Enfield Business Growing Despite Economic Recession

September 22, 2009

I am happy to share that I will be contributing a bi-weekly column to the Enfield Press and I’d like your help finding a name for my column. Titles can be submitted to me via e-mail at [email protected] or regular mail at the Legislative Office Building, Room 2500, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106. The winner will receive not only their title as the name of my column, but also at $10 gift certificate to Friendly’s in Enfield. Deadline in Sept 30th and there is no limit on number of entries or age of contributors.

Last Tuesday morning, September 1st, just hours after voting no on the proposed state budget, I joined Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz for a tour of Control Module, Inc. on Phoenix Avenue in Enfield. Control Module, with its affiliated subsidiaries, is one of the most successful manufacturing companies in the state. Even in the midst of this recession, Control Module is growing their business and looking for engineers who have a passion for creativity and our future.

Connecticut has one of the worst job growth figures in the country and taking the time to sit down with individuals who know how to make a business work was a very enlightening experience and I thank Secretary Bysiewicz for inviting me to join her on this initiative. We spoke candidly and at length with James S. Bianco, President and CEO of Control Module. Our primary question to Mr. Bianco, was how can a manufacturing company like his expand when so many other sectors of the economy are shrinking?

Especially in light of the budget that was passed early last week, I have been very concerned about losing more business in our state and seeing our economy shrink even further. Connecticut was already ranked one of the worst states to do business in and with the additional surcharge placed on successful companies and a host of fee increases, I am concerned we have shown that we are not willing to be proactive in regards to this problem.

What I saw in Enfield was certainly encouraging. Connecticut does have a lot to offer companies by way of a highly skilled and educated work force, proximity to important cities, and lots of open space, but we do need to work harder to bring new companies in and keep the ones that are already here from moving out or shutting down.

Control Module, Inc. is on the cutting edge of technology and is one of the leaders in electric vehicle supply equipment as well as time and fleet management. They hold over 94 US and worldwide patents. I truly believe innovative manufacturers like Control Module could be a critical part of the future of our state’s economy. We have the best and brightest right here, but have consistently struggled to keep young people in our state after graduation. With a greater emphasis on science and technology in the earliest grades, showing how fun it can be, young people might choose careers in engineering and the sciences. The spirit of invention that Connecticut is known for could be rekindled..

The University of Connecticut is also a great asset and along with turning out highly skilled engineers and researchers, they have partnered with a number of companies in building new technologies. Nonetheless, while the number of domestic undergraduate students in science and engineering programs at UCONN has increased significantly in the past decade, a recent check of the graduate program in engineering showed that the majority of enrolled students are still international students. We need to get the word out that we have sophisticated institutions of learning ready to turn out graduates equipped to enter our local work force right now, and most importantly we need to do all we can to foster a more business-friendly climate. The Green Economy is here, and Connecticut has an incredible opportunity to lead the way.

Your Friend,