The Corporation for New Milford Economic Development (CNMED) has announced the Best of the Best Awards Dinner will be held Jan. 23.

The event, which will take place at 19 Main on Main Street, will recognize companies and individuals who are leaders in economic development, private investment, and talent attraction and retention in New Milford.

The public is invited to attend.

Businesses that will be honored include New Milford Hospital, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Hal Fischel ofFischel Properties.

Commissioner David Lehman of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development will be a special guest speaker.

Lehman, who is also Governor Lamont’s senior economic advisor, was with Goldman Sachs for 15 years as the global head of real estate finance and investment banking prior to this new role.

“The award categories closely align with the mission of the Corporation to promote the economic well-being and improve the quality of life for all area residents,” said CNMED Chairman Oley Carpp.

Carpo said the Economic Development Project of the Year was selected from the dozen companies that invested more than $500,000 in New Milford for physical expansions or new construction during the calendar years of 2018 and 2019.

Project of the Year Award

New Milford Hospital, now part of Nuvance Health, will receive the Project of the Year Award for their ongoing commitment to maintaining a state-of-the-art presence in New Milford and investing more than $750,000 into facilities as part of a continuous improvement program.

New Milford Hospital provides high-quality inpatient medical and surgical services in addition to a broad range of outpatient testing, cancer treatment, and primary and specialty care.

“Businesses and their employees, and residents from pre-school to retirement ages rely on New Milford Hospital for wellness, emergency and cancer care, and now for family practice and specialty providers,” said New Milford’s Economic Development Director Karen Pollard.

“With the newly completed merger with Nuvance Health, a NY-CT network composed of seven hospitals with 2,600 medical providers, we can now access even more care right here at home, making New Milford more competitive for businesses as well as residents,” she said.

“New Milford Hospital is most important to our quality of life and to maintaining a healthy and diverse economy,” Pollard added.

Employer of the Year Award

The Employer of the Year Award recognizes a New Milford business that invests in their people’s talent and education, well-being and community connections.

Nominees were asked to complete an application and provide information about training programs, on-boarding of new employees, enrichment and quality of life programs, and how they encourage community engagement within the workforce.

While company size was not a consideration, the honoree in this category is also New Milford’s largest manufacturing employer.

The Awards Selection Committee singled out Kimberly-Clark Corporation with its top-notch management and human resource teams as the employer of choice in the region.

Pollard said work-force talent is the number one challenge to business growth and expansion throughout the U.S.

“Kimberly-Clark’s programs and practices are a great example to other firms regardless of size or budget of how to make the most of resources to find and keep the best talent here in town,” she said.

Partner of the Year Award

Carpp noted that “economic development does not happen in isolation and in fact it is often described as a team sport.”

“The Partner of the Year Award recognizes an individual, a business, non-profit organization or institution that has collaborated on a project or program and contributed to the success of the Corporation,” Carpo said.

This year the Corporation is recognizing Hal Fischel ofFischel Properties, owner of the Bleachery located at the end of West Street along the Housatonic River, once considered an obsolete building.

Carpo noted the Bleachery was built for another purpose in another century and could have been abandoned and torn down, as happened in many other towns.

Instead, he said, it was converted into a multi-tenant flex-space facility, housing companies large and small in a riverfront environment.

“Hal Fischel saw opportunity in New Milford, and he still does every day,” Carpo said. “Hal has kept lease prices reasonable and has made prudent investments to breathe new life into the building, combining modern amenities within the historical structure.”

“He is also putting together a new venture - a 100-unit luxury apartment building that will utilize the waterfront and existing marina,” Carpo said. “Hal continues to see opportunity in New Milford, and we can’t wait to see what’s next,” he summed up.

A printed program will feature sponsors, local businesses and award recipients.

Tickets for the dinner are $85 and available individually or in groups, and for tables of eight and 10.

For tickets, sponsorships and program book advertising rates, visit www.NewMilBest.org.

For more information, contact Pollard at kpollard@newmilford.org or 860-355-5001.