I have been a small business owner since 1976 when I parlayed my passions around motor sports and as a motor sports competitor into a motor sports promotion business in the U.S. as well as in six other countries. When I decided to settle in my hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut, I purchased Colonial Hardware on our town's Main Street. When competition in the hardware business increased, I built on a loyal customer base to start what is now Connecticut Commercial Maintenance (CCM) a commercial and residential full-service repair, maintenance and facilities consulting company, with seven employees and a diverse client base that ranges from local homeowners to national retailers with Connecticut sites and nonprofits such as the Melville Foundation, an innovator in providing safe housing in urban areas.
When I served as President of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, I worked to expand opportunities, including health insurance options for small employers. As my business grew, I saw the problems in the health-care system first-hand. Senior craftsmen and managers tell me that they cannot accept a job without health insurance. I estimate that I could double my business if CCM could provide insurance.
Increasingly drawn to advocacy on behalf of small business, I collaborated with other small business owners to start Small Businesses for Health Care Reform to seek systemic solutions to the health care crisis. I have testified before the Connecticut General Assembly on multiple occasions, have been featured in the Hartford Business Journal as well as numerous national publications. I have served as an advisor to the Connecticut Office of the Health Care Advocate.
On August 3, 2009, I hosted SBA Administrator Karen Mills, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Rosa Delauro, along with other small business owners, community leaders and members of the press at the Connecticut Commercial Maintenance shop facility in Hartford for a discussion on health care reform. Senator Dodd has made two presentations on the floor of the Senate based on my story. I have been invited to Washington, D.C. three times to provide insight to Administration policies on small business financing and health care. On November 18, 2009, I served on a panel with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at the Small Business Financing Forum. I was interviewed by MSNBC about the panel, and on Bloomberg Radio about financing and health care.
I believe that health care reform is an economic and a moral issue for small business. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and our economy and must have a stronger voice in policy development if we are to succeed as towns, cities, states and as a country.
Through 2010 and 2011 Kevin worked with other advocacy groups to insure Small Business needs were in the forefront of the State Legislature and Executive Branch as the 2014 ACA implementation date nears.
October 2011 Appointed to The Speaker's Small Business Health Care Working Group
November 2011 Panelist, Uconn Law School Symposium on The Legal Implementation of Health Care
January 2012 Appointed to Board of Directors, "HealthyCT" Connecticut's first non-profit Health Insurance Company
March 2012 Appointed to Connecticut Health Care Exchange Board Benefits Consumer Advisory Committee
July 2012 Appointed to Connecticut Health Care Exchange Board Small Employers Health Options (S.H.O.P.) Advisory Committee
July 2012 Panelist, CT Health Intern Academy 2012. Yale Devinity School
October 2012, Co-Sponsor / Moderator. Educational Event for Advocates and Small Businesses, "Conversation with Kevin Counihan, CEO CT Health Insurance Exchange". 50+ Participants.
Kevin Continues to advocate around issues important to the sustainability of Small Business. He continues to work closely with Legislative Leaders and Policy Makers as implementation of Health Care Reform progresses as well as economic issues important Small Business. Kevin is seen as a credible "go to" resource for both policy makers and the media.
I developed and presented the seminar "Facility Management for Nonprofit Organizations." Photo for the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving by Jacob Koteen
I would like to invite you to visit the website for Small Business for a Healthy Connecticut -- an independent voice for sustainable, quality health care for Connecticut.
Obtaining health coverage for our families and our employees is one of the biggest challenges we face as small business owners. Small Business for a Healthy Connecticut exists to provide the most up –to-date news and information available about state and federal health care reform and its specific effects on small business.