge of getting the word out. Every year there’s a “Pancakes for Parkinson’s” fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Bajko said that fundraiser alone raises about $10,000 every year. Chatzopoulos and Bajko insist that everyone at Chip’s is mostly concerned with keeping the ambience light and not getting too serious about the way they run things. They’re the ones in charge of the menu, but they are always open to new suggestions from longterm employees. Chatzopoulos said that “it’s always a fun time” every day at all of his locations. Family values is what Chatzopoulos insists keeps people going back to Chip’s. Although his parents have since retired back to Greece, he’s still proud to be running the place with his sister by his side. They train their employees to “take the extra step” in getting to know their customers. Waiters and waitresses at Chip’s are expected to remember the names of frequent or not-so-frequent customers and treat them as if they were “at home.” He prides their
restaurant on the atmosphere of a family business, and Chatzopoulos tells his employees to give the customers what they would want going into a restaurant. Good service, good food, and being attended to is his “simple recipe” for never losing a customer. They also make sure they’re involved with the customers’ experience as much as possible by frequently visiting all their locations. “I would say service is the most important part of the food business. I don’t believe anyone who is still in business sells bad food. It’s how you serve the food. The connection between our employees and our customers is what makes the difference,” Chatzopoulos said. Like any business, Chip’s gets negative criticism as well, whether it’s in person or online through review sites like Yelp. Bajko said that usually customers are consistent in feedback, but occasionally there’s someone who didn’t enjoy their experience at Chip’s. “Our goal is to take our negative feedback and turn it positive. We can’t satisfy everyone, but we will try,” said Bajko. “We can always work to improve our business.” . BNH
Working together to build a stronger community – now and forever.
Congratulations to all the 2016 Business and Civic Award Honorees Special thanks to Foundation friends
Erik Clemons, Sydney Perry & Michel Boissy for their exceptional work to strengthen our community.
70 Audubon St. New Haven, CT 203-777-2386 | www.cfgnh.org FEBRUARY 2016
Clemons in the new culinary institute at ConnCat.
MINORITY BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR Photo: Derek Torrellas
A New Haven Educator With A Plan That Works Visionary Leader Pushes Hope, Opportunity, and Reform By Rachel Bergman
isitors to the Connecticut Center for Arts & Technology (ConnCAT) are wowed by the ambiance almost immediately. The interior is bright with natural light and adorned with sculptures, works of art hanging on the walls, fresh cut flowers—and greetings from staff are almost spa-like in their pleasant serenity. Erik Clemons, Business New Haven’s Minority Business Person of the Year says this is by design. “Those are ingredients for transformation. People living in poverty shouldn’t come get help that looks like where they live, the help shouldn’t bear resemblance to the suffering.”
ConnCAT is a nonprofit career training program in Science Park offering majors in medical fields, the arts, and foodservice and culinary, modeled after Bill Strickland’s Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a job and arts training program and entrepreneur incubator that won him the MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1996. It’s not just a school, it’s a haven of hope and opportunity for a prison reentry population, those living in poverty, the unemployed and undereducated, and at-risk youth through after-school programs available to high school students and grades 5-8.
geous. There was an entrepreneurial courage about them that inspired me to think about who I could possibly become.” It wasn’t the first time Clemons did some deep and introspective thinking about what his life and career should be. The father of four daughters, Clemons was a mail carrier in Stamford not too long ago, but was constantly thinking about what he wanted his impact to be, what legacy he wanted to leave for his children and how to make that happen. He went back to school, graduated in 2004 at the age of 38 and soon became an advocate with a passion for education as a pathway to success for communities of color.
In 2011, Erik Clemons, then Executive Director of LEAP (Leadership, Education & Athletics in Partnership for kids), was invited to meet with Bill Strickland and local businessman and entrepreneur Carlton Highsmith. Clemons recalls that the trio had a lengthy philosophical discussion about how to save the world with the conversation lasting for hours. They never discussed the Center for Arts & Technology, but Clemons came away thinking “they were incredible role models and very compassionate, smart and coura-
Continued on page 23
for being named the Minority Business Person of the Year!
ConnCATâ€™s mission is to inspire, motivate, and prepare youth and adults for educational and career advancement through afterschool arts and job training programming. The Center creates a learning environment that inspires hope, innovation, creativity, and excellence while providing a path for individuals to revitalize the landscape of the urban community.
Adult Career Training Programs offered in Phlebotomy, Medical Billing & Coding and Culinary Arts. Youth Programs offered year-round and provide interactive enrichment in the arts.
To learn more, connect with us www.conncat.org 203.823.9823
CO R P O R AT E C ITI Z E N S O F TH E Y E A R
For These Attorneys Enough Is Never Enough The Carmody Law Firm Proves A Gold Standard of Community Support
By Mitchell Young he ideal of community service is very much ingrained in the culture of our firm. In fact, you could say that it’s part of Carmody’s ‘DNA’ to engage in voluntarism and philanthropy. Our lawyers, paralegals and staff share a common vision of what it means to be a good corporate citizen. The work that we do in this regard is not done out of a sense of obligation, but rather a desire to make a positive impact in our community.”
That quote from Carmody Attorney Tom Sansone is at the core of our recognition of Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey LLP as Business New Haven’s Corporate Citizen of The Year. Sansone himself was Business New Haven’s Citizen of the Year in 2013 and as the final decider and the writer of this profile, that selection was perhaps the only obstacle for our selection.
The evidence was overwhelming, however, and a nomination from the United Way emphasizing the 100% participation rate of Carmody attorneys and staff in the annual employee drive, clinched the deal. Carmody’s new managing Partner, Ann Zucker, has made hew own impact on community involvement as a board member for the Connecticut/Rhode Island chapter of the American Red Cross, a former chair of the South Central Connecticut chapter, past chair of the Waterbury Hospital and a founder of the Women and Girls Fund of the Community Foundation of New Haven. Zucker explained “there has always been a long history of our people being involved personally and professionally in the community. That keeps us involved and challenged. It is not just in our New Haven office, but Stamford and Waterbury as well.” True to her word in Waterbury, the firm recently provided pro bono legal services to set up the new nonprofit for the group that brought the Holy Land Monument back. Waterbury partner Isa Squicciarini is being honored with the Judge Anthony Demayo Pro Bono Award for organizing a program to provide representation for low-income domestic violence victims seeking injunctions. In Stamford named partner Jay Sandak is being awarded later this Spring as Citizen of the Year by VFW Post 142 of the Jewish War Veterans, an honor the group has bestowed upon Stamford citizens since 1945. Sandak is being recognized in part for his work on the board of the Child Guidance Center and Stamford’s Shelter for the Homeless. 20
Jennifer Heath, current Executive VP of the Greater New Haven United Way, who will take over as the President on June 1 told us, “beyond the one hundred percent financial participation of Carmody attorneys [and corporate financial support] and staff, the firm’s employees are hands on as well.” She added, “we appreciate their one hundred percent employee participation but what is really great, they get directly involved personally.” Carmody staff had consistently brought in large volumes of food for the Connecticut Food Bank, hosted movie nights for women at the Columbus House shelter and put in hundreds of pro bono hours. Joanne Sculli, the founder and director of Solar Youth of New Haven, which has a mission of “empowering young people from low income neighborhoods to achieve lifelong success,” said of the current board chair Carmody Associate Amanda Nugent, “she has a fantastic energy level and made a real impact as a board member and now as chairperson of the board.” Nugent said she and her colleagues “were committed to local involvement, it is an important reason why I want to be here.” That would be music to Zucker’s ears, who told us “when we are recruiting, we look for people who want to do things. We want people who see it as a lifestyle to be committed to community service.” WWW.CONNTACT.COM
Fatima Lahnin is a Carmody partner, litigator and intellectual property attorney, she was recognized by Business New Haven as a Rising Star in the Greater New Haven community in 2010. She was also one of the lead Carmody attorneys in the $65 million dollar settlement for their client MacDermid Printing Solutions of Waterbury this past year. The conversation about the big money award didnâ€™t seem to excite Lahnin the way some of the â€œsocialâ€? issues discussed did. Lahnin explained the internal group Women@Carmody [established by former Managing Partner Ann Rubin in 2010], â€œour mission is to mentor women at Carmody and to support the community. Weâ€™ve done initiatives with New Reach [homeless shelters] and Columbus House, [including] scholarships, cooked and served meals and raised money for people that are transitioning out of the shelters.â€? The Carmody attorneys have found social interactions with the shelter residents just as rewarding as the shelter residents do. These events include, pizza, movie and craft nights with residents at New Reach Shelters and Columbus House. Through Women@Carmody, a group led by Lahnin and Rubin, [who when appointed in 2005 was the first women managing partner of a major Connecticut law firm], the firm adopted 5 families through New Reach and raised over $1,000 through bake sales, raffles and jeans days to buy them food, essentials and â€œwish listâ€? items for the holidays. Carmody has made this an annual event. Movie and craft nights at New Reachâ€™s shelters for mothers and children to provide them with a fun, safe family activity on Friday nights and remain a favorite. Lahnin explained â€œ[Community involvement] it is definitely something that Carmody brought to me, I was attracted to the firm because it sponsored diversity, supported pro bono work and has an emphasisÂ on supporting the communityâ€?. The list of Carmody involvement goes on; there is yearly staff and attorney participation with the United Wayâ€™s Days of Caring, a beautification project at â€œr Kids Family Centerâ€? in New Haven. Thereâ€™s a DVD/book drive in the works to gather gently used items to donate to Yale-New Haven Childrenâ€™s Hospital. Maybe itâ€™s a drive for work/life balance, but Carmody employees are not just writing checks. Amanda Nugent â€“ Chair of the Board of Solar Youth Thomas Sansone â€“ Vice Chair of the Board of Clifford Beers; Chairman of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Greater New Haven; Fair Haven
Community Health Center Advisory Board Joseph Dornfried â€“ Board of the United Way of Greater New Haven Thomas Candrick â€“ Board Member and Treasurer of the Fair Haven Community Health Center; Board President of the International Association of New Haven; member of the New Haven Regional Leadership Council Gregg Burton - New Haven Advisory Board Member, Junior Achievement of Southwest New England
Anne Peterson â€“ Board of Community Soup Kitchen and the Board of Youth Continuum
the Connecticut Trust for Historic Presentation, Board of the Faulknerâ€™s Island Light Brigade
Sarah Healey â€“ Board of Friends Center for Children
Giovanna Weller, President of the Board of Trustees of the Independent Day School
Chuck Stohler, Board of Community Mediation
Sherwin Yoder, Programs Chair of the Wallingford Rotary Club.
Chris Rooney, Founder of The Mighty Quinn Foundation
While the list here is impressive weâ€™re pretty sure we missed some efforts for staff at the firm.
Howard Levine, Immediate Past President of the New Haven County Bar Association
Almost forgotâ€“ there was a residential school for children orphaned by AIDS in rural Western Kenya that Sansone helped set up. BNH
David Hardy, Trustee of the Mercy Center in Madison Matthew Peterson, Board and Executive Committee Member of
THANK YOU! to these companies that
England Abbo Laboratories ACES Aetna Agilent AIDS Project New Haven Albeus
3M Company AAA Southern New Magnus College Alcatel-Lucent
Alexion Pharmaceuticals All Our Kin Ameriprise Financial Amphenol Products Spectra-Strip Andersen Corporation Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of CT Ashcro, Inc. Assurant Insurance AT&T Automatic Data Processing Bank of America Bankwell Baumann Paership Beaverdale Memorial Park Best Buy Bic Corporation Big Y Bilco Company Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman Boys & Girls Club of New Haven Brenner, Saltzman & Wallman LLP Brescome Baon, Inc. Bristol Myers Squibb Burns & McDonnell Engineering Burzenski & Company, P.C. C. Cowles & Company CA White, Inc. Carmody, Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP Cathedral Corporation Catholic Charities of SCC Central Connecticut Coast -YMCA Chubb Group of Insurance Companies Cigna Citizen's Bank City of New Haven City of West Haven Clifford Beers Guidance Clinic Claire's Corner Copia Columbus Auto Body Works Columbus House Comcast Cablevision of New Haven Community Action Agency Community Foundation for Greater New Haven Community Health Charities Community Health Charities of New England Community Mediation Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Connecticut Container Corporation Connecticut Fair Plan Connecticut Federal Employees Connecticut State Employees Connex Credit Union Cornell Sco-Hill Health Corporation Country Cuains Covidien Creating Kids at the Connecticut Children's Museum Day Pitney, LLC Deloie & Touche, LLP Dental Associates of Southern New England Digital Surgeons Dimeo Construction Donald L. Perloth & Company CPA East Haven Board of Education Eder Brothers Eli Lilly Energizer Personal Enterprise Holdings, Madison Epsilon HM1 Eureka Chr. 2 - Order Eastern Star Faiman Agency Realtor Faiield University Family Centered Services of CT FarnamNeighborhood House, Inc. Fedex Corporation Fellowship Place Fidelity Information Services Fire Lite Alarms, Inc./Honeywell Fire Solutions First Niagara Financial Group Forest City Enterprises Foxon Park Beverages, Inc. Frontier Communications Ganne Fleming General Electric Company General Elfun George Ellis Co. Girl Scouts of Connecticut Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Group Benefits Adminstrators of CT H&R Block Hamden Hall Country Day School Hanover Insurance Company Haord Financial Services HomeGoods Hopkins School IBM Corporation Illinois Tool Works ION Bank Foundation Janney Montgomery Sco, LLC John F. Kennedy School Johnson & Johnson Kirby Building Systems Knights of Columbus
Technologies, LLC L.L. Bean * Land O'Lakes, Inc. Laticrete International, Inc. Leo's Landscaping Libey Bank Foundation Libey Mutual Lincoln Financial Macy's Magellan Midstream Paners Mallinkrodt Pharmaceuticals ManpowerGroup Marshalls Mason, Inc. McKesson M fund, Inc. Monro Muffler/Brake & Service Muha Cullina, LLP Neighborhood Housing Services NEU Specialty Engineered Materials, LLC/PolyOne Corporation New Haven Board of Education New Haven Legal Assistance New Haven Register New Reach Newman Architects Nextera Noh Branford Board of Education Nohrop Grumman Owl Shop, LLC PCL Civil Constructors, Inc. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Peoples United Bank PepsiCo Petro Heating Oil Pfizer Piedmont Airlines Pitney Bowes Post University Pra & Whitney Principal Financial Group Raymond James Financial Inc. Regional Water Authority of South Central CT Rockwell Automation RTI International Sargent Manufacturing Scorade Investment Consulting Seward & Monde Shuster-Meler Corp. Sikorsky Aircra Simons Foundation Skanska USA Building Inc. Spectra Energy Sta Bank Steelcase Inc. Stirling Benefits Inc. Stop & Shop Suntrust T.J. Maxx Stores Target Corporation TD Bank The Bonton The Connection The Durol Co. The Foote School The Hez Corporation Thermo Fischer Scientific Tilcon Connecticut Torrington Supply Company Town Fair Tire * Town of Branford Town of Guilford Town of Hamden Town of Madison City of New Haven Town of Woodbridge Travelers Companies, Inc. Trident Tyco UBS United Aluminum Corporation United Health Group United Parcel Service United Technologies United Way of Greater New Haven United Way of Meriden & Wallingford University of New Haven Verizon Wireless Vine Products Manufacturing Co. Walgreens Benefit Fund Wal-ma Webster Bank Wells Fargo Wesleyan University West Haven Board of Education West Haven Child Development Center West Haven Community House Whilesey and Hadley Wiggin & Dana William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund Woodbridge Board of Education Workforce Alliance Xerox Corporation GE Yale University Yale-New Haven Hospital
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Contact Jim Travers at 203-691-4212 or email@example.com 21
SMALL BUSINESSPERSONS OF THE YEAR leia’s Gluten Free Foods is on a mission to create baked goods that anyone would want to eat, regardless of dietary restrictions. Currently, the line of products includes 10 different cookies, breadcrumbs and panko, croutons and stuffing mixes. The products are prepared and baked by hand at a facility in Branford, employing around 30 people. A professional chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America and James Beard award winner Kim Snow once had a bakery in Middletown, Kimberly’s. Later, she opened a restaurant and banquet facility in Westbrook which was also named Aleia’s, after Kim’s Sicilian grandmother. Kim’s husband Jim Snow’s background is in mechanical engineering and it was only when that industry changed dramatically in Connecticut and jobs in his field were disappearing, that he joined Kim in the food business. Many of the current employees have been with Aleia’s husband and wife founders for many years through multiple endeavors.
Company founders from left to right, chef Kim Snow, marketing director Linda Allain, and CEO Jim Snow in their Branford facility
Gluten Free But Especially Good For The Heart Local Food Producer Feeds, Inspires, and Gives Back By Rachel Bergman 22
Aleia’s Gluten Free Foods was founded in 2008 after a few years of “trying” the gluten free life in the restaurant. Kim was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and it was recommended that she go gluten free around 2002. At the time, options for that diet were “limited and not at all tasty,” recalled Linda Allain, Aleia’s Marketing Director and long-time employee of the Snow’s businesses who started as a restaurant employee in 1992. That didn’t sit well with Kim, who began making gluten free meals at the restaurant and even offering gluten free items from the bar (like gluten free vodkas). Most tasters couldn’t tell the difference between the gluten free and “regular” meals, but many customers were instantly appreciative. Selling her own food products was a test—the Snows brought a few things to a small independent grocer in Old Saybrook where they live and asked for shelf space, “just to see if this stuff sells.” It did and the Snows decided to keep selling. Eventually it was clear that there was demand in the market. Within a few years, the Snows made the decision to give up the restaurant life to pursue a new business, a packaged food company. A salesman at heart, Jim took the products to Whole Foods stores one by one, selling the store his product through the front door, and then going around the back to stock the shelves. Eventually, Stop and Shop reached out to get the Aleia’s line in their stores, as well. Today, the products are in more than 4,000 stores nationally and growing as Jim and his sales team continue to travel around the country conducting allergen food demos in grocery stores and expanding their market. “It’s not just the Kim and Jim show,” Jim Snow assures us, “our employees are everything.” That philosophy plays out in particular in special partnerships between the Snows’ businesses and local nonprofits like VISTA Vocational and SARAH have ensured a diverse workforce both at the restaurants and now at Aleia’s Gluten Free Foods. WWW.CONNTACT.COM
“Everyone has upward mobility. Everyone,” He says about those partnerships. The company even sponsors green cards for employees.
a healthy and successful product, that led to their selection as Business New Haven’s Small Businessperson of the Year.
Chuck Caldwell, part-time Job Developer at VISTA Life Innovations, has been working with Aleia’s for many years and the relationship started when they had the restaurant in Old Saybrook. According to Caldwell, “When Kim and Jim opened up the food company, we brought in a student looking for a job and they worked very closely with her. They are very handson and Linda is great. The student started working in the back as a pot and pan washer and was eventually promoted to the production line, where she still works. It’s been 6 years. Our relationship has been wonderful, they have a good understanding of our population. They don’t cut them any slack, make sure they get the job done, and it’s been a wonderful partnership.”
Production is steady, but could grow if the company had more space. Jim Snow admits that ideally, moving the cookies to one facility and keeping the bread in another would be the goal for expansion. He’s proud of the machinery in their processing plant, and in particular pointed out a “cuber” for big breads that he was able to buy with the help of DECD (State Department of Economic Development) funding. It was worth it, according to Snow, “it paid for itself in 6 months. In this business, you’ve got to know your costs or you won’t survive.”
With the VISTA program, a job coach goes in to a new place of employment with a student when they start a job and observes all duties to be able to provide support to the student, helping to correct any problems or difficulties. As the student becomes accustomed to the workload, the job coach then “fades” and the student becomes more independent. “They’ve also helped with BRS – Bureau of Rehabilitation Services assessments by providing the spots for a student looking to fulfill 40-hour commitments to assess the student’s abilities. They’ve held parties for us. They are a real supporter,” Caldwell said. The community is important to Aleia’s, where employees still sell products locally at farmer’s markets like Middletown and Branford, and even at the Made In Connecticut annual fair in addition to their wholesale distribution. It is for their dedication to including the community in their business, their rapid growth and ingenuity in making
“I hunt down American-made machinery,” Snow alludes to his background in the machine industry himself and his experience with the outsourcing of manufacturing to China. Most pieces of equipment have posted written instructions, but also pictures explaining the steps. He says it makes it easier for employees at all levels to do well. Key employees also share a stake in the business, particularly those that came over to the business from the restaurant. The couple wasn’t sure the venture would work, and those that took the risk with them were rewarded, like Linda, who is now a principal of the company. Aleia’s ingredients, like breadcrumbs and breads, are also used in a variety of other natural and gluten free lines— as breading for a fish company selling a gluten free frozen product, and a they’ve even made a special gluten free brownie for an ice cream company in Pennsylvania. Jim Snow still stresses the idea that “coming to work here is a social life,” and his employees have fun on the job, “it’s about the team we surround ourselves with, they helped build it.” BNH
Congratulations Milind Deshpande print web communication 110 Hamilton Street • New Haven, CT 06511 tel 203.624.0194 • fax 203.624.3609 firstname.lastname@example.org www.goodcopy.com
CLEMONS from page 18 Clemons became the founding CEO and President of ConnCAT in 2011, located in the heart of one of New Haven’s most troubled neighborhoods: Dixwell/Newhallville, and Clemons admits that trust from the community did not come right away. “It was a little difficult at first, given a lot of things that have happened in Newhallville historically and promises being made to them that weren’t kept, so the residents of Newhallville and Dixwell looked at us with suspicion, and rightfully so. I quickly wanted to position ConnCAT to be a repository of community pride. I think we achieved it, but it took us some time.” That relationship turned a corner when local residents began making use of the ConnCAT facilities for community events and residents began enrolling in ConnCAT’s training programs. Clemons believes that ConnCAT is not just targeting the unemployment rates in low-income communities, but they are also bridging the opportunities gap that exists. Staff encourages participants in the programs to believe that there is opportunity for them through resilience, through hard work and through service that generates and manufactures hope. “Where people see hope, they see opportunity,” says Clemons. Trainings are cyclical, and ConnCAT has graduated 90 people since inception with a 58% employment rate. In September of 2015, the Entrepreneurship Academy for high school students was launched in conjunction with the Quinnipiac Business School. The academy is for students that have the desire to be entrepreneurs, but may not want to go to college because, Clemons notes, “If we’re talking about putting a dent in unemployment, one thing not discussed is creating jobs for oneself and for others in the black community, rather than finding a job and working for someone else. It’s a new cultural idea. There’s nothing wrong with working at Yale University or Yale Hospital, but the narrative should also include creating one’s own business to employ others.” The organization coordinates this program with Dr. Norman Gray, who leads the entrepreneurship component at Quinnipiac, and plans are in the works to create a summer camp. It quickly became apparent that ConnCAT training programs were heavily populated by women, but that men were dropping out and male enrollment overall was low. To address the gap in enrollment demographics, the teams at ConnCAT put their heads together to figure out why the program offerings with readily available jobs in the community were popular with women, but could not retain male
students. In deciding the types of programs that would attract males, specifically Black and Latino males in the region with higher unemployment rates on average, a looming consideration was the idea that the prison reentry population needed to be addressed. The ConnCAT community wanted to address both of these issues. That was part of the logic behind starting the new Culinary Academy opening this month. Up to 25% of those culinary trainees are people who were once incarcerated. “Mostly, our [initial] programs were highly populated by African American women and Latino women. Now, we see 70% of the [new] culinary academy trainees are men of color,” Clemons said. The culinary school has plans to open a restaurant featuring the dishes that trainee chefs are learning to create (how very Hyde Park) and that 30-seat café with a 20-seat patio is set to open in July of this year. While the participants may have too much experience with poverty, Clemons asserts that he and his team are not a poverty program. An important element of ConnCAT education is a life skills training component, teaching participants that they have to behave in a way to keep their jobs. He explains, “We give students a personality assessment to create life skills training to really be introspective for that particular student. We get a lot of discovery in that. This isn’t just about job training and getting a job, it’s about transforming one’s life.” Five years in, Clemons’ mentor and ConnCAT’s Chairman of the Board Carlton Highsmith couldn’t be prouder of his protégé and the organization’s success in the community, “Erik and his talented staff have successfully developed the exact culture the ConnCAT board sought to create when the Center was founded: an environment where everyone—including the poor, under-employed, and unemployed people we serve—embraces core values like mutual respect, hard work, and a commitment to excellence.” It’s not just Highsmith and New Haven that recognizes Clemons’ passion— he’s currently an education fellow at the Aspen Institute, with a section headed up by Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, for a 5-year fellowship. Most recently, he was appointed and confirmed to serve on the Connecticut State Board of Education, as well. In that advisory role, Clemons “hopes to serve as a voice and sounding board to represent the black and brown Latino children in Connecticut that are living in urban neighborhoods where for the most part, the educational experience has been compromised by poverty.” BNH
BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR
Deshpande: “I love science, I don’t think I can get away from it.”
New Haven’s Quiet Billion Dollar Dealmaker The Pursuit of A Treatment for AIDS Evolved Into A Drug To Cure An Even Greater Killer
By Mitchell Young his past May, Janssen Pharmaceutical, a division of Johnson & Johnson [NYSE: JNJ], “entered into an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration arrangement” with the relatively small [80 employees] New Haven-based Achillion Pharmaceuticals [NASDAQ: ACHN] to “develop and commercialize Achillion’s lead Hepatitis C Virus assets.” The collaboration is expected to eventually be worth more than one billion dollars to Achillion, and included a purchase by J&J of $225 million of Achillion stock at $12.25 per share. Achillion will receive additional payments based on achievement of “specific developments, regulatory and sales milestones.”
Achillion was founded in 2000, went public in 2006, and its stock currently sells for approximately $6.50 per share. Some investors had been hoping that as a small company with such an important product in a competitive market, Achillion would be sold outright to a pharma giant. Achillion CEO Milind Deshpande and his board had a different idea. Deshpande said of the deal “their [Janssen’s] investment allowed us to maximize the value from our HCV [hepatitis drug] portfolio and also position us to become a leader in complement factor D inhibition [a drug development strategy the company says that can be used to treat a variety of rare immune system related diseases]. Deshpande added, ‘we were looking for a partner that could help expedite approvals and could address the [scale of the] global market.” Desphande’s strategy to use the resources from the sale of its Hepatitis C development rights to develop drugs for a variety of rare diseases is designed to steer toward a less competitive environment than the Hepatitis C market.
Photo: Steve Cooper
Rare diseases are not a market that major pharmaceutical companies compete aggressively in. Achillion’s New Haven neighbor Alexion, with a market value of $32 billion, has demonstrated, however, that treating rare diseases can be profitable. Achillion has already begun a Phase One study this year to test the safety of one of these [factor D Inhibitors] drugs and it expects to add an additional clinical trial this spring. ••• The new generation of drugs that cure Hepatitis C have generated both great excitement and controversy. Gilead Sciences [NASDAQ: GILD], based in Foster City, California [with a research facility in Branford], has been first to the market with two Hepatitis C drugs that cure the disease in the vast majority of patients; Sovaldi and the heavily advertised Harvoni. Depending on which disease type the patient has, the chosen regimen can take between 12 and 18 weeks of treatments to effect a total cure – that’s the excitement. The controversy is that the listed cost of $84-90,000 has lawmakers and healthcare access activists screaming for regulation. The FDA apparently sees Achillion’s drug developments as “more help is on the way” and authorized “Fast Track” treatment, which provides accelerated approval for drugs with a needed or unmet need. Last February, Achillion released data that showed its drug, in combination with Sovaldi, cut treatment time in half, while maintaining the nearly total cure rate. This past summer, J&J began testing the Achillion drugs in conjunction with drugs already owned by J&J. For this huge business success, for helping to maintain an independent local company and the development of this important lifesaving drug, Business New Haven names Achillion CEO Milind Deshpande it’s Businessperson of the Year for 2015-2016. WWW.CONNTACT.COM
••• Deshpande first joined Achillion in its infancy in 2001, leaving the safety and comfort of Pharma giant Bristol Myers. Desphpande, based in Wallingford, worked for BMS for ten years and managed the identification of new clinical candidates to treat infectious and neurological diseases. Business New Haven recognized Deshpande as a Greater New Haven Health Care Hero in 2010 when, as President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer at Achillion, the company licensed an HIV treatment to the Tianjin Institute of Pharmaceutical Research in China to develop the drug, through the Chinese group’s joint venture partner, GCA Therapeutics Ltd. in New Jersey. Deshpande was appointed CEO of Achillion in May 2013.
resolved those issues but by that time, the HIV market was pretty saturated. We didn’t pursue that molecule and started researching Hepatitis C.” Hepatitis C is blood borne and can only be spread by blood to blood transference such as infected needles, contaminated food, or some patients may have gotten Hepatitis C from transfusions that occurred before the blood supply was checked for the virus. Many people will live with Hepatitis C without symptoms, but currently about 250,000 people die from the disease each year.
While forty million people in the world are infected with HIV, and about a million in the U.S. Hepatitis C, which can destroy the liver, has infected more than 185 million people worldwide with two to three million new cases occurring each year, and more than 5 million reported cases in the U.S. “Our platform is really drug discovery, we try to understand the molecular targets we can use to cure the disease. Once we understand the molecular targets, we go about designing drugs to [attack those targets].
Deshpande reacted to the question of whether, as the CEO of a public company, he missed the “hands-on” work only a researcher can do? He said, “the move to CEO was a smooth transition, I was already close to Wall Street and investors, we have a great board, it wasn’t a vast change for me,” but he added, “I love science, I don’t think I can get away from it. In our business I don’t think you can remove yourself from the core function.” BNH
Deshpande grew up in rural India one hundred and fifty miles northeast of Mumbai, and earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in India before coming to the U.S. in 1982 to earn his Ph.D. at Ohio State University. “I received my Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, I like making molecules, I was a lab rat for many, many years,” he explained. ••• We first stepped into Achillion Pharmaceuticals at 300 George Street sixteen years ago to learn about their plans to fight viruses including HIV with technology developed at Yale. The AIDS epidemic had bio scientists realizing that they would have to learn new ways to battle viruses. Most infectious viral diseases like Polio, Smallpox, Measles, and Chickenpox, were addressed by vaccines to prevent the disease by using the body’s immune system to stave off infections, but historically, they took decades of scientific advances to develop. A vaccine for HIV was promised in 1984 by then U.S. Health Secretary Margaret Heckler to be but a few years away, but the bioscience community reportedly thought it would be more difficult. Nonetheless, Achillion and other companies set out to develop “antiretroviral therapy” [ART] drug combinations that attack the virus, reducing the virus’s ability to grow and while no vaccine or cure exists, drugs were eventually developed that have thwarted HIV’s ability to decimate its host and to control its spread. Deshpande explained how the company turned its attention to Hepatitis C, “the foundation of Achillion was an HIV drug we had licensed from Yale, it was just starting clinical studies, but the drug had some issues, we [eventually] FEBRUARY 2016
Photo: Isabel Chenoweth
Professor Vince Breslin measuring temperature and salinity at a fish tank for Striped Bass at SCSU’s Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies
Coastal and Marine Studies Riding A New Wave The Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies at SCSU Is Making Its Mark Across Connecticut and Beyond Third In A Three Part Series: Southern on Science’s Edge By: Emili Lanno
n the first and second floors of Southern Connecticut State University’s Academic Science and Laboratory Building, the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies has found its place.
Breslin said students are able to get involved in a wide variety of different projects and research while in the marine studies program.
Vincent Breslin, Science Education and Environmental Studies professor and coCoordinator of the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies said the program originally started over a decade ago in 2004, and then went up from there.
The particular courses that Breslin teaches in Marine Science are Coastal Marine Studies, Marine Pollution and Marine Field Studies. Within these courses, Breslin and the students look at the distribution and tropic transfer of “contaminant metals in Connecticut harbors.”
In 2006, the Werth Family Foundation provided funding for the center and then in 2013, an endowment. It was then that the program was renamed the Werth Center for Coastal and Marine Studies. “The program was [designed] to provide a facility for undergraduate research that would focus on issues that were important to coastal Connecticut and Long Island Sound,” said Breslin.
Their most recent project was documenting plastic microbeads present from “consumer products in Long Island Sound.”
Breslin said in many cases there is still a rich industrial history in these waters and “some of that legacy is still showing up in our sediments.” One of many projects students and faculty are involved in through this program is the investigation of the “stability of beaches” involving accretion and/ or erosion and the ability of beaches in Connecticut to serve as “storm wave buffers protecting coastal structures and infrastructure.” “In that instance,” said Breslin, “they have students out on the beaches surveying the beaches and movement of the sands off the beaches and off shore and how that responds to coastal storms. This is important recently with past storms like Sandy and coastal flooding and how we prepare coastal resistance and preparedness.”
Haven and also finding out the feedback of five separate beaches along the state’s coast relative to big storms. Breslin said students that become involved in the Marine Coastal Studies program simply come to them when they are interested in joining. “We have students who are chemistry majors, biology majors, physics, earth science, environmental science and more,” said Breslin. “Often times students will come to us looking for opportunities and we recruit them and they show interest in doing research. In fact, graduate students participate in [the program] as well. It’s just a matter of having an interest in doing work that addresses the issues along the Connecticut coastline.”
“One of the two aquariums was designed to recreate an open water Long Island Sound Habitat”
Two recent studies that have come about involve “assessing the fate of a $3.7 million Corps of Engineers beach nourishment project” located in West
Students and faculty involved in the program go to a variety of areas in the state including Greenwich, Stamford, Mystic and Stonington, all along the shoreline, said Breslin. They also visit inland parts in water shields and the Housatonic River. Breslin said the program is completely volunteer work and not required for
students to take and they try to “match student’s interests with programs.” “Students are going to do much better if they are matched with their needs and talents.” Breslin said the program also offers students the chance to earn stipends while participating. “Oftentimes our students are first generations in their families to go to college and they have to work to support,” said Breslin. “The funding we receive is to provide stipends where they are working in labs rather than jobs at fast food places and they are supporting the industry.” Breslin said compared to the spot at SCSU where they were previously located, the new labs and space are “phenomenal.”
of field work and I can’t tell you how many times I carried equipment up three flights of stairs. We made it work but it was challenging.” In the new building they have state of the art analytical labs and equipment and a coastal process lab to name a few, said Breslin. “We have sufficient office spaces and now have rooms that support our field work,” said Breslin. “We have the first floor so now we can actually pull our trucks right up to the loading docks in our lab where there are hoses to get the mud off of the gear and a washer and dryer. [There’s a] shower to get [mud] off clothes and cleaned up for classes. The rooms and cabinets accommodate all of our field gear.” Breslin also said students can now get
The Werth family ponied up three million dollars for marine research at Southern’s new Academic Science and Laboratory Building. Attending the groundbreaking: [Standing from left] Suzanne Werth, ’89, Debbie Bachard, Peter Werth, Pam Werth, Jackie Moore and [Seated] Peter Werth IV and Carolyn Werth (children of Suzanne and Peter Werth III and Peter’s grandchildren).
“We were located in a space on the third floor of Jennings Hall and it was very cramped,” said Breslin. “So we were on the third floor and we do a lot
a concentration in the Coastal Marine Studies in the Environmental Systems and Sustainability Studies major at Southern, which was approved in Fall 2015 by the CSCU Board of Regents.
1-877-9NEWLAND Tree Work
Snow and Ice Commercial 1-877-9NEWLAND Mangement Maintenance
Snow and ice management Landscaping
Commercial maintenance Site Development Site development
volved in the program as well,” said Breslin.
ence and opportunity for students in this field and all others.
erything goes so much more smoothly. There is much more space.”
Hollie Brandstatter, current graduate student at SCSU, received her undergraduate degree in Spring 2015. As an undergraduate she received her bachelor’s of science in liberal studies with three minors consisting of marine studies, environmental studies, and geography.
Brandstatter said having the aquariums present in the building gets people talking and interested in the program.
Brandstatter said having all of the different fields “under one roof” gives a great opportunity to expand on the interdisciplinary goal and getting students to work together.
“It’s very visible and people are walking by it everyday,” she said. “Everyone stops to look at them and it is awesome. When we are doing things in the tanks people stop and talk about what we are doing.”
Brandstatter became a part of the Coastal and Marine Studies program while she was an undergraduate in Jan. 2013. “I had a class with Vince Breslin as an undergrad,” said Brandstatter, “and I eventually approached him and that’s when I started.” While in the program, Brandstatter was mostly focusing on the water quality program and testing different waters in Connecticut. She was the first to participate in the water quality program and also helped to get it up and running. Brandstatter is also frequently involved in the running of the aquariums set in the building. “The testing of the water is a daily thing we have to do,” said Brandstatter. The first step in testing the water, said Brandstatter, is to use “handheld probe meters to test dissolved oxygen, temperature and salinity.”
She also said one of her classes is “currently working on putting together different curricula and activities for school groups and teachers who visit.”
Grad student Brandstatter, “the labs for marine studies are fantastic.”
The samples they take from the tanks are approximately 200 milliliters, testing the pH with a meter and “then use two separate test kits to chemically check for ammonia, nitrate and nitrite.” Nitrogen can get into the tank through fish waste and uneaten food as ammonia, “which is toxic to the fish,” said Brandstatter. Even though nitrates and nitrites are not as toxic to the fish, they are still checked for daily. “If nitrogen levels are too high, we would have to do a water change.” Brandstatter said being in the new science building is a whole new experi-
“We want to get some K-12 classes involved and visit at Southern as sort of a hands on approach and introduce them to the school, as well as show them the marine studies program.” Brandstatter said many students as well as herself do cross research while involved in the program. “A lot of learning is involved, not necessarily just in one specific area, but have the experience in many.” Now having the new science building and with the expansion of marine studies, Brandstatter said there definitely is a difference and more opportunities than before.
“This [building] definitely helps the STEM fields and also helps foster some career goals as well,” said Brandstatter. Breslin said students who are able to work in the new science building, no matter what the field, get a chance to have an experience that will set them apart from others and give them a step into the real world; boosting their career opportunities. “Students have the aspirations for grad school and working in the industry,” said Breslin. “Students [are able to] gain experience on really state of the art analytical instruments, working in these labs, and working with facility hands on. Having this field experience sets them apart in terms of giving them a competitive advantage. They can walk out of Southern and into a company and say ‘Here’s what I can do for you.’ It is a competitive market and it’s not all about what you know, but what you can do with what you do know.” BNH
“The labs for marine studies are phenomenal,” said Brandstatter. “I worked in the old one and now in the new one. Just the way everything is set up, ev-
Generation.Next: Training for Teens
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Murphy Distributors has leased 16,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Branford.
Heritage Financial, LLC moved to 5 Saint John Street in North Haven from Wallingford.
Joel Galvin, GRI, CCS and Senior Commercial Associate in the Pearce Real Estate North Haven office, recently negotiated the sale of the Greenview Apartments, a 15 unit complex at 405 Main St., West Haven. The sales price was $910,000 and Galvin represented both the seller, Greenview Apartment, LLC, and the buyer, Vesta Real Estate Partners, LLC. Carl G. Russell, CCIM, SIOR, and Senior Broker in the Pearce Real Estate Milford Commercial Office, represented the owner, Latella Enterprises Corporation, in the $550,000 sale of 18 acres of light industrial land at 80 Prindle Rd. in West Haven. The buyer of the property, JEC Construction & Transport, LLC of Milford, was represented by Weed Realtors, and will use the property for storage of stock and equipment for their landscaping, construction and truck hauling operations. John Bergin, Senior Commercial Specialist in Pearce Real Estate’s Milford office, represented the buyer, Coating Design Group, in the $1,950,000 sale of a building at 430 Sniffens Lane, Stratford. The 35,488 SQFT building, formerly occupied by Advanced Graphics, overlooks the Housatonic River. The seller, The Putney Associates of New York, was represented by David Gorbach with Colonial Realty of Fairfield. O,R&L Commercial, LLC participated in the sale of 111 Kendall St. in New Haven, an 11,920 SF industrial / warehouse building. The buyer, Performance Environmental Services LLC, will be converting the property to their new corporate headquarters. They plan to make significant improvements to the building including 4,500 SF of new corporate offices and improvements to the warehouse and operations areas. The seller, Louis LaViola was represented by Toby Brimberg of O,R&L and the buyer was represented by Gary Damato of Press Cuozzo. FEBRUARY 2016
John Bergin, Senior Commercial Specialist, and Carl G. Russell, CCIM, SIOR, and Senior Broker from Pearce Real Estate participated in the 10,000 SQFT lease transaction at 1770 Boston Post Rd., Milford. Bergin represented the tenant, CADO Modern Furniture of Berlin and he and Russell represented the owner of the 51,000 SQFT retail space, M&K Post Road Associates, LLC. CADO is expanding its Connecticut presence with this second new space in Milford. Murphy Distributors, a beverage marketing and distribution company, has leased 16,000 SF of office and warehouse space at 25 Business Park Dr., Branford. Tim McMahon of O,R&L Commercial represented the Tenant, Murphy Distributors and Richard Guralnick, CCIM, also of O,R&L represented the Landlord, Business Park Realty. Dave Melillo, Senior Commercial Associate of Pearce Real Estate, successfully leased 1,300 SQFT of office space located at 5 Saint John St., North Haven. Melillo represented the owner of the property, 5 Saint John Street, LLC. The tenant is Heritage Financial, LLC, a financial services company previously located in Wallingford. Phil Barber, Senior Broker in the Pearce Real Estate North Haven Commercial Office, successfully negotiated two leases totaling 18,500SQFT for TGP Oxygen Company, a supplier of technical gases to various industries. TGP Oxygen will relocate its Connecticut operation from North Haven to Harvest Park, 101 North Plains Industrial Rd., Wallingford. Included are a five-year, 8500SQFT lease for office space, and a seven-year, 10,000SQFT lease for warehouse and assembly space. Lou Proto, of The Proto Group, represented the owner of the property, Harvest Park, LLC. John Bergin, Senior Commercial Specialist in the Pearce Real Estate Milford Commercial office, represented both tenant and landlord in lease negotiations for 2,500 SQFT at 20-22 Quirk Rd., Milford. Maiorano Holdings LLC of Stamford is the owner of the 5,600SQFT, multi-tenanted, industrial structure, and Atlantic Diagnostic Laboratories (ADL) of Bethlehem, PA is the new tenant. The Geenty Group, Realtors, participated in the lease of 1,334 SF at 2415 Boston Post Rd., Guilford. The Tenant is Artis SLM of Branford. Artis is constructing and operating a new
The Geenty Group’s Kristin Geenty helped locate Artis SLM to 2415 Boston Post Road in Guilford for a “memory care facility” for Alzheimer patients.
memory care facility in Branford for Alzheimer patients. Kristin Geenty SIOR was the agent for the Tenant. The Landlord is Mariner Properties, LLC. Bill Clark, also of The Geenty Group, was the agent for the Landlord.
People Stephen Press, SIOR, co-principal of Press|Cuozzo Realtors received the 2015 Retail Deal of the Year Award for the sale of 281 Boston Post Rd., Orange that became the new Eli’s Restaurant, and the 2015 Land Sale of the Year was for a 3.78 acre development site located at 505 and 511 Washington Ave., North Haven, which is being developed into a new retail center. Anna Buonoas was appointed as the new Sales Manager of Calcagni Real Estate’s Wallingford office, and Joel Grossman, from Wallingford office manager to Director of New Homes and Land Consulting. Buonoas earned her CRS certification (Certified Residential Specialist) and she has received her GRI designation (Graduate of the REALTORS Institute). Kevin C. Geenty SIOR, and William N. Clark, both 30 year veterans of The Geenty Group, Realtors, received a joint award and plaques from the New Haven CID (Commercial Investment Division) of the Greater New Haven/Middlesex Association of Realtors for the 2015 Industrial Lease “Deal of the Year.” This award was for the long term lease of 80 Commerce St., East Haven. Boston Granite Exchange, Inc. leased 28,808 SF on over 5 acres. Kevin Geenty and Bill Clark were the agents for the Landlord, New Haven Realty Corporation while Seth Boynick of Boynick Realty Company represented the Tenant. Attorney Al Ippolitto of New Haven was the attorney for the Landlord, and Attorney Christopher Agostino was the attorney for the Tenant.
Wayne Hugendubel has been appointed to the Board of Directors for The New Haven Middlesex Association of REALTORS® (NHMR) for a 2 year term. Hugendubel is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, located in Orange. He has earned his ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) certifications. Nanette Pastore, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at Pearce Real Estate, has been elected Treasurer to the Board of Directors for the New Haven Middlesex Association of Realtors (NHMR) for 2016. Pastore holds many real estate designations including ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute), AHWD (At Home with Diversity) and CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert). She currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, and is a State Board of Director for the CT Association of Realtors.
Construction Guilford Development Partners, LLC an affiliate of New England Retail Properties, Inc. of Wethersfield announced they have recently completed construction of Tractor Supply’s 1,465th store, the 12th store in Connecticut. The selected property is on Route 1 in Guilford.
Tractor Supply now on Route 1 in Guilford.
At Ville Swiss Autonomics Inc., the dozen workers are outnumbered by the rows of CNC and escomatic machines on the shop floor.
Photos: Derek Torrellas
Making Change Happen In The Brass City Waterbury is Open for Business and The Rebuilding To The City’s Manufacturing Heritage Is On Center Stage Second In A Three Part Series: Waterbury On The Move Again
By: Derek Torrellas here’s an old factory in Waterbury, more of a brick shell really, hemmed in by Cherry and North Elm Streets. Along with the many other long-abandoned factories, it serves as a reminder of the Brass City’s manufacturing past.
Waterbury’s manufacturing future, then, is the 16 year old learning to operate CNC machines at a school just a few blocks away, or Luvata’s expansion into a 160,000-square-foot facility at the site of the old Chase Brass & Copper Co.
Owing to poor farming land, the inhabitants of Waterbury turned to the Naugatuck River to use as a source of power in the early 1800s. Small manufacturers sprang up, producing goods made from wool to metal, including brass. Waterbury soon became a dominant supplier of buttons to the American military. The Waterbury Button Company, which moved to Cheshire in 2000, claims that both Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee wore Waterbury Buttons on their uniforms when the two met for the Confederate surrender in 1865.
Mayor Neil O’Leary, elected in 2011, has made manufacturing one of the central goals of the “Waterbury is Open for Business,” economic campaign. While manufacturing can’t return to early 20 th-century levels, the city officials, businesses, and educators want to retain and grow manufacturing there.
Well-known watch manufacturer Timex originated in the city. Originally called Waterbury Clock Company, it was one of the most successful producers of clocks and pocket watches. One dollar bought their flagship pocket watch, the Yankee, in 1895. They sold six million in five years time.
Background: “Waterbury was always recognized as a manufacturing community,” O’Leary says. “It was the brass capital of the world during the brass days.” 30
During Waterbury’s manufacturing heyday, the “Big Three” were Scovill Manufacturing Company, Anaconda American Brass, and Chase Brass & Copper Co. They were especially active during both World Wars, when big government contracts saw them churning out munitions round the clock. But
the city built on brass experienced a protracted decline of manufacturers after World War II, as some closed their doors and others moved their operations westward. Anaconda American was the last of the those giants to leave town, moving their corporate offices to Chicago in 1980. Although diminished, manufacturing wasn’t quite dead, according to Director of Economic Development Joe McGrath. “Manufacturing – although the three majors left – the main roots still stayed in the city,” he says. “The skilled labor set stayed.” According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Waterbury went from 18,000 manufacturing jobs in 1990 to 7,300 in 2015. Part of the cause was the increased productivity of the machinery, and actual output wasn’t much affected. The Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments economic report in 2014 acknowledged the past job losses, but predicted regional manufacturing employment to be stable from 2010 to 2020.
Education: Naugatuck Valley Community College, the Manufacturing Alliance Service Corporation Training Center, and Waterbury Career Academy form a triad of training and education, with the Career Academy being the newest addition. Waterbury already had an existing vocational school, W.F. Kaynor Technical High School. As part of the state education system, it is a magnet school open to residents of the Greater Waterbury Area. It was difficult, O’Leary says, to get enough Waterbury students into the school with competition from surrounding towns.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, right, with Joseph DeFeo, program director, inside Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
City Government: “I knew nothing about manufacturing before I started running for office,” O’Leary says. “And that’s why I made it a point to visit dozens and dozens of manufacturing facilities.” The individual companies and Smaller Manufacturers Association told him they were concerned for the future— specifically, the future workforce. Tool and die makers are machinists who spend years becoming proficient at using typically older, more manually intensive equipment. Their average age is 56, according to O’Leary. To be an effective mayor of a manufacturing community, he says, required focusing on workforce education. His first official act as head of the municipal government was petitioning the Governor, “basically begging,” to place one of three advanced manufacturing centers destined for state community colleges at Naugatuck Valley Community
to find buildings that have the ceiling height that’s required for manufacturing. So if you take a building down or convert it over, you may lose an opportunity to bring a manufacturer in who needs a 25-foot or a 30- or 40-foot ceiling. You need to protect the integrity of manufacturing in those areas.” The Enterprise Zone, established before O’Leary’s administration, is a program that covers about 1,600 properties offering tax incentives to prospective manufacturers. A company established in the zone does not pay property taxes for the first two years. The third year they will pay 20 percent, 40 percent the fourth year, and the pattern continues until the year seven when they pay 100 percent of their property taxes. The city, of course, loses potential income through tax breaks and O’Leary says there are “naysayers” who criticize it. “The benefit is,” he says, “they are providing jobs. By the way, every year we have more and more growth in the grand list, because the companies
Manufacturing teacher Ken Sirois and student Elise Cuevas measure a part using a micrometer at the Waterbury Career Academy
College. The mayor says King Industries in particular told him they chose to construct their new facility in Waterbury because of the workforce in the area. Another factor is the available space the city has for new businesses. Instead of taking a cue from some Connecticut cities and re-zoning the empty factories for upscale apartments or commercial use, they remain earmarked for industrial usage. “Because,” McGrath says, “it’s hard FEBRUARY 2016
that take advantage of the Enterprise Zone are paying up to 20 percent more. We hit that seven-year mark and we get them for that 100 percent. It helps the city because it grows the grand list and obviously provides relief for the taxpayers.” Waterbury’s Grand List dropped sharply after the post-Recession 2012 revaluation. It has since increased from around $4.02 billion in 2012 to around $4.07 billion in 2014, a difference of nearly 1.5 percent.
O’Leary was serving as a commissioner on the City’s Board of Education prior to becoming mayor. “We decided as a Board of Ed.,” he says, “that we would build a high school on these four strands.” Strands are the career fields of human resources, health services, IT, and manufacturing. “It gives kids more of an opportunity than a traditional high school to work on one of the four fields that you choose.” The $70 million Waterbury Career Academy began with a freshmen class in the Fall of 2013. Those students are now in their junior year, and as such, there is no senior class yet. A working relationship with the Smaller Manufacturers Association helped to design the curriculum and the workshop classroom. The equipment there reflects what factories are using, says manufacturing teacher Ken Sirois. “They have a combination of Computer Numerical Control machines and hands-on manufacturing,” he says. “So that’s exactly what we’re doing here. We’re trying to give them the hands-on skills and the computer-based skills.” Assistant Principal Mike Harris pointed to the computer screen on a nearby CNC machine in the advanced manufacturing classroom. “The older generations, they’re afraid of that machine,” he says. “They don’t want to deal with punching numbers.” Harris had spoken with the general manager of local manufacturer H&T Waterbury Inc. and found that they look for young workers who are more comfortable with technology. “When you walk into H&T and go into their newer technology department, it’s all younger people. People in their mid- to late-20’s.” While Career Academy graduates are employable, it is also intended as a sort of “feeder program” to Naugatuck Valley Community College. The aforementioned application O’Leary sent to the state in 2011 for an advanced manufacturing center at NVCC was approved. 6500 square feet houses theory classrooms, machinery, and raw materials. Three full-time
instructors, and educational assistants – retirees with 35 to 40 years of experience, form the instructor cadre. Joseph DeFeo serves as program director. “We basically have a three-pronged attack when it comes to teaching our students,” DeFeo says, comprised of theory, software, and practical application. “So they get the theory, now they see it, and they understand it. They take a test at the end of each module, and then they go on the floor and apply it.” The “advanced” part in the manufacturing program’s name essentially means CNC machines, but the shop floor features some older equipment as well. Even more modern than the CNC machines are the program’s three large 3D printers. 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is set to revolutionize the industry. “So we’re on the cutting edge,” DeFeo says. “We’re getting people set up for what the industry is looking for now and in the future.” According to DeFeo, 90 percent of his NVCC graduates are placed at a job within three months, most result from internships that develop into full-time jobs. An alternative to the community college is the Manufacturing Alliance Service Corporation Technical Training Center. Small in comparison to both Waterbury Career Academy and NVCC, the center serves a slightly different purpose. There are no Math 101 or English 101 pre-requirements, says MaryLou Addona, and trainees can have a minimum of an eighth grade education. Addona, the MASC training center’s program coordinator, says graduates are employable after 15-week programs. Essentially, these are programs for people who need a job quickly. “They want to get trained and start working,” she says. “They don’t want to be in college for two years, four years.” For the CNC operator course, a student’s time is divided into 60 hours on shop math, 60 hours on blueprints, and 140 hours in the workshop. In midJanuary, there were only two students undergoing training, but they preferred the more one-on-one instruction. Students Doug Gaudiosi and SharyAnn Gonzalez, both Waterbury residents, started class in December. Gaudiosi says members of his family works in manufacturing and told him there is a need for tool and die makers and CNC operators. He researched it, and says he found “tons of jobs” in the state. “This will help me get my foot in the door,” he adds. Gonzalez was told to go to college and not go into manufacturing while growing up. She didn’t heed that advice and worked as a machine operator and in quality control for six years, though 31
her training was on-the-job. “[This training] is a more technical understanding of what I was doing,” she says. “I understand the blueprints better. I understood the basics before, now I understand it in more detail.” Gonzalez was optimistic for a job interview she had later in the day with a manufacturer for a $20 per hour quality inspection position. The training center was already partly run by the city, and recently, O’Leary says, the MASC offered to sell them the building for $0. The two are currently finalizing the deal.
Manufacturers: The Large Hadron Collider is a huge (27-kilometer ring), powerful, and immensely complex particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. In short, superconducting electromagnets propel two high-energy particle beams at near the speed of light until they collide. Waterbury’s connection to this seemingly sci-fi facility is through Luvata, who supplied their superconducting wire. Luvata supports High Energy Physics projects like the Collider, but the medical field is the primary market for superconducting wires with MRIs. Collectively, the Waterbury location and two other Luvata facilities in Finland and China produce a third of the world’s MRI superconducting wire, according to Susan Porter, communication director. The company was close to leaving Waterbury in 2010, when an eminent domain order from the city would
Perry from page 14 dictionary usually came out at least twice per meal.” Moving to Israel with her husband created a life change for Perry, several actually, “we went with two kids and came back with four. I became observant, so when we were back in the States, I became very involved in teaching young kids.” Perry has been widely recognized within the Jewish community for efforts to revitalize Jewish life in New Haven. She oversaw the merger of the Jewish Community Center with the Jewish Federation. Perry told the New Haven Register her proudest accomplishment was when she established Makon New Haven, a school and place for social interaction for Jewish High School aged students. Adults, too, have gotten help and Jewish education. The Center for Jewish Life and Learning has offered extensive adult educational opportunities at the adult institute, Midrasha, which initiated the lecture series “A Taste of Honey,” and brings out the Jewish community, attracting more than 700 people. There is even an offshoot for teens, “A Taste of Milk & Honey” and “A Taste of Apples & Honey.” Education and kids are never far away from the Federation and Perry’s core. In the Jewish community, it supports Ezra Academy, the Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy, 32
have ousted them from their factory off Thomaston Avenue. O’Leary says the previous administration wasn’t actively working to retain Luvata. Porter says when O’Leary came on as mayor, the city “realized it wasn’t in the best interest of the city or tenants, and began work in earnest on a plan that would allow us to stay.” Luvata signed a 15-year lease in 2013 to stay at their current location, and began constructing an expansion. “In June of 2011,” Porter says, “Luvata as a whole had committed to doubling our sales of MRI wire, superconducting wire. And obviously Waterbury is a key part in that strategy.” She adds that MRI wire is a niche business, but the outlook is positive. With the expansion operational by the end of the year, Luvata is looking to add about 15 new employees onto the 90 or so already there. John Petro founded Ville Swiss Automatics, Inc. in 1985, making Swiss screw machine products. He describes his company’s size as small to medium, but says they are equal to larger companies in terms of output and number of machines. Petro and his 11 fulltime employees made $3 million in sales last year. “Manufacturing has changed,” Petro says. “I mean, 15 years ago we had 18 employees. Now we’re computerized and we’re down to 12 and double the sales.” The “old, beat up” and more manually-intensive machines he started with were by and large gradually replaced by modern equipment. On the bottom floor, banks of CNC machines hum as they churn out metal products 24 hours a day, autonomously at night after everyone has gone home.
Scholarships, and Hillel [Jewish campus cultural and social organization] at Yale and UCONN. In New Haven, the federation supports and partners with New Haven schools to provide literacy support, The Jewish Coalition for Literacy provides many dozens of volunteers and Food 4Kids provides weekend meals. Business New Haven’s recognition of Perry as Citizen of the Year is not exactly the first time she’s been recognized for her efforts—that list of honors would fill our budgeted word count for the article. This past May, hundreds turned out when the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] provided Perry with its highest recognition, the Torch of Liberty Award. Andrew Eder, chairman of Eder Bros., a wine and spirits distributor based in West Haven, is a major supporter of the Federation and a variety of New Haven community causes. He says of Perry, “she provided boundless energy, integrity and intelligence to the Federation as director,” adding, “she’s done a great job in so many areas, the programs, events, bringing the Jewish community together and leading the Federation in its community support efforts.” Eder is no slouch in the community support arena, himself, and he tells how Perry approached him in early 2008 about her concerns for people in greater New Haven that could have
Petro entered manufacturing at a time when a lot of people who had worked in the old brass mills still remained. New hires were taught on-the-job, as long as they had mechanical ability and a willingness to work. “20 years ago nobody cared, nobody was educating manufacturers,” he says. Education at Waterbury Career Academy, Kaynor high schools, and at NVCC is an improvement, though Petro says they’re not quite there yet. “All of them, in aggregate, have not advanced far enough in their curriculums to bring us setup personnel and programmers. They’re all starting to adapt to a standard curriculum called NIMS, which is National Institute of Manufacturing Sciences, or Metalworking Sciences.” The economic advantages of manufacturing overseas have diminished, Petro says. There is a trend, at least in his specific segment of manufacturing, where the large companies that buy his products are bringing a percentage of their manufacturing back to the U.S. Now that brass is no longer the dominant product and CNC machines have replaced hands-on equipment, does the city’s nickname reflect modern Waterbury? “The reality is, that manufacturing has changed,” O’Leary says. “Plastics have come in, there’s other forms of metals that have replaced brass. We like the “Brass City” because it still, in most people’s minds, represents manufacturing.” There was some discussion around what the city could re-identify itself as, the mayor says, but no alternative names arose. The mayor laughed, but politely declined the author’s suggestion of “CNC City.” BNH
urgent needs because of the crippling recession.
to declare Perry Business New Haven’s Citizen of the Year. BNH
She explains, “I called him and said we need to be prepared.” Just days later, he heard the same, but as an independent plea for help from Jack Healey, president of the Greater New Haven United Way, to support “emergency needs” in the community. Laughing, Eder relayed how he brought the two groups together and before long, Perry volunteered him to lead the charge in raising funds. Within a month, the effort had raised $800,000. Perry and Eder emphasized that the money got pushed out quickly to people in need. Perry said “we saw it as an emergency,” adding, “We recognized that the traditional people that were getting our assistance, maybe they were living middle class lives, but if they lost their jobs, maybe they would have only two months worth of savings. They could fall into danger real quick.” Perry emphasized that neither she nor the United Way were worried about turf, “that kind of crisis made us work together.” The United Way and the Federation are the two largest fundraising organizations in the region, “we said, let’s take our strength and passion and harness it together.” The wisdom and concern shown in this one example, aside from the countless hours and millions of dollars that Perry has helped raise and direct into the New Haven community, is enough WWW.CONNTACT.COM
WHO’S WHAT WHERE a graduate of Fairfield University.
Zucker Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP appointed Ann H. Zucker as the firm’s new Managing Partner. Previously, Zucker served as Assistant Managing Partner and leader of the firm’s Business and Personal Services Group. Her practice focuses on business transactions, such as financing and the purchase and sale of businesses and real estate for both taxable and tax exempt clients. Zucker earned her J.D. from Fordham Law School and a B.A. from Yale College. Webster Bank named Jason Soto as senior vice president, senior credit executive for the Commercial Bank’s middle market lending business. Soto has 20 years of credit and financial services experience, most recently with GE Capital. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. TD Wealth, a group within TD Bank, has named Marion T. Schmeelk as Market Wealth Leader for Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties and across Connecticut. Prior to joining TD Wealth, she served as Managing Director and Fairfield County Market Director at U.S. Trust and Bank of America Private Wealth Management. She is
Schmeelk FEBRUARY 2016
Murtha Cullina LLP appointed Leslie P. King as a partner in the Litigation Department of Murtha Cullina. King represents residential and commercial owners in construction disputes and litigation, and provides contract drafting and negotiation services. She regularly presents at the American Institute of Architects Connecticut chapter on legal issues affecting the design professional community, and has lectured at the Yale School of Architecture in their professional practices seminar. King received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her J.D. from the University Of Arizona School Of Law. John Jahne, Sr. Vice President, Chief Information Officer at Ion Bank has been chosen as a “New Leader in Banking” for 2015. The Connecticut Bankers Association and Connecticut Banking magazine asked bankers throughout the State to nominate individuals that they believe are rising stars in the banking profession.
Jahne LeClairRyan promoted twelve associates to partners, two counsel to partners, and six partners to shareholders of the firm. These promotions include attorneys from eleven of the firm’s twenty-five offices nationwide. In Conn., Michael R. Oleyer was promoted in Hartford to Partner, Products Liability and Transportation. Those promoted in New Haven include Daniel P. Elliott, to Partner, Labor and Employment and Victoria Metaxas, to Partner, Professional Liability.
Littler has named Lori B. Alexander to office managing shareholder of its New Haven office. Alexander represents clients in state and federal courts on a broad range of matters. She is the former president of the New Haven County Bar Association and is a member of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, Connecticut Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Alexander earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, M.A. from New York University and B.S. from Dartmouth College.
PETRO HOME SERVICES
JOINS UNITED WAY CAMPAIGN
Dworken, Hillman, LaMorte and Sterczala, P.C., Certified Public Accountants, appointed Diana Teixeira as a Manager in the Tax department. Teixeira received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Bridgeport and a Master of Science Degree in Taxation from the University of New Haven. Hanh Trinh has also joined the firm as a Staff in the Tax department. Trinh received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Southern Connecticut State University with a concentration in accounting. The Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors appointed three new members: Dr. Elizabeth E. Feser of the Milford Public Schools, James DeStefano of ShopRite of Milford, and Priscilla Lynn of PrisCo Consulting LLC. Gaylord Specialty Healthcare promoted Jacob Hunter PT, MSPT, OC to the position of Site Supervisor of the Gaylord Physical Therapy, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine clinic in North Haven. Hunter is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist recognized by the American Physical Therapy Board of Specialties and is among the few therapists in the area to be certified in the integrative dry needling technique for pain management therapy.
"Taking care of our customers has always been our priority. Giving back to our community is our responsibility." Michael Matarese, General Manager Petro Home Services
UNITED WAY WORKPLACE CAMPAIGNS • Build employee morale • Promote a “giving back” philosophy • Improve Greater New Haven’s quality of life
HOST A WORKPLACE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN LEARN MORE: Jim Travers 203-691-4212 email@example.com 33
“The carrier agreed to pay $10 commission on each plan”
Connecticut Pharma Employer Announces Layoffs Danbury Based Pharma Set For Significant Cuts to 2700 Employee Workforce
Blind Spot In Clinical Trials Results Worrisome This month, Yale researchers published an article in the British Medical Journal revealing that as many as 40% of clinical trial results from leading academic institutions are not shared within 24 months. Dr. Nihar Desai, assistant professor of medicine, section of cardiology at Yale School of Medicine and a researcher at the
German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim is set to layoff employees at its Connecticut base, located in Ridgefield/Danbury. While the company hasn’t released official numbers of how many of their 2,700 Connecticut employees they might let go and no paperwork has yet been filed with the Labor Department, Boehringer has made it clear there will be some restructuring in the state. Although numbers were not disclosed, there was a previous round of layoffs last year, as well. It was also recently reported that the sale price for the company’s generic drug business to Hikma Pharmaceuticals was cut by more than $500 million due to revised revenue projections, while at the same time Boehringer received FDA approval of its new asthma drug. The Federal Drug Administration approved the company’s once-a-day regimen of a drug that it is the first inhaled medicine approved for asthma in 10 years. Erin Crew, a company spokeswoman, said “Boehringer Ingelheim is currently undergoing an organizational transformation, which will reinvent the way we serve the needs of our patients in an increasingly dynamic health care system. As part of this transformation, we will be reducing operating expenses in our branded human pharmaceutical business to establish a more sustainable organization.”
UCONN/Yale Biotech Partnership Bears Fruit The Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health — or PITCH is a partnership between Yale University and the University of Connecticut with a mission to support the creation of new biotech companies in the state. The program is funded by Connecticut Innovations and encourages faculty at the State’s institutions to “move projects from their labs to the private sector,” said Craig Crews, the co-leader from Yale. Pitch is funded by a 3-year, $10 million grant from Connecticut’s Bioscience 34
Innovation Fund and thus far, 12 projects have been selected to receive funding and all are said to stem from cutting-edge research and approach issues like cancer, liver disease, bacterial and viral infections, and inflammatory conditions. The projects to receive funding were chosen by a board consisting of pharmaceutical industry leaders, start-up founders, and investment prospectors. For more information about the projects being funded and the PITCH program, visit the program website athttp://pitch. yale.edu/pitch-projects. The second round of applications were due on March 1, 2016.
Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation and an author on the study, looked at 4,300 clinical trials at academic research facilities, noting how many were published or at least had results published on clinicaltrials. gov, a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. According to Dr. Desai, randomized clinical trials are the gold standard in terms of testing the efficacy and safety of
drugs, devices, and treatment strategies, so disseminating the results is of vital importance. “Researchers also have an ethical responsibility to the patients enrolled in the study to make the results available,” he said. “Providers and patients will never be able to make evidence-based health care decisions if the data is not in the public domain. In addition, future research cannot benefit from what other researchers have already done if results are not reported and/or published in a timely fashion.”
State Says UnitedHealthcare Can’t Ax Broker Commissions
By Arielle Levin Becker
he Connecticut Insurance Department has blocked UnitedHealthcare’s plan to stop paying broker commissions for plans sold through the state’s health insurance exchange, but will let them pay a lower rate.
The department prohibited UnitedHealthcare from eliminating the commissions because the company included them in its rate filing – the proposal for its 2016 premiums – last year, spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo said. “The carrier agreed to pay $10 commission on each plan, a resolution acceptable to the department,” she said. In the past, agents and brokers received $20 commissions for the policies. UnitedHealthcare previously announced that it would stop paying commissions for new insurance policies offered through exchanges starting Jan. 1. The company has signaled it is considering pulling out of the public exchanges created as part of the federal health law, and UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said during a Nov. 19 earnings update that reducing or eliminating commissions in most markets was among “several immediate actions to reduce our exposure in this segment.” UnitedHealthcare has a relatively small presence on Connecticut’s exchange, covering just 1.6 percent of 2016 customers. The company did
not sell plans through the exchange in the first year it operated, 2014, and has since had among the highest prices on the marketplace. The other three insurers that sell plans through Connecticut’s exchange – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, ConnectiCare and HealthyCT – have said they had no plans to eliminate commissions this year. If insurance companies want to eliminate commissions in the future, they will have to do so as part of their rate filings, Tommelleo said. Asked if the company would seek to eliminate the commissions in the future, a UnitedHealthcare spokeswoman said it was too soon to comment on plans for 2017. Jim Wadleigh, the CEO of Access Health CT, the state’s exchange, warned at a board meeting last month that companies eliminating commissions for exchange business was a growing national trend that would have a direct impact on customer experience. This year, 40 percent of Access Health’s business came from agents and brokers. If they no longer sell exchange policies, Wadleigh added, Access Health would have to fill that role. Reprinted with permission from ctmirror.org WWW.CONNTACT.COM
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