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HARTFORD, CONN (November 21, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin and Business for Downtown Hartford (BFDH) announced that this Saturday, November 24th, twenty-four Hartford small businesses and restaurants will be offering special discounts, giveaways, and holiday deals as part of national Small Business Saturday (SBS).  A full listing of participating businesses and a map is available here.  Free parking is available for any visitors who mention “SBS,” and park at the Hartford Parking Authority lot on the East side of Main Street between Morgan Street and Trumbull Street.

“Hartford has a unique collection of terrific small businesses and restaurants and I encourage families from our entire region to plan a Saturday in their Capital City and take advantage of the many special offers – as well as the start of free ice skating at Winterfest,” said Mayor Bronin.  “I want to thank Business for Downtown Hartford for their great work in putting this year’s SBS together, and the dozens of small businesses for participating by offering promotions and discounts.”

“We encourage everyone to shop small because for every dollar spent locally, sixty-eight cents stays locally,” said Wendell Davis, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Regional Administrator for New England.  “Small business owners continue to be the backbone of our economy.”

“Business for Downtown Hartford is very excited to showcase the many shopping opportunities that are available in Hartford,” said Jennifer Cassidy, Executive Director of Business for Downtown Hartford. 

In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday to encourage people to “shop small” between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to support their local businesses and communities.

This is BFDH’s second year coordinating SBS, and they helped to more than double the number of participating businesses from 11 to 24.  People can start their SBS by stopping at the Welcome Station at Morneault’s Stackpole Moore Tyron at 242 Trumbull Street.  They will be able to pick up a map of participating businesses and deals, have a snack, and take a chance on a free drawing for merchandise from participating SBS merchants.





HARTFORD, CONN (November 16, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin announced that he is nominating Walter Veselka to serve as Director of the Department of Public Works.  Veselka will start on November 19, 2018, and his nomination is subject to confirmation by the City Council.  

“Walt Veselka has been a highly regarded public works director in Connecticut for more than two decades, and we are excited that he will be joining our team and serving our city in such an important position,” said Mayor Bronin.  “Walt’s extensive experience managing the full range Public Works responsibilities will be invaluable to our city and to our Department.  I also want to thank Chief Freeman for his tremendous leadership over the last two years simultaneously managing two of our most important departments.  We are incredibly fortunate that Chief Freeman was willing to serve as interim director, and I am grateful for his dedication, professionalism, and leadership in multiple roles for much longer than anticipated.”

“Public Works is an essential city function that has such a significant impact on the quality of life of our residents and I am glad we were able to recruit someone with such extensive experience to the City of Hartford,” said City Council President Glendowlyn L.H. Thames.

“I’ve dedicated my professional life to public works and I am excited to get to work serving the people of Hartford,” said Walter Veselka.  “Public works plays a critical role in creating a livable, sustainable, and thriving community and it will be an honor to work in our state’s Capital City.  I am looking forward to getting to know city leaders and residents in the weeks ahead.”

Since 2003, Veselka has served as Public Works Director for the City of Bristol, where he managed all facets of public works service delivery and oversaw a staff of more than 120.  He was recognized as a Top Ten Public Works Leader of the Year in 2016 by the American Public Works Association.  Between 1995 and 2003 he served as Public Works Director for the Town of Coventry.  Between 1975 and 1995, Veselka served as a commissioned officer and civil engineer in the United States Coast Guard.  He attended the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, graduating in 1975 and earned masters’ degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Hartford.






HARTFORD, CONN (November 14, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin and the Hartford InsurTech Hub announced that Hartford has joined the City Innovation Ecosystem Program hosted by the National League of Cities (NLC) and Schmidt Futures.  The program aims to support fifty cities that have made commitments to local entrepreneurship, STEM education, or innovation. NLC announced the cities it will partner with at its annual City Summit in Los Angeles, which had more than 3,500 attendees representing more than 1,500 cities.  In its announcement, the NLC recognized Hartford as, “the country’s premier destination for insurance technology startups.”

“In a very short time since its launch last year, the Hartford InsurTech Hub has established itself as a major center of insurtech innovation, and we’re excited to partner with the National League of Cities as we work to accelerate its growth,” said Mayor Bronin.  “The constellation of industry leaders here makes Hartford a perfect place for insurtech entrepreneurs and growing insurtech companies to locate and work hand in hand with major global insurance carriers.  I want to thank CT Next, our local Innovation Places team, and all of the companies who are working together to position Hartford to build on its history and become the insurtech capital of the world.”

To join the program, the City of Hartford and Hartford’s insurance industry, led by Cigna, The Hartford, LIMRA, and Travelers, committed to growing the InsurTech ecosystem by attracting new companies and talent to the city.  That work has been ongoing for the last year in partnership Startupbootcamp, the global network of accelerators and innovation programs, which runs the Hartford InsurTech Hub. Specifically, throughout 2019, Hartford will track increases in: the number of InsurTech startups; the amount of corporate engagement and support; the number of InsurTech events; and the amount of talent, including professionals and students, involved in startup growth or innovation initiatives within the insurance industry.

“The growing energy created by the alliance of established companies, emerging ventures, and students is making Hartford an insurtech destination,” said Sabine VanderLinden, Chief Executive Officer for the InsurTech business at Startupbootcamp.  “This recognition by the National League of Cities will help facilitate connections to innovation leaders in a variety of US locations and further enrich Hartford and its wider ecosystem to deliver insurance success.”

“When accepting cities, we look for two things,” said Scott Andes, Program Director for the Innovation Ecosystem Program at the NLC.  “First, leadership that is tenacious and willing to forge cross-sector partnerships and commitments to action that will take full advantage of a city’s unique strengths.”

Through this commitment, Hartford will join the NLC and other nationally recognized innovation leaders to share best practices, connect with national firms and foundations and gain technical support, and national recognition through NLC forums and publications.

About Hartford InsurTech Hub

The Hartford InsurTech Hub, powered by Startupbootcamp, is an initiative established in 2017 by Hartford insurance companies, the City of Hartford, and CTNext. Focused on addressing the need for attracting new technologies and talent in insurance and technology into the City of Hartford and the local ecosystem, the program partners include Cigna, The Hartford, Travelers, CTNext, USAA, White Mountains and Clyde & Co. As we prepare for the second year of the program starting in 2019, please visit: for up-to-date information.

About the National League of Cities 

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. Learn more at

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies that can benefit humanity. As a venture facility for public benefit, they invest risk capital in the most promising ideas and most exceptional people across disciplines. Learn more at




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