Deju Vu As Advocates for More Vibrant Tweed Descend on Capitol

A public hearing this month on a proposal to “eliminate the restriction on the length of Runway 2-20 at Tweed-New Haven Airport, was, in some ways, deju vu all over again, as advocates for ramping up flights in and out of Tweed came to the State Capitol to urge action. A decade ago, in 2009, supporters of the regional airport came to the Capitol seeking state funds to fuel growth.  This year, the focus is on runway expansion to do the same.  The common thread: economic development.

“To realize the region’s full potential as a destination, the airport must improve its infrastructure to support an expanded schedule of flights to additional destinations,” said Ginny Kozlowsi, then president and CEO of the Greater New Haven Convention & visitors Bureau, in 2009.

This month, she was back at the Capitol, as executive director of REX Development:  “The retention and recruitment of businesses are essential for the economic success of Connecticut.  With the limited flights currently available at Tweed new Haven Regional Airport, it is difficult for companies in Southern Connecticut to access current clients, attract talent and secure more business.”

In testimony this month, Garrett Sheehan, the president and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that “The ability to bring people to New Haven and efficiently travel to other locations would greatly improve if Tweed New Haven Airport had additional flights and destinations. It is our expectation that expanding the runway from 5600 feet to 6600 feet, within the airport’s existing footprint, will open the door for new commercial service at Tweed.”

Sheehan noted that today “business is conducted on a global scale. The New Haven region is home to thriving manufacturers, biotech companies, tech startups, and other important businesses. These companies have employees that travel regularly and customers and suppliers who need to visit.”

He named the local organizations and businesses supporting what he described as “a better Tweed”: Avangrid, Alexion, Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Arvinas, ASSA ABLOY, Biorez, CA White, CT Bio, CT Tourism Coalition, DISTRICT New Haven, Ferguson & McGuire Insurance, Fitstyle by Shana, Marcum, My Language Link, New Haven Manufacturing Association, Prometheus Research, Radiall USA, Inc., Regional Water Authority, Technolutions, The Outtrim Group, Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, and Yale New Haven Health.

One of them, ASSA ABLOY, testified ten years ago, when vice president Jack Dwyer stated:  “A clear function of business travel efficiency is proximity to an airport…and having Tweed as a viable alternative is viewed by our management team and owners as being a factor in our ongoing and future success.”

In its testimony this month, Yale New Haven Health senior vice president Vin Petrini, chief policy and communications officer, pointed out that “Yale New Haven Health is currently the largest private employer in Connecticut with more than 25,000 employees located in nearly every town, city and legislative district in the State. We also have the distinction of being the State’s largest taxpayer having paid more than $300 million in provider taxes last year alone.”

Petrini said “Tweed represents the second most underserved region in the nation,” stating that action on the legislation would unleash a “key linchpin in the economic future of the region and the state of Connecticut.”

Ryan Duques, chairman of Madison’s Economic Development Commission, a tech startup managing partner and the former publisher of 15 Connecticut newspapers, and told lawmakers that “Tweed is vital to the economic sustainability of south-central Connecticut,” adding that “it is our expectation that this change will open the door for new commercial service at Tweed with additional destinations and flights.”

The words of former Southern Connecticut State University president Cheryl Norton a decade ago could easily have been said this month: “a robust regional airport would provide another travel option to our crowded roadways and trains.”

Solar Panels and Historic Preservation Meet in Connecticut

Historic preservation and solar panel would seem like oil and water, but increasingly in Connecticut, the advantages are seen to outweigh the disadvantages. The acceptance of solar comes as technology helps to make systems less obtrusive, and also as more historic preservationists recognize the urgency to address climate change, according to a report in Energy Network News.

About one-tenth of Connecticut’s 3,000 historic preservation cases last year involved solar installations. That’s a significant increase from five years ago, Todd Levine, an architectural historical for the state’s preservation office, told Energy Network News. Of those 300 solar cases, however, only 10 were concluded to have adverse effects, but even in those cases the state office was able to work with stakeholders and ultimately approve them all.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Department of the Interior recommend installing solar panels on the area least visible to the public or on any new addition on the property, like a garage. Typically, historic commissions don’t want panels on the principle facade of the building facing the public right-of-ways. Lower public visibility is preferred, but increasingly, that is not ruling out solar panel installation at historic properties.

At the state level, the historic preservation office has partnered with the quasi-public clean energy agency, the Connecticut Green Bank, to mitigate any adverse effects installs could have on historic properties. Energy Network News reports that they are currently collaborating on a publication they plan to distribute in the coming months outlining best practices on the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and historic preservation.

Also last year, Connecticut upped the ante on renewables across the board.

A new law approved in 2018 requires that by 2030, 40 percent of the power provided by electricity suppliers in the state flow from renewable sources, double the target for 2020.  Another law approved by the 2018 legislature established a stringent interim greenhouse-gas-reduction goal of 45 percent below 2001 levels by 2030. The state’s 2008 Connecticut Global Warming Solutions Act mandates an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

The state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection explains that the term renewable energy generally refers to electricity supplied from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, geothermal, hydropower, and various forms of biomass. These energy sources are considered renewable sources because they are continuously replenished on Earth.

Currently, Hawaii has the most aggressive clean-energy mandate in the nation: 100 percent by 2045; followed by Vermont: 75 percent by 2032; and California, New York, and New Jersey, which each have a goal of 50 percent by 2030, according to the Council of State Governments.

California set a 100-percent-by-2045 zero-carbon electricity goal in September last year. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the state set a 100-percent-by-2040 zero-carbon electricity goal in January. Newly elected governors in Colorado and Connecticut are pushing for 100-percent renewable energy mandates, as well, as are their counterparts in Illinois, Minnesota and Nevada, according to Solar Magazine. Connecticut’s legislature is also considering additional steps to encourage renewable energy in the state, the New London Day recently reported.

Amidst Economic Recovery in New England, Poverty Rate Remains Highest in CT

Between 2007 and 2017, the poverty rate increased more in Connecticut than any of the New England states.  According to data analyzed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Connecticut’s poverty rate increased from 7.9 percent to 9.6 percent, and increase of 1.7 percentage points, or about a 20 percent increase. Four of the six New England states saw increases: New Hampshire (.6%), Massachusetts (.6%), Vermont (1.2%) and Connecticut.  The other two New England states, Maine and Rhode Island, saw decreases, of .9 and .4 percent respectively.

The analysis found “a regional economic picture with some surprises and plenty of complexity,” the Boston Fed website points out.

It found that across New England, compared with 2007, fewer New Englanders are unemployed but the unemployed are more likely to be poor than in 2007, and those still out of work face diverse barriers to employment. New England’s unemployed are disproportionately young, non-white, and less educated, according to the data.

Among the other findings:

  • Long-term unemployment, defined as 27 weeks or longer, is down nationally since 2010, but less so in New England.
  • Among 25-54 year olds, the male employment rate is down since 2007, while the female employment rate has gone up.
  • Two industries accounted for more than half of job gains in the region between 2016 and 2018: Professional & Business Services and Education & Health Services.  Among the other categories, Construction, Leisure & Hospitality and Manufacturing saw the largest gains.

Although poverty rates declined in all New England states between 2014 and 2017, as of 2017 four out of the six states exhibit higher poverty rates than they did in 2007. Among the region’s unemployed workers, the poverty rate as of 2017 is higher than it was in 2007, and it’s also higher than it was in 2010, after the recession had officially ended, the Boston Fed points out.

Mary Burke, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, views the delayed and incomplete recovery in poverty rates as both surprising and troubling, as it could indicate an erosion of the safety net.

Craft Brewers Look to Continue CT Growth with Legislative Support

After two ill-fated legislative proposals that would have been detrimental to the state’s burgeoning craft brewery industry disintegrated within days amidst a public outcry, the Connecticut Brewers Guild is conveying its eagerness to work closely with state lawmakers.  Their aim: to help the booming industry create even more good-paying jobs, bolster local craft beer production, and to increase direct-to-consumer sales. “In 2012, when the Connecticut Brewers Guild was founded, there were around 12 craft breweries statewide,” said Phil Pappas, the executive director of the Connecticut Brewers Guild. “Now, our state’s booming craft brewery scene has more than 85 operational breweries with many more in the planning stages. These craft breweries -- all of which are independently owned -- employ over 4,600 people statewide, produce more than 166,000 barrels of locally brewed craft beer, and contribute to an overall economic impact of $746 million annually.”

It is those numbers, and the degree of progress in recent years, that drive the conversation, although Pappas points out that although a lot of progress has been made, there is more work to be done to ensure the industry continues to grow and thrive statewide.  On doesn't need to look further than the map of the COnnecicut Beer Trail to see the impact of the industry all across the sate.

“Connecticut’s growing craft beer industry has been helped by state lawmakers providing a relatively healthy regulatory environment,” Pappas said.  “We thank state lawmakers for their support to date, and now more than ever -- in an increasingly competitive state-by-state landscape -- we need a renewed commitment to strengthen our industry, which is a bright spot in Connecticut’s economy.

“Moving forward,” he added, “we hope to work with state lawmakers and others to create even more local jobs, increase local craft beer production, and drive additional direct-to-consumer sales.”

In 2015, MarketWatch—a financial information website—ranked Hartford/New Haven as one of 10 cities that love craft beer the most. Other cities included Portland (Oregon), Cleveland and Washington, D.C. A year ago, Innovation Hartford reported that 2016 data indicated the craft beer industry in Connecticut contributed $718 million to the economy. That year there were 49 breweries that produced a combined 129,825 barrels of craft beer per year.  A year ago, there were 65 breweries operating throughout the state and another 49 breweries are either in the planning and construction phases or set to open shortly.

“We also look forward to working with representatives from the wholesaler, distributor, retailer, brewpub, and restaurant communities, to positively impact our state’s small businesses and economy both today and tomorrow,” Pappas said. “Our Connecticut Brewers Guild members strive every single day to produce the highest quality, best-tasting craft beer in the market. We consistently seek out ways to improve our product, utilize locally sourced ingredients, generate jobs, support local businesses while cultivating fun experiences for customers on-premise and off-premise.”

Connecticut Innovations Among Nation's Top Venture Capital Firms in Healthcare in 2018

Connecticut Innovations (CI) has landed on Forbes magazine’s list of the ten top venture capital firms making the most investments in healthcare start-ups during 2018.  With 20 deals done during the year, CI ranked at number seven. CI is Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm and the state’s leading source of financing and ongoing support for innovative, growing companies. The two largest CI deals were with locally headquartered Arvinas, a $56 million investment, and Rallybio, a $37 million investment. 

Leading the way among venture capital firms in the U.S. were California-headquartered Alexandria Venture Investments (38 deals), Maryland-based New Enterprise Associates (28), Keiretsu Forum of California (27), OrbiMed, headquartered in New York (24), and ARCH Venture Partners (22) of Illinois.  Just ahead of CI was SV Health Investors, with 21 deals.  The venture capital firm is based in Massachusetts.

Nationally, startups in the sector have raised more money in 2018 than any previous year in the past decade.

Rallybio, based in Farmington at the University of Connecticut’s Technology Incubation Program, was co-founded in January 2018 by Martin Mackay, PhD, Stephen Uden MD, and Jeffrey Fryer, CPA, recognized leaders from the biopharma industry.  The company’s focus: identifying and accelerating the development of transformative breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and rare disorders.  They aim to develop innovative drug candidates against mechanisms that have strong biological rationales.  Rallybio’s focus is on antibodies, small molecules and engineered proteins.

Last month, the company was named by FierceBiotech as one of 2018’s Fierce 15 biotechnology companies, designating it as one of the most promising private biotechnology companies in the industry.

Arvinas, headquartered in New Haven, is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases through the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapies to degrade disease-causing proteins.

Building on groundbreaking research at Yale University by Craig Crews, Ph.D., Arvinas’ Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor, Arvinas has developed a broad technology platform “focused on high-value targets, with the potential to deliver safer, more potent treatment than small molecule inhibitors, and to address up to 80% of proteins that evade inhibition and are currently undruggable.”  Among the company’s Board members is Ted Kennedy, Jr., a health care policy and disability activist, regulatory attorney, and former Connecticut state senator.

Connecticut Innovations is located in Rocky Hill.

Hartford Area CFA Charterholders Gather to Hear Economic Forecasts, Focus on Guiding Investors Through 2019

In the midst of tumultuous and uncertain economic times, hundreds of Connecticut’s leading investment and financial professionals will be gathering on Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Hartford to delve into the financial outlook for 2019 with one of the nation’s most respected economists, get an inside look at the state’s cybersecurity efforts to protect the integrity of the election process, and connect with industry peers from throughout the region. More than 400 professionals - CFA® members, investment professionals, personal investors, key decision-makers and college students - are expected.  They will hear from keynote speaker Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist of First Trust Advisors L.P., at the 2019 Annual Forecast Dinner hosted by CFA Society Hartford, the local chapter of the CFA Institute. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will offer comments on the future of voting security with “Election Cybersecurity: A Wake Up Call”.   It is the organization’s premier networking event of the year, being held at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The Hartford chapter is one of 151 local member societies of the CFA Institute, a worldwide organization and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Hartford, with a long history of prominence in financial services – has one of the international organization’s oldest chapters, dating back to 1952. It is also one of the largest chapters outside of a major metropolitan area, with more than 700 members working in over 175 investment organizations, serving the Hartford and Springfield, MA region. There is another Connecticut chapter based in Stamford.

The CFA Institute is a global non-profit organization of investment professionals that distinguish themselves through their commitment to their clients and to the highest ethical and investment standards.  The Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, which has been described as the “industry gold standard,” requires passing one of the most rigorous series of exams in the financial industry to earn the credential.  Fewer than one in five candidates become CFA® charterholders.

“We strive to help advisers understand and anticipate stock market and economic changes to be able to provide the best guidance for their clients,” said Juliana Dalton, CFA, president of CFA Society Hartford.  Members include CFA® charterholders employed by leading financial services companies and those who are private wealth managers.  While many have been in the field for decades – providing much-needed expertise to a range of clients, particularly in turbulent economic times – CFA Society Hartford also continues to reach out to young professionals, as well as college students considering careers in the financial services industry.

In addition to the formal speaking program at the annual event, attendees can learn how the demanding CFA® Program provides a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills that will provide a career advantage. Successful candidates for the CFA® designation take an average of four years to complete the program, which includes passing three exams sequentially and accumulating 48 months of approved work experience. Each exam level generally requires six months of preparation.

Dalton, Senior Vice President and Senior Credit Risk Manager at Webster Bank, analyzes credit risk across the organization. She will provide introductory remarks on Tuesday, and CFA Society Hartford Past-President Ray Bovich will introduce the keynote speaker as he shares “The Real News About the U.S. Economy”.

“For the past nine years, analysts have predicted apocalypse for the U.S. economy around every corner, but the strong market and economic recovery are both the longest ever,” commented Dalton.  The program will look ahead at what might be next.

For young members of the profession, applying technology to financial analysis can be particularly attractive. “Technology is all to the benefit,” Dalton explained, “as it helps to provide numbers-based and fact-based analysis. But people skills never go away.”  She noted that even with advancing technology – which is integrated throughout the industry – every client’s investment priorities differ, calling for a mix of people skills and technological know-how by CFA® charterholders.

The CFA Society Hartford chapter, in an effort to interest college students, has been running an annual Research Challenge for the past six years in conjunction with local colleges including the University of Connecticut and Trinity College.  Teams of college students analyze a particular company, and present a written report that is judged by local professionals.  The top three teams go on to make an oral presentation before industry practitioners, and the winning team has an opportunity to advance to national and international competition.  The program has grown in popularity, and although it is quite rigorous, is seen as an excellent educational opportunity and hands-on glimpse into the field. The 2018/2019 competition finals will be held next month.

The forecast dinner’s lead speakers will also provide insight.  Brian Wesbury is Chief Economist at First Trust Advisors L.P., a financial services firm based in Wheaton, Illinois. He has been a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago since 1999. In 2012, he was named a Fellow of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. In 1995 and 1996, he served as Chief Economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, and has been ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the nation’s #1 U.S. economic forecaster (2001), and by USA Today as one of the nation’s top 10 forecasters (2004).  Denise Merrill was re-elected in 2018 to her third term as Secretary of the State of Connecticut, and is past president of the National Association of Secretaries of the State.  She previously served in the Connecticut House of Representatives.  Her office oversees elections and business data, among its responsibilities.

For more information about the Hartford chapter, visit  Gold Sponsors for the event include Hartford Investment Management Company (HIMCO), Virtus Investment Partners, Voya Investment Management, and INVESCO.  Individual seats are $110 for CFA® Society Hartford members and $145 for non-members.  There are more than 150,000 CFA® charter holders worldwide in 165+ countries and regions. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by the CFA Institute.

Frontier Airlines Growth Continues with Return to Hartford and Boston in 2019

In the spring of 2012, Frontier Airlines discontinued service to Boston’s Logan International Airport, which consisted of a daily flight to Kansas City.  Frontier has flown out of Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks in the past decade as well, with a Milwaukee flight that was discontinued in 2011 and service to Denver that ended in 2008. Now, they’re coming back to both New England airports, but they’re not headed to Milwaukee or Kansas City.  In a series of announcements in recent weeks, Frontier unveiled an expansion including eight-routes from North Carolina’s Raleigh/Durham airport.

Boston will become the 106th city on its route map with the addition. The other seven routes Frontier is launching from Raleigh/Durham include Albany, New York; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford (BDL); Jacksonville; Long Island/Islip, New York; and Philadelphia.

The added service continues a rapid ramp-up by Frontier in Raleigh/Durham (RDU). Once the new services begin, Frontier says it will offer either year-round or nonstop flights to 32 different cities from RDU.  Boston will have four weekly flights beginning May 1.  Bradley International will see three weekly flights beginning April 30.  Delta is a competitor in both markets.

[Why all the increased air traffic to North Carolina? Must be burgeoning interest in the Carolina Hurricanes since they put those Whalers jerseys back on the ice!]

Frontier also plans to launch service to Orlando from both Boston’s Logan Airport and Bradley International, and service to Denver from Bradley.  In making the announcement, Frontier pointed out that it “flies one of the youngest fleets in the industry, the Airbus A320 Family of more than 80 jet aircraft. With nearly 200 new planes on order, Frontier will continue to grow to deliver on the mission of providing affordable travel across America.”

In December, Frontier announced it was returning to Bradley with flights to Denver starting March 28, operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  Southwest and United also fly from Bradley to Denver.

The Raleigh-Durham flights will operate on the same days of the week; the Orlando service will run on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Bradley.

Frontier’s service from Bradley to Raleigh-Durham, Denver and Orlando is described as seasonal.  The services start this spring; the end dates for 2019 have not been announced.

Current pricing for roundtrip flights in May:  from $78 to Raleigh/Durham and Orlando, from $118 to Denver, depending upon length of stay and day of the week of selected flights.

Frontier will be Bradley’s ninth passenger airline.  Other carriers are Aer Lingus, Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United.  Some of those airlines’ flights from BDL are operated by regional affiliates flying under brands like American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.

The tenth carrier at BDL will be Via Airlines, which will operate flights to Pittsburgh four times a week, year-round, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning in July.  That announcement also came earlier this month.

Frontier announced last week that the airline and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), ratified a new five-year working agreement. Of the 99 percent of pilots who voted, 77 percent cast ballots in favor of the agreement, the company said.