Beatriz Gutierrez Named Next President of CONNSTEP

September 29, 2020

by Matt Howe

(Hartford, CT, September 28, 2020) – Accomplished economic and business development executive Beatriz Gutierrez will be the next President of CONNSTEP, Inc., Connecticut’s premier business consulting firm.

Gutierrez, who is currently the Executive Director, Office of Business Development with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), was elected to lead CONNSTEP by the organization’s board of directors on September 17.

She succeeds Bonnie Del Conte, who retires at year-end after 17 years with CONNSTEP, leading the organization for the past 14 years to become one of the top-ranked centers in the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network (MEPNN). Del Conte jointly oversaw the successful affiliation with CBIA, the state’s largest business organization, and was critical, along with CBIA, in the establishment of the Connecticut Manufacturers’ Collaborative (CMC), a consortium of seven state manufacturing industry associations.

Del Conte and CONNSTEP board chair John Strahley, Chief Financial Officer of Branford’s IsoPlexis Corporation, will serve as advisors to Gutierrez to assist with the leadership transition.

“As the CONNSTEP board of directors advanced through an extensive search process, it became clear that Beatriz was the right choice to succeed Bonnie and lead the organization,” Strahley said.

“Beatriz’s diverse experience leading teams, building relationships and achieving goals, combined with her familiarity and technical expertise working with manufacturing companies in Connecticut, ensures CONNSTEP will continue to execute its mission and provide value to its clients and stakeholders alike.”

Prior to her tenure at the DECD, Gutierrez earned a reputation as a strategist with a specialty in product marketing and growth development of both domestic and international markets, guiding businesses large and small. Her responsibilities with the department called on her to negotiate deals to keep large manufacturing operations in Connecticut, leading to the creation and retention of thousands of sector jobs. 

“I am truly honored by the opportunity to join the incredibly talented team at CONNSTEP. During my time at DECD, I have always been very impressed by their knowledge, professionalism, and strong commitment to deploy their capabilities on behalf of Connecticut’s manufacturing community,” Gutierrez said.

“As Connecticut’s representative of the MEPNN, CONNSTEP is in a privileged position to deliver innovation, technical enhancements, and operational efficiency capabilities to the marketplace through their experienced staff and the 1,400+ trusted advisors and experts within this robust U.S. network.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with CBIA and ReadyCT to continue to leverage our combined resources to further promote and strengthen the state’s manufacturing and innovation capabilities.”

Gutierrez oversaw DECD’s operations of the business development organization that administers the state’s business financial assistance and tax credits program, the Office of Economic Development Programs, the Office of International Business Development, the Office of Film, TV and Digital Media, the Office of Ombudsman, the Office of Capital Projects, and the Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development.

In addition to operating in the public setting, Gutierrez brings real-world experience to the manufacturing community she serves. Her status as a Master Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma methodologies—earned at General Electric facilities in Enfield, Shelton, and Plainville, prior consulting practice, and teaching experience at Central Connecticut State University—will be a direct benefit to CONNSTEP’s staff and client base. 

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to serve Connecticut during the last eight years as a part of the team at DECD. My experience at the department provided me with a solid understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing our state’s manufacturing community,” she said.

“I am looking forward to leveraging both my private and public sector experiences on behalf of Connecticut’s manufacturers and to continue to work with public, academic, and private partners to strengthen the state’s manufacturing ecosystem.”

The Middletown resident has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from The University of Chicago and serves as a board member for multiple organizations.

The CONNSTEP board spoke highly of Del Conte’s leadership.

“As we welcome Beatriz, we also recognize and thank Bonnie Del Conte for her dedicated and tireless effort leading CONNSTEP over the last 14 years,” said Strahley.

“Bonnie has transformed the organization and created a culture of sustainable success.  A true professional and mentor, Bonnie’s impact will have a long-lasting effect on the organization.”

Del Conte, a CPA,  joined CONNSTEP in 2003 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed president and CEO in 2006. During her tenure, the company was awarded the MEP Mark of Excellence in 2012 and has attained excellent impact measures for creating and retaining jobs, investments and cost reductions, and increased revenue for manufacturers in our state.  She serves as one of only ten directors for the MEPNN Center Leadership Team in the U.S. and is on many manufacturing and business committees in Connecticut.

“I’m proud of the CONNSTEP team and their accomplishments,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed working with so many small and mid-size businesses, industry partners, and leaders within the state of Connecticut, as well as supporting the mission of the MEPNN, one of the strongest manufacturing networks in the U.S. that can help our manufacturers with competitive and sustainable advantages in the marketplace”. 

“I’ve known and worked with Beatriz for several years and she will be an excellent addition to CONNSTEP given her background and experience.”


CONNSTEP is Connecticut’s premier business consulting firm and is also Connecticut’s representative for the NIST MEP, a unique public-private partnership that provides solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth, and advancing the manufacturing industry in Connecticut. For more information, please email or call Matt Howe (860.513.3206) or visit

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President, Arthur G Russell Co

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Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

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VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

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