2014 CEDAS Award Honorees


The 2014 CEDAS awards and awardees included:

Kenneth L. Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award:

  • Michael W. Freimuth, Executive Director, Capital Region Development Authority

CEDAS Member of the Year Award:

  • CT Main Street Center (John Simone, President & CEO)
  • Michael J. Freda, First Selectman, Town of North Haven

President's Award:

  • Nicole L. Grant, Economic Development Specialist, UIL Holdings • Tom Burmeister, Profit Miners, LLC

Kenneth L. Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors the legacy of Kenneth L. Roberts, his commitment to economic development in the state of Connecticut and his long-time service to DECD.  The award honors an economic developer or practitioner with at least 20 years’ experience who has made demonstrable contributions to the economic development field and impactful activities in Connecticut.

Mike Freimuth, Capital Regional Development Agency, Hartford

Mike Freimuth’s legacy and impact on economic development in Connecticut and beyond is noted in some brief highlights:

  • Presidential Intern 1979-81 – worked with Indian tribes in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Montana
  • Congressional Staff – early 1980s - Senior Legislative Assistant: Part of the professional team that created the enterprise zone program. “Kemp-Garcia”
  • South Bronx – ‘when the Bronx was burning’, prepared national legislation for neighborhood development corporations while working for S. Bronx Congressman. The legislation was subsequently enacted.
  • Bridgeport – Secured one of the first 3 Brownfield designations in the Nation, becoming national spokesperson on behalf of EPA
  • Bridgeport – from concept to completion - planned, financed, built $100 Million HarborYard sports complex
  • International – Following the removal of the Berlin Wall, was part of American team sent by U.S. AID into Eastern Europe, assisting communities in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia with economic development modeling and program design
  • Stamford -  Underwrote and secured $145M in TIF infrastructure financing during the national recession which has subsequently lead to the creation of over 2000 units of housing in the south end of Stamford
  • Stamford – Recruitment and development of the 500,000 sf RBS complex
  • New Rochelle, NY – resolved myriad of problems leading to the reconstruction of a large high rise public housing complex into mixed income neighborhood scale housing
  • CRDA – Harnessed management of three large venues (XL Center, Rentschler Field, Convention Center) previously reporting to three different state agencies into one uniform management structure
  • CRDA – Launched over 1000 units of housing into downtown Hartford, 700+ in construction over the last year.
  • Awards/Recognition:
    • Alumni of the Year –G.W. University, Washington DC
    • Public Service Award – Conn. Sec of State
    • Citation of Outstanding Achievements – Conn. Gen. Assembly
    • One of the “Five People to Watch in Hartford in 2013”

CEDAS Member of the Year Award

The Member of the Year Award recognizes a CEDAS member who has exhibited true leadership in economic development in a Connecticut community and has implemented an initiative that demonstrates real results and outcomes in the past year.  Honorees may be individuals, teams or organizations and may consist of volunteers, practitioners, educators or elected officials and other persons.

Mike Frieda, First Selectman, Town of North Haven

Mike Frieda is the Current First Selectman of North Haven, prior to elected office, Frieda served as President/CEO of ESM in New England and President/CEO of CBS Marketing, a subsidiary company that had offices in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Mike was also the Past Regional President for Advantage Sales and Marketing, a substantial national corporation in the sales and marketing agency industry which generated $40 billion dollars in volume.

Mike is a past member of the North Haven Board of Finance and served as Third Selectman for two years prior to being elected by the Town of North Haven as First Selectman in November of 2009.

Mike currently is on the Executive Board and Vice Chairman of the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG), sits on the Board of Directors for Workforce Alliance and the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST). He is co-chair of the New Haven Hartford Springfield Rail and CTFastrak Advisory Committee. He is Chairman on the Executive Board of CMED (The South Central Connecticut Regional Emergency Communications System, responsible for providing high quality communications services in support of the emergency medical system including the areas of Dispatch of Resources, Coordination of Response, and Medical Control). He was appointed in April of 2013 by Governor Dannel Malloy to the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, and by J. Brendan Sharkey, Speaker of the House of Representatives as Co-Chair of the Task Force to Study the Humane Treatment of Animals in Municipal and Regional Shelters. He also author's "Freda's Focus”, a column on topics of local interest published in North Haven local weekly newspapers. Mike also has his own TV show on North Haven local television entitled North Haven Journal, where he updates the residents on various issues in town. Mike is currently a featured speaker at Quinnipiac University for their Physician Assistant’s Program and also at Gateway Community College for their Business and Political Classes.

He has served on numerous advisory boards, including Dow Brands, a division of Dow Chemical, and the Dow Brands’ advisory board, including a term as Chairman, as well as advisory boards for Lipton, Unilever, Rich Products, Chef America - a division of Nestle, additionally Mike was a member of the Board of Directors for one of Lee Iacocca’s companies - Olivio Products.

Mike has earned many honors and achievements. This year, Mike was recognized by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center as a 2014 Celebrate CT! honoree for his outstanding impact on the economy and his contributions to the success in growing communities, regions, and the state.  He was also awarded 2011 the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Legislative Leadership Award and was named as the Republican of the Year in West Haven (where he grew up) In 2012 Mike was named as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Sons and Daughters of Italy in North Haven. 

John Simone and the Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC)

He has been President and CEO of the Connecticut Main Street Center since its founding as a nonprofit institution in 2000.  He has built a talented team of professionals which includes Kim Parsons-Whitaker, Susan Westa and Christine Schilke.  Under his leadership, the CMSC has grown from 6 to 57 member communities. He and his staff of have provide tremendous training opportunities for economic and community development professionals and community volunteers through the Downtown Revitalization Institute.

Other innovative programs include the Preservation of Place Grant program which provides grants of up to $10,000 for Main Street planning initiatives, as well as working with CHFA on the Come Home to Downtown initiative exploring downtown residential development.   CMSC has also worked with the Town of Newtown to provide an economic recovery strategy for the Sandy Hook business community. The results are evident with over $1 Billion invested in CT Main Street designated downtowns since its inception, as well as an increased visibility for the need and benefits of strong and vibrant downtowns.

Over the last year, CMSC and CEDAS have partnered on very successful events in Waterbury and the Westville Village neighborhood of New Haven. We have also begun to explore potential changes to Connecticut’s enabling legislation for Tax Increment Financing. More information can be found on CMSC’s web site.

President’s Award

Awarded by CEDAS President to Member(s) that make an outstanding individual contribution to CEDAS during the year. Please see Board Member bios for more information on the honorees.

Past award winners can be found here...

Collage photos courtesy of Judy LaRoche, Town of Killingly

Top Row (Left to Right): CEDAS Awards; Below – Mark Barnhart, Treasurer delivers the annual financial report; Tom Burmeister, President’s Award recipient & President Elizabeth Stocker; Below CEDAS Past President Elsie Bisset with 1st VP-elect Rebecca Nolan and Past President Sandra Johnson; President’s Award Recipient Nicole Licata Grant; 2013-2014 CEDAS President Elizabeth Stocker with 2015 President Elect Patrick McMahon

Middle Row: Elizabeth Stocker and Patrick McMahon present the Member of the Year award to Mike Frieda, First Selectman for the Town of North Haven; Kenneth L. Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Mike Freimuth; CEDAS Members celebrate include Elsie Bisset, Elizabeth Stocker, Dale Kroop and Sandra Johnson; Room of Celebrants at the Canoe Club

Bottom Row: Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) Staff & Board are awarded Member of the Year; Thanking Past President Sandra Johnson for her Board service with President Elizabeth Stocker

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