In a pair of unrelated statehouse moves, Colin Cooper, executive chairman of Whitcraft Group, has been named Connecticut’s first-ever chief manufacturing officer, while Arthur House, the state’s chief cybersecurity risk officer, has left that position.
Cooper, a onetime Pratt & Whitney engineer, acquired Whitcraft with partner Jeffrey Paul in 1998. The precision aerospace manufacturer is based in Eastford.
As outlined in the state budget approved earlier this year, the manufacturing director will serve a two-year term under the auspices of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, receiving an annual salary of $150,000.
In addition to launching and monitoring various pro-manufacturing initiatives, the director is expected to consult with the state’s manufacturing community to define strategic goals and objectives for
advancing manufacturing growth in the state, as well as enhance statewide coordination, collaboration and partnership among public, private and nonprofit entities. He is required to submit a progress report to Gov. Ned Lamont and the joint standing committee of the General Assembly by Oct. 1, 2020.
“Connecticut is the birthplace of the industrial revolution in this country and we continue to lead the world in many industries,” Cooper said. “Manufacturing has played a critical role in our state for over 200 years and we need to work to ensure it will continue to do so well into the future.
“I know first-hand the challenges of trying to grow a manufacturing business in Connecticut,” he continued, “but I am also acutely aware of the strong competitive advantages we have in this state, including a highly-skilled and engaged workforce, proximity to customers and markets, a critical mass of banks and lenders who understand and support manufacturing, and an increasingly broad and deep array of academic institutions and programs designed and developed to support manufacturing.”
“Colin has been an active member of Connecticut’s manufacturing community for over 20 years and his experience and insights will serve him well in this new role,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said. “In addition to being a passionate advocate for all of our manufacturers, Colin will provide the strategic leadership necessary to ensure that we have the right policies in place to help companies innovate, compete, and grow.”
Meanwhile, House, who became the state’s chief cybersecurity risk officer in 2016 after four years as chairman of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, has left that position as Lamont works to further develop the state’s anti-cyberattack efforts.
House was also Lamont’s national security adviser during the latter’s 2006 run for the U.S. Senate.
A search for House’s replacement is now underway.