At Wednesday’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) meeting, Spectrum Associates President Richard Meisenheimer answered questions regarding the state of Milford's manufacturing industry.
“I think the atmosphere is good. We are received well,” Meisenheimer said, adding that there are enough “range of buildings and zoning that [manufacturing] will continue to grow.”
“As with all things in life, you want to keep a balance,” he noted, explaining that no municipality wants to have a tax base that is 95% residential or 95% commercial.
Meisenheimer’s Spectrum Associates was the featured business at this week’s EDC meeting. In addition to answering questions about manufacturing, Meisenheimer discussed the various aerospace and commercial products that his company produces, which include “state-of-the-art crash-resistant breakaway valves, pressure switches, indicators and hydraulic subassemblies.”
When discussing the fear that businesses will move to other states for economic reasons, Meisenheimer said, “It’s a trade-off," noting that business owners need to weigh the pros and cons of relocating their business. "Do you like being in Connecticut as opposed to Alabama or Georgia?” he asked, rhetorically.
Business and Politics
Meisenheimer addressed the perception that the Connecticut legislature can sometimes give manufacturing a hard time. “I don’t think they intentionally try to drive us out. I think it’s more of they put in place policies that they believe will be beneficial to the community at large without realizing that those benefits have a cost.”
Meisenheimer cited an example regarding Spectrum Associates and Connecticut’s unemployment laws.
“Clearly, if someone’s unemployed, you want to help them out. But at what point is enough enough? And at what point does the wanting to help someone get overridden by the costs? We had an employee who left us—not because of any issue. He went to Texas. He was there six months. He came back, but not to be our employee as we had since hired someone to replace him. Our unemployment rate went up because he quit our job and went to a job in Texas and then came back and was unemployed. Now, there’s something wrong with that law. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Despite the costs of doing business, Meisenheimer makes it a point to give back. Meisenheimer recently gave back to the Milford community when, along with Mike Zahornaky, he donated $6,000 worth of toolboxes to freshman at .
Promoting Economic Development
Meisenheimer noted that the city’s location off the Metro-North, I-95 and Merritt Parkway were all pluses for Milford. He also mentioned that an “assigned permit person” could help shorten company moves by a week or month, helping businesses move into buildings faster.
Ultimately, Meisenheimer said, the best thing that the EDC can do is make companies aware of Milford's properties, noting that if the right building comes along for a manufacturer, it can be a “perfect fit.”