Mayor's networking lunch a chance to mingle

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What had 40 pounds of homemade tortellini with pink vodka sauce, a specially-mixed salad with secret dressing, freshly-baked and sliced Italian bread and a variety of pasties and cakes that were made by skilled volunteer chefs?

It was Mayor Joseph Polisena’s Networking Luncheon, an event that in years past has become highly popular because of its non-partisan atmosphere, surfaced again Tuesday and filled just about every available space inside the lower level of the Johnston Municipal Court House on Atwood Avenue.

The Johnston mayor invites local business leaders, federal, state and local officials to enjoy a specially prepared lunch and affords attendees a unique opportunity to network with colleagues in government in a relaxed setting.

Tuesday’s Networking Luncheon, in fact, read like a Who’s Who in Rhode Island.

There was Lt. Governor Dan McKee and Treasurer Seth Magaziner who – like everyone else that showed up – raved about the fine food that was prepared by two of Johnston’s noted chefs, DPW Director Arnie Vecchione and staffer Peter DelPonte.

Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the House of Representatives and H. Joseph Shekarchi, House Majority Leader, were also on hand with DOT Director Peter Aliviti, Joseph DeSantis of the Tri-County Community Action Agency and Peter Neronha, the former U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island.

Likewise, a host of mayors, like Woonsocket’s Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, Cumberland’s William Murray, North Providence’s Charles Lombardi and Cranston’s Allan Fung, enjoyed the camaraderie that is commonplace at Polisena’s networking events.

Even Rev. Robert L. Marciano, the popular pastor at St. Kevin’s Church in Warwick who has been a regular visitor at past events, was on hand as was the City’s Fire Chief Jim McLaughlin and former Johnston Fire Chief turned State Fire Marshall Tim McLaughlin.

Perhaps people like Nicole Pope, Director of Government Affairs for the DOT, said it best while describing the networking luncheon as “a happy event with lots of smiling faces and great food.”

Some people likened Tuesday’s networking to a reunion and an opportunity to meet new people from a variety of careers like former State Treasurer Frank Caprio and PC All-American and former Boston Celtics star Kevin Stacom, who chatted with Johnston Little League icon Bob Guidici.

Take when Dr. Giulio Diamante, CEO/President of Johnston-based OPTX Rhode Island and General Manager Robert Folgo met Pope and chatted with her along with Dr. Bernard DiLullo, Superintendent of Johnston Schools and Director of Properties David Cournoyer.

Meanwhile, Johnston Town Council members Robert Russo, Robert Civetti and Richard DelFino serves co-hosts with Doug Jeffrey, Polisena’s Chief of Staff who all concurred later, “This one seemed extra special for a number of reasons.”

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