the wild ride is over

The Wild Ride Is Over

Boy, did the year fly by. I can't believe it's over. I told everyone at the SMA Annual Meeting last night that this is my 2nd favorite day of my year as President of the SMA.

It was truly a remarkable night. We had over 100 people attend. A central theme of my administration was Collaboration. It was certainly exciting to be joined last night by Ken Dugan - President of NHMA; Lynn Ward - President of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce; and Eric George and Kia Murrell of CBIA.

It was also a pleasure to introduce Mary Phil Guinan and Randy Collins of M P Guinan Associates to the membership. M P Guinan is our brand new lobbyist that we hired collaboratively with NHMA and METAL to promote our cause in Hartford. In a very short time, they have outlined a great strategic plan and have begun implementing the plan effectively. We have joined them for several very effective meetings in Hartford.

So many other wonderful things happened last night. We welcomed (4) new members to the SMA - Gemco Mfg. Co, MS Design, Peer to Peer Advisors, and Triple Stitch Sportwear. Trade associations gaining new members during these challenging times is unprecedented and a true testament that we are accomplishing our mission of providing resources to help CT's smaller manufacturers thrive.

Can you believe that we had (12) past presidents in attendance last night - Jay Carlson, Rich DuPont, Pat Hayden, George LaCapra, Jr., Rich Laurenzi, Tony Nardella, Mary Pavone, Fred Perugini, Tim Richards, George Strobel Jr., and Richard Strobel. Thanks to you all for helping make the night special.

We swore in our new slate of officers last night. I know they will accell in their new positions. Eric Albert - President; Gerry Mastropietro - Vice - President; and Bill Waseleski - Secretary/Treasurer will all do a bang up job. In addition, Dave Mieczkowski will be a great addition to the board. Tim Richards and Bernie Roselli's term on the board has come to an end. They accomplished great things and will be sorely missed.

After a long 3-1/2 month arduous task, our Executive Search Committee finally chose a capable and competent new Executive Director. It was a pleasure to introduce Karen McWhirt, our new Executive Director to the membership last night after less than 72 hours on the job. She got to speak to us about her goals to help the organization reach new heights. I'm sure she will!!!

A special thanks to Michele Caulfield and Marcia Rodgers for doing a wonderful job helping us pick up the pieces after the untimely passing of Lisa. They worked together over the last several months to carrry out the duties of the Executive Director flawlessly. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to them and they will continue to work dillegently to make Karen's transition a smooth one.

In keeping with our objectives regarding School To Career, it was a pleasure honoring Kaynor student Jason Kraft as our student of the month. Jason is a Senior Manufacturing student who has a 90 average in shop and theory. He has just passed the NIMS Material, Measurement, and Safety written test along with completing the practical portion of the NIMS Bench Work and Layout module. We also announced to the membership our results with the Scholarship Program that is progressing nicely thanks to the hard work of Jim Basta.

Last but certainly not least, we were honored to have Jim Vicevich, (6) time Emmy nominated host of the popular radion talk show "Sound Off Connecticut" as our guest speaker. He rocked the house and was honored to receive the SMA gift, a Palm Guitar manufactured by our own Tim Richards. The placque on the guitar was made by H&T - Waterbury on a CNC machine and gold plated by Donham Craft. Thanks to Tim, Ron, and Pat for making Jim's night extra special.

What a helluva nightcap to a wild year!