Member Spotlight: The University of Bridgeport

The University of Bridgeport (UB) is a private university located on the Long Island Sound in Bridgeport. It was originally established in 1927 as the Junior College of Connecticut, but became a four year institution and changed its name to the University of Bridgeport in 1947. Today, UB has a combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of over 5,600 students and offers 125 degree programs.

The student population is diverse representing 45 states and 80 countries. UB was ranked third in the region for percentage of international students by US News and World Report. Differing cultures are shared through the more than 50 clubs and organizations that are available to students.

Over the years, the university has had a long standing membership and business relationship with the BRBC. Neil Salonen, the President of the University of Bridgeport, has been a member of the BRBC Executive Committee for 15 of the 17 years he has been with UB.

Salonen believes the BRBC has helped the University in a number of ways. It has connected the University with the business sector, especially restaurants and shopping centers. These connections benefit the students through discounts and opportunities for employment while bringing more customers to the businesses in the region. The BRBC also allows Salonen to advocate for UB on the local and state level.

Community is a big part of the BRBC,” Salonen commented. As UB continues to grow, the BRBC community will continue be an important link between the university and the greater Bridgeport region.

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Member Spotlight: Cast Iron Chop House

Cast Iron Chop House is a traditional American steakhouse located in Trumbull, CT. The restaurant was formerly Marisa’s, owned by Marisa Marini and opened in Bridgeport in 1988. Marisa’s recently served its last meal and in July 2016, it was passed onto Attilio Marini, Marisa’s son. It has since transformed into Attilio’s dream– the Cast Iron Chop House. Attilio, his mother, and the rest of the family are all still on the job every day at the Chop House.

Attilio is known for his steak and doing his own butchering on site, his signature dish being the four pound Powerhouse Porterhouse for two.  “I don’t like the taste of charbroiled meat,” he said of his unique cooking style. “I knew there had to be a better way to make a steak.” At Cast Iron Chop House, the steak dishes are delivered in the sizzling skillet to the patron’s table. The entire dining room is filled with the taste bud-exploding aroma.

Cast Iron Chop House has been a member of the Bridgeport Regional Business Counsel (BRBC), for 25 years and had a few things to say about their relationship thus far. First off, the BRBC has helped their business through creating contacts. Attilio Marini says, “They helped me through exposure of my new concepts and allowed me to reach people I wouldn’t have been able to reach on social media.” Next, the BRBC helped with clientele. Marini says, “One of the benefits of the BRBC is the accessibility of such an affluent group of people.” The BRBC has connections to a number of businesses and people who love to get involved and help other emerging businesses create a network.

When it comes to staying involved in the BRBC to promote his business, he is not always able to attend events, but he says, “Cast Iron Chop House stays involved in the BRBC by keeping its name out there as a member, and even though we are not at many events I am always pro-BRBC.” Marini is seeing his business still grow and with that he is committed to the future relationship with the BRBC. He knows the BRBC can always aid in that growth.