- $18 trillion in assets attending 2019 GEF
- Greenwich unemployment rate is 3.2%, .7% lower than US average
- Peter Tesei is the longest serving mayor in Greenwich history
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Peter Tesei, First Selectman for Town of Greenwich with Matt Bird
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
Welcome back to the Traders Network Show broadcasting worldwide from Greenwich, Connecticut. I’m Matt Bird. We’re here with our continued coverage of the Greenwich Economic Forum. And my next guest needs very little introduction on the local and state political scene. He is the sixth term mayor, first selectman of Greenwich, Peter Tesei. Peter, welcome to the show. Six terms, that’s 12 years as the mayor in first selectman running economic development and overseeing the growth of the community and the contributing to the state’s economic development. Yesterday, you and the governor or on a polarizing panel, a discussion on academic economic development, and there was a number of thought leaders afterwards. What are some of the big takeaways from yesterday?
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Town of Greenwich: 00:45
Well, I think that we have a very vibrant economy here in Southwest Connecticut. Greenwich is hosting this to really showcase the fact that not only are we the hedge fund capital in the US you know, alongside New York and I believe LA, but we have a significant interest here in private equity and other areas that needed to be boosted and needed to be spotlighted. So the idea for the forum was to really take a hard look. What is their intellectual capital, how can we promote it in show that they’re vibrant aspect of Connecticut’s overall economy. And so we do have challenges in Connecticut. Clearly they were talked about in terms of legacy costs, in terms of revitalizing our urban areas, looking at education achievement in their cities. And I think the overall consensus I took away is that we can harness these resources from the private incorporate in, solve some of these social or public challenges in education.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 01:50
Through public private partnerships. I mean, and this forum is a great example of that, of all those mechanisms that work and GEF is providing an enormous echo chamber, if you will, for the advocacy. What were some of your favorite talking points from yesterday from some of the other panels?
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Town of Greenwich: 02:09
I personally found a great inspiration in hearing Paul Tudor Jones talk about how we can harness the private capital to solve some of our country’s issues. And I think that frank and candid discussion with people who have put themselves out there before their talent, assume the risk can also be used to help those who are less fortunate. And I think that really to me is one of the highlights in trying to close this gap between the haves and have nots, but also politically those who want to overturn capitalism and say capitalism is evil in those advocating for socialism. Really this is a celebration of capitalism, but capitalism with a purpose and a cause. And I think that’s the message I took away from that discussion that I found the most support.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 03:01
You know, Nolan Filene from NPR coins it as civility and it’s important PO Pollock’s. Today’s is getting to the point that it’s become so polarized on both sides that that we had to find the middle ground because we all go to ballgames together. We all do the same stuff together. But from an economic development standpoint, we’re all working together. Getting back to the development, this event, I look around, we cover the World Economic Forum. You look around at the people that are in the main room, the main hall and stuff. I see a lot of familiar faces at the World Economic Forum and they have descended here to Greenwich. And you’ve played a large proactive role in putting this event together. Tell us about what you had to go through.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Town of Greenwich: 03:45
So we began about three years ago with the whole idea that we wanted to showcase the value of the financial services to not only Greenwich but to the greater region, Connecticut. And we approached Ray Dalio who has been a wonderful citizen to Greenwich and presented him the idea to them and asked for his support. And he did ask us, you know, like, why do you want to do this? What do you hope to accomplish with it? And after a few minutes he’s like, okay, I’ll see what I can do to help you. And I think with his endorsement and support, we were able to really launch the first one. I don’t think without him we would have had the success we did. And I think he’s been able to attract and draw, like a magnet, so many diverse talented speakers and it’s really enhanced I think the overall image, not just of Greenwich, Connecticut, but also for the state of Connecticut in our area.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 04:37
Yeah. Ray Dalio, he’s pretty a magnetic figure here for the Greenwich area. His name comes up in almost every social circle and in every discussion about economic development area. How big of a role does he play for the community?
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Town of Greenwich: 04:50
Well, he’s been very civically minded every year. He supports and Greenwich town party. It’s been about nine years. And that’s a big music celebration. He firmly believes that music brings people together. It’s a model that has taken place in communities in Spain where his wife is from. And it really has changed the dynamic here because you know, brings together your investment people, your tradespeople, your service people all together on one day to celebrate life, music, the town. And I think he’s carried forward that philosophy in his life, in business. And I think that’s certainly helped Greenwich. And we’re very blessed that he lives here because he’s been a very supportive citizen in Greenwich.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 05:38
You know, I know him and one of his partners, Ray rivers, who I’ve actually known for over a decade. And I bumped into him here. He’s a delightful man as well.
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Town of Greenwich: 05:49
He is, he’s got a lot of energy and a real appreciation for jazz music and an integral part of the festival as well. So we’re very blessed that he chose to endorse this and give us the star and I think now it’s really taken on a life of its own and I’m looking forward to next year’s where we look to really try to expand and incorporate different spheres of interests. I think art and culture is going to be a big part of what we tried to bring into it. We have the social responsibility component, but perhaps expanding on that it would be inviting for people.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 06:27
Oh, it’s welcoming for everyone. I mean, corporate social responsibility. That is, that’s the new hot topic. Right. That’s the next big thing. Well listen, I know you’re being pulled in a bunch of different directions. What’s next for you?
Peter Tesei – First Selectman, Town of Greenwich: 06:38
Well, I’m looking forward to harnessing my experience over the 12 years in really support ongoing economic interests in our town, in our state, and apply that mission driven way. So I’m looking forward to a challenge and a success with it.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 06:57
I can’t imagine a better person at work doing that. So listen, congratulations pleasure’s all mine. Peter Tesei the first selectman, longest running mayor in Greenwich history. Thanks again for coming on the show. We’ll be right back after these messages. A special thanks out to our affiliate network partners, ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS. We’ll be right back with our next guest don’t go away.