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First Selectman Matt Hoey stands with Brian McGlone following a surprise July 30 motorcade farewell in front of Town Hall. (Photo by Jesse Williams/The Courier)
Retiring Economic Development Coordinator Brian McGlone was sent off with a farewell motorcade on July 30. (Photo by Jesse Williams/The Courier)
Economic Development Coordinator Brian McGlone, who has served as a lifeline for local businesses during the pandemic and spent nine years in Town Hall guiding and leading Guilford on economic issues, retired at the end of last month, with First Selectman Matt Hoey and Economic Development Commission Chair Mark Wasserman organizing an emotional goodbye motorcade showing the town’s appreciation.
McGlone, who oversaw several initiatives and important additions to Guilford, including the Downtown Project, the opening of the Guilford Commons shopping center, and the 375th Celebration, said his retirement was at least partially influenced by the pandemic as he hopes to spend more time with his family.
“When I got in, I thought three to five years,” McGlone said. “But there were just so many projects, events, activities, and things just kept rolling.”
More recently, local business owners have credited McGlone as a vital lifeline to important policy and news updates during the pandemic shutdown and reopening process, helping put shop and restaurant owners on the right path with loan programs or other assistance, and communicating concerns to town officials.
But after almost 30 years in the private sector and nearly a decade in Town Hall, McGlone said he didn’t want to put off his other goals any longer, specifically family, travel, golf, and potentially charitable work.
“I’m involved in a couple non-profits and I want to look at a couple different things,” McGlone said. “I do play golf—I’m not great anymore...My wife and I like to travel a lot, and again, we have to wait for that free up.”
McGlone cited the 375th Celebration, which sought to commemorate the town’s 375 years since Puritan settlers colonized and established the town, and Nick Fradiani Day, which saw 10,000 people flood the town to celebrate local musician Nick Fradiani Jr.’s victory on the popular American Idol TV show as events that would particularly stick in his memory.
But McGlone said what he will treasure most in retirement are all the little human connections, and seeing the town grow through the work put in by government leaders and residents.
“Just being involved in some way…[You] feel good about having some impact,” McGlone said.
Originally, McGlone said he had hoped to stick it out through Phase 3 of Connecticut’s reopening, which would have allowed most businesses to be operating nearly at a pre-pandemic level, but with the state indefinitely pausing its reopening plan last month, McGlone said he decided that retiring at the end of July, marking exactly nine years in his current position, made the most sense.
“I wanted to try to get through Phase 1, 2, and I was hoping Phase 3. I wanted to try to get through it, and we help businesses through the process. But the uncertainty of when, and how things were changing, I was like, ‘I’m going to put a stake in the ground.’”
The farewell motorcade, which lasted more than five minutes and saw friends as well as Guilford police officers and firefighters joining in the new socially distanced style of celebration with honking horns and signs hung from car windows, was what really touched McGlone, he said. He grew emotional, reflecting on the gesture and all the bonds he had formed over the years
“I never expected it, and seeing so many people that I’ve known, gotten to know over the years, or knew before in some cases—the fact that they took a few minutes to come out, it really hit me hard, in a positive sense of course,” McGlone said.