Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Author: Christine Schilke



Protecting what matters most

Discover firsthand why our clients consider Vancord the best Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs) in New England and experience the peace of mind that comes with protecting your organization against digital threats. We offer comprehensive end-to-end solutions that align with the unique security challenges businesses face in this region.

Our team of experts are backed by cutting-edge technologies to ensure access to the highest level of security management, continuous monitoring, threat intelligence, and incident response.


Services include: Strategic Planning, Information Technology and Cybersecurity

Visit their website


Suzanne Pare
500 Boston Post Road
Milford, CT 06460

Continue reading

Penn Globe

Penn Globe

Lighting for the Greater Good

Since 1877, Penn Globe has been America’s premier outdoor lighting company.

Today, we have the privilege to continue to work with the best customers, our cities, towns, colleges and universities each of whom entrust Penn Globe with their vision. 

We are dedicated to honoring our history while we focus on  future lighting innovations.


Services include: Lighting design + Manufacturing

Visit their website


Marcia LaFemina
300 Shaw Road
North Branford, Ct 06471
(203) 484-7749

Continue reading

Pullman & Comley, LLC

Pullman & Comley, LLC

Pulling Together, Succeeding Together

For more than 100 years, Pullman & Comley has earned a reputation as a leading provider of legal services, serving clients throughout Connecticut, the Northeast, and internationally.


Services include: legal services in downtown revitalization, community & economic development, mixed-use development, Tax Increment Financing, and more

Visit their website


Michael J. Andreana, Attorney
850 Main Street, 8th Floor
Bridgeport, CT 06601

Continue reading

Sullivan & LeShane, Inc.

Sullivan & LeShane, Inc.

We Make Things Happen.

For more than 35 years, Sullivan & LeShane, Inc. has earned the reputation as Connecticut’s most respected and recognized government relations firm. We have earned our stature by constantly cultivating and strengthening relationships, committing to strategic thinking, creative problem solving and by making our clients’ success our top priority. We succeed because we understand the people, the process, the politics and the perceptions surrounding each challenge and project.


Services include: government affairs services for Community & Economic Development, Mixed-use Development, Strategic Planning, Advocacy & Public Policy

Visit their website


Ryan Bingham
287 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06103

Continue reading

Sagers & Associates LLC

Sagers & Associates LLC

assess. strategize. implement

Our goal is to help you increase your revenue potential and reduce your cost of doing business through operational and technology change.

Sagers & Associates has developed an integrated approach to help you strategize and execute organizational, process and technology transformation, to meet the demands of your new world.


Services include: Economic development & equity in Greater Hartford

Visit their website


Dave Sagers, Owner
178 Four Mile Road
West Hartford, CT 06107

Continue reading



The investment platform for Main Street.

Mainvest supports local small business ecosystems by allowing the community to invest directly into local small businesses while providing access to capital on friendly terms for entrepreneurs. proven Four Point Main Street Approach: sustainable and inclusive development practices; project management; and community engagement.


Services include: Fundraising, Community & Economic Development, Small Business Development

Visit their website


Nicholas Mathews, CEO / CoFounder
54 Ashland Street
Newburyport, MA 01950

Continue reading

CMSC Webinar – Constructing Downtown: Storrs Center 20 Year Update

CMSC Webinar

Constructing Downtown: Storrs Center 20 Year Update

Webinar Summary

Twenty-four years ago, the Town of Mansfield and UCONN had a vision to create a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use downtown. Today, Storrs Center is home to 60 businesses, 1300 residents, and boasts civic space and multi-use buildings. So what’s next?

In this webinar, Cynthia van Zelm, Mansfield Downtown Partnership Executive Director, shares share her firsthand experiences and lessons learned in downtown management.

Presentation Highlights

  • The Three Stages of Development

    Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. has been involved in the construction of Storrs Center from the very beginning. Its role has changed to meet the needs of the project: planning, construction, and management


    • 1999 – Mansfield Town Council forms “Town Green Committee”
    • 2001 – Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. to oversee redevelopment efforts
    • 2003 – Partnership selects master developer
    • 2003-2006 – Partnership guides Town, UConn, and master developer through approval process
    • 2007 – Design guidelines approved


    • 2011 – Construction Begins
    • 2012 – First building of Phase 1A Storrs Center opens
    • 2017 – Construction of “Storrs Center” complete


    • 2018 – DOWNTOWN STORRS introduced for whole district
    • 2018- Today – Key management activities include: providing business support, operations (e.g. enhancing public spaces, etc.) , working with property owners, promotion and marketing of the district, and hosting community events
  • Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. Organization & Budget

    The Board of Directors is made up of:

    • 3 Town of Mansfield positions (appointed)
    • 3 UConn positions (appointed)
    • 2 Student representatives (selected)
    • 6 Elected positions (voted on by “membership” base)
    • 2 ex officio positions:
      • Mansfield Mayor
      • UConn President or designee

    Staff includes:

    • Executive Director
    • Senior Communications Manager
    • Event Coordinator
    • Administrative Assistant (part-time)


    Their annual budget is $405,000.

    • Town of Mansfield – $175,000
    • UConn Contribution – $175,000
    • Economic Development Service Fee – $40,000
    • “Membership” Dues – $15,000
  • Lessons Learned

    • Clear direction/everyone on same page as the mission
    • Dedicated and funded staff is key
    • Be ready to pivot
    • Bring on and mentor a staff team that meets evolving needs
    • Try not to take things personally

View the Recording

Additional Resources

Professional Affiliates

Several of the photos of Storrs Center were taken by CMSC Professional Affiliate Levin Aerial Works

About Cynthia van Zelm

Cynthia van Zelm, is Executive Director of Mansfield Downtown Partnership. She was involved in Downtown Storrs from its inception and now concentrates on managing and promoting the downtown and Mansfield’s economic development.

View other webinars

Continue reading

CMSC Summit: Positioning CT Main Streets in the Social Media Landscape

CMSC Summit

Positioning CT Main Streets in the Social Media Landscape

Presented by Intuition Media Group

During our fall summit we dove into the ever-evolving relationship between marketing and Main Streets, exploring the pivotal role social media plays in influencing residents and visitors, and how online audiences can be converted into real-life customers.  

Event Highlights

  • 2 Case Study panels featuring local Main Street professionals & social media influencers
  • A conversation with CT’s Chief Marketing Officer, Anthony Anthony about the state’s new Make It Here campaign. 

This event was approved for 4 credits for certified planners. With thanks to our AICP Certification Maintenance Provider FHI Studio

View Pictures from this event

  • Lyric Hall Entrance

  • CAS_0565

  • CAS_0570

  • CAS_0597

  • New Canaan Panel w Audience

  • CAS_0592

  • CAS_0606

  • CAS_0622

  • CAS_0641

  • CAS_0652

  • CAS_0659

  • CAS_0682

  • CAS_0684

  • CAS_0687

  • CAS_0701

  • CAS_0706

  • CAS_0708

  • WVRA Panel w MLM

  • CAS_0720

  • WVRA Panel w Audience

Watch the Presentation

Panel Discussion 1 – Unlocking Digital Creation for Your Main Street

Panel Discussion 2 – Cultivating an Ecosystem of Creators

Keynote Discussion with Anthony Anthony

View all webinars

With thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Intuition Media Group

Intuition Media is a global leader in influencer marketing.

We are an award-winning influencer marketing agency serving the most iconic brands since 2008. We connect trend-setting creators with insight-based strategies.

From ideation to implementation, our experiential strategists develop campaigns that connect with your target audience and utilize influencers to drive engagement and enhance credibility.

Visit their website

Spotlight Partners

Key Bank

Key Bank’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, NY. Today, KeyCorp is based in Cleveland, OH, and we’re one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $195 billion.

Visit their website

Spotlight Supporters


CBIA is the leading voice for Connecticut business

We support the innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders shaping a vibrant, dynamic Connecticut with opportunities for all–and connect business executives with each other and with legislators.

FHI Studio

FHI Studio integrates expertise in a wide array of services and technical disciplines. Across planning, engagement, mobility, and design, we look at the whole to understand the parts of every project. From internal brainstorm sessions to client, stakeholder, and public workshops, we bring a diversity of knowledge and the creativity to get things done.

Our four studios work together to ensure comprehensive and thoughtful solutions, demonstrating our commitment to continual learning and collaboration.

Fuss & O’Neill

Fuss & O’Neill is a nearly 100-year-old engineering and science-based firm with offices in each New England state, and New York.

We specialize in planning, design, and construction work in the transportation, water, environmental, buildings, and energy market sectors. We thrive at the intersection of industry and community issues such as economic development, livable communities, complete streets, Environmental Justice, and climate change while offering traditional public and private services. We count more than a dozen Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as part of our extensive list of clients.

Summit Exhibitors

Continue reading

CT SHPO: A Powerful Ally for Downtowns & Main Streets

CT’s State Historic Preservation Office:

A Powerful Ally for Downtowns & Main Streets

CMSC recently sat down with SHPO’s Jonathan Kinney to talk about the resources they offer & historic preservation’s important role in a changing future.

Historic preservation and downtowns go hand-in-hand, as so many of our beautiful, timeless treasurers are located amongst their lively streets. One ally in keeping these buildings maintained and for contemporary enjoyment is the State Historic Preservation Office. SHPO shares many values with Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), such as how our historic buildings have important links to sustainability, adaptive reuse, and nurturing connections among people.

SHPO’s work encompasses three main areas: regulatory, educational, and program administration. They are federally mandated – every state in the nation has a SHPO office. However, they also have several state programs and policies that mirror the federal ones, such as administering the state historic tax credit program, in additional to the federal historic tax credit program. While they have regulatory responsibilities pursuant to laws such as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the CT Environmental Policy Act (CEPA), they’re also focused on designating new historic properties and incentivizing preservation and protection of our historic gems.

SHPO understands that while it’s important to maintain the characteristics of our historic buildings, it’s also important to allow them to evolve. “House museums are wonderful, and there’s certainly a place for them, but we don’t want every historic building to be preserved like a museum. We want these buildings to be viable, living pieces of the community that people can use, that they can live in, that they can work in, that they can enjoy because those are the best ways to preserve these buildings,” says Jonathan Kinney, State Historic Preservation Office and Director of Operations.

Mr. Kinney’s advice for downtowns is to reach out as soon as you can and talk to them about potential projects, whether you’re an economic development official or a business owner. This lets SHPO get in on the ground floor and identify where there may be concerns about historic properties and provide guidance up front so people aren’t searching around for what to do.

Engaging SHPO is easier than many may think. They encourage early dialogue with municipalities or developers so that they can help identify any potential obstacles and offer resources to assist in addressing them. SHPO also works with many partners across the state, including their statutory partner, Preservation CT, a statewide non-profit staffed with preservation professionals, including Circuit Riders, who travel the state providing boots-on-the-ground guidance and advice on SHPO’s grant and other programs.

SHPO is eager for people to know they are there to be a resource in protecting and preserving our historic assets, especially when viewed in the larger context of other pressing issues, such as sustainability, housing, and education. As they begin the statewide planning phase for their 2024-2029 plan, these issues are at the forefront of Mr. Kinney’s mind. “Historic preservation can’t singlehandedly address all of those issues, but it has a strong connection to each one and is a tool that is available to the people of Connecticut to help with each.” He notes how, “the greenest building is the one that’s already there,” notably the embodied energy savings of historic building; how historic mill buildings can be great tools to help construct housing units, including much-needed affordable units; and how these buildings offer us living connections to the past. “There’s something really neat about historic buildings in that they give us context and they allow us to experience something that goes beyond just one human life. It places us us into a longer timeline which I think people find comforting.”

Mr. Kinney was particularly proud of a SHPO project headed by Jenny Scofield, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer/National Register Coordinator last year, in partnership with Preservation CT, which surveyed Frederick Law Olmstead projects around the state. While one of the nation’s most famous historic landscape architects, Olmstead was from Connecticut, but a comprehensive look at his projects in the state had never been undertaken before. In yet another fascinating example, Mr. Kinney also shared how work is underway in Simsbury to document Martin Luther King’s time working in tobacco barns there. It turns out that during both World Wars, southern seasonal workers were recruited to help, including through a partnership with Morehouse College students in Atlanta during WWII – where a young Martin Luther King attended. Dr. King’s time in the north working the Connecticut tobacco fields would prove to be a transitional time for him, and he would later say it was during this summer that he was called to service as a minister.

As one of the oldest states in the nation, with an even older indigenous history, it’s reassuring to know SHPO is deploying resources to preserve and protect our vibrant history, one that is deeply embedded in our downtown and village centers. We encourage you to reach out to them or Preservation CT if you have a project you’re considering, or if you would like more information on the resources and programs they offer.

About CT Main Street Center

CMSC is the expert resource for developing and sustaining vibrant downtowns that fuel our state’s prosperity. Our mission is to assess, educate, convene, and advocate to develop and grow our traditional downtowns, village centers, and urban mixed-use neighborhoods. We provide education and training, resources and technical assistance, and function as the statewide champion for downtowns and Main Streets of all sizes.

CMSC is supported by its Founding Sponsors, the Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and Eversource Energy. CMSC is also supported by its Growth Sponsors, UIL Holdings and the State Historic Preservation Office. More information is available at

Continue reading

CMSC Webinar: 7 Steps to Successfully Hire a Main Street Executive

CMSC Webinar

7 Steps to Successfully Hire a Main Street Executive

Webinar Summary

Hiring a Main Street Executive – whether for the first time or as you bring on a new leader – is an exciting time. It’s a great opportunity for the organization to reposition itself and infuse it with new life. However, without strong leadership, hiring a new Main Street Executive can be delayed or worse, the wrong person might be hired.

In this webinar, you’ll learn the steps to follow to ensure a successful search and learn about Connecticut Main Street Center’s new action kit Hiring a Main Street Executive.

Presentation Highlights

  • The 7 Steps of hiring an Executive Director

    An organization transitioning to new leadership has an opportunity to deepen relationships with the community and strengthen the organization’s internal workings. Hiring a new Main Street Executive allows an organization to reposition itself and infuse it with new life. However, without strong Board leadership, the organization may flounder, leading to time delays in hiring the new Main Street Executive or worse, choosing the wrong person for the job.

    CMSC has broken down the process of hiring a Main Street Executive into seven steps:

    1. Assemble a Search Committee
    2. Send an Exit Survey
    3. Understand the Role
    4. Write the Job Description
    5. Advertise the Position
    6. Interviewing
    7. Orientation and Onboarding
  • About the Action Kit

    To assist in achieving the best outcome, Connecticut Main Street Center developed an action kit to support organizations in hiring a new leader. This action kit includes a workbook and editable templates and checklists. It will guide you step-by-step through the hiring process and provide you with estimated timeframes you can use throughout the entire process.

    Included in the Hiring Your Main Street Executive Action Kit:

    • Step-by-Step guide available as an online course or PDF
    • Action Kit Overview Checklist
    • Outgoing Executive Director Exit Survey Template
    • Community Survey Template
    • Community Focus Group Presentation Template
    • Job Description Template
    • Connecticut Job Marketing Resources
    • First Round Interview Scorecard Template
    • Second Round Interview Scorecard Template
    • Reference Check Template
    • Onboarding Checklist
    • “A Day in the Life of a Main Street Executive” Video

View the Recording

About Kristen Lopez

Kristen M. Lopez is Connecticut Main Street Center’s Education & Training Director. With over 11 years of experience in economic development from various roles and industries across the United States, she has always worked with adults to achieve their goals through education. Kristen is an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer alum, a StartingBloc Fellow, and Next City Vanguard Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Messiah University.

Get the Action Kit!

To get your Hiring Your Main Street Executive Action Kit, email: Judith@ctmainstreet.or

  • $17 for CMSC Members
  • $47 for non-members

View Other Webinars

Continue reading

© Connecticut Main Street Center 
P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337