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volume six issue four


SBA 2017


32 nd


University | volume six issue four



Making Your Business Energy Efficient Is Easier and More Affordable Than You Think

Small businesses need to minimize costs to stay competitive. Efficiency upgrades in lighting, HVAC systems, refrigeration, and specialized equipment are just some examples of where small businesses can save money by reducing their energy bills. Fortunately, making these upgrades is easier, less disruptive, and less expensive than you may realize.

Small businesses will benefit from more than just having lower energy bills. Increased efficiency also lowers maintenance costs on equipment and lengthens its life span. Efficiency upgrades also provide a better working climate, increasing employee productivity. Saving energy is also good for the environment, which benefits everyone. Seeking energy efficiency should be a top priority, and here are four reasons why it’s easier than you think. Expert help is available to you

Minimal disruption of your operations

An experienced Energy Specialist will make recommendations for improvements, and work with you to select the right efficiency upgrades for your facility. After the appropriate areas are identified, he or she will work closely with you and your schedule to complete the work.

Efficient upgrades eligible under the Small Business Direct Install Program are minimally invasive, and take only hours to complete. This means little to zero downtime for your business operations.

It’s balance sheet friendly Up to 70%* of the costs of efficiency upgrades are covered by incentives from National Grid. Spend less to save more.

You can spread out costs Certain businesses may be eligible to spread out the balance of the project costs over time as part of their energy bills. The “on-bill” repayment option allows businesses to better budget energy efficiency capital investments.

Visit to schedule an assessment of your business and start saving. *Restrictions apply. See website for details. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2017. These programs are funded by the energy efficiency charge on all customers’ gas and electric bills, in accordance with Rhode Island law.


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©2017 National Grid.


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Well done, Laura! 2017 SBA Small Business Financial Services Champion

Thanks to senior commercial lender Laura Stack, and everyone at Freedom National Bank, small businesses in Rhode Island have a whole lot of home-grown experts looking out for them.

The freedom to succeed. Greenville, RI 401 949-1600 n Cumberland, RI 401 333-3666


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Gil Lantini Founder Ralph Coppolino Co-Founder Mike Casale Senior Designer Digital Marketing Lauren Bansbach Angelica Cabral Julia Cianciolo Alison Dupuis Yomaris Giboyeaux Amanda Macintosh Meghan O’Neill Colin Roy Contributing Writers Michael Brito C. Alexander Chiulli Larry Girouard Nellie M. Gorbea Mark S. Hayward Kristin MacRae William F. Miller, Gina M. Raimondo Karyn Rhodes Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro Tuni Schartner Kristen M. Whittle

Minimize Business Interruption Trust Gentry For Your Next Commercial Move Your one stop moving and office installation specialist Gentry has the expertise to keep your business running smoothly. We guarantee that your belongings will be moved safely and efficiently with minimal business interruption. Gentry’s commercial moving services include: • Professional packing and unpacking of office items • Safe and timely delivery of furniture and belongings • Over 40,000 square feet of warehousing and storage space • Complete office installation services for new systems or for reconfiguring existing furniture 401 831 7779 1343 Hartford Avenue, Suite 24 Johnston, RI 02919 ©2017 Integrated Media Group D/B/A Rhode Island Small Business Journal

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We focus on the impact of your business. Not its size. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2017 SBA AWARD WINNERS! We believe that small business is the backbone of our nation’s economy. That’s why our business banking professionals are there for you no matter what. We’ll help you manage your cash flow more efficiently and offer you a wide range of borrowing solutions including SBA loans, as an SBA preferred lender. Talk with a business banking professional today. CALL 855-224-7336 | CLICK | COME IN Any Citizens Bank

All loans subject to approval. Member FDIC. Citizens Bank is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. BBAD2047K_ 585958_RISBJ

EMPLOYER DRIVEN EDUCATION The Center for Technology and Industry at New England Tech can assist your organization with customized technical training, making your company more efficient, productive and profitable. Graduate resumes and referrals are also available to employers by contacting our Career Services Office.


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To learn more visit CTI.NEIT.EDU or call 401.739.5000 x3345

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Rhode Island

SBA Rhode Island Participating Lenders Accion Micro

Business Development Company EXP/EE

Coventry Credit Union EXP

10 Fawcett Street, Suite 204 Cambridge, MA 02138 Jennifer Spaziano (617) 684-0235

40 Westminster Street, Suite 702 Providence, RI 02903 Peter Dorsey, President (401) 351-3036

Bank of America PLP/EXP

Centreville Bank EXP/EE

2006 Nooseneck Hill Road Coventry, RI 02816 Claudia Flanagan, Director of Consumer Lending (401) 397-1900 x2314

111 Westminster Street Providence, RI 02903 Kevin P. Tracy, Senior Vice President (401) 278-5520

1218 Main Street W. Warwick, RI 02893 Hal Horvat, Senior VP, Chief Lending Officer 401-827-5281 Doug Hanson, Vice President, Commercial Lending 401-827-5251

BankNewport EXP/EE 500 West Main Road Middletown, RI 02842 Ken Burnett, Senior Vice President (401) 845-8727

Bank Rhode Island PLP/EXP/EWCP/EE One Turks Head Place Providence, RI 02903 Manny Barrows, Senior Vice President (401) 574-1604 Scott Lajoie, Vice President (401) 574-1657

Bay Colony Development Corp. 504 1601 Trapelo Road Waltham, MA 02451 Mary Mansfield (781) 478-3655

Bristol County Savings Bank PLP/EXP 215 Armistice Boulevard Pawtucket, RI 02860 John Silva, Senior Vice President (401) 722-4770 Joan Medeiros (508) 324-3685.


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Citizens Bank PLP/EXP/EE One Citizens Plaza Providence, RI 02903 Gary Heidel, Director, SBA Program (401) 468-6127

Coastway Community Bank PLP/EXP/EWCP/EE One Coastway Boulevard Warwick, RI 02886 Joseph P. Hindle Senior Vice President (401) 330-1600

Community Investment Corp. 504/Micro 2315 Whitney Avenue, Suite 2B Hamden, CT 06518 Buck Harris, VP Community Lending (401) 406-7282 x128 David Raccio, Vice President (203) 776-6172 x132

Freedom National Bank PLP/EXP/EE 584 Putnam Pike Greenville, RI 02828 Laura Stack, Senior Lender/ Vice President (401) 244-6601

Greenwood Credit Union PLP/EXP 2669 Post Road Warwick, RI 02886 Holly Ferrara, Vice President Commercial Lending (401) 562-2784

Home Loan Investment Bank PLP/EXP/EE 1 Home Loan Plaza, Suite 3 Warwick, RI 02886 Jarred Burrell, Commercial Lending Manager 401-773-9867

Independence Bank PLP/EXP/EWCP/EE 1370 South County Trail East Greenwich, RI 02818 Robert A. Catanzaro, President (401) 886-4600

Navigant Credit Union EXP/EWCP/EE 1005 Douglas Pike Smithfield, RI 02917 Jeffrey P. Cascione, Vice President (401) 233-4716

SBA Rhode Island Participating Lenders | SMALL BUSINESS

New England Certified Development Corp. 504 500 Edgewater Drive, Suite 555 Wakefield, MA 01880 Nancy Gibeau, Loan and Investment Officer (RI, MA) (508) 254-7891 or (401) 450-0047

Ocean State Business Development Authority 504 155 South Main Street, Suite 403 Providence, RI 02903 Henry Violet, President (401) 454-4630 Russ Gaston, Chief Operating Officer (401) 454-4560

Pawtucket Credit Union EXP 1200 Central Avenue Pawtucket, RI 02861 Joseph Silva, Vice President Commercial Lending (401) 729-4092

People’s Credit Union EXP 858 West Main Road Middletown, RI 02842 Lyn Dawley, V.P. Lending (401) 846-8930 x1273

Radius Bank PLP/EXP/EWCP 1 Harbor Street, Suite 201 Boston, MA 02210 Anina Butler, Vice President (617) 728-7320

Rockland Trust PLP/EXP 288 Union Street Rockland, MA 02370 Michael Savage, Senior Vice President (781) 982-6546 George Couto, Vice President Government Lending (781) 982-6768

Santander Bank PLP/EXP/EWCP/EE

Wave Federal Credit Union

One Financial Plaza Providence, RI 02903 Seth Goodall, Executive Vice President Director of SBA (617)217-0162 Stephen J. White, SBA Product Manager (617) 953-9135

480 Greenwich Avenue Warwick, RI 02886 David Duprere, Executive Vice President (401) 781-1020

Savings Institute Bank & Trust 100 Bellevue Avenue P.O. 210 Newport, RI 02840 Timothy Burns (401) 608-1679

South Eastern Economic Development Corp. 504, Micro 80 Dean Street, Taunton, MA 02780 (508) 822-1020 Maria Gooch-Smith, Executive Director Elizabeth Voss, Business Officer Angie Laperriere, MicroLoan Manager

TD Bank PLP/EXP/EWCP 180 Westminster Street Providence, RI 02903 Chris Antao, Vice President Small Business Relationship Manager (508) 981-8152

UPS Capital Business Credit PLP/EXP/EWCP 35 Glenlake Parkway, NE Atlanta, GA 30328 Jack Mello, Senior Policy Credit Officer (877) 263-8772

The Washington Trust Company PLP/EXP/EWCP/EE 23 Broad Street Westerly, RI 02891 Robert J. O’Neill, Vice President Retail Lending (401) 348-1442 Christopher Grasso, Business Banking Officer (401) 348-1250

Webster Bank PLP/EXP/EE 100 Westminster Bldg., 50 Kennedy Plaza, Ste 1110 Providence, RI 02903 Anthony Capuano, Senior Vice President (401) 228-2042 Bob Polito, SVP Government Guaranteed Lending (860) 612-5433

Westerly Community Credit Union EXP/EE 122 Granite Street Westerly, RI 02891 Michael Lynch, Vice President, Lending (401) 596-7000 Ext. 2116 Holly DePerry, Small Business Lending and Business Development (401) 637-4436 U. S. Small Business Administration Tel: 401-528-4561 Rhode Island District Office Fax: 401-528-4539 380 Westminster Street, Room 511 E-mail: Providence, RI 02903-3246

PLP: Preferred Lender Program -1-day turn around from SBA EXP: SBAExpress Lender-expedited loans up to $350,000 Micro: $50,000 limit up to five years to repay with technical assistance 504:Fixed rate loans for Real Estate/ M&E purchase or improvement EE: Export Express Streamlined financing up to $500,000 EWCP: Export Working Capital Program Lender-expedited loans up to $5,000,000 | volume six issue four



2017 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year

Gary Palardy

Blue Moon Industries; a Pillar of Technological Excellence in RI Gary Palardy, President and CEO of Blue Moon Industries, began his journey into business at the age of 17 where he started as a co-op student working for the computer division of Raytheon (Data Systems). Gary credits much of his success to the mentors he encountered there and the success driven mindset instilled in him. He began working in minicomputer design, writing machine-level diagnostic software and software to stress test various peripheral equipment. Gary soon moved into working with operating systems design and development but with the introduction of the microprocessor the market changed. An explosion of opportunity presented itself and required a new way of thinking towards; in was an environment in which Gary would thrive. By 1991, an opportunity to create his business for selling, implementing, and supporting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems presented itself and he created Blue Moon Industries. Blue Moon was created to provide business software and related consulting and software development services. Most of the product is based in the Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains), a leading midmarket ERP system. Gary worked diligently building the business while he self-funded expenses with monies earned through his engineering consulting practice. By 1994 Gary had seen enough growth to dedicate him to the new business fulltime, overseeing strategy and further growth while transferring his skills to developing business software. In 1996 Blue Moon Industries released its first software module and in a testament to its effectiveness the module is still available today. As of 2016 Blue Moon has developed more than 20 add-on software modules for Dynamics GP, primarily to add critical distribution operations


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functionality to the system. Their products are in use in over 1,200 companies, exported to approximately 10 countries, and they are considered one of the leading Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) by both Microsoft and the Microsoft Dynamics community. With all Blue Moons’ success there have been difficult periods during their existence. Like many business the recession in hit them hard. With their primary customers, the manufacturing and distribution sector, suffering such loss Blue Moon found their revenue decreasing by more than 30% (over $1.1 million) with losses totaling nearly $550,000. In 2009, in an effort to reduce operating expenses they were forced to downsize their staff reducing payroll by 30%. The remaining staff agreed to defer portion of compensation for 1-2 years to be paid with interest and principals deferred 1/3 of compensation for 3 years. Blue Moon also had to narrow their focus on three key areas to stay afloat; software products for manufacturing and distribution, custom software development, and building more relationships with software companies looking to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP. For three years they implemented this tightened strategy and in 2012 it began paying off. Gary approached Coastway Community Bank, applying for an SBA 7a loan for $225,000 and a $75,000 Patriot Express Line of credit. As the economy strengthened Gary used the SBA funds to increase their marketing efforts to the Microsoft channel and leveraged collaborative marketing opportunities with larger, industry-leading companies like HighJump, SPS Commerce, and ADD systems. The SBA funding helped Blue Moon win some very sizeable projects and they leveraged growing profits into carefully hiring consulting and software engineering resources.

When Gary is not helming Blue Moon Industries he volunteers as a coach for youth hockey and baseball (10 years for each sport), clocking about 300 hours each year to practice, games, and preparation. Gary also sits on the North Smithfield Planning Board, having served two years thus far. He was recently elected as the Chairman of that board and has also submitted his name for consideration in the town’s Parks and Recreation Board. Gary has previously been on the Advisory Board to Rhode Island College’s School of Management to which Blue Moon maintains a relationship in support of their internship program. Gary has also shared his services with the Advisory board to Rhode College’s Computer Science Department for approximately 10 years and provides advice on curriculum content and structure, their internship program, and reviewing senior projects. For his demonstrated success, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Gary Palardy, President and CEO of Blue Moon Industries, as the 2017 Rhode Island Small Business Person of the Year.


2017 Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Aaron Horowitz

Big Dreams Come In Small Bears

In 2010, Aaron Horowitz was a Mechanical Engineering student at Northwestern University. While participating in Design for America (DFA), an extracurricular program that teaches students design thinking skills to solve local problems with social impact, Aaron would meet Hannah Chung and together they would begin working on an idea called Jerry the Bear. Their vision was to make a teddy bear that would comfort and educate children with type 1 diabetes. Children would take care of Jerry by checking his blood sugar, administering insulin, and feeding him. This project would end up causing Aaron to create his own major in Mechatronics and User Interaction Design to gain the expertise needed to build Jerry. Their socially conscious teddy bear would, unbeknownst to Aaron and Hannah at the time, would become the driving force that would create Sproutel.

in order to grow. Aaron correlated his own experience to what he sees with children affected by type 1 diabetes, “Now as we work with children with diabetes, I can empathize with some of their experience and can’t help but put myself in their shoes.” It was this experience that would instill in him a passion for helping others, a drive that would stay with him in all his work going forward.

Aaron and Hannah would found Sproutel in 2012 with the aim to commercialize Jerry the Bear. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” elaborated Horowitz, “We kept moving forwards, picking up the necessary skills along the way as we cobbled together prototypes and eventually business models to support our work.” he added. In less than two years they would test 29 iterations of Jerry with over 350 children, build a supply chain, manufacture, market, sell, and ship the first version of Jerry the Bear. To date, Jerry has reached 4% of children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and 25% of pediatric endocrinologist offices. In 2015, Jerry the Bear was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to assist in product development and conduct a pilot feasibility study.

For his demonstrated success and potential for future growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Aaron Horowitz, President and CEO of Sproutel, as the 2017 Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

As Sproutel looks towards the future it is focused on scaling the distribution of Jerry the Bear and launching an additional product with one of their partners. Along with their distribution partners, Sproutel will be shipping 3,500 Jerry the Bears globally this year. Sproutel continues to expand their product lines and is currently developing products to address the needs of children with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and food allergies.

While Jerry the Bear became a real life product in 2013, the ground work was placed far earlier. As a child Aaron was incredibly short and by his freshman year of high school was only 4’6”. Aaron was diagnosed with human growth hormone deficiency and began self-administering injections for 5 years | volume six issue four



2017 Rhode Island Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year

Armando & Sons Meat Market

Armando Nieves: Representing The American Dream Armando Nieves, President of Armando & Sons Meat Market Group, is 68 year old native of Puerto Rico. Armando first moved to the main land in the 1960’s landing in New York City, quickly putting to use his background skills to become a Kosher Butcher. After honing his craft in New York City, he would return home and open a successful chain of butcher shops. In the 1980’s, Armando would join his brother in Rhode Island and went to work for Rhode Island Beef & Veal. It wasn’t long before he became a trusted employee to the owners, the Quattrucci family. Nieves would spend many years with Rhode Island Beef & Veal before, in 1992, deciding that he and a partner would strike out on their own. The two-man team would open their shop on Broad Street in Providence to much fanfare. They would hold this location for a year and a half before they needed to expand. In 1993, Armando would move his base of operations to a 3,000 square foot facility on Westminster Street. At this location the brand would grow once more, meeting the needs of the public and fitting a need for quality meat with impeccable service.

and opened the doors in March of 2004. Again, Armando found success feeding a need of the neighborhood which he endeared himself to. In 2011, Nieves called on Daniel Calenda and Oswald Schwartz, attorney and accountant, respectively, to say he wanted to buy another location in Providence. Dan and Oswald were happy to oblige and they began their search for space settling on 895 Elmwood Avenue in Providence. They purchased the location in 2012 and opened his second official Armando & Sons Meat Market in 2013. Armando is, by all accounts the American dream, starting a business that now employs 110 people across two locations. He has seen great success but continues to stay grounded, a soft spoken man passionate about what he does and the need he fills. In 2016, Armando & Sons Meat Market Group reached out to Coastway Community Bank, requesting to refinance their mortgages for the Providence location. Coastway, with the use of an SBA mortgage backed loan was happy to obliged helping Armando towards his goal of outright building ownership.

Armando would spend ten years at the Westminster location before outgrowing the facilities. Once again he was on the hunt for a new space and settled on 265 Pine Street in Pawtucket. Deciding to buy the location, Armando sold the Westminster location to his partner. He began renovations on the new location in 2003


Photo: Armando Nieves, President of Armando & Sons Meat Market Group

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For their demonstrated success and potential for continued growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration pleased to honor Armando Nieves, President of Armando & Sons Meat Market Group as the 2017 Rhode Island MinorityOwned Small Business of the Year.


2017 Rhode Island Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year T A K I N G




Future of Defense Kelly Mendel, President and Majority Owner of MIKEL Kelly Mendell is the president and majority owner of MIKEL, a womanowned, leading undersea warfare technology company in Middletown. Kelly joined MIKEL in 2002, three years after her father, Brian Guimond, founded the defense technology start-up and by 2008 was the President. Kelly’s journey began at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, where she majored in engineering. Kelly would eventually transfer to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and began interning in a machine shop gaining hands-on experience in manufacturing, planning, materials, and quality control. Kelly graduated from UMASS with her BS in Industrial Engineering and would go to work for companies including Polaroid, Gillette, and Raytheon working as both an industrial engineer and manufacturing manager. In 2002, after the birth of her daughter Laura, Kelly joined the MIKEL as the Managing Director. Kelly was responsible for managing all aspects of the business including billing, payroll, contracts, accounting, benefits, financial tracking, sales, and marketing. As the company grew, Kelly’s responsibilities grew as well, she hired more engineers and support staff and began working with many

different advisors to develop a growth plan for MIKEL.

It was at this time she gave birth to her son, Max, simultaneously building a business and family. The work-life balance was demanding and included many long evenings of work after her children went to bed. Kelly, trying to grow MIKEL, also had to frequently travel away from her family. Mendell, persevered, making strategic personnel decisions during a time of economic downturn and was moved into the role of President. Kelly reflected on the difficult decisions she had to make in 2008, “We had to do layoffs and that’s what really motivated me to grow because we have a family atmosphere here and I feel a sense of obligation to these people I’m hiring.” She continued, “I want to make sure they have jobs for a long time that are challenging, interesting, and good paying. It’s not pleasant to lay off people that you care for and are good workers, so I decided that I didn’t want to ever be in that situation again.” These essential personnel decisions allowed MIKEL to garner crucial government contracts that would keep them in the black from 2008 through 2011. “I was really motivated to grow,”

said Mendell, “I wanted our company to rise and I wanted to bring stability to our business at a time when defense was not stable and we had a lot of uncertainty with our programs.” she added. Due to Kelly’s leadership MIKEL was able to stay successful during one of the most difficult economic periods in national history and by the time 2011 had come MIKEL had grown to 150 employees. In Kelly’s spare time she holds a leadership role on the executive board for SENEDIA, which promotes the defense business in Southeast New England, STEM in schools, and increases the visibility and education for those in the defense sector. Kelly has also sat on panels for the National Conference on Women-Owned Businesses discussing her Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) success story, and Small Businesses Association of New England (SBANE). For her demonstrated success and potential for future growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Kelly B. Mendell, President of MIKEL, as the 2017 Rhode Island Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. | volume six issue four



2017 Rhode Island Home-Based Small Business of the Year

The Travis Family Farm M A K I N G


Most nine-year-old children are starting the third grade, learning geography, being introduced to fractions and enjoying some recess. What most nine-year-olds aren’t doing is creating their first product that will eventually become a full line of natural goat’s milk merchandise. By this young age Rachyl Medina Travis had begun cultivating handmade Goat milk soap from start to finish. At first, the soap was given to friends and family as gifts with the response being overwhelmingly positive. In no time requests were pouring in with everyone asking the same question, “Where can I buy this soap?” In June of 2012 Rachyl answered that question and Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap was born. Unlike other goat milk soaps, Rachyl never uses powdered or canned goat milk, nor does she add water. Rachyl milks her Nubian goats daily to ensure fresh quality and will only combine the milk with all-natural, organic ingredients to cultivate a natural homemade product. Rachyl, now age 14, has seen her business grow from passion to profit as word of mouth spread from farmers market to farmers market about this young girl and her amazing soap. Growth became inevitable and with that growth came the need for more help. Rachyl’s sister Jaklyn, who had assisted Rachyl in the creation of her first batch of soap years earlier, came to her aide. Jakyln dedicated her efforts fulltime and began marketing Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap, creating a website and social media presence. With that web presence came more attention, attention like The Steve Harvey Show which showcased Rachyl and her soap, bringing millions of new eyes to their product. As orders skyrocketed it became evident Rachyl and Jaklyn would need more help and they enlisted their mother, Lillian, who had been supporting Rachyl since the beginning, fulltime. This mother-daughter team had found rapid growth with their product but to ensure their business would flourish they sought out resources that could help ensure their success would last. They began attending classes at the Center for Women & Enterprise soaking up as much knowledge in areas of business planning, SEO website optimization, and eShop Marketing, “they are amazing classes”, said Jaklyn “we never


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knew they were offered but now that we know we try to take advantage of as many as possible” she added. The Travis’s also began attending weekly meetings with SCORE mentor Edward Alves who is helping them craft their business plan for their future expansion, “We are finishing our business plan now and then we will be looking for a SBA microloan” assured Jaklyn. The sky seems to be the limit for this incredible group of women and as their business flourishes, their motives, much like their ingredients stay pure, “I really like helping people”, Rachyl smiled and continued “people come back to me saying that they had psoriasis, acne, or eczema and the soap really helped them.” For their demonstrated success and growth potential, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Rachyl Medina Travis, Jaklyn Travis Randall, and Lillian Medina Travis, Owners of The Travis Family Farm, as the 2017 Rhode Island Home-Based Small Business of the Year.

Group Photo: Lillian Medina Travis, Daisy with her mother Jaklyn Travis Randall, and Rachyl Medina Travis, owners of The Travis Family Farm.

2017 Rhode Island Financial Services Champion


Going Above and Beyond to Ensure Small Business Thrives Laura A. Stack, Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender for Freedom National Bank Laura A. Stack, Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender for Freedom National Bank, doesn’t view being named 2017 SBA Financial Services Champion as her achievement alone. “It really is a team approach here and that’s how and why we function so well,” said Stack. “We’re small, so we do everything on a team basis and we are very interested in supporting small to medium sized businesses with a focus on SBA programs.” As the Vice President of Commercial Lending, clearly lending is a key component of Laura’s day-to-day duties, but to simply classify her as a lender would be an oversimplification. Laura is, by every definition of the word, an advocate for small businesses, going above and beyond what is asked of her in order to support these businesses. When questioned what advocacy meant to her she replied, “It’s a combination of support, discussion, and advice. At the Center for Women & Enterprise, we meet with groups and also sit one-onone with individuals and address their needs.” Stack continued, “they may want to open a daycare or they may want to go from being a home-based business to a full blown business and we’ll go through the steps on how to put a business plan together, what kinds of financials they will need to provide and how to resolve any issues in their personal credit history, so they can be bankable.” While Laura and Freedom National Bank are focused on helping women and veteran-owned small businesses, they are willing and able to help all types of small businesses. To do so, they offer all types of SBA programs

from a $25,000 line of credit with an SBA express guarantee to a $3,000,000 commercial mortgage through the 504 loan program. “From an SBA standpoint, we utilize as many programs as we can and we try to find the right fit for each individual and circumstance,” said Stack. In a testament to her advocacy of small businesses, Laura truly understands how important this money can be to a small business owner, and referenced a specific instance where a local business owner was unable to get a loan anywhere, and Freedom National Bank believed in this individual and provided a $50,000 SBA express guaranteed line of credit. Five years later, Freedom helped that same client purchase a building to expand their business with a $1.5 million dollar loan. Laura attributes this story and countless other examples to the stellar customer service provided by the entire commercial team at Freedom. This, in addition to the fact that they are willing to take a chance on someone and, over time, continue nurturing that relationship. “A loan of $50,000 may seem small from a bank’s standpoint, but it can be crucial to a small business owner and make or break a deal they’re working on to grow their business.”

A loan of $50,000 may seem small from a bank’s standpoint, but it can be crucial to a small business owner and make or break a deal they’re working on to grow their business

It is these characteristics and her willingness to go above and beyond that makes it an honor to award Laura A. Stack, Vice President and Senior Commercial Lender for Freedom National Bank, with the 2017 Rhode Island Financial Services Champion Award. | volume six issue four



2017 Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year

At ProjectEngin, “E” is the Key

Ann Kaiser is the CEO of ProjectEngin, a STEM Education Consulting Firm Ann Kaiser is the CEO of ProjectEngin, a STEM education consulting firm specifically focused on the inclusion of engineering design in the K-12 classroom. At ProjectEngin they believe there is no “right” answer, they believe in the idea that every student can define a problem, evaluate solutions, modify them, and reach an optimized final product. No problem or project is ever necessarily finished, but creates an education path to create a way of learning for the rest of their lives. Ann drives her curricular and pedagogical efforts with the idea that innovative solutions to current and future challenges will require the combined efforts and talents of diverse thinkers. By educating the educators, ProjectEngin is creating a classroom culture of “engineers” who are not afraid to fail, an environment where a student’s imagination and vision is bolstered, promoting respect for each other’s divergent opinions; a brewing pot of collaboration. “Most of us engineer every day, we engineer processes to get us through the day,” expressed Ann, “If students can learn to think through the design process they can take that and apply it to diverse subjects, disciplines, and career fields”, she added. As we sit together it becomes more and more evident that the driving force behind ProjectEngin is the passion of Ann and


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her team. Ann develops curriculum and provides workshop to schools in Rhode Island and throughout the country, with upcoming commitments in Virginia, Colorado, and New Jersey. While the long miles and even longer hours can be exhausting the reward is immeasurable. “I’ve seen a kindergartner who had a fulltime aide with him create composite beams made of pipe cleaners and straws,” Ann smiled and continued, “he came up with this structure all by himself and it held more books than anybody else’s in the class. The next day everybody wanted to work with him… it was his moment to shine.” While ProjectEngin is blazing a trail for this educational philosophy they are anything but new to the genre. Ann began her career as an Engineer graduating from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (B.S. in Metallurgy and Materials Science) and the School of International and Public Affairs (Masters in International Affairs). Six months of research in Singapore as a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher further supported her vision of a better way to educate innovators. Ann spent her most of her career split between being an engineer and an educator finding the principles of engineer key to the learning process. It is this meld of real-life engineering and educational

experience that created her pedagogy, “We are not creating science lessons, we are not creating math lessons, we are creating projects and activities that help embed some engineering-design thinking and the engineering-design process into what they’re already doing.” Ann continues educating future generations of innovative problemsolvers but never forgets the students who have already graduated from her programs. One student in particular, Christoper Horvat, recently received his PHD from Harvard University, choosing to dedicate his thesis to Ann, “Mrs. Kaiser encouraged me to see the world as an explorer, not just a passive bystander. Her promotion of creativity, spontaneity, and child-like wonder are the most important parts of who I am as a researcher and person today.” said Dr. Christopher Horvat, “She is the reason I went into science, and I can’t thank her enough for her patience, excitement, and passion for education.” Horvat added. For her dedication to educating America’s youth as well as her demonstrated success and potential for future growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Ann D. Kaiser, Owner and CEO of ProjectEngin, as the 2017 Rhode Island and New England Microenterprise of the Year.


2017 Rhode Island District Director Award

Mark Cousineau

and Community Investment Corporation

Bridging The Gap For Rhode Island Lending Mark Cousineau, president of Community Investment Corporation (CIC), was chosen as this year’s recipient of the Rhode Island District Director Award. This award was created to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the small business community in the Ocean State. When informed that he had won this award he balked, requesting instead that the SBA honor his entire team at CIC. Mark’s team at CIC is comprised of seasoned lenders with varied backgrounds in banking, economic development, and small business who are supported by an experienced back office staff. Together they drive CIC’s mission-focused economic development business model that has made CIC the top SBA 504 and SBA Community Advantage lender in Connecticut. The team has seen incredible success in Connecticut and is hoping to match that in Rhode Island. “Last year marked the opening of our Providence office,” began Cousineau. “It also marked the beginning of a significant partnership with CommerceRI that accelerated the roll-out of our access to capital programs,” he added. Those capital programs include SBA Microloan and Community Advantage 7(a) Loans which the CIC staff worked tirelessly to integrate fully into the Rhode Island market. “Mark and his team at CIC are dedicated to the advancement of small business,” said SBA District Director Mark S. Hayward, “by using the SBA loan programs and bridging the gap of conventional lending they continue to ensure that those that need access to capital have every opportunity to secure it” said Hayward.

Group Photo: The

While CIC’s Providence office is relatively new, this is not CIC’s first foray into Rhode Island. They expanded into the Rhode Island market in 2004 along with several other quality SBA 504 program lenders. Cousineau views CIC’s model as its defining and differentiating characteristic, “I think our ability to provide a variety of SBA and CommerceRI small business loan products positions us to be an effective alternative source for banks that are looking to satisfy their clients’ financing needs that are outside the scope of the SBA 504 program.” Cousineau is grateful for the District Director award and the spotlight it has put on the hard work of his staff, “I think the recognition validates our decision to bring our access to capital programs and business consulting services to Rhode Island.” Mark continued, “It also helps us get the word out to potential borrowers that CIC is here to stay as an SBA 504 partner an alternative lending resource.” This award is far from the completion of CIC’s goals however, the CIC staff believe there is much work to be done and won’t be stopping anytime soon. “We’ve hardly put a dent in the capital demand of businesses that are not quite bankable” insisted Cousineau. “Real measurable impact is probably still two or three years away. Our goal is to become the “second look” resource for bankers who have applicants they would like to help but can’t for any number of reasons” he proclaimed. For his demonstrated commitment to assisting the small business community of Rhode Island, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present Mark Cousineau, President of Community Investment Corporation with the 2017 Rhode Island SBA District Director Award.

team at Community Investment Corporation; Back Row: Rich Evans, VP; Buck Harris, VP of Community Lending; Gary Toole, VP; Mark Cousineau, President. Front Row: Aya Beckles-Swanson, VP of Community Lending | volume six issue four



2017 Rhode Island Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year

Boots to Business,

Matt Tortora and Crave Food Services A R E




Matthew Tortora, Co-Founder and CEO of Crave Food Services Corporation began his journey by serving in the U.S. Navy as a Nuclear Missile Technician. Matt was stationed aboard a ballistic missile submarine- USS Rhode Island, as well as combat operations in the Middle East. After 10 years of honorable service, Matt decided to change his path; using his leadership skills, drive, and work ethic Matt began chasing his passion in the culinary arts. Transitioning from Sailor to Civilian he used his Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, eventually earning both Culinary Arts and B.S. in Food Service Management degrees from Johnson & Wales University. Matt began cooking in kitchens throughout the Northeast before an experience while working at Jamestown FISH would change everything; learning how to find and work with the best local ingredients available became a job upon itself. Sourcing his ingredients would find Matt communicating with as many as 20 local producers on a daily basis, which at times seemed to demand more of his time than did cooking the food. As Matt struggled with this day-to-day grind he had an idea that would become Crave Food Services Corporation (CFS); build a tool to help streamline and organize local whole purchasing operations. Matt began seeking out local farmers and chefs attempting to better understand the problems each faced outside of his own experiences. He would soon realize that farmers much like chefs, had limited resources and struggled to find and maintain new markets. In his quest to understand the issue Matt met his co-founder, Will Araujo, the two immediately joined forces with the goal of creating technology that would help to get more healthy, fresh and, sustainably-produced food into schools, hospitals, and


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institutions in addition to restaurants by delivering sourcing, fulfillment, and operational solutions. The tool, an online marketplace known as WhatsGood, helps farmers, fisherman, and other purveyors generate new business, receive and manage orders, and analyze their data. Since WhatsGood’s launch in April 2015, the marketplace has attracted nearly 4,000 public schools and has users in more than 28 states. Matt highly regards the veteran community and to date has hired four veterans and continues to seek vets with the right qualifications to join the CFS team. CFS also works towards focusing the spotlight on veteran farmers as evidenced by CFS’s sponsorship and support of “Growing Home” a TV documentary series which aims to tell the stories of U.S. Veterans who now serve their country by supporting our food system. This summer CFS will launch direct-to-consumer mobile applications of WhatsGood in the New England and Long Island areas. This app will allow the consumer to support local farmers and fisherman and access more fresh, local, and healthy food, the way WhatsGood has successfully helped schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Consumers will be able to find and connect with their local producers and choose pick-up locations, as well as, identify local stores where their products can be found. For his demonstrated success and potential for future growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Matt Tortora, Co-Founder and CEO of Crave Food Services Corporation, as the 2017 Rhode Island Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year.


2017 Rhode Island Joseph G. E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Susan Lataille Owner of DiscoverYou Events “Throughout my life, I’ve been told that I’m a great connector. Somehow, I’ve always had the confidence and energy to bring people together in dynamic ways” said Susan Lataille, Owner of DiscoverYou Events. It was this confidence that Susan used to launch her business after creating the DiscoverYou Wellness Expo in 2009. “The company has changed over the years and continues to create new events to serve the community in the best way, said Lataille, “This business allows me to connect those who strive to improve our community” she continued. Connecting businesses to their customers, clients, leads, and communities has been the driving force since DiscoverYou Events was founded. However, for Susan to achieve her goals she needed help and reached out to SCORE looking for guidance with some key issues she was facing. Susan was matched with SCORE mentor Deborah Pannullo, “I met Susan at a point in the business cycle where she had decided to sell.” said Deborah. “We spent the better part of a year together, we dissected the events she was promoting, we reviewed the revenue and costs by event.” added Pannullo. It was during this analysis that it became clear that certain events could not be sustained while other events were proverbial “cash cows”. Susan and Deborah began addressing which events needed to be sold or discounted while drafting strategic and tactical plans to help carry out each goal. With her new plan Susan found subsequent expos and events were far more successful than they had been prior.

“Deborah was very valuable in helping me gather all of the information need for selling my business,” said Susan, “She guided me through how best to present the business including profit and loss. This showed me how valuable my business was and it helped me decide to keep it knowing that the growth would continue.” Lataille concluded. Susan’s decision has paid off and DiscoverYou has begun specializing in producing and managing four distinct types of events. These events include unique Rhode Island events, the Ocean State Business Expo (the largest business to business expo in Rhode Island), the East Bay Business Expo, and events geared towards supporting various non-profits. In a short time since Susan has enacted her new strategy DiscoverYou Events has garnered a reputation for maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and service for the exhibitors and attendees of all of our events.

This business allows me to connect those who strive to improve our community

Susan shows no signs of slowing down and is as passionate as ever, “The fact that I’m a connector takes on new meaning when it comes to producing events,” she revealed, “It brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to see connections being made that result in better lives. That satisfaction is the reason I love doing what I’m doing.” she smiled. Rhode Island SCORE proudly honors Susan Lataille, Owner of DiscoverYou Events, as the recipient of the 2017 Joseph G. E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. | volume six issue four



2017 Rhode Island Small Business Exporter of the Year


Exporting Rhode Island to the World Founded in 1965, Mearthane Products Corporation (MPC) is an internationally known leader in the development and manufacture of innovative polyurethane based parts and components for challenging markets worldwide. Their patented formulations and versatile manufacturing provide unmatched performance in Office Automation, Banking, Postal Systems, and a wide variety of other applications worldwide. This profile caught the attention of Kevin Redmond, who invested in the company in 1998. In 2008, Kevin became owner and CEO of MPC, and began implementing a new strategy to grow Mearthane in a rapidly-changing marketplace. The onset of globalization in manufacturing had an immense effect on MPC, as the relocation of large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to assembly points outside the United States presented new challenges, but also opportunities. This trend put MPC, a dedicated Rhode Island manufacturer, in a more difficult position to service their traditional markets. As a scrappy, never-say-die competitor, MPC dedicated themselves to climbing the value-added scale by developing a more unique product set for customers. With many of MPC’s traditional customers looking for a less expensive foreign alternatives, Kevin and his wife Joan, the company’s controller, looked to new and emerging markets. Kevin and Joan began working with Ray Fogarty and Linda Wolfe of the John H. Chafee Center for International Business located at Bryant University. They were made aware of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), an SBA-funded program that helps businesses defray costs for projects aimed at boosting their export business. In 2010, with the help of a STEP grant, Kevin and Joan went on their first trade mission to Israel. They returned with an opportunity that turned into a half million dollars in business and a new-found awareness of potential exporting opportunities. Since then, the company has been a regular participant in RI Trade Missions and international outreach activities.

A few years later, as their export business grew, Kevin and his friend Pete Kaczmarek, now MPC’s President and COO, developed plans to accelerate the company’s global presence. Kaczmarek’s previous international experience supported MPC’s strategic direction. Kaczmarek explained some of the many ways they have used STEP grant funds: “For example, we just received a grant to overhaul our website. The goal is to improve accessibility internationally, provide translation capabilities, and improve its speed; all these are necessary to attract a global audience.” Kaczmarek continued, “I’m impressed by Rhode Island’s programs for increasing our manufacturing base through international growth.” MPC has also used STEP funds to create translated brochures for the Japanese market. This demonstrates to Japanese customers a dedication to their markets. Japanese and other Asian partnerships continue to be a part of the company’s export growth plans. Mearthane doesn’t stop their SBA participation at STEP grants. They have also utilized SBA 504 and 7(a) loans to economically invest and expand. “We set about creating an ownership structure that improved the long-term prospects of the company - domestically and as a global exporter. We always felt our technology was valued by the international marketplace.” said Kevin Redmond. “The SBA offered loan products to change our capital structure, which allowed us to compete internationally. We are great believers in these tools and are already planning to utilize them again, to expand our business through investment here in Rhode Island. ” added Redmond. For their accomplishments in expanding the global economy, the U.S. Small Business Administration is proud to recognize Kevin Redmond, CEO; Joan Redmond, Controller; and Peter Kaczmarek, President and COO of Mearthane Products Corporation, as the 2017 Rhode Island Small Business Exporter of the Year.

Group Photo: (L-R) President and COO, Peter Kaczmarek; Controller, Joan Redmond; and CEO, 20

Kevin Redmond address guests at their STEP grant presentation.

RISBJ | rhode island small business journal

2017 Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year


One Generation

to the Next Design Fabricators Makes

“Quality” their Family Business In 1978, Robert Armstrong along with his children, Robin, Denise, and Thomas opened the doors to Design Fabricators, an architectural woodworking and fixture company located in Cranston. Side by side, this father-daughter team grew their business from the ground up, expanding their offerings and building a reputation for quality. A true family affair, Robert oversaw the day to day operations while his daughters began learning the ins and outs of the business. In the early years of the business, Robin attended Rhode Island College where she received her Bachelors of Science in Managerial Economics. Using her education, Robin took on the accounting and human resources responsibilities, while Denise began working in the finishing department, sanding products for final use. After Denise finished her education at Bryant College she became the purchasing agent acquiring all the needed materials for upcoming projects. As time passed ladies role grew, Robert slowly began turning the company over to his daughters which culminated in 2009 when Robin and Denise officially became President and Vice President respectively. While this promotion was a joyous occasion for both sisters, there was little time for celebration. Robin and Denise were taking charge at a time of great economic uncertainty. For the company to survive the sisters had to adopt new ideology, “We had to do more with less” Robin explained. They understood the difficult situation they were walking into, but also realized that ensuring the businesses existence was paramount. Layoffs were necessary while a strategy of diversifying clientele ensured a steady, less volatile income stream. The sisters agreed, “If we hadn’t made those decisions when we did, we probably wouldn’t have survived.” Robin and Denise also implemented a policy of cross training their employees, “We now have engineers that can

do estimates. We have project managers that can draw. We have people in the finish department that can also be laborers. We have a service department that can come an assist the finish department,” said Robin. The sisters firmly believe their approach has not only benefited the company but the employees as well by making them such a valuable and versatile part of the team. As the economy began to turn around in 2010, Design Fabricators looked to secure its future. They received an SBA 504 loan through Coastway Community Bank to purchase their building. Robin and Denise also applied for an SBA line of credit, giving them access to working capital in between payments from customers. Finally, in 2015, the sisters secured a second SBA loan to purchase their new Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine. The CNC machine has allowed them to vastly improve the time it takes to finish products needed for jobs while allowing them to save money that was once outsourced to secure said products. While there have been many changes to the business since Robin and Denise have taken over, there is no question that family is the backbone of Design Fabricators. “These girls are doing an amazing job and their whole life is into it,” said Robert. “I guided them up to a point, but it was their ingenuity, their input. You can come here on a Saturday and they’re here working. You can come here at six or seven at night and they’re here. Whatever they have to do to get the projects done right, they do. You can’t imagine how proud I am of them,” he beamed. For the above listed reasons and many more the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Roberta A. Degraide and Denise Armstrong-Florio, President and Vice President of Design Fabricators with the 2017 Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year Award.

Group Photo: Robin Degraide, president of Design Fabricators; Founder, Robert Armstrong; and Vice-Presdient, Denise Armstrong-Florio in front of a painting of their beloved son and brother, Thomas. Robin Degraide, president of Design Fabricators; Founder, Robert Armstrong; and Vice-Presdient, Denise Armstrong-Florio in front of a painting of their beloved| son and brother, volume six Thomas. issue four 21


2017 Rhode Island Entrepreneurial Success Award

Jeff Nelson is Making Brassworks

The Gold Standard Brassworks Fine Home Details was established in 1976 by Anthony Palmer, who hired Jeff Nelson at the age of 19. Over the next 15 years, Jeff held positions refinishing hardware, fabricating handrails and brass beds, and installing as well as servicing fireplaces. Eventually, Jeff moved to the sales side of the business, quickly becoming the top salesman for the company before finally becoming Sales Manager.

As 2012 was coming to a close, Anthony was set to retire and the opportunity to purchase the business presented itself. Jeff began researching the purchasing process, attending several SBA sponsored seminars, and participating in the SCORE mentoring program. By the time February of 2013 rolled around, Jeff, now 32 years old, secured an SBA loan through Coastway Community Bank and was able to purchase Brassworks. “They were the only bank that would actually sit down and take the time to work out the details of the very complicated purchase with me.” Nelson assured, “Joe sat down with me, worked through every detail and coached me through the entire process.” Brassworks Fine Home Details is a retail business that specializes in high-end architectural hardware and custom fireplace packages. Since Jeff took over in 2013, Brassworks has seen sales increase 45% and that growth has brought with it a steady amount of service work to many independent subcontractors that they work with in New England. In early 2016, Jeff expanded the company’s operations and


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market share by opening a brand-new design showroom in Newton, Massachusetts. “The economy is very strong in the metro west region of Boston,” acknowledged Nelson, “and our showroom is strategically located so we can draw customers in from sought after neighborhoods” he reasoned. The new showroom, called Boston Fine Home Details, features over a dozen burning fireplace displays, mantels, accessories and architectural hardware. Although the majority of their business comes from architects, designers, and home builders in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Jeff is committed to providing top level customer service to everyone that walks through the door.

Jeff has taken Brassworks to new heights and recently created and released their own collection of hand-crafted natural stone mantels and hand-made fireplace accessories name the Bespoke Collection. The collection consists of unique hearth products fabricated by skilled artisans that cannot be found anywhere else in New England. “The next step” said Nelson “is to grow the Newton location, eventually open another location, and purchase the land we’re currently on with a loan through the SBA.” For his demonstrated success and continued growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Jeff Nelson, Owner and President of Brassworks Fine Home Details as the 2017 Rhode Island Entrepreneurial Success Award.

32nd nd ANNUAL ANNUAL 32




MAY 24, 24, 2017 2017 MAY MAY 24, 2017


CONNECTING THE WORLD THROUGHGLOBAL GLOBALBUSINESS BUSINESS CONNECTING GLOBAL BUSINESS CONNECTING THE THE WORLD WORLD THROUGH THROUGH REGISTER (401) 232-6407 oror (401) 232-6407 REGISTER (401) 232-6407 Join us for the 32nd Annual WorldTrade TradeDay. Day.Explore Exploretoday’s today’s pressing global issues. Join usfor forthe the32nd 32ndAnnual AnnualWorld World Trade Day. Explore today’s pressing global issues. Join us pressing global issues. Discover what they mean toyour yourbusiness. business. Discoverwhat whatthey theymean meanto your business. Discover Learn fromtop topexperts expertsfrom fromthe the Brookings Brookings Institution, the China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval WarWar the the Learn from Institution,the theChina China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval College, Learn from top experts from the Brookings Institution, Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval WarCollege, College, the NationalRetail RetailFederation, Federation,the the Richline Richline Group, Group, Inc., the U.S. Chamber ofofCommerce, and a globally recognized thought leader. National Inc., the U.S. Chamber Commerce, and a globally recognized thought leader. National Retail Federation, the Richline Group, Inc., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a globally recognized thought leader. Featuredwill willbe bekey keynote notepresentations, presentations, executive executive panel discussions and aa choice from fourteen different sessions on relevant Featured paneldiscussions discussions and choice from fourteen different sessions relevant Featured will be key note presentations, executive panel and a choice from fourteen different sessions on on relevant topics for those interested in international business. topics for those interested in international business. topics for those interested in international business.

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Bryant University



AGENDA 7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast 8:00 a.m. Welcome Remarks 8:15 a.m. Morning Keynote Presentation Connecting the World through Global Business: The Benefits and Challenges of Globalization for the U.S. Presented by: Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution What does globalization mean today for the United States? As with any strategic initiative, there are benefits and costs, and differing opinions on how to weigh the pros and cons. The Trump administration is proposing action that could affect the nation’s approach to globalization. In his presentation, Joshua will discuss some of the key issues and how they impact the U.S.’s ability to connect to the rest of the world through global business.

9:15 a.m. Morning Breakout Sessions I (concurrent) SESSION 1: Corporate Ethics in Today’s Global Economy

Presenters: Ernest Almonte, Partner, RSM LLP Mark Hanna, CMO, Richline Group Julia Techentin, Assistant General Counsel, IGT Timothy Shultz, Vice President, Ethics and Business Conduct, Raytheon Company Business ethics can be defined as encompassing both social and environmental issues. Corporate decision makers need to take into consideration not only the economic impact of their decisions on their businesses, but also the impact on people’s lives, and the environment and society as a whole. In this session, three corporate executives will discuss how business ethics are an important part of their corporate cultures and share best practices for developing, communicating and enforcing this culture.

SESSION 2: Business Continuity Planning: Securing Your Supply Chain Keynote Presenter: James Pinzari, Director, AON Global Risk Consulting With Panelists: Jon Giampietro, V.P. Operations, TACO Lema May, Sr. Manager Global Logistics, Talbots Moderated by: Steve Ilmrud, VP Operations, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence 24

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Supply chain risk is one of the leading causes of business instability. Disruptions in the supply chain can include global political or economic instability, warehouse or factory fires, steamship line bankruptcies, port strikes and a host of other potential disasters. This discussion will look closely at the inherent risks in a global supply chain and ways to mitigate those risks and create a resilient supply chain.

10:30 a.m. Morning Breakout Sessions II (concurrent) SESSION 3: Navigating Strategic Business Relationships: China,

Russia, and Beyond Keynote Presenter: Lyle Goldstein, PhD, Associate Professor, China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College With Charlie Welsh, Entrepreneur and financial reporter, Owner of IIICORP And Clay Pell Globalization today plays a prominent role in most economies, promoting economic growth through trade, investment, and mutual collaboration. Global economies have become intertwined, and as the United States renegotiates its foreign trade relationships, it seeks to focus on what’s best for the US while maintaining strategic alliances. In this session, knowledgeable speakers will discuss what the future holds for U.S. trade relationships in key global markets.

SESSION 4: An Update on U.S. Import Policies: Facilitation versus Enforcement Moderated by: Karen Kenney, VP Global Partnerships, The Janel Group With Panelists: Matthew Bock, Esq. Partner, Middleton & Shrull Jeff Starecheski, VP Transportation, CVS Trade is critical to the growth of the U.S. economy and competitiveness of U.S. businesses. The Administration has historically tried to balance trade as a means of streamlining international trade procedures and encouraging trade with enforcement of trade laws designed to protect U.S. consumers and businesses. The new Administration has focused on “fair” trade and enforcement. In this session, we will discuss the impact of trade policies under the new Administration. 11:45 a.m. Morning Breakout Sessions III (concurrent) SESSION 5: New England’s Global Infrastructures: Connecting to

the World Keynote Presenter: John Reeve, President, Reeve & Associates With Panelists: Robert Blackburn, Port Director, Quonset Development Corporation

Bryant University Evan Matthews, Executive Director, Connecticut Port Authority Chris Waterson, General Manager, Waterson Terminals Lisa Wieland, Port Director, Massachusetts Port Authority Moderated by: Gavin Black, Corporate Counsel, Moran Transportation Industries International business relies on the movement of goods by air, ocean, rail and truck. New England’s ports connect companies to the world and are essential parts of the U.S.’s ability to be globally competitive. Learn more about what is needed to create and sustain a competitive advantage through our local infrastructures.

SESSION 6: Winning with Global Innovation and Collaboration Keynote Presenter: Cris Beswick, Strategic Advisor on Innovation and author of “Building a Culture of Innovation” With Presenters: Professor Kathleen Walsh, Policy Analyst, China Maritime Studies, U.S. Naval War College, and Andrea Yonah, Director of Business Development, US/Israel BIRD Foundation Local problems, global solutions. In today’s global climate, innovation is a major force for economic growth and a globalized innovation strategy can be a win-win prospect for all involved. In this session, experts on global innovation will address the importance of building a culture of innovation, both within your own company and through collaborations with foreign partners. They will also discuss trends in innovation in key parts of the world: the UK and EU, China and the Asia Pacific, and Israel. 1:00 p.m. Luncheon Remarks by The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island Luncheon Keynote Presentation: The Future of U.S. Free Trade Agreements Co-Presented by: Christopher Wenk, Executive Director, International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karen Tramontano, Co-Founder and CEO at Blue Star Strategies, LLC The United States currently has in place 14 Free Trade Agreements covering 20 countries. As one of his first acts as President, President Trump withdrew from TPP and has questioned the value of NAFTA and other FTAs. Are FTAs really good for the U.S. economy and US businesses, or do they take away American jobs and opportunities? Listen as we discuss the future of U.S. trade negotiations and the U.S. role in the WTO.

2:30 p.m. Afternoon Breakout Sessions SESSION A: Cyber Security – Is your company safe? What does cyber security really mean for YOUR business? Cyber security experts will share strategies to raise your level of awareness, mitigate risk and investigate actual fraudulent activity. Presented by Dan Andrea, KLR; Brandon Catalan, Category 5 Consulting, LLC; and Stephen Ucci, Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. SESSION B: International Business Cultures: How NOT to Insult your New Business Partner Learn from two veteran international specialists how to be sensitive to cultural differences and be diplomatically savvy in the global arena. Fast paced and highly interactive, you’ll leave this session with a new heightened awareness of how to navigate the cultural landscape of your next business opportunity. Presented By Wendy Pease, Rapport International; Carole Copeland Thomas,; and Chris Ciunci, Tribal Vision

a unique opportunity to learn from the experts and get your questions answered! Presented by Kelly Brady, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Paula Connelly, The Law Firm of Paula Connelly; and Elizabeth Robson, J.F. Moran, a U.S. Customs Broker.


Export Compliance – The Importance of Understanding the EAR and ITAR All U.S. exporters, of any size and any industry, must have an understanding of U.S. export regulations. Join this session to gain a better understanding of how this applies to your business and what you need to do to protect your company from potential fines and penalties. Presented by Jeanette Reed of Evolutions in Business and Matthew Bock, Esq. Partner, Middleton & Shrull.

SESSION E: Trade Assistance Programs Looking for programs that can help your company expand and improve your international business? In this interactive forum, participants will hear from representatives of various trade assistance programs that provide free assistance to local businesses of all sizes and industries. This is a great opportunity to speak one-on-one with program representatives and learn how your company can benefit from their programs and events. SESSION F: Meet the Speakers This session will provide an informal opportunity to meet with many of the day’s speakers to engage in additional conversations about the topics and interact in lively discussions with other participants. This opportunity will also be continued during the closing reception immediately following. 3:30 p.m. Closing Reception & Networking Continued Trade Assistance Program Forum and Meet the Speakers

S P E A K E R S Keynote Speakers Connecting the World through Global Business: The Benefits and Challenges of Globalization for the U.S.

Dr. Joshua Meltzer Senior Fellow, Brookings


Joshua is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution and an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies where he teaches international trade law. At Brookings, Joshua works on international trade law and policy issues with a focus on the World Trade Organization and large free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. He has testified on trade issues before the U.S. Congress, the U.S. International Trade Commission and the European Parliament. Prior to joining Brookings, he was posted as a diplomat at the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. where he was responsible for trade, climate and energy issues and prior to that, he was a trade negotiator in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

SESSION C: Understanding Import Regulations – Ask the Experts! New to importing? Confused by some of the current regulations? This is | volume six issue four


The Future of U.S. Free Trade Agreements

Christopher Wenk Executive Director of International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Christopher is Executive Director of International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is responsible for promoting the Chamber’s international trade agenda, including bilateral free trade agreements, multilateral negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with the administration, on Capitol Hill, and in the business community. Since joining the Chamber in 2007, Christopher has played a leading role in successful campaigns to win bipartisan congressional passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. He also led the Chamber’s efforts to secure Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, among other trade initiatives.

A Message from World Trade Day 2017 Co-Chairs As we prepare for our 32nd annual World Trade Day on May 24, 2017, we find ourselves in a dynamic international marketplace. Our business relationships continue to grow around the globe; world dynamics are constantly changing; new opportunities and challenges ebb and flow; and U.S. relationships with other countries continue to evolve. We live in an interconnected world where global business is the norm and what happens anywhere in the world can have an impact on our companies and our lives. Global business provides us with connections outside of the United States in ways that extend beyond just business. These connections help promote better understanding, cultural awareness, economic development and humanitarian efforts. Strengthening global ties creates shared goals and interests, mutual collaboration and an appreciation for our differences. This year’s World Trade Day will focus on this interconnectedness and how we, as business people, are Connecting the World through Global Business. We are all closely watching developments in U.S. trade policies, U.S. relationships with countries such as China, Russia and Mexico, global infrastructures and supply chains, and other global issues at home and abroad. How will we be connecting with the world and what will that mean for our businesses? World Trade Day is a unique opportunity to participate in in-depth discussions on these and other global issues. Together we will learn how to take advantage of opportunities to connect through global business and plan for the future. We hope that you will plan to join us on May 24, 2017. Whatever your company’s size, industry or activity, Connecting the World through Global Business is an important issue and we encourage you to participate in the discussions. Sincerely,

Paul Oliveira Shareholder, Director of Tax Services KLR


Jason Kelly Executive Vice President Moran Shipping Agencies

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The Future of U.S. Free Trade Agreements

Karen Tramontano Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Blue Star Strategies Karen is Co-Founder and CEO at Blue Star Strategies, LLC where she provides corporate, institutional and public sector clients with results oriented strategies. From 1997 to 2001, Karen served in the White House as deputy chief of staff to President Clinton and counselor to Erskine Bowles and John Podesta. Her portfolio encompasses a wide range of issues, including international trade and transatlantic relations as well as economic and financial issues concerning the World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. In 2001, she served as chief of staff for President Clinton’s transition, where she established his office and presence in New York City. Karen is also the Founder and President of the Global Fairness Initiative, a non-profit organization working to promote a more equitable and sustainable approach to globalization. A native of Rhode Island, Karen earned a Juris Doctor degree from Catholic University Law School and a B.A. from Boston College.


Gold Sponsors

World Trade Day Committee

Co-Chair: Jason Kelly Executive Vice President, Moran Shipping Agencies

Co-Chair: PAUL OLIVEIRA, CPA/MS Shareholder and Director of Tax Services, KLR

Silvers Sponsors

World Trade Day Committee Members Joe Raquel Gerald Heather Ecem Ray Aaron Steve June Eric Joe Avishai Robin Dan Tatiana Bob Kathy Ray Stephen Linda Keith

Amaral Cordeiro Cohen DeMarco Elci Fogarty Guckian Ilmrud Landry Menke Nero Nevel Richardson Schobel Nechaeva Sinclair Therieau Thomas Ucci Woulfe Yatsuhashi

Consultant (In Memoriam) Bryant University Chafee Center Chafee Center Hasbro Chafee Center Bank Newport Hexagon Metrology KLR AstroNova Arthur J. Gallagher Nevel International Bryant University Coface Santander Trade Consultant RI Commerce Corporation ARay Business Communications Adler, Pollack & Sheehan Chafee Center US Department of Commerce

Bronze Sponsors

Media Sponsors

“In today’s interconnected world, doing business internationally has become a driving force for business growth. World Trade Day is the perfect forum to learn more about today’s global issues – the future of free trade agreements, trade relationships with our foreign partners, the future of our global infrastructures, protecting our global supply chains, and more. World Trade Day is designed for anyone engaged in international business, as well as those interested in the issues, and we encourage everyone to join us on May 24th and engage in the discussions!” Raymond W. Fogarty Director, John H. Chafee Center for International Business Bryant University


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