Rell taps manufacturing exec to lead development agency

By Keith M. Phaneuf, Journal Inquirer

HARTFORD - Gov. M. Jodi Rell has named the president of Virginia Industries of Rocky Hill, Laura Grondin, to become the new chairwoman of the Connecticut Development Authority.

Grondin, who lives in Haddam, has led the Rocky Hill manufacturer since 1999 and has been a member of the CDA’s Board of Directors since November 2007.

“Laura Grondin understands and is deeply committed to CDA’s mission of promoting business expansion, creating jobs, and helping Connecticut maintain a strong business climate,” Rell said Friday. “Her experience, her perspective as a CEO, and her longstanding commitment to the business community are all valuable assets in her new role.”

Formerly president of the Hartford Bearing Co., a division of Virginia Industries, Grondin has served on many public and private boards, agencies, and associations. These include: the Connecticut Business & Industry Association; the Children’s Law Center of Connecticut; the Connecticut Women’s Council, and the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council and Jaycees. She also served as a member of state government’s Brownfields Task Force.

Grondin received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University.

The General Assembly established the authority as a quasi-public agency in 1988 to provide debt financing and investment capital to help Connecticut businesses grow. The CDA finances companies and projects that contribute to Connecticut’s economy, technology base, intellectual capital, urban infrastructure, employment, or tax revenues.

“Now more than ever, CDA’s business assistance programs are critically important to the state’s efforts to help companies stay in Connecticut, grow here and expand our workforce,” Rell said in announcing Grondin’s selection. “Keeping Connecticut firms healthy and encouraging new businesses to locate here are central to CDA’s role.

“Connecticut is fortunate to have an individual of Laura’s caliber in this vital position.”

Grondin succeeds L. Scott Franz in chairing the authority. Frantz, a Greenwich Republican, was elected in November to become the new state senator for the 36th District. Frantz also had chaired Bradley International Airport’s Board of Directors, from which he resigned last week.