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January 11, 2024

Former Wethersfield Town Council member Pentalow named Hartford’s economic development director

Hartford's new economic development director Patrick Pentalow attending a Capital Region Development Authority meeting on Jan. 11.

Hartford Mayor Arunan Arulampalam has named former Wethersfield Town Council member Patrick Pentalow as the city’s new economic development director.

Pentalow was introduced as the new director during a Thursday afternoon meeting of a Capital Region Development Authority subcommittee. He was appointed on Jan. 2.

Reached late Thursday, Arulampalam said the two were introduced by mutual acquaintances that he respects.

“He’s somebody who has private sector experience and, I felt like from my conversations with him, has a good sense of economic development and also some of the hindrances to economic development,” Arulampalam said.

Arulampalam said Pentalow was “really involved” in attracting business to Wethersfield in his role on the town council.

“I was impressed by his track record, impressed by his knowledge,” said Arulampalam, who was sworn into his first term on Jan. 1. 

Pentalow, 33, grew up in Wethersfield, where he currently resides. He is house hunting in Hartford. 

He graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2014 with a degree in accounting and finance, then took a job with New York venture capital firm Centurion Holdings. Pentalow went to work as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley in 2018, but left the following year to focus on his ultimately successful 2019 bid for a seat on the Wethersfield Town Council. He said he spent his time on the council focused on economic development, but did not stand for reelection this past November.

In 2020, Pentalow ran as a Republican for state representative in the 28th House district, which covers most of Wethersfield. He came in second among four candidates, collecting 42.7% of the vote.

Pentalow said he launched a title search company after leaving Morgan Stanley and has also worked temporary consulting jobs.

He said he views his new role as one of customer service, helping residents, businesses and developers. Pentalow plans to execute Arulampalam’s vision of continuing to push for downtown vibrancy while also directing more energy toward revitalizing main arteries connecting neighborhoods to the city center.

He also agrees with Arulampalam’s drive to make City Hall more accessible for business people.

Pentalow is among several key appointments that have been made by the new mayor.

Former Director of Development Services I. Charles Matthews resigned Dec. 23, in the last days of the administration of former Mayor Luke Bronin. Deputy Director of Development Services Randal Davis has stepped in to lead the department on an interim basis.

Arulampalam moved Judith Rothschild from the position of director of blight remediation and housing code enforcement to the role of director of licensing and inspections. Blight Remediation Enforcement Official Michael Perez has been promoted to lead that department.

Arulampalam hired Matthew Straub, formerly a senior program officer with the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corp., as the city’s new housing director.

He replaces Brian Matthews, who left city employment Dec. 23.

Straub sat on the real estate committee of the Hartford Land Bank, which Arulampalam had led as executive director prior to his election. The new mayor says he was impressed by Straub’s deep understanding of housing issues and initiatives.

Straub has been with LISC – a neighborhood revitalization and community organizing nonprofit – for nearly five years. Prior to that, he was employed by Hartford-based nonprofit affordable housing developer and operator Sheldon Oak Central Inc. for five years.

Straub earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Arulampalam said he sees the roles of housing director and economic development director as complementary.

“To me, those two roles work hand-in-hand,” he said. 

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