President Olian appointed co-chair of AdvanceCT Board of Directors

January 24, 2024

Gov. Ned Lamont at Quinnipiac

Widely recognized for her expertise in academia and business, Quinnipiac President Judy Olian has added a new role to her portfolio of leadership.

On Monday, Olian and Adam Norwitt, president and CEO of Wallingford-based Amphenol, were introduced as co-chairs of AdvanceCT, a Connecticut nonprofit that helps recruit new companies to the state and helps existing companies grow and flourish.

After thanking and acknowledging those who have established AdvanceCT as a game changer for the state’s business community, Olian said that she’s honored to serve as co-chair and looks forward to the important work ahead.

“I'm really bullish about the future of Connecticut. I'm proud to be a resident. I'm excited to continue to promote the prosperity of the private sector, the public sector and the partnerships that are so critical to the future of the state,” Olian told those gathered inside the atrium of the Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences building, including Gov. Ned Lamont.

“We have an incredibly vested interest in making sure this economy grows and this state thrives. We have 9,000 students who are studying in the fields of the future, and I see a number of them with us here today,” Olian said. “We're a huge importer of talent, and we prepare that talent for the future. We need this economy to absolutely represent the economy of the future.”

Olian, who also serves on the boards of Mattel, United Therapeutics and Ares Management, was unanimously elected as co-chair with Norwitt by the AdvanceCT board in December. Carlton L. Highsmith, vice chairman of the Quinnipiac University Board of Trustees, is also a member of AdvanceCT’s Board of Directors.

“The members of our board represent the best of what Connecticut has to offer, and really, the best of what our country has to offer — visionaries, business leaders, leaders in education and nonprofit leaders — people who selflessly commit their time, expertise and talent,” said John Bourdeaux, president and CEO of AdvanceCT.

Lamont pointed out that Olian, who previously served as dean of the UCLA Anderson School of Management and John E. Anderson Chair in Management, brings a wide swath of experience to her role as co-chair.

“We’ve got to have a close relationship with the business community and the academic community. And nobody symbolizes that more than Judy with what they’re doing here at Quinnipiac,” Lamont said, referring to the university’s bold partnerships with Hartford HealthCare, M&T Bank, PepsiCo and others.

“Judy is not just an amazing academic. She also comes out of the business school community,” Lamont said. “She’s also on a number of amazing boards, one of which you’ve heard about is Mattel. So Judy, if you could do for Connecticut what you did for ‘Barbie,’ that would be great.”

A few feet away, Olian laughed with the rest of those in attendance. After all, ‘Barbie’ grossed more than $1.4 billion globally. But it was clear to everyone that Olian’s value, expertise and relationships will be invaluable to AdvanceCT.

Olian and Norwitt will help guide AdvanceCT into its next era of attracting dynamic businesses and highly skilled workers to Connecticut. The New Haven-based nonprofit is aligned with the Office of the Governor, the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and the state’s business and municipal leaders.

Since its inception nearly five years ago, AdvanceCT has helped to bring more than 14,000 net new jobs to Connecticut and nearly $2.7 billion in capital investment, Bourdeaux said.

For Norwitt, serving as co-chair is an opportunity to share Amphenol’s values of innovation and entrepreneurship. Like Olian, his background has prepared him well for this new assignment.

Norwitt has led Amphenol, a global leader in the technology sector, since 2000. The company has 90,000 employees worldwide and is one of the largest providers of high-tech solutions in broadband communications, commercial aerospace, automotive, mobile networks and mobile devices, defense and more.

“We're enabling the electronics revolution, and there's no part of electronics around the world that Amphenol products are not a part of,” Norwitt said. “Whether that’s a rocket ship in the sky, the phones in your hand, these new AI systems, the whole electronification, the organization of the world — these are the areas where Amphenol is really in the vanguard.

“Our products work, whether those products are in cars or airplanes or phones or complex data centers, and we’re proud to do that from the state of Connecticut,” he said. “In fact, we’ve been in this state for 37 years.”

But Connecticut is more than just a place to build your business, Norwitt said. It’s a place to build your family and build your future.

“This is a state where people can come and make it their own — a place to live, work, play and study, a place with some of the best education in the nation, some of the best healthcare in the nation, the best environment in the nation,” Norwitt said. “You can’t ask for anything better.”

Dan O’Keefe, incoming commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and treasurer of the AdvanceCT board, agreed with Norwitt’s assessment.

“The governor and I can go out in the community and talk about how great Connecticut is, but folks might think we have a little bit of a bias,” O’Keefe said. “But when our companies do it, when our leaders do it — when our leaders sit down with us and say these are all the reasons why they’re able to build companies here so effectively — that sells. The work of AdvanceCT generally and the work of our board specifically, it’s just so incredible.”

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now