NMC Members & Community Partner News

Ret. Navy Capt. Paul Whitescarver named director of seCTer

The Day; October 1, 2021

By Erica Mosher

The Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region board of directors announced Friday it has unanimously selected retired Navy Capt. Paul Whitescarver to serve as executive director of seCTer, effective Monday. Whitescarver is the former commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.

Nancy Cowser had served as executive director of seCTer from late 2016 through June 30 of this year, when she left for a role at Mitchell College.

SeCTer is the region's designated nonprofit economic development organization, and its services include giving loans to small businesses, providing assistance to businesses interested in selling goods or services to government entities, and connecting developers with potential sites.

"What really appealed to me is the ability to work with all the municipalities, creating somewhat of a regional strategy," Whitescarver said.

He said Mark Oefinger, chairman of the seCTer board, approached him and ask if he'd be interested in the role, and then he went through the hiring process.

Oefinger was Groton town manager when Whitescarver took over command of the sub base in 2015, and the two have served together on the Thames River Heritage Park board, of which Whitescarver is president.

Oefinger said he hadn't initially thought of Whitescarver early in the search, but then thought back to times he teasingly asked Whitescarver what he wanted to be when he grew up, which came back to public service.

He said Whitescarver "was exceptional to work with" as commanding officer, and would ask what the sub base could do for the surrounding communities rather than the other way around.

Whitescarver retired from the Navy in 2019 and was relieved as commanding officer by Capt. Todd Moore, who last week passed command of the sub base to Capt. Kenneth Curtin.

Whitescarver, 59, after retiring from the Navy, served as a consultant for the Connecticut Port Authority for five months and then worked as operations manager for King Industries, a chemical additive manufacturer based in Norwalk.

In his new role, Whitescarver said he looks forward to working with clients and partners to address the economic impacts of the pandemic and diversify the region's economy. His focus in the coming year will be on helping southeastern Connecticut secure state and federal recovery dollars, and completing the update of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, a five-year plan.

Oefinger said Whitescarver and his staff "will be very, very busy," and that seCTer will have to sign off on millions of dollars in funding. Oefinger said he has been involved in seCTer and its predecessor agencies since the mid-1980s and has "never seen this amount of funding being made available to do economic development types of things."

Oefinger said Whitescarver's salary will be $152,000, and that seCTer has a total of nine full-time employees, one part-time employee and two vacancies. Whitescarver lives in Gales Ferry with his wife, Katie, and also serves on the board of the Submarine Force Museum and USS Groton Sail Foundation.

"I couldn't be happier," Oefinger said. "I think he's going to do great things at seCTer. He knows the region, he knows the players, he's worked in the federal government."

Originally posted on The Day.com


Amy Perry passes leadership of Thames River Heritage Park to Catherine Foley

The Day; September 29, 2021

by Erica Mosher

Amy Perry recalled that when she first became executive director of Thames River Heritage Park and told people about her job, she got a blank stare, and still got a blank stare after adding, "We're the nonprofit that operates the water taxi on the river."

After two years, she got a blank stare at the mention of TRHP but recognition of the water taxi. Now, she said, "When I tell someone I work for the Thames River Heritage Park, I inevitably get the reply, 'I went on one of your boat tours and it was just fantastic.'"

Perry was the first director of the organization, but she is now handing over the reins to Catherine Foley as she retires.

Perry, 63, said she thinks it's time for the park to have a different kind of skill set, noting that her experience in marketing was needed when the park was starting out, but now the focus is on programming and development.

Thames River Heritage Park grew from one boat in the water its first season in 2017 to two this past season, with a third planned for the future.

It also grew from just offering hop-on, hop-off boat rides to also offering themed tours. Two new tours offered this summer were Water, Wampum, & Medicine Wheels: Mohegan Life on the Thames, developed in partnership with the Mohegan Tribal Council of Elders, and Blowholes, Blubber, & Breaches: Whaling Tales on the Thames, led by professor, historian and veteran journalist Gail MacDonald.

Perry said the park went from offering 23 tours last year to 60 this year, despite a lot of bad weather, and increased the number of interpreters giving tours.

For the first time, the park also partnered with the New London Recreation Department to bring about 100 kids on the boat for Storytime on the Thames, thanks to a grant from water company Veolia.

Perry said the park relies significantly on a grant from the Department of Transportation and will for the immediate future. Other funding comes from other grants, ticket sales and donations, and Perry said the park increased revenues by about 12% this year by growing its history-tour business.

A focus on social services, economic development

Perry said Foley is "just what the park needs right now," and that she recommended Foley and the board selected her.

Foley — like Perry, a New London resident and age 63 — previously served as director of the Community Development Initiative of the New London Development Corp., executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Connecticut, and executive director of Covenant Shelter of New London.

Foley said she has done her work "with the perspective that doing right in our social services also has a great impact on our economic development, and I see this park as also being a big part of that picture."

She also runs MeetingWorks, a consulting firm that specializes in planning corporate and nonprofit conferences and meetings, but lost business when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Foley took on a part-time job with Thames River Heritage Park earlier this year as waterfront and tour coordinator.

Continue reading on The Day.com >>>

The Thames River Heritage Park is an NMC Community Partner.


ThayerMahan to Move Forward with Headquarters Project in Groton

CT Examiner, August 25, 2021

by Cate Hewitt

GROTON — ThayerMahan told town council members on Tuesday that the company would move forward with redeveloping the Groton Heights School into the company’s headquarters.  The project had been slowed for more than a year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard Hine, co-founder and chief operating officer of ThayerMahan, told the Town Council Committee of the Whole that the company is rapidly outgrowing its 14,000-square foot space at 120 Leonard Drive in Groton. 

“We’re a company that started in 2016 with two employees, my co-founder, Mike Connor and myself. Over the last five years, we’ve grown to 70 employees,” he said. “Our intent is to hire. Our current projections show us that about 180 employees by the end of next year.”

Hine and Connor, a thirty-five year Navy veteran and former Commander of Submarine Forces, started the company in a spare bedroom in Mystic, creating undersea solar-powered sensors and monitoring systems that gather, analyze and transmit data. 

Hine said the company intends to use the building as corporate headquarters and a research and development center. The company signed a letter of intent to purchase and redevelop the Groton Heights School, located at 244 Monument Street, on July 12, 2019. The town chose ThayerMahan as the preferred developer for the building in March 2019. 

The main school building was constructed in 1912 and the gymnasium was added in 1962, creating a total of 27,185 square feet of space. The building was used as a school until the summer of 2007. 

After four years of “pretty remarkable growth,” Hine said the company took a “bit of a step back” starting in March last year when COVID hit.

“We managed to survive that without laying off any employees. We took advantage of the two PPP loan programs, which were welcome relief. We were on kind of this hockey stick trajectory but last year’s sales were flat … but we’re kind of back on track,” he said. 

The company now has 14 patents and has acquired two companies in the last eight months, Hine said.

Continue reading on CT Examiner site >>>


UConn Joins Forces with University of New Haven to Help Local Manufacturers Adopt Sustainable Practices

UConn Today; August 19, 2021

UConn is participating in a massive national research effort to help local manufacturers reduce their carbon footprint.

Associate professor in the School of Engineering, Liang Zhang, will lead the team, in collaboration with the University of New Haven. This work is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

“We are excited to bring a DOE IAC to Connecticut for the first time in the history of the IAC program,” Zhang says. “This is long overdue for Connecticut, and we believe that it will bring significant benefits to the state’s environment and economic development efforts through its service to the large number of small and medium manufacturers in the area.”

The project’s $3.4 million budget is part of the $60 million effort dispersed across 32 universities in 28 states. This is the largest-ever cohort of university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs). These centers are tasked with helping small and medium-sized manufacturers reduce their carbon emissions, lower energy costs, and train the next generation of energy-efficient workers.

“This is great news for Connecticut’s environment and economy,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said following the DOE announcement. “UConn’s work as one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Centers will help local manufacturers cut emissions and energy costs while training the future generation of engineers, and I’m glad to see Connecticut as part of this major investment in clean energy.”

There are nine faculty from UConn and the University of New Haven on this project. Other UConn personnel are Amy Thompson, associate professor-in-residence of systems engineering and associate director for the UTC Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering; Ugur Pasaogullari, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Clean Energy Engineering; Baikun Li, professor of environmental engineering; and Haitham Ghalwash, assistant professor-in-residence of computer science and Engineering.

Continue reading on UConn site >>>


Nemeth pilots Meriden manufacturer Jonal Laboratories into new markets

New Haven Biz; August 4, 2021

By Liese Klein

For years, when it came to measuring parts at Jonal Laboratories in Meriden, a hand-held micrometer did the job.

But recently CEO Marc Nemeth invested in a table-mounted laser measuring tool that captures 1 million data points in 15 seconds — and costs $100,000.

“You have to stay ahead of the curve, the technology curve,” Nemeth said. “If you’re behind the curve, it's almost impossible to catch up.”

As the second-generation head of his family business, Nemeth has learned to constantly seek new markets for Jonal Laboratories’ products, the rubber and silicone seals used in aircraft engines, airframes and spacecraft.

“You build a business when times are tough,” Nemeth said. “We’re taking our core competency and we are going after a whole lot of different markets.”

The tough times lately come courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, which grounded aircraft fleets for months and slowed the entire supply chain in the aerospace industry. Orders from Jonal clients like Pratt & Whitney and Boeing dropped 70% in 2020 compared to 2019.

With help from $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep key operations going, Jonal took the slowdown as an opportunity to rent new manufacturing space ahead of planned expansion into new markets, Nemeth said.

The privately-held company, which declined to disclose its annual revenues, employs 115 people in Meriden, at its historic headquarters at 456 Center St. and in an 11,000-square-foot manufacturing site at 290 Pratt St. Products include a range of O-ring seals, fabric-reinforced seals, thin-walled diaphragms, aerodynamic and platform seals, rubber-to-metal bonding, silicone extrusions and EMI/RFI shielding products.

Continue reading on New Haven Biz >>>


CorrTech Awarded Contract for Nautilus Pier, Groton, CT

CorrTech Press Release; August 11, 2021

CorrTech has been awarded a contract to design/build a cathodic protection system to protect the Nautilus Pier in Groton, CT.  The Pier is home to the Nautilus Submarine, SSN-571.

The USS Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine and the first vessel to transit the North Pole. The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982.  The submarine is preserved at the US Navy Submarine Force Museum in Groton, CT, where visitors can tour the historic ship.

The cathodic protection system to be designed and built by CorrTech will protect the Nautilus Pier and sheet pile wall from corrosion by the use of sacrificial anodes.  The cathodic protection system works in the marine environment to protect the steel from the effects of salt water corrosion.

CorrTech will be working under the Asturian Group to perform this work under its Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC) with the Naval Submarine Base, New London-Groton, CT. The design work is underway, with construction scheduled to begin in November 2021

CorrTech is proud to partner with Asturian Group to help preserve this significant historic naval asset.

Visit their news area to learn more about connecting with CorrTech at upcoming events.


NMC August 2021 Meetings - Join Us!


NMC August 2021 Meetings


  • Aug 5, noon: Model-Based Definition Discussion & Demo with Siemens - Register at bit.ly/NMC-MBD-Siemens
  • Aug 10, 10 am: Business Development Working Group (Members only)
  • Aug 20, 10 am: Thames River Working Group (Members and Community Partners)
  • Aug 25, 2 pm: Meet Our Members Webinar with CorrTech - Register at bit.ly/NMC_MeetCorrTech
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