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Goldblatt Elected President of ConnPELRA

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Jul 212017

Mitchell R. Goldblatt was recently elected President of the Connecticut Public Employer Labor Relations Association (ConnPELRA) Executive Committee for a two-year term beginning September 1, 2017.

Goldblatt has served the past four years as the ConnPELRA Vice-President and has been a member of the Executive Board since 2011. The former Town of Orange First Selectman and present member of the Orange Board of Selectmen, Goldblatt has worked as the Director of Human Resources for the Town of Guilford for the past nine years. In this position Goldblatt has been responsible for all aspects of personnel administration and labor relations including negotiating labor contracts, updating policies and procedures, administering all employee benefits and pension administration, leading wellness programs, and responsible for safety and risk management.

ConnPELRA is the only organization in Connecticut dedicated to educating and training governmental directors, managers, and supervisors in labor relations issues. The organization exchanges information and data pertaining to all areas of public sector labor relations including collective bargaining, as well as providing guidance and assistance to its entire membership in these areas.

Besides Goldblatt as President, also elected were Enfield Director of Human Resources Steven Bielenda as Vice-President, West Hartford Human Resources Specialist Nelson Petrone as Secretary, and Shipman and Goodwin Attorney Lisa Banatoski Mehta as Treasurer.

Goldblatt holds a BA from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) and an MBA from the University of New Haven (West Haven, CT). He also serves as an adjunct professor of Public Administration at the University of New Haven and lives in Orange with his wife Abby, and children Carl and Shayna.

UNH Center for Family Business Celebrates 20th Anniversary

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May 192015

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 12.16.14 PMWhat do a family-owned cellar door company, a construction company, a tea manufacturer, an orchard and a law firm have in common?

More than you would ever guess, say members of the University of New Haven M.L. McLaughlin Center for Family Business, where members have found that their business challenges are surprisingly similar.

“I used to think no one in the world had the same problems we do,” says Jonathan Bishop of Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford “But at the first meeting I attended, I learned that a lot of issues we face are the same issues other family businesses face.”

Bishop is a fifth generation owner of a 300-acre farm that has a winery and grows and sells fruits, vegetables and farm products. The orchard is a charter member of the center, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.

Working with family is tricky, Gene Bishop, Jonathan’s father, says. “If we all had to be in the same room doing the same thing every day, we would not have lasted. We have to view ourselves as stewards of the business.”

Survival of a family business often depends, said Paul Sessions, director of the center, on good communication, strategic planning and taking the emotions out of business dealings.

“Sixty to eighty percent of the businesses in the U.S. are family-owned businesses,” Sessions said. “We find it is common for them not to address issues until they become a crisis.”

Most family businesses don’t discuss business challenges inside the family for fear of setting off a dispute. And they are worried about talking outside the family, too, he said. “It’s really lonely out there and yet there are so many folks out there facing the same issues.”

Sessions says one of the perks of membership in the McLaughlin Center is that business owners support one another and keep each other’s confidences.

Adam Lyman, one of the ninth-generation to run Lyman Orchards of Middlefield, which includes golf courses, a farm store, gift shop and pie business in Middlefield, says confidentiality is key. “One great thing is that we feel completely comfortable being able to talk about our business because of the confidentially imposed by the center.”

Headquartered at UNH’s Orange campus, the Center for Family Business has 44 members and offers conferences on topics from embezzlement to goal setting to customer appreciation and informal forums that allow family businesses to talk with one another. It also provides counseling to businesses when needed.

Succession is often a major issue. Passing the business along from father or mother to son or daughter, much less to siblings, cousins and others is not easy. But the center can help, said Stephen Tagliatela, one of the owners of Franklin Enterprises, a construction company based in the Greater New Haven area that owns apartments, the Saybrook Point Inn and other businesses. “We (Stephen and his brother, Louis) are the fourth generation and we had a smoother transition because of the center. You really can’t take a class to learn how to do this.”

The issue of a business’s future is not as intuitive as it seems, Sessions said. Should the business be turned over to the next generation? Can the parent let go? Can siblings work together? Should the business be sold or closed?

Sessions knows what he is talking about. He and his brother were the sixth generation to own the family’s metal stamping business which they sold in 1993.

“When you get beyond the hard cold facts,” Sessions said, “You have to deal with the emotional side. It’s important that a business not negatively impact family and family relationships. Because if it does, it’s really not worth it.”

“The Family Business Center helped save our business,” James B. Stirling, of Stirling Benefits of Milford, said. “It helped us learn from other families and avoid mistakes that they had made.”

Robert Hendrick, of Bigelow Tea, noted that issues for family members in business also effect other employees. He is not a member of the family that owns the Fairfield tea company, perhaps best known for its blend, Constant Comment, but he still finds it worthwhile to attend the center’s meetings.

“It gave me a chance to meet others with similar experiences. Family business problems are business problems. And I always learn something from the meetings.”

Brother and sister Lynne Perry and Bill Bassett, Jr. retained their membership in the center even after their business was sold. “We have used so many great things we learned in the forums,” Perry said. “I have life-long friendships from the women’s group and met some of the smartest, funniest people I have ever known.”

Charter members of the center are all based in Connecticut and include: Aaron Supreme Trailer Leasing of New Haven, Barrett Outdoor Communications of West Haven, Bigelow Tea of Fairfield, The Bilco Company of New Haven, Bishop’s Orchards of Guilford, and The Lee Company of Westbrook, National Sintered Alloys of Clinton and Saybrook Point Inn a/k/a Franklin Construction of New Haven.

The center also has five sponsors: Wiggin and Dana, a law firm with offices in New Haven, Stamford, Greenwich, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia; Gowrie Group, an independent insurance agency in Westbrook; Marcum Accountants and Advisors of New Haven; U.S. Trust, Bank of America Wealth Management of New Haven; and Daniel M. Smith & associates, business estate and retirement planning of Stamford and Guilford.  

— press release from UNH


5th – 10th Grade Students Invited To Workshops at UNH Feb. 22

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Feb 132014

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 12.07.54 PMEngineering and science workshops for students in 5th to 10th grade will take place at the University of New Haven, 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to celebrate National Engineer Week.

The workshop is sponsored by the Tagliatela College of Engineering at UNH.  Students from both UNH and the Engineering and Science University Magnet School will run the activities, which are open to students from any area school. Cost is $20, including lunch. 

“We believe that encouraging students to apply science with hands-on experiences will allow them to discover how much fun topics like chemistry, physics and engineering can be,” said Tiffany Hesser, a UNH lecturer in chemistry who will coordinate the workshop with Maria-Isabel Carnasciali, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.  “It is these personal experiences with the materials that will give students a deeper understanding of the theory often taught in the classroom.”

Sessions for older students will include:

• The Dynamics of Mini-Golf: Students in the session will design and construct a pendulum to serve as a golf club.  They will then calculate the correct pendulum length for the pendulum to function efficiently.

• The Logic behind Video Games: Students will learn basics of computer programming and logic through the creation of a video game, including how to read keyboard inputs, control a player, control timers, and create a playable environment.

• Saturated Solutions are Sometimes Super: Students will make solids magically appear out of liquid solutions.

Younger students will be offered:

• Two sessions on robotics, an introductory session and one for “fanatics.”

• The Art of Debate: How to effectively pose an argument, often necessary to sell an idea.

Advance registration is required by Feb. 19 by emailing UNHDay@gmail.com.  For more information, contact Tiffany Hesser at thesser@newhaven.edu.

Amity Softball Pitcher Heather Ferranti Will Play At University Of New Haven Next Year

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Nov 262013

Amity Softball Pitcher Heather Ferranti and her parents at Amity.

Amity Softball Pitcher Heather Ferranti and her parents at Amity.

Amity Senior Softball Player Heather Ferranti signed a Letter of Intent to play at the University of New Haven next year.

Heather is best known as the pitcher of the Varsity Softball Team. Her amazing abilities on and off the field make her a desirable candidate for any college softball team.