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updated daily feb. 4-10, 2013 Vol. 27, Number 44

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STEP IN THE ARENA Providence College renovates facility to aid Title IX fulfillment.

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Law

Payday loans face scrutiny Rollover interest rates assailed as predatory By Patrick Anderson panderson@pbn.com

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ROMANCE TO ORDER: Tricia Carter, marketing manager at Hotel Providence, describes the location as “intimate and luxurious,” as well as “naturally very romantic.” The hotel’s Valentine’s Day promotion hopes to capitalize on that aesthetic.

Hotels ready to pamper – for a price By John Larrabee Contributing Writer

If you want to pamper someone special this Valentine’s Day season, you might consider a weekend in Newport, where one hotel has turned the evening bath into something straight out of a romance novel. At The Chanler at Cliff Walk, the staff will fill your Jacuzzi, put a bottle of wine and glasses near the tub, light

candles and sprinkle rose petals throughout the room. “We call it bath butler service,” said Christine Sullivan, general manager of the boutique hotel. “It’s part of our two-night romance getaway package that’s available all month. The price is $345 to $895, depending on the room, and that also includes a special dinner in our restaurant, breakfast both mornings and a visit to one of Newport’s spectacular manSee Hotels, page 30

Modern payday lending was legalized in Rhode Island in 2001 and didn’t cause too much outcry until the recession began adding to the number of local families falling deeper into debt and bankruptcy. Now for the third consecutive year, a coalition of lawmakers, social-service organizations and religious leaders are trying to outlaw the interest that payday lenders charge, calling it onerous and predatory. As they did the past two years, the coalition faces an uphill battle getting a bill, sponsored by Rep. Frank Ferri, DWarwick, approved on Smith Hill. Similar bills have died without a floor vote in the past and neither House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence, nor Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, DNewport, have signaled any change in their positions from last year. But each year the coalition has added a few new members and focused additional scrutiny on payday lending in particular and short-term, distressed borrowing in general. In response to the anger over payday lending, some Rhode Island organizaSee Loans, page 14

No longer taboo in workplace, games tap creativity By Emily Greenhalgh Webeditor@pbn.com

With Facebook a household name and more than 1 billion worldwide downloads of the “Angry Birds” franchise, it’s easy to see why companies like Middletown-based information technology firm Rite-Solutions Inc. are trying to figure out how to use gaming as a means to better motivate employees and serve clients.

At Rite-Solutions, CEO James R. Lavoie has helped bring gaming into the workplace with “Mutual Fun,” a stock market-inspired game that allows employees to make “intellectual capital investments” about the future of the company the way they would make financial investments on the stock market. Every employee at Rite-Solutions is given $10,000 of fake “investment money” as a way to represent their in-

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tellectual investments in different indices, including: emerging technologies, products and services in line with current company offerings, and cost-saving initiatives. “The hope is once they put their money there, they now have an interest in raising the price of that stock,” said Lavoie.

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One business literally swinging for the fences. PAGE 12

The game is an example of “gamification” – the use of game mechanics, elements and techniques into a nongame setting – in order to engage users and solve problems. “Games fill an innate human need to overcome challenges and face obstacles,” said Jose Esteves, professor at the IE Brown Executive MBA, a collaborative program between the MadridSee gamification, page 18

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Chafee budget keeps nursing center idea alive

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FOCUS: Technology Brown University assistant professor James Hays knew computers have a good eye for art, especially detecting texture and shading in life-like representations of images. 15

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Global Game Jam at NEIT Game designers work on the art and programming code for their game during the 2013 Global Game Jam at New England Institute of Technology. The 48hour, game-design event was held Jan. 25-27 at 317 jam sites in 60 countries and included tens of thousands of participants. NEIT had 54 contestants, including from left, Matthew Karn, NEIT graduate, Chase Hermanson, NEIT graduate, Rhode Island School of Design senior Chris Culbertson and Allisandra Briggs, RISD senior.

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NEWSMAKER Matthew O. Davitt, president of Davitt Design Build Inc., talks about how insurance issues delay R.I. rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

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Schneider expansion to accommodate Title IX By Patrick Anderson

drop the puck on schedule next season, PC hired Shawmut Design and ConProvidence College students should struction, which last year built Brown be used to the earth movers and con- University’s Nelson Fitness Center and Coleman Aquatics Center. struction crews by now. In fact Shawmut completed the last After renovating two dormitories in 2011 and breaking ground on a new two major buildings. Before the clas63,000-square-foot humanities building sical Nelson Center, the firm built the last summer, Providence College is now modernist Granoff Center for the Crestarting a $13 million renovation and ative Arts. At Schneider Arena, while teams expansion of Schneider Arena, home of use the inside of the 64,000-square-foot Friar hockey and lacrosse teams. building, Shawmut plans It’s part of a multibuildto build the 34,000-squareing, multiyear, campus-imfoot addition on the outprovement plan matched side. Only when the hockey in scale during this stagseason is over will crews nant period for Rhode Isbegin working on the existland construction projects ing space and connect it to only by fellow Ocean State the addition. colleges and universities. “That’s five months to But while higher edudo what would typically cation has provided the take a year or probably bulk of the large building even more,” said Ron Simprojects undertaken in oneau, vice president at Rhode Island over the last John Sweeney Shawmut Design and Conseveral years, campus conProvidence College senior struction. “That scope and struction is not without its vice president for finance amount of work translates unique challenges. into a very fast-paced projIn the case of Schneider ect within limited space.” Arena, and many other Shawmut started the foundation and higher education projects, the calendar site work in November, but is still disis the major obstacle. Normally renovating an arena the cussing the details of the interior renosize of Schneider would take at least a vations with different user groups, such year, but the Providence College hockey as alumni and various teams, as it waits teams play into March with practice for the end of hockey season. When completed, the enlarged and for next season starting again in September, seriously condensing the time renovated Schneider will have new locker rooms for the men’s, women’s frame. To get the project done in time to and visiting hockey teams, plus a new panderson@pbn.com

‘It was built for that era [before Title IX] and needed updating.’

COURTESY SYMMES MAINI & MCKEE ASSOCIATES

PACKED HOUSE: The renovated Schneider arena at Providence College will include a new glass-atrium lobby and revamped concession area.

strength-and-conditioning facility. The addition will create a new glassatrium lobby with a revamped concession area and space for photos and memorabilia representing the school’s hockey history. Seating capacity in the arena, now 3,030, will drop slightly to 2,990 as a result of changes to make the building handicapped accessible, but there will be five new, ground-level luxury boxes. “To the students, this will feel like a completely new building,” Simoneau said. “They have really high hopes for the hockey teams and want to rally around them.” The Schneider Arena addition was designed by Symmes Maini & McKee Associated architects, the firm that put together Providence College’s campus master plan.

Providence College Senior Vice President for Finance John Sweeney said the impetus behind the Schneider project was bringing the building up to date functionally, aesthetically and legally.” “This building was built in 1973, before [collegiate gender-equity law] Title IX, so we have had to make accommodations for the women’s hockey program,” Sweeney said. “It was built for that era and needed updating, not just for hockey, but lacrosse and youth hockey.” In addition to the functional improvements, the renovation will modernize Schneider’s exterior appearance, adding glass and metal elements more reflective of contemporary sports arenas than the current precast concrete. Sweeney said in addition to Shawmut’s See ARENA, page 6

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NEWSMAKERS

Providence Business News

Insurance issues delay R.I. rebuilding after Sandy By Lindsay Lorenz

PBN: Where are most of your storm-related projects concentrated? DAVITT: In Rhode Island, you see lots of damage in Narragansett, Charlestown and Westerly.

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Since the remnants of Hurricane Sandy hit the Ocean State, Matthew O. Davitt and his staff of 16 have been busy helping property owners looking to rebuild homes damaged by the storm. Davitt is the owner of Davitt Design Build Inc. and Property Restoration Services Inc., South Kingstown companies that specialize in coastal homes. Since the storm, his team has been working closely with insurance adjusters to outline the scope of work for damaged properties. They are also in regular contact with town officials and agencies, such as the Coastal Resources Management Council, serving as a go-between for all parties and working to attain approval for client plans to rebuild. It’s slow work. As of last week, Davitt had yet to get the go-ahead to rebuild on any local properties damaged by the storm that hit the Ocean State three months ago. PBN: Hurricane Sandy was responsible for millions of dollars worth of damage in Rhode Island. Tell us about the range of projects your business has taken on as a result of the storm. DAVITT: Property Reconstruction Services, or PROS, handles the reconstruction part of design losses, while Davitt Design Build handles the consulting. We are building consultants to insurance carriers who specialize in properties on the coast. We write the damage appraisals for the insurance carrier and in that we’ve seen everything from minimal damage where a dock or structure close to the water was taken down, or a beach walkover, all the way to flooding right through

COURTESY DAVITT DESIGN BUILD INC.

PREPARED FOR IT ALL: Matthew O. Davitt, president of Davitt Design Build, says that trying to prevent storm damage is like trying to “stop the tide from coming in.”

the existing houses where you have pretty much lower-level and first-level total losses. PROS, handles property-reconstruction surfaces, which is where we do the insurance-reconstruction work. All we’ve done to date, because of waiting for projects to settle with insurance companies, has been shoring things up to make sure they’re not falling, or tarping to make sure they’re not flooding, but we have not started any rebuilding. have their Homeowners homeowners insurance or [are dealing with] FEMA for flooding, so the two of them have to sort out what part of the damage is flood-related and what is not. And that’s where we’re seeing kind of a bottleneck happening.

PBN: When rebuilding, are most clients looking to replicate the structures that were destroyed? DAVITT: Because we specialize on the coast and kind of an upper-end market, [clients] tend to do two things. They tend to remodel, agreeing on the scope and what was there at the time off loss, or they’ll say, “Gee, we’d like to make that room bigger.” Most of these clients have the resources to work outside of the amount the insurance companies have agreed to cover. … They’ll request more preventative measures to make the damages not happen again. PBN: Are there ways to prevent storm damages from occurring again? DAVITT: It’s like trying to stop the tide from coming in. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If it’s a total loss, we can build the house a little higher or farther back if they have the land. If it’s a partial loss, there’s not a lot you can do, except install better structural tie downs, like hurricane ties, so that it’s less likely for a deck to be washed out from under a house.

We’re seeing kind of a bottleneck happening [due to insurance claims].

PBN: How do you think Sandy’s wake stacks up to that of storms of the past? DAVITT: We’re seeing more flood damage from this one, and

I think that’s where a little of the bottleneck is because you have joint damage [between insurers]. PBN: What does that mean for your business? DAVITT: It just means a slower turnaround … from time of loss to time of construction because there is more sorting out between carriers. It’s not a positive thing, it slows down production because we’re dealing with who’s going to cover what, and a lot of the homeowners are a little hesitant to pull the trigger before they know what’s covered and what’s not. There are certain things, like outside structures, that are not part of the house that were damaged by flooding, but they’re not covered by homeowners insurance because it’s floodrelated. PBN: What has the experience taught you? DAVITT: We talk to the people more about our experience dealing with insurance losses through storms, and we talk to them about some of those preventative things that they can do above and beyond the building codes to try to prevent any losses down the road. You learn from every storm because you see what fails and what does not. PBN: As a result, have any of your company’s responses to storm-recovery efforts changed? DAVITT: What we’ve learned from the initial response is that if we know if a storm is coming, we now make contact with all of our clients. … A lot of our clients [reside] in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, but have houses in Rhode Island. So, we contact them and tell them the storm is coming, and we ask if there is anything we can do to help, like board up windows. n

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INTERVIEW Matthew O. Davitt Position: President, Davitt Design Build Inc. Background: Davitt founded Davitt Design Build Inc., a company that builds, renovates and restores homes, in 1982. In 1989, he started another company, Property Restoration Services Inc., which estimates insurance losses and works with insurance companies. Davitt is a certified master builder and is currently a local director of the Rhode Island Builders Association. In the past, he has served as a resource for publications interested in the design-build concept, building trends and economic conditions experienced by builders. Education: Attended Springfield Technical Community College First job: Summer construction on Block Island Residence: South Kingstown Age: 54


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education

Chafee’s budget keeps nursing-school project alive By Patrick Anderson panderson@pbn.com

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s inclusion in his state budget for next year of $500,000 to design a new downtown Providence advanced-nursing school was done without fanfare. The provision wasn’t even included in his published budget highlights or his state-of-the-state address. And it was a retreat from a year earlier, when Chafee pitched borrowing $65 million to build the school in Providence’s Knowledge District to be shared by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. But after digesting the budget, advanced-nursing-center advocates are more optimistic about the current approach to the project – seen as a potential catalyst for growth of the Providence research economy – than they were about the bond proposal. “This is a positive sign,” said Bob Weygand, vice president for administration and finance at URI, about the governor’s proposal. Although $500,000 for design work seems a minor commitment for such a large project, unlike the $65 million bond, it leaves open the possibility that the nursing school could be part of a larger complex developed in concert with the private sector. Under the public-private concept, the two public nursing schools would be anchor tenants in a privately built research facility that could also include speculative laboratory, office Bob Weygand or clinical URI vice president for space. Weygand administration and finance and Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger describe the governor’s proposal as a kind of budget placeholder, signaling his support once higher education and General Assembly leaders can agree on what to pursue. “The governor’s preference on whether the state should build a public or public-private project depends on what the schools decide is the best way to proceed,” Hunsinger said. “[The $500,000 for design work] is so the money will be there when the schools and legislature decide on a path.” While URI’s support for the nursing center is clear, Rhode Island College’s enthusiasm for the project is a bigger question. When the idea was first being discussed in 2010, RIC teachers expressed concern it would jeopardize the college’s independence. Although RIC President Nancy Carriuolo had openly backed the project, last year when lawmakers left it out of their budget her assistant posted a Facebook message cheering the plan’s demise. Carriuolo distanced herself from the post. RIC officials last week declined to comment on the advanced-nursing school proposal. In addition to any new nursingschool building, both URI and RIC have needed improvements to their oncampus nursing-school facilities. If the

‘Some developers want to keep their cards close to their chest.’

Knowledge District building is built, students will still spend their first two years on the respective South Kingstown and Mount Pleasant campuses before moving to the new building. While lawmakers passed on the advanced-nursing center bond last year, they did endorse a $50 million bond question, also approved by voters, to pay for renovations to three RIC buildings, including the current nursingschool site. Chafee’s current budget includes $2 million to renovate White Hall, home to URI’s current nursing school. So far, General Assembly leaders have said they need to see a concrete proposal for the nursing center before they can decide whether to back it, cre-

ating a chicken-and-egg problem for project supporters. Senate President M. Teresa PaivaWeed “is generally supportive of the concept,” said a spokesman. The advanced nursing center “is a concept that the speaker said he could possibly support once the details have been presented to the legislature,” said Larry Berman, spokesman for House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, in an email.  Another question about the project is where exactly it would be built, on state land or on private property. An informal Request For Information floated by the state last year received letters of interest from five firms: Intercontinental Real Estate Corp., Harbor East Development

Group of Rhode Island LLC, Gilbane Development Co., Crary Realty and Infralinx, Carpionato Group. A committee put together to review the responses said they were encouraging and indicated that the project was “achievable.” Weygand thinks the responses the state received last year were slightly disappointing. “I don’t think the responses were quite as good as we hoped, but I think the way the economy is going and the attention on the Knowledge District, there would be competitive proposals if we put out a real [Request For Proposals],” Weygand said. “The [RFI] was informal and some developers want to keep their cards close to their chest.” n

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WHAT’S YOUR TROPHY MOMENT?

FORGE worldwide ad size: 4.875”x 6.75” 142 Berkeley Street publication: Providence Business News Boston, MA 02116 insertion: 2.4.13 617.262.4800 job number: 12-RTC-0006 As both a Jamestown volunteer firefighter and EMT, and a nursing school contact: Kelly Lucadamo

student at the University of Rhode Island, I was anxious to add something fun to my already busy schedule. Having always been athletic, I began to study Shaolin Kempo and immediately fell in love with the sport. After 10 months of training, I entered my first karate tournament with 3 other teammates and put a lot of time and effort into learning my weapons routine. I was very nervous to perform, but overcame that fear and am proud to say I earned my very first martial arts trophy! As karate is a predominantly male sport, it was intimidating to tell people about my new hobby, but now I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

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feb. 4-10. , 2013

Med-tech companies eager to help each other By Richard Asinof Contributing Writer

Connectivity, collaboration and opportunity: These are the watchwords of industry leaders from the Rhode Island medical-technology community who are organizing a new statewide cluster. The group’s goal is to create an industry-led organization that can build out a strong, Rhode Island-based, medtech ecosystem. Among the categories envisioned for the med-tech group’s members are biotech, pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, algorithms and related technologies. Known informally as the Rhode Island Med Group, the group held its second meeting on Jan. 17 at Ximedica in Providence, attracting a diverse crowd of more than 40 entrepreneurs, CEOs, venture capitalists, researchers, ediLane tors and lawyers. The event was hosted by Stephen Lane, chairman, chief venture officer and co-founder of Ximedica, a firm that helps medical device and health care companies develop new products from research to final manufacturing. At the conclusion of more than two hours of discussion, Lane said the session was very productive. “We accomplished a lot,” he said. “I’m eager to read the written statements on purpose and mission [offered by the participants] about what this group can achieve, to further help to define who we are and where we’re going.” Nothing, Lane added, “is set in concrete; we’re all in the business of discovery.” The industry-led group is seeking to create a support structure that can help any company grow, according to Lane. The group plans to investigate how similar clusters in other states, such as the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, have organized. The Rhode Island Foundation has offered to support the group’s formation by providing funding for an executive director to help facilitate cohesion and momentum, with an initial $50,000 pledged. Among the ideas discussed in the

Arena from page 3

experience in the Rhode Island higher education building world, their work on, including locker rooms for professional teams, like the Boston Bruins and New York Mets was also a plus. Outside the arena itself, the project will also include moving an adjacent softball field to Clay Field and replacing it at the arena with an outdoor lacrosse and soccer field. When that’s done, the school will move on to upgrading the track & field and cross-country complex. And planning is now under way for a new business-school building, which could break ground before the end of the year. All of these projects are part of a fiveyear campus master plan advanced by the Providence City Plan Commission last month.

breakout group on “connectivity” was development of a website as the quickest way to foster collaboration, according to David Philip Goldsmith, co-founder of Aspiera Medical in Woonsocket, who reported back to the larger group. In addition, Goldsmith continued, because the group as a whole was about “the development and discovery and manufacturing and distribution of medical products,” outreach to doctors and nurses who feel affinity to these efforts, because they are entrepreneurial, made sense. In the breakout group on “entrepreneurship,” Lane characterized the discussion as “feisty,” focused on creating an organization that “we can have ownership of, where we connect the dots, stressing the importance of space and place, enabling access to capital, and fostering growth, creating wins.” For Andrew P. Mallon, CEO of Calista Therapeutics, a startup developing inhaled peptide therapeutics to treat cystic fibrosis, the greatest value of the new group is that it creates an industry network of knowledgeable entrepreneurs. “For me, the biggest advantage is the networking. You get to speak with people who know what they are talking about,” Mallon said. There are too many people in Rhode Island, he continued, “who are like little islands unto themselves, they don’t know what’s going on.” Mallon sees the new cluster group as a different way of doing business, creating the environment where companies can grow. All of the science doesn’t have to be home-grown in Rhode Island, according to Mallon. “You can go to places and buy the science and bring it to Rhode Island,” he said. Denice Spero, co-director of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics iCubed, who is working to develop a parallel industry group, the Rhode Island BioScience Leaders, said she was enthused by the group’s conversations and the industry-focused approach. “It’s very exciting,” Spero said, amid the buzz of ongoing conversation at the gathering. “There are lots of great ideas about entrepreneurship [that emerged tonight]. I think that Rhode Island has a lot of room for industry-led initiatives.” n If approved by the City Council, the Providence College master plan will include ownership of three new streets acquired from the city in exchange for larger annual payments in lieu of taxes. Sweeney said PC has just started planning what it will do with the section of Huxley Avenue it acquired and intends to gather a significant amount of neighborhood feedback. “We don’t have any preconceived notions of what Huxley will become,” Sweeney said. “Enhancing green space and improving public safety are important. We are going in with an open mind to have a lot of engagement from the PC community in putting together where we go from here.” On the other two sections of street, Wardlaw Avenue and Cumberland Street, Sweeney said cutting the streets off to traffic and turning them into campus parking is the plan. “All plans have increased parking on campus to reduce impact on the neighborhood and having people parking on the local streets,” Sweeney said. n


Providence Business News

feb. 4-10. , 2013

Rainmakers succeed through relationships Are you a rainmaker? Do you want to become one? You can. Rainmakers are individuals who are successful regardless of the product or service they sell. Their success is based on their relationships. When observing Ken Cook and talking about a successful rainmaker, the phrase often bandied about is “know, like and trust.” If you can get someone to know, like and trust you then you have a competitive edge. If you can get someone to know, like and trust you then you have a real opportunity for sustainable business. The phrase is easy to say. The acknowledgement of its value is easy to make. The assumption is everyone knows how to do it. After all, it’s something we are taught as children – how to get along with others. The truth is that getting people to know, like and trust you is not so easy to do. If it was, every business-development person, marketer and salesperson out there would be doing it and business success would be abundant and rampant. Rainmakers work hard at being successful because they focus on their relationships and evolving them to a deep level of know, like and trust; most importantly, trust. In developing their relationships rainmakers direct their focus in three areas: n The nature of relationships – core characteristics of strong and trusting relationships that are understood, embraced and practiced. Rainmakers I’ve met and interviewed embody two primary philosophies – building trust and being generous. Rainmakers understand this foundation of trust and generosity, and know they are at the core of successful and sustainable relationships. You can have the greatest product in the world, but if you are not trusted you will have a difficult time selling it. Realize also that not being trusted is not the same as being untrustworthy. Building trust takes effort and a little time. n Interaction skills that build strong relationships – the ways to connect that enrich and strengthen relationships. How we connect with someone is as important as what we do when we connect. Business is a series of interactions. Rainmakers command a set of skills that enable these interactions to be positive and supportive. These types of collaborative interactions are a prerequisite to strong relationships and trust. Collaboration and support entails participants being engaged and in the moment. Strong interaction skills short-circuit activities that are counter-productive and toxic. Consider the opposite of a positive, collaborative interaction. If interactions are competitive, involving persuasion and manipulation, then people use their energy to protect themselves. They are not engaged and in the moment; trust does not build; relationships don’t evolve. Transactional sales situations are a perfect example. Most people know

Guest Column

when someone is trying to sell them something and they naturally put up defenses. Salespeople are trained to overcome these defenses. A transactional sales situation is a joust, not collaboration. This is especially relevant in today’s world because the skills needed to make interactions positive and collaborative seems to be waning. “What’s in it for me” is an ever-present motivator, and interactions are often digital exchanges operating under the guise of relationships. n Relationship-based business development – a program of business practices that helps monetize relationships and enable business success. A rainmaker isn’t really a rainmaker until they bring in business. This is where the best rainmakers separate themselves from the masses. Rainmakers have acute clarity around their marketing strategy, and strong discipline in marketing implementation. Their strategy is highly focused, down to the naming of individuals, not just companies with whom they want to build business. Their tactics are well-thought out and clearly identified. They are diligent in sticking to their marketing calendar. It’s well-thought out marketing and effective implementation that builds awareness, educates and creates opportunities for relationships. Strong marketing is a catalyst for monetizing relationships in a genuine and authentic manner. Let me close with a couple of misconceptions about relationships and being a rainmaker. Misconception No. 1 – Building relationships is networking. Not true. Most networking is based on me, not you. Consider the elevator pitch. “This is who I am – can you help me?” The poor practice of networking has led to a lack of authenticity, a transactional mentality, keeping score and a disconnection from building real relationships. Misconception No. 2 – I can’t take advantage of my relationships, my friends, just to write some business. This is a very real fear and concern. It takes time to build trust, and only an instant to lose it. The key to avoiding this is generosity and authenticity. Always be generous, whether you benefit or not. Be authentic with your solutions. Do not offer anything unless you genuinely believe it can help. That is caring, not manipulation. So, are you a rainmaker? Do you want to become one? You can. Focus on building trust and genuine relationships, listen and communicate well, build a positive collaborative climate, and have a disciplined approach to marketing. n

The poor practice of networking has led to a lack of authenticity.

Author Ken Cook is founder and managing director of Peer to Peer Advisors and developer of The Rainmaker Business Development System. For details visit www.peertopeeradvisors.com.

www.pbn.com n 7

Who’s meeting in Greater Providence in February? Thousands of people, including: Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education (NPACE) 2013 NPACE - Pharmacology Update* Dates: February 11-12, 2013 Attendees: 330 Location: Omni Providence NPACE seeks to improve healthcare in the U.S. by providing continuing education and professional enrichment to nurse practitioners, advanced practice registered nurses, and students.

Brown University ICERM - Sage Days: Multiple Dirichlets Series, Combinatorics, and Representation Theory Workshop* Dates: February 11-15, 2013 Attendees: 90 Location: ICERM at Brown University This conference is part of a series of ongoing programs for Brown University’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM). ICERM’s mission is to support and broaden the relationship between mathematics and computation.

Rhode Island Amateur Hockey Association 2013 Ocean State Classic Dates: February 15-18, 2013 Attendees: 2,800 Location: Playing at rinks throughout R.I. and nearby Mass. Presented by the Edgewood Rhode Island Hockey Association, this youth hockey event will feature more than 60 teams from around the Northeast.

American String Teachers Association (ASTA) 2013 ASTA National Conference* Dates: February 27 - March 2, 2013 Attendees: 1,000 Location: Rhode Island Convention Center ASTA, founded more than 60 years ago, is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping them to develop and refine their careers.

*Registration is required for the above programs. Spectators are welcome at the 2013 Ocean State Classic.

For more information on meeting in Rhode Island, visit

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Providence Business News

8 n www.pbn.com

feb. 4-10. , 2013

Early signs of a boom in real estate market? Could we be looking at an early spring this year – not in meteorological terms but real estate? Could the chilly December to February months, which traditionally see fewer buyers out shopping for houses compared with the warmer months that follow, be more active than usual? And if so, what does this mean to you as a potential home seller or buyer? There is growing evidence, anecdotal and statistical, that Kenneth R. there are more shopHarney pers on the prowl in

The Nation’s Housing

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many parts of the country than is customary for this time of year, more people requesting “preapproval” letters from mortgage companies, more people visiting websites offering homes for sale, and more people telling pollsters that they expect home prices to continue rising and that the worst of the housing downturn is long past. There is even data showing that during holidaydistracted December, there was a jump in visits to homes listed for sale. Coldwell Banker, one of the largest brokerages in the country, says traffic to its listings website was up 38 percent during the past month, compared with year-earlier levels. ZipRealty, an online brokerage based in Emeryville, Calif., reports that its website has seen an unusual 33 percent increase in home

shoppers in the first half of January compared with December. Redfin, a brokerage with headquarters in Seattle, found that even during the week of Dec. 30, shoppers requesting home tours by agents jumped 26 percent over the four-week average, and 9 percent compared with the same week the year before. Economists at the National Association of Realtors report that foot traffic at houses listed for sale in well over half of all markets around the country was higher this past December than the year before. Given the strong December reading, said Paul C. Bishop, vice president for research at the association, sales in the coming weeks should be “robust.” Even in markets that typically hi-

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bernate until the snow melts, there are indications of an unusually early start to the 2013 season. Joe Petrowsky, president of Right Trac Financing Group, a mortgage company near Hartford, Conn., said he has received a much higher volume of requests for “preapproval” letters – which tell sellers that a purchaser is qualified for a mortgage loan – compared with what’s typical at this time of year. “I’m seeing twice as many buyers this January as last January,” Petrowsky said in an interview. “People have finally figured out that prices are moving up, interest rates are really low, and they don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.” In the Washington, D.C., area, Long & Foster Real Estate, the country’s largest independent broker, reports strong “signs that we are going to have an early spring” in terms of home sales. In an unusual occurrence for January, according to Steve Wydler, a Long & Foster agent in Northern Virginia, “multiple-offer situations are becoming increasingly common, with prices being escalated above asking price.” Gretchen Castorina, an agent with brokerage firm Allen Tate in Chapel Hill, N.C., said “spring started last month” in terms of new clients and multiple-bid competitions. Even in the dark, final days of December, Castorina says she was busy. “I was showing houses on Dec. 31,” she said, and wrote a contract for purchasers just before Christmas. Jo Ann Poole, an agent with Simi Valley Real Estate outside Los Angeles, said that for a variety of reasons “in the last 10 days people have figured it out,” and are making real estate moves that might have normally been pushed back into the spring months. Polling by Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage investor, may shed some light on what’s motivating buyers. In a survey of 1,002 adults in December, Fannie found the highest share of consumers in the survey’s 2.5year history who expect home prices to rise during the coming 12 months. Forty-three percent expect mortgage rates to jump and 49 percent believe the cost of renting will increase. Roll all this together, said Doug Duncan, Fannie’s chief economist, and you can see why consumer sentiment “could incentivize those waiting on the sidelines ... to buy a home sooner rather than later” – pushing spring behavior into mid-winter. What’s missing from this equation? More owners listing their homes for sale. Inventories of available homes are down in most markets, mainly because many sellers are under the impression that it’s still a buyer’s market filled with lowballers who won’t pay them a fair price. In many parts of the country, that is last year’s news. In 2013, it’s simply no longer the case. n

There are more shoppers on the prowl in many parts of the country.

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Providence Business News

feb. 4-10. , 2013

www.pbn.com n 9

By Rhonda Miller

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gage origination volume and mortgage banking revenue reaching an all-time Rhode Island’s weak economy and quarterly high at $4.5 million, a 28 persluggish housing market are not keep- cent increase over the third quarter. Amica Companies ing Westerly-based Washington Trust “The challenge for us is to repeat F O U N D A T I O N Bancorp Inc. from continuing its mo- and improve upon that during 2013, mentum of increased when the economy is still earnings, as the parent of challenged,” MarcAurele Amica is proud to partner with United Way The Washington Trust said. Co. reaped the benefits of Rhode Island, Crossroads Rhode Island Overall, he sees the of its strategic expansion New England economy into healthier markets in and the RI Community Food Bank for the improving, particularly Massachusetts and Conthe Greater Boston area. necticut. “I also think Rhode Washington Trust posted record earnings of Island is getting better. $35.1 million for 2012, an 18 Make a donation now through to one We’ve gone from just stapercent increase in net inbilizing to starting to see or all of these organizations and Amica will match come compared with 2011, some growth, and some according to the bank’s optimism, particularly your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 earnings release on Jan. our small- and middle30. Diluted earnings per per organization. market customers, who share totaled $2.13 in 2012, are mostly the owners of an increase of 17 percent businesses,” MarcAurele over the 2011 total. “Virtually every line of said. “We’re starting to see Amica.com/Challenge business performed beta little more investment.” ter in 2012 than in 2011,” Joseph J. MarcAurele Washington Trust’s Washington Trust Chair- Washington Trust Bancorp expansion plans will be man, President and CEO chairman, president and CEO “very measured and conJoseph J. MarcAurele said trolled.” in a telephone interview with Provi“I wouldn’t preclude us from opendence Business News. Breaking homelessness. Repairing lives. The company’s total interest and ing branches of either type during this noninterest revenue of $186.3 million year. For us, it’s about finding the corCommercialRealEstateAd 1/2/13 8:55 PM Page 1 location that expands our market,” in 2012 represented a 7 percent increase rect over the corresponding 2011 total. That MarcAurele said. n growth was driven entirely by noninterest income, which increased 23.6 percent to $65.2 million even as interest income declined by little more than one-tenth of a percent. A key to the growth of noninterest income was the expansion of mortgageorigination offices out-of-state. “We opened residential mortgageorigination offices in Massachusetts – one in Burlington and one in Sharon. We also opened one in Glastonbury, Conn.,” MarcAurele said. “In addition, we have very aggressively added to our Rhode Island mortgage-origination staff.” The physical expansion resulted in growth of residential mortgage originations as well as the sale of the mortgages into the secondary market, said MarcAurele, resulting in greater fee revenue. Rhode Island’s largest independent bank, with $3.1 billion in assets, Washington Trust grew commercial lending by 11 percent over the past year as well. “Commercial mortgages made up more than half of the 11 percent growth,” MarcAurele said. “We’re taking advantage of the robust commercial real estate market in Massachusetts and Connecticut.” He also noted that “wealth management fees grew very well over the Joe Silva Despina Izzo year,” adding to a 4.7 percent rise in VP/Commercial AVP/Commercial wealth management income to $29.6 Lending Lending million, a record. 401-729-4091 401-495-3720 In fourth-quarter results, Washington Trust’s net income climbed to $9 million, a rise of 16 percent from the same 2011 period, as earnings per diluted share 55 cents in the period, compared with 47 cents per diluted share a Certain conditions apply to receive advertised rate. Rate as of 1/2/13. Equal Housing Lender. Pawtucket Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. year earlier. Growth in residential mortgages was a highlight of Washington Trust’s strong performance in the fourthquarter as well, with residential mortmiller@pbn.com

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Providence Business News

Building a community for new, expectant parents By Rebecca Keister keister@pbn.com

Kelly LaChance-Guertin may laugh when she says she’s only able to manage running her professional and family lives by not sleeping, but hearing the young mother and business owner detail all she does makes it sound almost plausible. “My day has 30 hours in it. I think that’s the magic,” LaChance-Guertin said. “I am very fortunate to have a job that I adore.” LaChance-Guertin has owned Bellani Maternity, a shop in South Kingstown catering to expectant moms and new families with products, gear, services and classes since 2006. Embracing a career dedicated to mothers, babies, toddlers and families, however, has been in her blood, she says, much longer. “I’ve probably been interested in women and their childbearing years, and women’s memory of childbirth since the day I watched “The Cosby Show” and [lead character] Dr. Huxtable was an OBGYN,” she said. “Even in the ’80s, I knew this was what interested me. It’s just the idea that it’s a sacred or very special time for a family. It’s a magical beginning.” The now-32-year-old Rhode Island native held onto her dream and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Rhode Island College in 2002. The achievement came at the same time as a couple others, as she married and gave birth to her first child, a son, in 2001. Needing a steady job with benefits, LaChance-Guertin turned to elementary school education and taught fifth grade at the now-closed Sunrise Academy in Scituate, which she saw as a natural connection to her training and which allowed her to spend time with children as they learned new things. She also became certified as a birth doula – an instructor who provides support to women in labor – and childbirth educator with Doulas of North America, working through Women & Infants Hospital in Providence. When Sunrise Academy closed about 2 1/2 years into her time there, LaChance-Guertin continued her doula

PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY

BIRTH RIGHT: Bellani Maternity owner Kelly LaChance Guertin speaks with David Dadekian and his daughter, Moira, in the South Kingstown store.

and childbirth coaching work and gave ing assistant. Before she left, the two decided to birth to two daughters. When she started thinking there add a retail component to their plan to would be great reception to creating a offer customers a one-stop shop for all space where pregnant women, new par- things related to new family life. “There were so many things you just ents, and young families could come to couldn’t find except online connect with each other and as a new parent, you and take pre- and postwant to be able to touch it childbirth classes, the idea and feel it and make sure for Bellani Maternity was it’s what you’re looking born. for. You also don’t want “That’s where the idea to wait for the mail,” Lacame from, to have all the Chance-Guertin said. classes in one location as LaChance-Guertin said well as a place where peoshe and her staff have ple could go and ask quesbeen able to both create a tions,” she said. community for new and LaChance-Guertin expectant parents while started the business with offering quality, easy-toher friend, Shannon Gioruse products. Kelly LaChancegio, after discussing the Though located in the Guertin idea in a parking lot of same shopping area as two their children’s preschool. Bellani Maternity owner major baby and toy retailLaChance-Guertin’s ers, competing for shophusband, Paul Guertin, pers hasn’t been an issue, named the store with a play on the she said. Italian words for beautiful (bella) and That’s partly due, she said, to staff years (anni). expertise. Customers may be able, for Giorgio left Bellani Maternity in Oc- instance, to purchase the same woodentober 2011 to pursue a career as a nurs-

‘These are the great years of life and we try to help people make that happen.’

knob puzzle at Bellani Maternity they could at a large discount store, but at LaChance-Guertin’s shop they also will learn how to talk to their children while playing with the puzzle to build color recognition. “People really value that we are going to give them a lot of information about the products,” she said. Then there are the things customers can’t get anywhere else. Bellani Maternity offers classes in childbirth, breastfeeding, baby yoga, prenatal yoga, baby-food making, first aid, art, music and more. Instructors often are found through customer referrals. Workers are regularly educated on products and child-rearing techniques. LaChance-Guertin still teaches the childbirth classes and also focuses on community outreach. She volunteers across the state at public car-seat-check events through Safe Kids Rhode Island, with Big Sisters of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Breastfeeding Coalition. She also leads cross-marketing efforts with Whole Foods in baby-foodmaking classes to follow one of her passions in creating healthier children. “You can really feed your children what you’re eating, just with a few edits. We need to create healthier eaters and it starts with the baby,” she said. Continued growth is essential and the store regularly develops new classes. This year, LaChance-Guertin will offer some classes outside the home store around Smithfield and in South County. She’s also working on partnering with other small businesses. The greatest success is measured by repeat customers who, as their children outgrow the store that LaChanceGuertin said will remain dedicated to the early child years, introduce other new families to Bellani Maternity. She credits her ability to do all this to a supportive husband and a staff she says loves her business as much as she does. “We live in the cliché that it takes a village,” she said. “Bellani signifies that these are the great years of life and we try to help people make that happen.” n


Feb. 4-10, 2013

Providence Business News

www.pbn.com n 11

Rhode Island & Massachusetts News Briefs

FHLB of Boston announces $30.3M in housing funds BOSTON – The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston announced last month that it has awarded $30.3 million to support 48 affordable housing initiatives in the six New England states. According to a news release, $14.2 million was awarded as Affordable Housing Program grants and subsidies, with the balance coming as subsidized advances or loans. The funds were awarded through member financial institutions to projects that will create or preserve 1,004 units of affordable rental and ownership housing for households earning at or below 80 percent of area median income. Program funds are used to help pay construction, acquisition or rehabilitation costs. Member financial institutions work with local developers to apply for AHP funding, which is awarded through a competitive scoring process. Funds awarded in the 2012 round, which range from $25,000 to $4.6 million per project, will support a wide range of initiatives, such as: Habitat for Humanity energy-efficient ownership homes; supportive housing for 18to 22-year-olds after they leave foster care; and housing with on-site health care and mental-health services. Rhode Island communities receiving funding included: Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Richmond, and Warwick. New Bedford was among the Massachusetts communities. For details on each initiative, visit www.fhlbboston.com/ahp.

Rockland named best community bank in Mass. ROCKLAND, Mass. – Independent Bank Corp., the parent company of Rockland Trust, has been recognized as the best community bank headquartered in Massachusetts, on Forbes’ list of America’s Best and Worst Banks 2013. The bank ranked 29th nationally in financial health among publicly traded banks. Forbes and SNL Financial last month reported data on the 100 largest publicly traded banks, including information on assets and profitability. According to Independent, this is the third consecutive year Rockland Trust has made the list of healthiest banks in the county. Rockland Trust Co. is a full-service, commercial bank headquartered in Massachusetts with $5.7 billion in assets.

BankRI parent sees 33.1% increase in profit BOSTON – Brookline Bancorp Inc. – the parent company of Bank Rhode Island – saw its bottom line soar 66.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012 and 33.1 percent over the year as a whole, the bank announced last week. The bank’s net income for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $12.2 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, versus $7.4 million, or 12 cents per diluted share during the fourth quarter of 2011. During the quarter, the company saw total interest and dividend income rise 47.6 percent to $53 million. Brookline’s total noninterest income rose more than 300 percent to $6.5 million, from $1.5 million during the same period in 2011. For the 2012 fiscal year, Brookline saw its net income rise 33.1 percent to $38.4 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, from $28.8 million, or 47 cents

per diluted share, during 2011. On the year, the bank had a net interest margin of 3.85 percent, compared with 3.76 percent in 2011. Return on average assets was 0.73 percent on the year, versus 0.9 percent in 2011, while return on average stockholder equity in 2012 came in at 5.29 percent, compared with 5.51 percent a year earlier.

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DLT brings back 11 laid-off UI staffers BOSTON – The R.I. Department of Labor and Training is bringing back 11 previously laid-off employees to help staff the Unemployment Insurance Call Center. According to a news release, these staff members will help manage the current claim load, which is greater than originally expected now that the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program has been renewed for an additional year. The current weekly claim load for all Unemployment Insurance programs is 28,000 claims, 8,000 of which are related to the federal program. In July 2012, 50 of the department’s 150 Unemployment Insurance staffers were laid off due to reduced availability of federal funding. However, through federal initiatives and grants, the department had been able to bring back 22 of those staffers last fall.

State Police investigating Coventry fire district PROVIDENCE – The State Police have agreed to open an investigation into the Central Coventry Fire District, the Coventry legislative delegation announced last week. The legislators requested that Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin investigate the fire district’s handling of its pension fund. The legislators want Kilmartin to look into the district’s failure to make its or employees’ payments into the Municipal Employees Retirement System between December 2011 and September 2012. The district is currently under control of a special master. The delegation also asked Kilmartin to investigate a loan the district obtained that was not in anticipation of tax revenue, the release said.

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Colorado insurer settles cancellation dispute BOSTON – A Colorado-based insurer last week agreed to pay $42,000 to resolve allegations that it illegally and prematurely canceled certain auto-insurance policies belonging to roughly 50 Massachusetts customers, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. According to the assurance of discontinuance, Flatiron Capital issued cancellation requests to insurance companies with an effective date that was the same as the date of the notice, violating a state insurance statute that requires premium financing providers to give at least a 20-day notice to the insurance company that issues the policy. Under the terms of the settlement, Flatiron will make payments totaling more than $32,000 to about 50 customers in Massachusetts. Flatiron will also pay $10,000 to the state. n

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Providence Business News

Funding for your growth A common concern I often hear from business owners and startup entrepreneurs is where the money will come from to fund future growth. For some, that might require outside investors, which in turn can mean giving up partial ownership or control. But most businesses can grow successfully by using one or a combination of other financDaniel Kehrer ing approaches that don’t require major commitments or outside investors. It starts with understanding the different options, and that alone can be challenging. For example, an American Express survey found that 34 percent of business owners believe – incorrectly – that a business “term loan” (funded immediately for a set term and amount) and a “line of credit” (which you open and tap as needed) are essentially the same. And nearly 40 percent believe it’s a good idea to apply to as many lenders as possible when seeking a loan, when the opposite is true. (Multiple applications can harm your credit rating.) Here are ways to position your business for all the future funding you’ll need: n Reinvest your profits. The best source of “venture capital” for an existing business is money you’re already generating. This is “patient” capital that builds value in your business without debt and without giving up shares to others. Many entrepreneurs miss growth opportunities by spending profits in unproductive ways. Others take the opposite extreme, pumping every penny into the business while taking nothing for themselves. n Tap into trade credit. “Trade credit” is a way to put off payment for goods and services your business purchases from suppliers and vendors. You may find vendors more than willing to sell on credit to a growing business – and even to a startup – if you can strike a long-term deal to buy from them. And from your perspective, trade credit is also one of the safest forms of business borrowing. Bank debt is dangerous because payments are still due even if sales drop. n Line up a credit line. The time to establish a line of credit is when you have the ability to qualify for one and might not really need it. Having a line of credit can help you grow by providing ready financing when opportunities arise. A line of credit is also vastly preferable to using credit cards that carry much higher interest rates and other onerous terms. But use your credit line cautiously. Lines are meant to be tapped as needed, then paid off so they are available again the next time. n

Bizbest

Daniel Kehrer can be reached at editor@ bizbest.com

PBN PHOTO/DAVID LEVESQUE

SWEET SPOT: Jeff Sweenor, owner of Bomb Squad Baseball Co. in South Kingstown, founded the company in 2011. He says he didn’t open the business to make money, but rather to help kids develop as athletes and individuals.

Bomb Squad is swinging for fences Indoor training facility offers clinics, parties in rehabbed former textile mill By Rhonda Miller miller@pbn.com

Baseball wasn’t in the original career plans for Jeff Sweenor, but on the business side of the sport he has found a true calling. “Baseball is Our Life,” proclaims the website for his 1-year-old Bomb Squad Baseball Co. He played a little baseball when he was a kid. But it was a long time before life finally led him back to the sport. His high school and college jobs were at the family business, Sweenor’s Chocolates. As a student at the University of Rhode Island, Sweenor was on the crew team that won a national championship in 1984. After he got his degree in exercise science from URI in 1985, he spent two years as head coach for rowing at the University of Michigan. In 1987 and 1988 he was on the U.S. National Rowing Team. Then came his Rhode Island construction company, Sweenor Builders, formed in 1989. “My intention was just to build my own house,” he said. “But I enjoyed it so much, I never stopped.” Baseball took hold when his son was 8 years old and Sweenor began coaching the team. “I started coaching Little League. Then I started a travel baseball team, the Rip Tides, in South County,” he said. When a friend opened an indoor hitting cage in an old studio over a liquor store and Sweenor helped get the batting business running, the seeds of his new business were planted. Time spent in Bradenton, Fla., while his son went to IMG Academy, a school and sports-training facility, deepened Sweenor’s interest in baseball. It also

COMPANY PROFILE Bomb Squad Baseball Co. OWNER: Jeff Sweenor TYPE OF BUSINESS: Indoor baseballtraining facility LOCATION: 1174 Kingstown Road, South Kingstown EMPLOYEES: 16 (six full time) YEAR ESTABLISHED: 2011 ANNUAL SALES: $150,000

ignited his vision of providing athletic training and opportunities, as well as a community-center atmosphere for young people. “I’m very impatient. So when I decide I’m going to do something, I usually jump in with both feet, both arms and everything else,” said Sweenor. “I invest all of my effort in becoming successful in everything I choose to do.” Sweenor’s construction experience made it possible for him to jump in at full speed to develop the 13,000-squarefoot Bomb Squad Baseball Company. “It was an old textile mill, Palisades Mill, and it gave us a lot of square footage. It gives us a 200-foot-long playing surface,” Sweenor said. ” Bomb Squad Baseball Co. offers memberships that allow practice time. There are also baseball clinics and private lessons. “One of the really nice things is the osmosis effect,” Sweenor said. “The younger kids get to see the older kids in action. That’s really powerful.” Fifteen-year-old Chris Collins, a student at South Kingstown High School, has been coming to Bomb Squad Baseball since it opened. “There were quite a few baseball spots in South Kingstown before, but

they were smaller and they were mainly just the cages for hitting,” Collins said. He’s also a catcher for the Rhode Island Rebels travel team, based at the Bomb Squad Baseball Co., as well as an ambassador for the facility, assisting at clinics and birthday parties. That helps him earn money toward his expenses for the travel team. “I probably spend an hour-and-ahalf to two hours a day here. I go five, six or sometimes seven days a week,” Collins said. His dad, Mark Collins, said it’s a safe place that gives students, like his son, an opportunity to work to their full potential. “There were some other facilities where you could hit and do a bit of throwing, but this is a level above,” Mark Collins said. In January, Sweenor announced another level of development – a new Rhode Island-based summer collegiate baseball league, the Ocean State Waves, headquartered at Bomb Squad Baseball. The Ocean State Waves will play 22 homes games at Old Mountain Field in South Kingstown. “We are excited to be part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League,” said Sweenor, who is owner and operator of the Ocean State Waves. “The Waves will provide a highly competitive level of baseball, as well as fun and affordable entertainment.” Other plans include expanding the softball program and developing a girls’ travel program. Bomb Squad is a business, but it’s more than that, Sweenor said. “I didn’t do this to make money. I’m sure I’ll never get my money back that I put into this place,” Sweenor said. “What’s really important is seeing the kids grow and develop into athletes and young adults.” n


Providence Business News

Feb. 4-10, 2013

www.pbn.com n 13

PBN.com breaking news, Jan. 24-30, 2013

State’s HR structure called ‘outdated and cumbersome’ in report PROVIDENCE – The Segal Co., a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm hired by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee in June, recommends an overhaul of the state’s human resources and personnel structure. Segal, which was awarded a $195,000 contract in June, said in a report that the state’s current human resources structures, policies and processes “place a great burden on the agencies’ ability to recruit, retain, motivate and reward the kind of workforce needed to achieve their missions.” The report made specific mention of the poor structure, organization and staffing of the state’s human resources division, the “outdated and cumbersome” paper-based recruitment and application procedures, and flawed compensation structures. According to the Segal report, the state’s compensation structures and pay-delivery policies are “noncompetitive, highly rigid, and insufficient to attract and retain skilled employees.” Chafee in prepared remarks said, “The report confirms much of what we already know – our personnel system has considerable room for improvement.”

Brown medical school offering dual degree PROVIDENCE – A four-year degree program, combining a medical degree in primary care with a master’s of science in population health, is being launched by the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. The new degree program, which plans to have 24 students enrolled in the fall of 2015, is in response to the new models of health care designed to treat not only individual patients but also to encourage medical teams to produce high-quality outcomes across entire patient communities, according to medical-school officials. “Primary care is a vitally important area of medicine in Rhode Island and around the country,” said Dr. Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences. “The best care will come from doctors who are trained to understand and improve the community health of their patients. Future primary care doctors must therefore be trained in population health, policy, epidemiology, technology and teamwork.”

RIF donations reach record $30.4M in 2012 PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation awarded more than $30.4 million to local initiatives in 2012, a record year of giving according to the organization’s newly released report. The amount of grant money donated in 2012 rose nearly 9 percent from 2011’s donation of $28 million, making 2012 the foundation’s most charitable year since its founding 97 years ago. Of the $30.4 million grant total, $12.3 million was awarded in discretionary grants by the foundation’s staff and directors, including: $1.8 million from the Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island to build a stronger system of primary health care, several educational grants,

support for the winners of the Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship, inaugural grants from the Black Philanthropy Initiative, funds to the Program for Animal Welfare and more than $730,000 to provide assistance and basic human services to Rhode Islanders most in need. Individual donor-directed and corporate-advised grants totaled $17.3 million in 2012, compared with $15.8 million in 2011. According to its report, the foundation also raised more than $38 million in new gifts from individual and corporate donors in 2012, the organization’s third-largest year of fundraising. The Rhode Island Foundation had a record high $670 million in assets at the end of 2012, a 10.7 percent increase from the $605 million the organization had at the end of 2011.

Metro foreclosure rate ticks up in November PROVIDENCE – The ProvidenceFall River-New Bedford foreclosure rate rose 0.2 percentage points in November compared with the same period in 2011, CoreLogic said last week. The California-based real estate data firm reported a foreclosure rate of 2.8 percent for the metro area in November, up from 2.6 percent in November 2011. As the foreclosure rate ticked up, the percentage of seriously delinquent mortgages dropped 0.2 percentage points in November compared with the same time last year. The Providence area 90-day delinquency rate was 7.27 percent in November, down from 7.47 percent in November 2011. The national foreclosure rate dropped 0.49 percentage points over the year in November to 2.97 percent. The national 90-day delinquency rate fell 0.84 percentage points year over year in November, to 6.45 percent.

William Murray new Teknor Apex president PAWTUCKET – William J. Murray has been appointed president of Teknor Apex Co., the international polymer technology company announced Jan. 28. Murray succeeds former president and CEO Jonathan D. Fain, who will remain CEO and serve as chairman of the board. As president, Murray will be responsible for the company’s worldwide compounding businesses, which operate 12 manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia. Murray also will serve as president of Singaporebased Teknor Apex Asia Pacific. “In 35 years with Teknor Apex, Bill has come to understand all phases of our company and has been a key force in its development as a global enterprise,” Fain said in prepared remarks. Murray joined the company in 1978 as a project engineer, serving as plant engineer, plant manager and corporate director of engineering before being promoted to vice president of manufacturing in 1992 and to senior vice president of manufacturing in 2002. Since 2006, he has served as executive vice president. n

For up-to-the-minute reports on the business scene in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass., visit www.PBN.com. To sign up for our breaking news or single-subject e-mail newsletters, click “Subscribe” at the bottom of the PBN.com home page.

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Providence Business News

Loans

Rolled over for an entire year, the 10 and Rhode Island. “If you don’t have $100, you can bor- percent fees on each new loan add up to row from Advance, or you’ll write a bad a 260.7 percent Annual Percentage Rate, check, use overdraft protection, pay to which is the measure used to calculate have a utility reconnected or another interest and the number that has drawn fire from industry critics. delayed payment fee to As a comparison, Navianother vender, like a cellphone carrier. Because we gant Credit Union’s alterare so heavily regulated, native short-term lending program charges a we offer simplicity, trans$20 flat application fee on parency and full discloall loans, with 18 percent sure,” Fulmer added. “Our APR, and has a 90-day recustomers understand what they are getting.” payment period with no In Rhode Island, what rollover. payday borrowers get is a Navigant Chief Lendcash advance, capped by ing Officer Fred Reinhardt state law at $500, minus said the loan program is a 10 percent flat fee, to be intended as a community repaid typically in two service, not a moneymakJamie Fulmer weeks. (The fee on a $500 Advance America senior vice er. loan would be $50.) The Banks in Rhode Island president for public affairs loans are typically secured are allowed to charge a with a pay stub to prove maximum of 36 percent employment and a personAPR, but in 2001 lawmakal check from the borrower, post-dated ers passed a law treating payday loans as a kind of check-cashing service exto the repayment date of the loan. Much of the debate around payday empted from that limit. It’s that exemption from the 36 perloans centers on when borrowers do not repay the loans on time and roll cent maximum that payday-loan opponents are trying to get rid of in the Ferri them over into another pay period.

from page one

tions have launched their own nonprofit-oriented, short-term loan programs, including the Capital Good Fund, West Elmwood Housing Development Corp. and Navigant Credit Union. But payday-lending companies say these alternatives are not truly accessible for the majority of people in the state facing an immediate cash crisis without good credit. The real alternatives their customers would turn to, they say, include unregulated Internet lenders, credit cards, pawn brokers, neighborhood loan sharks, bank overdraft fees, check bouncing and missed monthly utility payments, all of which can come with higher costs than their products. “The misunderstanding is folks fail to look at the broader marketplace and compare the characteristics of other products,” said Jamie Fulmer, senior vice president for public affairs at Advance America, the largest paydaylending company in the United States

feb. 4-10. , 2013

‘The consumer should … decide instead of regulators trying to pick winners and losers.’

PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT

CASHING OUT: Advance America, the largest U.S. payday lender, says most of its customers understand the loans they are taking out.

bill and that Advance America argues will put them out of business in Rhode Island. “We think the consumer should have multiple products and be able to decide instead of regulators trying to pick winners and losers,” Fulmer said. A South Carolina-based company bought last year by Mexican lender Grupo Elektra, Advance America operates in 29 states across the country, with 2,400 locations and 6,000 employees. It opened its first store in Rhode See Loans, page 30

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Providence Business News

TECHNOLOGY

Page 15 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

Program helps boost computer sketch recognition By Patrick Anderson panderson@pbn.com

Brown University assistant professor James Hays knew computers have a good eye for art, especially detecting texture and shading in life-like representations of real-world images. But Hays and fellow researchers wanted to find out how artificial intelligence reacted to more rudimentary art, the kind of sketches amateurs might dash off on a napkin or notebook. Could a computer identify the abstract shapes and outlines commonly used across cultures to represent sharks, cars or zebras? Could a computer play the party-game “Pictionary”? To their surprise, Hays and two visiting researchers from Berlin found they could teach a computer to recognize our cruder visual renderings, if not quite as well as other humans can. Thanks to the emerging capabilities of crowdsourcing, Hays and colleagues created a program that correctly identified the subject of a simple sketch more than half the time. A random selection would have gotten the identification right less than 1 percent of the time and humans generally get it right threequarters of the time. “I was positively surprised,” Hays said. “Part of the reason that there are a lot of recognition problems in computer vision is that the part they are good at is texture. A computer is worse at things defined by shape, with no texture and just outline.” And simple, abstract outlines are the most common ways people, especially those without great artistic talent, render images when trying to communicate through drawings. So the capacity for computers to recognize simple, iconographic human drawings could have vast uses, such as

PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT

DRAWING BOARD: James Hays, assistant professor of computer science at Brown University, demonstrates different aspects of his sketch-based recognition program.

pictorial Internet searching. “Sketch-based search is an existing field, but now that we don’t just rely on matching sketches and photographs, it might be better,” Hays said, “allowing children, maybe people who are not literate or don’t speak the right language, to interact with a computer.” Hays’ background is in computer graphics and vision and it was only in discussions with the visiting researchers from the Technical University in Berlin, Mathias Eitz and Marc Alexa, that the three began thinking about sketch recognition. Software already existed that allowed computers to match images, such as photographs or professional police drawings, but no one had tried

to teach a computer to recognize handdrawn visual symbols, such as four legs and stripes representing a zebra, on a conceptual level. Crowdsourcing would make it possible. “All of the research in the past has had the assumption that you can draw something well,” Hays said. “The key novelty of this research was that we actually went out and collected a database through crowdsourcing of the kinds of images and icons most people can make.” In data-hungry fields of computer learning, crowdsourcing has taken off to provide the information software needs to learn difficult tasks. For their experiment, Hays’ team

used the online-work marketplace Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing platform from the e-commerce giant that posts tasks for Internet users to perform remotely around the world. The team posted a Web interface on Mechanical Turk and asked workers to draw different kinds of figures at 2 cents a sketch. They got responses from roughly 500 “artists” who sent in 20,000 sketches, enough to feed to the computer and train it to recognize the visual patterns that humans develop through culture. Altogether, collecting the sketches cost the Brown team less than $500, much less than it would have cost to do the same thing less efficiently in the pre-crowdsourcing era. After training the computer program by exposing it to the 20,000 crowdsourced drawings, the team then tested the system and found it correctly identified an image 55 percent of the time, compared with an average 77 percent success rate for humans exposed to the same images. Beyond nonlanguage search, Hays said the program his team created could help develop new computer games. And the fact that we know exactly how much better humans recognize sketches than computers could have implications for the “CAPTCHA” human-recognition systems used to prevent spam. And Hays said the potential for crowdsource-aided research is even greater, reaching such areas as face recognition, audio recognition, neuroscience and automobile sensors for identifying objects on the road. “Anything that needs training data,” Hays said. “Now you are seeing crowdsourced human psychology. There is some pushback on collecting data that way, but it is happening.” n

GreenBytes sees big year in protecting corporate data By Emily Greenhalgh Greenhalgh@pbn.com

Stephen O’Donnell is the chairman and CEO of desktop virtualization services provider GreenBytes Inc. O’Donnell, named chairman of the board in July 2012, took over GreenBytes’ corner office at the end of last November. He sees the Providence-based company on the verge of a major O’Donnell expansion this year. Moving to the capital city last month brought the company closer to Boston and its surrounding technology belt. “We can create good, high-wage, sustainable jobs,” in Providence and overseas, he said. PBN: Why the move from South County to downtown Providence? O’DONNELL: Up until now we’ve been predominately focusing on engineering and quietly getting on with building a product. We’ve now reached the point where we’ve got an extremely mature product. We have a whole set of patents that we’ve been awarded. … Now we’re working on exploiting that technology and shipping the technology around the world.

The move to Providence was about getting more space … being closer to a data center that’s got protection … [and] Providence is much closer to Boston and the technology belt that surrounds Boston. We’re able to attract a wider group of marketers, engineers and sales. … We’re looking to expand very substantially in 2013.

offering now. Our inline deduplication data-storage patents are the integral component of what we’re still doing. It’s a bit of a perfect storm. In the general business market, we’re finding that many companies are implementing policies around “bring your own device.” … The problem with that is there are all kinds of controls and security interests around bringing your own device, like loss of data and loss of personal identity data. What we do in desktop virtualization is we keep the corporate data in the data center. Employers can enable BYOD without covering the security and risk issues that come with that ability.

Many companies are implementing policies around “bring your own device.”

PBN: What do you mean by “substantially”? O’DONNELL: By the end of 2013 we’re hoping to be 1.5 times the size we are today. Right now we are close to 40. We should be getting to the 60 to 80 range by the end of 2013. … We’ll be expanding our Providence operation, but we’ll also be expanding overseas, predominately in sales. PBN: GreenBytes recently shifted focus from inline deduplication data storage to desktop virtualization services. How do you plan to help the company to continue to grow on that track? O’DONNELL: In the past, we’ve had a very wide spectrum of customer problems that we were addressing. … We were taking large sets of data and were able to reduce the amount of data. Desktop virtualization is the biggest pain point that customers have to solve around the world and that’s what we’re

PBN: Can you explain GreenBytes technology in simple terms? O’DONNELL: I’m going to use a simile to explain. Many things used to be really complicated. To go on holiday, you used to have to book a flight, taxi, hotel, all the excursions that you wanted separately. Nowadays, you get a package and the whole thing is organized for you. It’s really simple. That’s what we do. What we do is you plug the system in and you don’t have to change anything else. All of the performance problems and cost prob-

lems that you’ve had in the past just disappear. PBN: How do you think your professional experience will help you lead GreenBytes? O’DONNELL: I’ve been in the IT business for a long time. And my initial background is in operating. I ran operating globally for British Telecom. I have experience in real enterprise IT environments. I know what’s really going to make a difference and what are just gadgets. I’m able to go off with CIOs and CTOs and get them see how that technology is going to help them. That’s a great strength, being able to talk about the technology at peer levels. PBN: What long-terms goals do you have in mind for the company? O’DONNELL: We have established ourselves in the virtual desktop space and I want to lead market economics. I want to take all of the market share. I want to really serve customers and make sure that we truly understand their problems and really solve those problems. There are no reasons we can’t do this. You’re going to see, over the course of 2013, a whole series of announcements about new and enhanced products. … You’ll see some pretty smart tech development. n


Page 16 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

TECHNOLOGY

Providence Business News

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Providence Business News

TECHNOLOGY

Page 17 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

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TECHNOLOGY

Providence Business News

SMART system getting small problems fixed fast By Rhonda Miller miller@pbn.com

When Donald Perez hits the street in downtown Providence wearing his yellow jacket, a utility belt with an iPhone, flashlight, radio, disposable gloves and dining guides, he’s pretty much ready for anything. “I’ve had people tell me about someone suspicious in a parking lot trying to open cars or about an intoxicated person sleeping in the doorway, or about graffiti,” said Perez, safety team leader for the Downtown Improvement District and one of three people in the city with an iPhone with an app that allows access to the new SMART system. The three phones are the on-thestreet feed in a pilot program launched in Providence by the operations management company Block by Block. The SMART system connects the Downtown Improvement District ambassadors with city departments and organizations outside the government, such as National Grid. Work orders with the time, date, photos and details whiz through the database-driven SMART system and allow everyone concerned to immediately be part of the process of getting the problem fixed. “If I see graffiti or a light out, I pull out my phone, take a picture of it, add

a short, detailed summary and put in what’s to be done,” Perez said. “Once it’s in the system, we’re all on the same page.” The work order goes to the police if it’s a safety issue, to National Grid if it’s related to an electrical outage or to Providence Public Works if it’s a city repair issue. Even though it’s been too short a time to expect major changes since the SMART system launched in October, Lisa Newman Paratore, owner of the Homestyle shop on Westminster Street, said it’s a positive addition for property owners. “No one has come in and complained lately. So to me that means the yellow jackets are able to handle things much more quickly,” Paratore said of the members of the Downtown Improvement District teams who patrol for cleanliness and safety issues and are known by their bright, yellow attire. “If they see something, it goes directly into their iPhone and they can get cracking and get it taken care of,” said Paratore, a member of the board of the Downtown Improvement District. “It definitely keeps things from falling off anyone’s radar and it holds everyone accountable. The efficiency of the SMART system

in reporting and helping to make sure concerns are taken care of has a positive impact on the bottom line, Paratore said. “As a business owner, I love it for the safety side and the aesthetic side,” she said. “It keeps the streets safe from potholes and bumps and lumps and it’s in every business owner’s interest to keep everything looking good.” The Downtown Improvement District has 17 “ambassadors” who wear yellow jackets and serve as combination hospitality and safety personnel, said Operations Manager Frank Zammarelli, who has one of the three iPhones with SMART system access. Zammarelli said the SMART system is working well. “I think it’s an excellent program. Operationally, it’s easy to use and very appreciated,” said Zammarelli, a retired Providence police officer. “It saves a lot of time and a lot of paperwork and it’s very accurate.” Providence was the perfect fit for the trial run of the SMART system, said Block by Block President Jeremy Curran. Block by Block provides “clean and safe ambassadors” to cities across the country, led by a local manager and staffed by local personnel, Curran said.

Gamification from page one

based Instituto de Empressa Business School and Brown University. In his Dec. 5 lecture “The Art of Enterprise Gamification,” at Brown, Esteves explained how social gaming and gamification techniques are being used successfully by companies around the globe. According to Esteves, who calls gamification a “social phenomenon,” 69 percent of all heads of households regularly play some sort of game, as do 97 percent of all children. It benefits companies to tap into that resource in order to engage users. “Just because we don’t game doesn’t mean our employees, suppliers and customers are not doing it,” said Esteves. In a 2011 report, Stamford, Conn.based research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that by 2014, roughly 70 percent of the world’s top 2,000 public companies will have at least one gamified application. Although Gartner said the current growth of gamification is “largely driven by novelty and hype,” the firm predicts it will continue as a highly significant trend over the next five years. Employing gamification techniques doesn’t necessarily mean spending precious time trying to develop an actual game. Businesses that use loyalty programs such as “buy 10 get the 11th free” punch passes are also using gamification. Corporate powerhouses such as Amazon and LinkedIn also utilize gaming techniques with their review processes and rewards for completing user profiles. Gamification techniques are not only being used to improve engagement with customers. “I think management [at some companies] is fighting gamification because it sounds like fun,” said RiteSolutions’ Lavoie, whose company provides engineering services to both gov-

PBN PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD

GAME PLAN: James R. Lavoie, Rite-Solutions CEO, shows off a game product used by mining companies to train employees to deal with emergencies.

ernment and commercial customers. He referred to the gamification used by his company as a cross between entertainment games and education. The more employees that invest in an idea, the more attention it gets and the more likely the project is to come to fruition, Lavoie said of “Mutual Fun.” By limiting the amount of funds employees can invest, they chose only the most interesting projects. “I describe it sometimes as ‘the one-plate buffet,’ ” said Lavoie. “If you can have all you can eat … they’ll put it all on their plate, but if you only have one plate, they’ll pick the things they want the most.” The theory is that “smart people won’t work on dumb ideas,” so the best projects are the ones that get invested in the most. “The purpose of the game is to make all the employees feel more engaged and relevant to the future state of the company,” said Lavoie. “Your job makes you relevant to the present because you do something today.”

“Mutual Fun,” which started roughly four years ago and has gone through multiple transitions since its inception, was designed as a way to give all employees a voice for future innovation, including those who don’t always speak up. “My company is largely scientists, computer scientists, engineers. The majority of those people are not salespeople, they’re introverts,” said Lavoie. “The last people to join and the people that have the most to bring to a game like this are introverts. They find it’s a safe place to have an idea, since most companies make them do a presentation.” Rather than presenting an idea to a panel of potentially critical, highranking company officials, employees at Rite-Solutions use the “Mutual Fun” Web platform to submit ideas to their co-workers on even footing. The idea for Mutual Fun has caught on, and Rite-Solutions has licensed the game to between a half dozen and a doz-

PBN PHOTO/DAVID LEVESQUE

SMARTER APPROACH: Donald Perez, Providence Downtown Improvement District safety team leader, uses the SMART system in Kennedy Plaza.

“The theory is business improvement districts help to improve the landscape of downtowns, which many people think of as a place where they go to work and then they go home,” Curran said. “At home you pick up a piece of paper or cut the grass. We do that micro work and the city does the macro work, like sweeping the streets and repairing the lights.” “The SMART system is our technology that we use to track the statistics,” Curran said. “We report how much graffiti was removed and how many times the ambassadors gave people directions to a restaurant.” n

en organizations, including academic institutions. For academic institutions, there are two main ways to customize “Mutual Fun.” On the one hand, the game represents a way for a class of 70 to establish a portfolio for fostering ideas and entrepreneurship. Faculty also can use the game to help come up with ideas to lower the attrition rate of freshmen and to make the new students that come in feel more like they want to stay at the institution. For larger corporations, the game’s home page, or “Lobby,” is expanded so employees can decide where to focus their attention, including on categories such as culture, products, improving services, eliminating waste, equal-opportunity improvements and energy/ green ideas. Some ideas – such as a new product – can take time to come to fruition, while simple money-saving ideas – such as a change in shipping practices – can be implemented rather quickly. “When an employee comes up with an idea that will save us money, that will get implemented pretty quickly,” Lavoie said. “A lot of management thinks: ‘Hey, if we’re just going to introduce fun and games, when is the work going to get done?’ ” said Lavoie, arguing that the problem is companies thinking of games like “Mutual Fun” as human resources initiatives, rather than innovation initiatives. “But innovation is what comes out of it.” In the “Mutual Fun” platform, management can set up challenges, such as asking for a “thought blitz,” during which employees are asked to think about a single topic for a few days and give their feedback. Topics could range from a customer complaint to a product deficiency. “That’s the problem with management saying they believe social media is a distraction from work. Serious social media aligned to your future state can be very, very productive for the entire company,” said Lavoie. n


Providence Business News

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Page 20 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

Providence Business News

High-Tech Funding Sources (listed alphabetically)

Contact person Website

Type of organization

Capital under management Preferred investment size Funding stage preference

Year founded

Angel Street Capital LLC 402 Angell St. Providence, R.I. 02906 (401) 854-1850 Fax: (401) 454-3131

Robert J. Maccini, Joseph V. Gallagher, managing directors, Stephan C. Sloan, director www.angelstreetcapital.com

Provide capital for earlystage digital media companies

NA $50,000 - $250,000

Early

2010

Betaspring 95 Chestnut St., Third Floor Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 400-2382 Fax: NA

Owen Johnson, Allan Tear, Jack Templin, founders and managing partners, Jenn Schwall, startup operations manager, Melissa Withers, chief of staff www.betaspring.com

Startup accelerator

NA $20,000

Seed

2009

Charles River Ventures 1000 Winter St., Suite 3300 Waltham, Mass. 02451 (781) 768-6000 Fax: (781) 768-6100

Jack Genest, CFO www.crv.com

Venture capital firm with limited partnerships

$2.1 bil. $25,000 to $5 mil.

Startup, early stage

1970

Cherrystone Angel Group 40 Westminster St., Suite 702 Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 351-3036 Fax: (401) 351-3056

Peter C. Dorsey Jr., executive director www.cherrystoneangelgroup.com

Angel investment group

$6.0 mil. $100,000 to $500,000

Early stage

2004

Commonwealth Capital Ventures 950 Winter St., Suite 4100 Waltham, Mass. 02451 (781) 890-5554 Fax: (781) 890-3414

Michael T. Fitzgerald, managing general partner and founder www.commonwealthvc.com

Venture capital

$580.0 mil. $2.0 mil. to $8.0 mil.

Mostly early, with some growth-stage technology companies

1995

DEW Ventures LLC 321 Taber Ave. Providence, R.I. 02906 401-272-5287, ext. 1 Fax: NA

Danny Warshay, founder and managing director www.dewventures.com

Provides "mentor capital," a combination of investment, coaching and active participation

NA Varies

Seed and early stage

2001

Gemini Investors 20 William St., Suite 250 Wellesley, Mass. 02481 (781) 237-7001 Fax: (781) 237-7233

James J. Goodman, president www.gemini-investors.com

Equity investment funds

NA $3.0 mil. to $8.0 mil.

Growth stage, established companies

1993

Management Capital LLC 60 Bay Spring Ave., Suite B4 Barrington, R.I. 02806 (401) 246-0050 Fax: (401) 246-0051

Bob Manchester, Ernie Humphreys, principals www.mgtcapital.com

Private equity

NA $1.0 mil. to $10.0 mil.

Later stages, small to middlemarket companies

2003

Massachusetts Technology Development Corp. 40 Broad St., Suite 230 Boston, Mass. 02109 (617) 723-4920 Fax: (617) 723-5983

Walter M. Bird, president www.mtdc.com

Venture capital

$30.0 mil. $250,000 to $500,000

Startup and early stage

1978

Nautic Partners LLC 50 Kennedy Plaza Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 278-6770 Fax: (401) 278-6387

Habib Gorgi, managing director www.nautic.com

Private equity

$2.5 bil. $25.0 mil. to $75.0 mil.

Later stage and middle market

1986

North Bridge Growth Equity & Venture Partners 950 Winter St., Suite 4600 Waltham, Mass. 02451 (781) 290-0004 Fax: (781) 290-0999

Edward T. Anderson www.northbridge.com

Early-stage venture investment to later-stage growth equity investing

$3.2 bil. $100,000 to $75.0 mil.

Growth equity capital to fund liquidity, growth, acquisitions and buyouts

1994

Slater Technology Fund 3 Davol Square, Suite A-340 Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 831-6633 Fax: (401) 831-0022

Richard G. Horan, senior managing director, Thorne Early-stage investment fund Sparkman, managing director for life sciences; software, www.slaterfund.com Internet and media; energy and environment

NA $250,000 to $1.0 mil.

Seed to mid-stage

1997

The Business Development Company 40 Westminster St., Suite 702 Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 351-3036 Fax: (401) 351-3056

Peter C. Dorsey Jr., president www.bdcri.com

Provides loans for companies $10.0 mil. that can't get all the capital $100,000 to $2.0 mil. they need from traditional sources.

Cash-flow positive

1953

The Capital Network 30 Washington St. Wellesley, Mass. 02481 (781) 591-0291 Fax: NA

Sam Hammar, executive director www.thecapitalnetwork.org

Nonprofit connecting entrepreneurs and investors to raise capital

Early-stage growth company

1984

Funding source

NA NA

NA = Not available/not applicable.

LIST RESEARCHED BY Lindsay Lorenz Some survey recipients may not have responded; information is the best and most complete available as of press time. It is not our intent to endorse the participants. While every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the top lists, omissions and errors sometimes occur. Please send additions or corrections to: Researcher, Providence Business News, 400 Westminster St., Suite 600, Providence, R.I. 02903. To request a survey or to update contact information, write to research@pbn.com.

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TOP LIST

Providence Business News

Page 21 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

Rhode Island CIOs (ranked by number of local IT staff) CIO or equivalent Website

No. of local employees No. local IT workers B

Primary uses of IT

Industry

CVS Caremark Corp. 1 CVS Drive Woonsocket, R.I. 02895 (401) 765-1500

Stephen J. Gold www.cvscaremark.com

6,200 1,200

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Pharmacy services

4

Fidelity Investments 100 Salem St. Smithfield, R.I. 02917 (401) 292-5000

Steve Scullen, president, corporate operations www.fidelity.com

3,500 850

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Financial services

3

2

Verizon Communications 234 Washington St. Providence, R.I. 02903 (800) 837-4966 Fax: (401) 525-3064

Roger Gurnani www.verizon.com

1,200 800

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, staff communications

Communications

4

3

RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. 1 Citizens Plaza Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 456-7000 Fax: (401) 455-5715

Brian O'Connell, regional director, technology services (TS) Americas, RBS Citizens Financial Group Inc. www.citizensbank.com

5,350 676

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Financial services

5

5

Naval Undersea Warfare Center C 1176 Howell St. Newport, R.I. 02841 (401) 832-7742 Fax: (401) 832-7654

Robert Bernardo www.navsea.navy.mil/nuwc/newport

2,748 551

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, production, research and development, staff communications

Division of U.S. Department of Defense

6

8

Brown University 1 Prospect St. Providence, R.I. 02912 (401) 863-1000 Fax: (401) 863-9300

Michael Pickett, vice president for computing and information services/CIO www.brown.edu

4,525 357

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, research and development, staff communications

Higher education

7

6

Cox Communications 9 J.P. Murphy Highway West Warwick, R.I. 02893 (401) 383-2000

Kevin Hart, executive vice president and CTO www.cox.com

1,200 350

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Communications

8

7

FM Global 270 Central Ave. Johnston, R.I. 02919 (401) 275-3000 Fax: (401) 275-3029

Jeanne Lieb, senior vice president, manager of information services www.fmglobal.com

1,000 335

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Insurance

9

9

GTECH Corp. 10 Memorial Blvd. Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 392-1000 Fax: (401) 392-0279

Matthew Whalen, senior vice president and chief technology officer www.gtech.com

1,013 330

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Gaming technology and services

10

10

Amica Mutual Insurance Co. 100 Amica Way Lincoln, R.I. 02865 (800) 652-6422 Fax: (401) 334-3572

Peter E. Moreau, senior vice president and CIO, corporate information systems www.amica.com

1,508 283

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Insurance

11

11

Rhode Island 1 Capitol Hill Providence, R.I. 02908 (401) 222-2280 Fax: (401) 222-6436

John E. Landers www.ri.gov

13,646 D 207

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, production, staff communications

Government

12

13

Atrion Networking Corp. 125 Metro Center Blvd. Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 736-6400 Fax: (401) 736-6440

Dave Ramsden, CIO, Chris Poe, CTO www.atrion.net

185 185

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Information technology services

13

12

Lifespan 167 Point St. Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 444-3500 Fax: (401) 444-5433

Carole M. Cotter www.lifespan.org

12,430 172

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Health care

14

15

Care New England 45 Willard Ave. Providence, R.I. 02905 (401) 453-7900 Fax: (401) 453-7686

Cedric J. Priebe, senior vice president and CIO www.carenewengland.org

6,657 122

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Health care

15

14

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island 500 Exchange St. Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 459-1000 Fax: (401) 459-5885

Paul Hanlon, vice president, information technology and CIO www.bcbsri.com

912 100

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Health insurance

16

16

Schneider Electric 132 Fairgrounds Road West Kingston, R.I. 02892 (800) 788-1704 Fax: (401) 788-2739

Herve Coureil www.schneider-electric.com

1,200 85

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Electronic controls and uninterruptible power supplies

16

16

University of Rhode Island Upper College Road Kingston, R.I. 02881 (401) 874-1000 Fax: (401) 874-7872

Garry Bozylinsky www.uri.edu

2,573 85

HR/accounting, marketing/sales, staff communications

Higher education

18

18

Mediware Information Systems Inc. Alternate Care Solutions 41 Sharpe Drive Cranston, R.I. 02920 (401) 572-3040 Fax: (401) 572-3350

Scott Winchester www.healthcare-automation.com

80 65

Production

Technology

19

19

Bryant University 1150 Douglas Pike Smithfield, R.I. 02917 (401) 232-6230 Fax: (401) 232-6494

Chuck LoCurto, vice president for information services and CIO www.bryant.edu

620 55

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, research and development, staff communications

Higher education

20

24

Amgen Inc. 40 Technology Way West Greenwich, R.I. 02817 (401) 392-1200 Fax: (401) 397-0766

Scott Kendra, director, information systems www.amgen.com

950 54

HR/accounting, production, staff communications

Biotechnology manufacturing

21

20

Custom Computer Specialists Inc. 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 402 Lincoln, R.I. 02865 (401) 765-3000 Fax: (401) 765-6440

Suzane McLaughlin, director, consulting and technology services www.customonline.com

50 50

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Consulting and IT services

21

NL

KVH Industries Inc. 50 Enterprise Center Middletown, R.I. 02842 (401) 847-3327 Fax: (401) 849-0045

Ed Kershaenbaum www.kvh.com

235 50

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Mobile communications, defense products

21

23

Teknor Apex Company 505 Central Ave. Pawtucket, R.I. 02861 (401) 725-8000 Fax: (401) 725-8095

Peter M. Matteo www.teknorapex.com

435 50

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Manufacturing

24

24

Community College of Rhode Island 400 East Ave. Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 825-2003 Fax: (401) 825-2365

Stephen A. Vieira, executive director and CIO www.ccri.edu

1,200 42

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Higher education

25

NL

Andera Inc. 15 Park Row West Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 621-7900 Fax: (401) 751-4534

Rajesh Jayaraman, CTO www.andera.com

80 40

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production

Financial Services

26

26

CharterCARE Health Partners 825 Chalkstone Ave. Providence, R.I. 02908 (401) 456-2001 Fax: (401) 456-2029

Susan Cerrone Abely, vice president and CIO www.chartercare.org

2,235 37

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, staff communications

Health care

27

NL

Ocean State Job Lot 375 Commerce Park Road North Kingstown, R.I. 02852 (401) 295-2672 Fax: (401) 267-0048

Hisham Aharon www.oceanstatejoblot.com

1,200 35

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, production, research and development, staff communications

Retail

28

NL

Providence College 1 Cunningham Square Providence, R.I. 02918 (401) 865-1000 Fax: (401) 865-1341

Rebecca Ramos, assistant vice president for information technology www.providence.edu

973 32

Customer service/customer management, HR/ accounting, marketing/sales, staff communications

Higher education

2013 rank

2012 rank

1

1

2

Company

NA = Not available/not applicable NL = Not listed last year B IT workers are those persons engaged primarily in the conception, design, development, adaptation, implementation, deployment, training, support, documentation and management of IT systems, components or applications. C NUWC is the largest of 50 tenant commands that comprise Naval Station Newport. D Includes 608 sponsored research positions at Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island. LIST RESEARCHED BY Lindsay Lorenz Some survey recipients may not have responded; information is the best and most complete available as of press time. It is not our intent to endorse the participants. While every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the top lists, omissions and errors sometimes occur. Please send additions or corrections to: Researcher, Providence Business News, 400 Westminster St., Suite 600, Providence, R.I. 02903. To request a survey or to update contact information, write to research@pbn.com.

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Providence Business News

IT Services Companies (ranked by number of local employees) 2013 2012 rank rank Company

President/CEO Website Email

No. of local employees

Major brands carried

Specialties Network design, operations and maintenance, network security, telecommunications and video conferencing

Year founded

1

NL

Rite Solutions Corporate Park 1 Middletown, R.I. 02842 (401) 847-3399 Fax: (401) 847-8833

Jim Lavoie, CEO www.ritesolutions.com jlavoie@rite-solutions.com

200

NA

2

1

Atrion Networking Corp. 125 Metro Center Blvd. Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 736-6400 Fax: (401) 736-6440

Tim Hebert, CEO www.atrion.net

185

Akamai, APC, Bluecoat, Cisco Systems, Customized business and technology design, implementation and Microsoft, NetApp, RSA Security, support solutions, including collaborative tools, carrier services, SunGard consulting, design and development, equipment procurement, maxtime™ services, project management, telephony and training

1987

3

10

Lighthouse Computer Services Inc. 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 205 Lincoln, R.I. 02865 (401) 334-0799 Fax: (401) 334-0719

Thomas C. Mrva, CEO, Ernie Yenke, president www.lighthousecs.com

100 B

IBM, Microsoft, VMWare

Content management, enterprise servers, information management, security, storage and backup, virtualization services and WebSphere services

1995

4

2

Purvis Systems Inc. 1272 West Main Road Middletown, R.I. 02842 (401) 849-4750 Fax: (401) 849-0121

Michael P. Lepanto, chairman and CEO www.purvis.com reachus@purvis.com

97

NA

Clustering, maintenance, remote access, system integration, VoIP

1973

5

3

Electro Standards Laboratories 36 Western Industrial Drive Cranston, R.I. 02921 (401) 943-1164 Fax: (401) 946-5790

Raymond B. Sepe, president www.electrostandards.com

70

CellMite, Pathway, QuickSwitch

CATV, chain store roll-outs, commercial and residential copper, data, fiber, fiber-optic data communication cable assemblies and smart switches, sound and voice-network design and installation services, wireless networks

1976

6

4

Computer Associates Inc. 36 Thurber Blvd. Smithfield, R.I. 02917 (401) 232-2600 Fax: (401) 232-7778

Jim McCooey, president www.caisoft.com info@caisoft.com

62

Cisco Systems, Citrix, HP, IBM, Microsoft, SonicWALL, VMWare

Business continuity and disaster recovery, cloud infrastructure and IT migration services, data backup, industry-specific ERP software, installation and support, network design, network security, server and desktop management, server virtualization

1978

7

5

Custom Computer Specialists Inc. 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 402 Lincoln, R.I. 02865 (401) 765-3000 Fax: (401) 765-6440

Gregory Galdi www.customonline.com

50

Cisco Systems, HP, Microsoft, VMWare and other technologies

Network infrastructure and support solutions for corporate, education, government and health care clients

1979

8

7

SyNet Inc. 205 Hallene Road, Suite 101 Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 736-6450 Fax: (401) 736-6455

Stephen P. Beauvais, president www.synetinc.com

37

NA

Access control and surveillance, design, engineering and installation services for data, sound video and voice-system networks,

1987

9

7

NetCenergy 231 Elm St. Warwick, R.I. 02888 (401) 921-3100 Fax: (401) 537-9173

Donald R. Nokes, president, Daniel F. Charland, CEO www.netcenergy.com info@netcenergy.com

35

NA

Physical and virtual network server, security solutions and managed services, including cloud services for finance, health care, nonprofit and other organizations; state-licensed telecommunications contractors for installation of copper and fiber optic data and voice cabling

2003

10

9

Automated Business Solutions 415 Kilvert St. Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 732-3000 Fax: (401) 732-1550

Alan P. Albergaria, president www.totalofficeanswer.com

30

NA

Computer and network sales, electronic document storage and filing, installation, IT work flow solutions, maintenance, service and repair

1992

10

10

Envision Technology Advisors 999 Main St., Suite 715 Pawtucket, R.I. 02860 (401) 272-6688 Fax: (401) 272-0911

Todd S. Knapp, CEO/CTO www.envisionsuccess.net

30

NA

Consulting, e-commerce, hosting, maintenance, network security, networking, project management, remote access, server/desktop virtualization and centralized storage, Web development

1998

12

13

Brave River Solutions 875 Centerville Road, Building 3 Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 828-6611 Fax: (401) 828-4834

Ernie Gaines, president www.braveriver.com

26

Dell, Google, Microsoft

Designing, developing and deploying supply-chain management solutions that integrate ERP and custom back-office applications with front-office applications, such as Web pages, "virtual warehouses" and SFA

2000

13

NL

Gurnet Consulting 400 Massasoit Ave., Suite 108 East Providence, R.I. 02914 (617) 651-1620 Fax: (888) 746-5366

Martin J. King, founder and CEO www.gurnet.com

15

MicroStrategy, Yammer

Provider of IT strategy and project execution services, including global sourcing and procurement, project management services, project portfolio management, organizational readiness, technology strategy and vendor management

2007

13

NL

Netsense 40 Sharpe Drive Cranston, R.I. 02920 (401) 223-0234 Fax: (401) 305-3909

Joseph Signore, CEO www.getnetsense.com sales@getnetsense.com

15

NA

IT managed services, Web development, Web marketing

1996

13

14

PC Troubleshooters Inc. 110 Jefferson Blvd., Suite C Warwick, R.I. 02888 (401) 921-2607 Fax: (401) 921-2610

Eric M. Shorr, president www.pctrouble.com eric@pctrouble.com

15

Acer, APC, Axis, Citrix, Dell-Sonicwall, Exacq, IBM, Lenovo, McAfee, Microsoft

Computer service and repair, disaster recovery planning, green server solutions, installation, IP phone systems, IP surveillance camera sales and installation, maintenance, managed services, network design, network security, retrieval, secure data back-up

1992

16

15

Technology Advisory Group 1769 Elmwood Ave. Warwick, R.I. 02888 (401) 228-6400 Fax: (401) 228-7161

Gary Harlam, president www.techadvisory.com Info@TechAdvisory.com

13

Cloud Services, Dell, Managed Services, Microsoft, SonicWall

Fixed-fee managed support services for small and medium-sized businesses; computer network design, installation and support for business continuity, disaster recovery, hardware and software, remote access, security and virus/spam filtering solutions

1996

17

NL

ThinkTech Computers 17 Arsene Way Fairhaven, Mass. 02719 (508) 992-2541 Fax: (508) 984-1512

Nathan Viveiros www.thinktechonline.com

11

NA

IT consulting and managed services

1998

18

21

BCI Computers 231 Quaker Lane West Warwick, R.I. 02893 (401) 828-5200

Raymond E. Calore www.bcicomputers.net

10

Dell, Google, HP, Microsoft

Back up and disaster recovery, business continuity and managed services; allows businesses to economically outsource IT needs in order to secure optimal core productivity

1982

19

17

Communications Unlimited Inc. 83 Vermont Ave., Unit 8 Warwick, R.I. 02888 (401) 737-0800 Fax: (401) 739-2376

Kevin Rooney, president www.communicationsunltd.com

9

ESI, Keri, NEC, Vertical

Access Control Systems, fiber cabling, high-speed Internet access, PBS phone systems, unified processing systems, wide-area networking, voice data and voice-processing systems

1984

19

NL

Micro Technology Solutions, Inc. 21 Father DeValles Blvd. Fall River, Mass. 02723 (508) 324-9475 Fax: (508) 324-4477

Jesse Cabral, CEO www.mtsolutions.net jcabral@mtsolutions.net

9

Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, Sonicwall, VMWare

Business continuity, disaster recovery, virtualization, network support/ design/installation, IP phone systems, managed IT services.

1998

21

16

RCC 40 Nashua St. Providence, R.I. 02904 (401) 272-9262 Fax: (401) 351-4002

Michael A. Rudnick, president www.rcc-pcsupport.com

8

Datto, Dell, SonicWall

Equipment recommendations, installation, purchasing, small to medium business network and security assessment, training and technical support

1989

22

18

East Coast Technology Group 1300 Highland Corporate Drive, Suite 203 Cumberland , R.I. 02864 (401) 464-9005 Fax: (401) 633-6346

Steven J. Gietz, president www.ectechgroup.com

7

AVG, Cisco, Dell, Sonicwall, Symantec, Z-Boost

Firewall solutions, general network consulting, security auditing, server and workstation installation and support, site-to-site connectivity, video surveillance systems, virtualization

2002

2000

NA = Not available/not applicable B Last year's number of local employees was incorrectly listed as 27. LIST RESEARCHED BY Lindsay Lorenz Some survey recipients may not have responded; information is the best and most complete available as of press time. It is not our intent to endorse the participants. While every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the top lists, omissions and errors sometimes occur. Please send additions or corrections to: Researcher, Providence Business News, 400 Westminster St., Suite 600, Providence, R.I. 02903. To request a survey or to update contact information, write to research@pbn.com.

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feb. 4-10. , 2013

Focus on a good life instead of a good year I am sick of reading claims hyping me to, “have my best year ever.” FYI: The trend of “best year ever” was originated more than a decade ago by the late, great Jim Rohn. His seminars were earth shattering and life changing – and it has inspired many, albeit lesser, duplicators. Rohn’s seminars should have been titled: “Have your best LIFE ever.” Jeffrey Gitomer What about your needs and desires this year? Let me ask you a few questions

sales moves

about what you’re intending and hoping to do: n How are you expecting this year to be for you? n What are your immediate (within 30 days) goals? n What are your present hopes and dreams? (They have a way of changing over the years. Some dream of marriage – others dream of divorce.) n What are your genuine intentions to make your goals, hopes and dreams a reality? n What’s your game plan to ensure success? What three or four words, and associated actions, could you come up with as a guiding light to help you stay focused and on track to get you there? Not

ShapeUp

to have “your best year ever,” rather, have a great year. A fulfilling year. A profitable year. A healthy year. A happy year. A year of wander, wonder and fun. Many people, like my almost sisterin-law, and blogger extraordinaire, Ali Edwards (www.aliedwards.com), pick one word to focus on for the entire year. Her word this year is “open.” She focuses blog posts and actions around the word. The process works. Here are my 3.5 words for 2013 – I hope they inspire you to think about and select yours:

WRITE Write every day. Tweet every day. Post every day. I have been writing

Atrion Networking

FINISH Finish what I start. I have more projects and opportunities than I can say grace over. I intend to see each one through to fruition (not just completion). In my experience, there are very few things more frustrating than the mental nag of a project undone. I’m speaking for myself, and challenging myself, at the same time I’m speaking to you and challenging you. Finish what you start. It sounds so simple, yet time seems to fly away during the course of a day, a week, a month, or a year.

Join in the Excitement!

Edwards Wildman

Pawtucket Credit Union

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almost every day for the past 21 years. Why should I let up now? This year I will publish at least two e-books and one major hardbound book (also available on kindle and iBook). I will write 52 new weekly columns, and post a variety of new ideas and thoughts both in text and in video. I selected the word write for 2.5 basic reasons: 1. It has been and continues to be the core of my success. Every penny I have earned since March 23, 1992 (when my first column appeared in print), I can trace back to something I wrote. Writing has provided me with both purpose and process, both discipline and drive, both achievement and attraction, both success and fulfillment, and both lessons and legacy. 2. Writing is the one thing I have encouraged every reader and seminar attendee to do for the past decade. Writing will help establish you both in brand and in reputation. 2.5 One innovation helping me significantly is Dragon Dictate for Mac. I’m using it right now. It’s not just amazing; it’s also a miracle. I’m increasing my speed of writing productivity by more than 50 percent, while still maintaining perfect thought flow and expression. NOTE: The end of the keyboard is not upon us, but it is clearly within sight.

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SHAPE This is by far my most difficult word. It has several connotations. 1. Get in shape: This year for sure (even though I said that least year, and the year before). There’s a fundamental link between physical well-being and mental freedom to create. My intention this year is to put them in balance and harmony. 2. Shape up: There are several aspects of business and life that need shaping and reshaping. They range from organization to money to personal skills to relationships to sales. 3. Shape the future. My age now demands I make plans that include me and exclude me. Succession is not just a word or a plan, it’s also a reality. These are three huge elements in leadership, life and quality of living. I’m taking personal responsibility for both actions and outcomes. n Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone. com. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or email to salesman@gitomer.com


Providence Business News

feb. 4-10. , 2013

www.pbn.com n 25

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Providence Business News

26 n www.pbn.com

BRIDGE TO FITNESS recently recruited six additional fitness facilities and yoga studios to hold donation-only classes that would benefit families in crisis in Newtown, Conn.

feb. 4-10. , 2013

BANKFIVE EMPLOYEES were recently honored with the “Heroes in Fight” award from The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Fall River. From left to right: Brenda Venice of NAMI; Claire Carreiro, Connie Cabral, Deric Lopes, Jodie Oliveira and Marilyn Elie from the BankFive north office.

Island’s fitness facilities aid BankFive employees get ‘Heroes in Fight’ award Newtown organization On New Year’s Day, when many businesses are normally closed, fitness centers and yoga studios on Aquidneck Island opened their doors in an effort to assist families in crisis in Newtown, Conn. Each center pitched in by hosting donation-only classes, collecting more than $5,000 to give to the Friends of Newtown, Conn. Fund. Friends of Newtown will use the money to fund fitness, exercise and play activity therapy sessions facilitated through the Newtown Parent Connection, which serves families in crisis.

Calendar of Events TUESDAY, FEB. 5 TOASTMASTERS MEETING Ocean State Toastmasters will hold its next meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at Warwick City Hall, 3275 Post Road, Warwick. Regular meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit, educational organization devoted to the development of public speaking and leadership skills. For more information, call Merrill Winoker, vice president for membership, at (401) 463-8354.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 6 NONPROFIT-TRAINING SESSION The Newport Initiative for Nonprofit Leadership will offer a training session on compassion fatigue in the caregiver from 9 a.m. to noon at Child and Family, 31 John Clarke Road, Middletown. Donna White, a registered nurse and addiction specialist for the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston, will lead the course. This program is open to all. Cost: free for members of the Newport Initiative, $25 nonmembers. Participants may be eligible to earn CEUs. For more information or to reserve a seat, contact Sally Conant at (401) 608-1819 or hrintern@childandfamilyri.com.

THURDSAY, FEB. 7 EXIT-PLANNING SEMINAR The Southern New England Entrepreneurs Forum will host a seminar on exit planning for entrepreneurs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center, 151 Martine St., Fall River. Dan Gugliemo of Trust Design will moderate a panel discussion on the topic in which three entrepreneurs will share their personal experiences, and offer advice and strategies. Cost: free for members and students, $15 affiliate members, $25 nonmembers. For

The effort was led by Middletown’s Bridge to Fitness owner, Michael Cecchi. Other facilities that participated included Able Mind & Body, Bellevue Barre Schedule, Newport Athletic Club, Newport Power Yoga, Pulse and Tenth Gate Center for Yoga and Meditation. “We are proud of everyone that participated and I am sure they all welcomed the opportunity to start the year off in a way that could help the children of Newtown by funding exercise, athletics and play-time therapeutic activities,” Cecchi said. n

Employees in BankFive’s north office were recently recognized for their generosity and dedication to helping those with mental illnesses. The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Fall River presented the office with its “Heroes in Fight” award in recognition of its employees who have volunteered at the organization’s fundraising events or have donated home items to their cause. In a press release, BankFive said its employees take giving back to their community seriously by participating and volunteering their talents where

more information or to register, visit www.sneef.org or email info@sneef.org.

(401) 447-8000 or visit www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com.

MONDAY, FEB. 11

LIPSTICK LUNCHEON The North Central Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Council will host a Lipstick Luncheon on finding your passion from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Pocasset Bay Retirement Living, 12 Old Pocasset Lane, Johnston. Speakers will discuss their passions for what they do and how their passion drives business. The event includes raffles and gift bags. Cost: $15 members, $20 nonmembers. For more information or to register, contact Kelly Patz at (401) 349-4674 or visit www.ncrichamber.com.

ROTARY CLUB MEETING The Rotary Club of Providence will host guest speaker Jack McStravock of USI New England at 12:15 p.m. at the Providence Marriott, 1 Orms St., Providence. McStravock will discuss health care reform. Cost: $20, includes lunch. For more information, call Suzanne Cannon at (401) 885-7017. ONE-TO-ONE COMMUNICATION The Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program will offer a seminar on one-toone communication from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Centerville Seminar Center, 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick. Bob Salvas, a marketing-communication specialist, will discuss tools that can cut through the marketing clutter and instill a company’s message in the minds of prospects and customers. Cost: free. For more information or to register, call (401) 447-8000 or visit www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com.

TUESDAY, FEB. 12 BIRTH OF A BUSINESS The Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program will hold a how-to seminar on creating a successful new business from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Centerville Seminar Center, 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick. David Nash, president of Engage Marketing and founder of the Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program, will cover the “birthing process” of a new business from conception to delivery, starting with a review of the business concept before covering different tactics and strategies for business success. Participants will leave with homework assignments and have the option to attend follow-up classes. Cost: free. For more information or to register, call

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 13 HR ROUNDTABLE The Newport County Chamber of Commerce will host an HR Roundtable event on guidelines for performance appraisals and annual reviews from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Chamber, 35 Valley Road, Middletown. Bob Nula, human resources director at St. George’s School, will cover where and when to conduct performance appraisals, how to recap the year and comment on work performance, set goals and more. Nula will also address how to document the appraisal. For more information or to register, call (401) 847-1608 or visit www.newportchamber.com. WBENC CERTIFICATION The Center for Women and Enterprise will offer a free, informational webinar on The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certification from noon to 1 p.m. Certification enables businesses to grow through contracts with large companies, colleges and universities, and some government entities; it also provides an opportunity to partner and/or conduct business with other certified women-owned businesses. Businesses that are 51 percent owned, operated, managed and controlled by a woman

they are needed most. “We are proud to have such dedicated employees as a part of our team,” the release said. The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Fall River advocates for continued research into effective treatments for mental illness and for adequate funding of services from the Mass. Department of Mental Health. The organization aims to help those with mental illness achieve a sense of dignity with the highest degree of independence and productivity. n

or women are eligible for the certification. Participants will learn whether their business is a good candidate for certification, what the certification process entails and how to get started. For more information or to register, call (401) 277-0800 or visit www.cweonline.org.

THURSDAY, FEB. 14 FINE-TUNE YOUR BUSINESS The Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program will offer a step-by-step seminar on tuning up an existing business from 9 a.m. to noon at the Centerville Seminar Center, 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick. Participants will learn about four major problems that lead to business failure and explore the ones preventing them from achieving their dreams. David Nash, president of Engage Marketing and founder of the Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program, will evaluate business ideas, explain how to capture the attention of a target audience, cover brand identity and fine-tune performance aspects. Cost: free. For more information or to register, call (401) 447-8000 or visit www.rismallbusinessrecovery.com.

FRIDAY, FEB. 15 LUNCH & LEARN The Center for Women and Enterprise will offer a Lunch & Learn workshop on protecting brands from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Providence office, 132 George M. Cohan Blvd., 2nd floor, Providence. Participants will learn how to protect company names, product names and reputations using intellectual property rights such as trademarks, copyrights and patents. Cost: $55, includes lunch. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call (401) 277-0800 or visit www.cweonline.org.


Providence Business News

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Guardian Fuel’s Lohr receives marketer award Jamie Lohr, a co-owner of Guardian Fuel in Westerly, was recently named 2012 marketer of the year by the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association. The award recognizes her involvement with industry-related issues and her ability to serve as an active and articulate marketer, unafraid to address legislators. Lohr is a resident of Stonington, Conn., a lifelong environmentalist and an advocate for the use of biofuels. PBN: You were described as having been instrumental in fostering inter-association cooperation between the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association and the Oil Heat Institute of Rhode Island. How did you do it? LOHR: Guardian Fuel has been a member of [both organizations for] several years. These organizations provide educational opportunities for our employees, keep us informed about regulations, fuel-efficiency innovations, safety, legislation and taxes. The executive director of the ICPA asked me if I thought that by coming together for our annual meeting with the members of OHIRI, we might begin to support one another in some of these areas. As a larger body, we can attract the industry’s top thinkers and speakers, share ideas with our neighbors and work together to have a greater impact on industry trends.

We started blending biodiesel into our own home heating oil in 2006.

PBN: Why do you feel it’s important to advocate for issues such as low sulfur standards for heating oil and a biofuels mandate? LOHR: The federal government several years ago mandated a reduction in sulfur, the primary pollutant in (road) diesel fuel, to 15 parts per million. Independent oil dealers want the same standard for heating oil, which has 100 times the sulfur level. Refiners have no incentive to change to suit independent oil dealers or consumers, so we must ask our legislators to mandate cleaner fuel in the interest of public health. Our neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts have adopted such legislation, but are not in a position to enforce ultra-low-sulfur heating oil (ULSHO), isolating Rhode Island. PBN: Tell us a little bit about your company’s efforts to increase the use of biodiesel? LOHR: We’ve been educating consumers about the benefits of biodiesel for years. We started blending biodiesel into our own home heating oil in 2006, and made it available to customers. We also tested blending biodiesel into our road fuel, to operate our own delivery trucks. n

Page 27 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

BANKING

HEALTH CARE

LAW

PERSONNEL

Christina De Ingenis has been named branch manager of Bank Rhode Island’s Woonsocket office. In this role, De Ingenis will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations and staff, and for meeting the financial needs of business and consumer customers. She will also focus on business development. De Ingenis holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Rhode Island College.

Lisa Gardner has been named resident care director at Tockwotton on the Waterfront. In her new role, Gardner will be responsible for ongoing operations of the assisted living community’s nursing program. Gardner has more than 10 years of clinical experience. She holds a B.S. in nursing from University of Rhode Island in addition to an R.N. diploma from Bridgeport Hospital’s School of Nursing.

Robert P. Brooks has been named managing partner at Adler Pollack & Sheehan P.C. Brooks is a chair of the firm’s labor and employment group and has served on the firm’s executive committee for 10 years. In his new role, he will continue to represent clients and will oversee day-to-day management, and create and implement policies. Brooks holds a J.D. from Suffolk University.

DEVELOPMENT

Anne Murphy has been named Courtyard program director at Tockwotton on the Waterfront, where she will be responsible for providing leadership and coordination to the Courtyard Memory Care team. Murphy has more than 10 years of experience in the elder-care field and most recently served as community relations director at Albion Court. She will report to the resident care director.

Jennifer (Kail) Mega has been promoted to senior staffing consultant at AdminSolutions, a division of The Greysmith Cos. Mega specializes in large volume corporate staffing, representing clients in the manufacturing, health care and financial services industries. Her new role will expand her leadership and responsibilities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Rhode Island.

Geoff Eisenacher has been appointed vice president of business development for Corvias Campus Living. Eisenacher will coordinate all phases of the business development process, manage contract negotiation and work to increase the understanding and effectiveness of business objectives. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business administration from Ohio University.

ENVIRONMENT Bob Erickson has been promoted to vice president of business development at ESS. He will be responsible for identifying business opportunities and fostering relationships with clients and teaming partners. Erickson is also a senior scientist and project manager with more than 25 years of experience. He holds a B.S. in wildlife management from University of New Hampshire.

Nicole M. Sheusi has been named director of marketing at Tockwotton on the Waterfront. In her new role, she will be responsible for marketing, outreach and promotional lead generation. Sheusi has previously worked as a clinical liaison and sales director for Kindred Healthcare and has experience in sales and advertising. She holds a B.A. in English with a minor in communications from Rollins College.

Angela L. Carr has been named a partner at Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman LLP, where she serves as a civil litigator, focusing her trial practice on professional liability defense, employment law business litigation, real estate disputes and insurance coverage law. Carr, who was named a 2012 Rhode Island Rising Star by Super Lawyers, holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. Matthew R. Plain has been named a partner at Taylor Duane Barton & Gilman LLP, where he focuses on labor and employment law, professional liability, general liability, contract disputes and administrative law. Prior to attending law school, Plain worked as a teacher. He is a 2011 PBN 40 Under Forty award winner and holds a J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law.

Ashley Ricamo has been promoted to senior staffing consultant at AccountSearch, a division of The Greysmith Cos. Ricamo has more than six years of accounting and finance staffing experience. She specializes in long-term contract and contract-to-hire accounting and finance placements, and largescale corporate projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Rhode Island College. Ted Witkowski has been named vice president, business development, for Rhode Island at Right Management. Prior to joining the firm, Witkowski was a senior partner with The Highland Group. He has nearly 30 years of experience in business development, professional services and operations management. Witkowski holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in management from Pace University. n

Attention CEOs. You know well the value of your top Financial Executive. Take a moment and nominate him or her for the 3rd Annual CFO Awards. There are eleven award categories.

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Government Agency Quasi-Government Agency Rising Star Financial Executive Private Companies (one each for Large, Mid-size and Small Companies) PARTNER SPONSORS


Page 28 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

OPINION

Providence Business News

Editorials

Prov. nursing project needs agreement now Included in Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s budget proposal was $500,000 earmarked for designs of a joint Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island advanced nursing center in Providence’s Knowledge District. It follows a failed attempt to get a $65 million bond question on last fall’s ballot and comes three years after URI President David M. Dooley first floated the idea. The concept is an inventive one to help the Knowledge District realize its great potential. By agreeing to put the upper-class programs of both their nursing schools in one building, located near Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and Johnson & Wales University’s new physician’s assistant program, RIC and URI would be building on the “meds and eds” critical mass necessary to energize the district. To be fully realized, the idea leverages a long-term lease by RIC and URI, thus giving a private developer the floor to build a larger project, one that would include other office and lab space desperately needed to help attract and grow life sciences businesses in the capital city. And by involving a private developer, the state avoids taking on any more debt. While there is much blame to go around, the real fly in this rather attractive ointment is Rhode Island College, which has been fighting the idea from the get go. It doesn’t matter why RIC doesn’t want the project to happen. What matters here is that time continues to tick away as the state languishes, and one of its largest publicly funded institutions continues to stand in the way of one of its most important economic-development projects. It’s time for RIC to get onboard with the rest of Rhode Island. Or time to make a change of leadership.

Time to restore R.I.’s historic tax credit Legislation should never be enacted with one overwhelming beneficiary in mind (Exhibit A: 38 Studios LLC). But there is one potential project that should make the revival of the historic-preservation tax credit a priority this year. The program comes to mind because Cornish Associates, the developer founded and run by Arnold “Buff” Chace Jr., has been hired to study the feasibility of turning 111 Westminster St., also known as the “Superman building,” into a residential tower. Mr. Chace estimates 200 to 300 units in the old Bank of America regional headquarters would be “just what the doctor ordered” to help continue downtown’s transformation into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood, although it could not be built without a reinstatement of the historic-tax-credit program. The credits more than pay for themselves in terms of current economic activity, and they attract private capital that otherwise would not come here. Hopefully, the Superman building will generate the needed push to bring it back. n

Advice from the masters

Napoleon Hill, one of my favorite authors, devot- sion on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I ed 20 years of his life to studying what made peo- have looked in the mirror every morning and asked ple successful. His mentor, steel magnate Andrew myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I Carnegie, helped Hill by introducing him to some want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenof the most successful people in business, including ever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Schwab, a row, I know I need to change something.” Michael Dell, founder of Dell Inc.: “Try never to George Eastman, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edibe the smartest person in the room. And if you are, son, Clarence Darrow and many others. What Hill discovered is that all these individuals I suggest you invite smarter people, or find a differrealized the importance of surrounding themselves ent room.” J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potwith people smarter than they were. ter novels: “Had I really succeeded at anyI couldn’t agree more. All of us together thing else, I might never have found the are a lot smarter than any one of us. Which determination to succeed in the one arena leads to some of the best career advice I can I believed I truly belonged.” give you: Networking is a skill you must Carlos Slim Helu, telecommunications develop. magnate who is considered the world’s If I had to name the single characterisrichest person: “I don’t want to live thinktic shared by all the truly successful people ing about how I’ll be remembered.” I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it is the Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire ability to create and nurture a network of Hathaway: “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot contacts. A network replaces the weakness bars. I look around for 1-foot bars that I can of the individual with the strength of your step over.” network. You don’t have to know everyMark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facething as long as you know the people who Harvey Mackay book: “If we want to have the biggest imdo. A network can enrich your life. It can help you pact, the best way to do this is to make sure we help others. A network improves your job security. always focus on solving the most important probIf you build a network, you will have a bridge to lems.” Cathie Black, former president of Hearst Magawherever you want to go. So if you are ever up the proverbial creek, with a network you will always zines: “Most people see taking risks as opening themselves up to unnecessary, maybe even dangerhave a paddle. Just remember, the more you exercise your ous chances. But the truth is, avoiding risks won’t networking muscles, the stronger they get and the keep you safe, nor will it guarantee a smooth ride at work or in life.” easier networking becomes. Richard Branson, founder and chairman of VirWhat other career advice can you benefit from? You can’t forget the most important five-letter gin Group: “My mother always taught me never to word in business – TRUST. How about integrity, look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. reputation and treating everyone with respect? I The amount of time people waste dwelling on failmight add that you have to continue your educa- ures rather than putting that energy into another tion, because you should be in school all your life. project, always amazes me. ... A setback is never a I’ve written extensively about all these topics, and bad experience, just a learning curve.” n will continue to hammer them home because they Mackay’s Moral: They say a word to the wise is are the difference between a job and a successful sufficient, but I say a word from the wise is a gift! career. And because I follow my own advice and continually study the brilliant thoughts of others, I’ll Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times share words of wisdom from some of the world’s best-seller “Swim With the Sharks Without Being most successful people: Eaten Alive.” He can be reached through his Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.: “When I website, www.harveymackay.com, by emailing was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If harvey@mackay.com or by writing him at you live each day as if it was your last, someday MackayMitchell Envelope Co., 2100 Elm St. SE, you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impres- Minneapolis, MN 55414.

Mackay’s moral


OPINION

Providence Business News

Page 29 FEB. 4-10, 2013 www.pbn.com

Market recycling solution can help clean up bay, shore For Rhode Islanders, marine debris is an environmental problem whose solution has been a long time coming. You may have heard the recent news Paul Gardner that the Senate Commission to Study Producer Responsibility Models for Paper and Packaging has been meeting since November, and will soon make a recommendation. Our hope is that the commission’s recommendations will form the backbone for what we call a uniquely American style of extended producer responsibility, a concept that can improve Rhode Island’s marine-debris problem while also solving a critical business problem – how to increase the supply of recycled paper, metals and plastics for the country’s manufacturers. Just as Rhode Island’s beautiful coastal waterways are facing a crisis, the nation’s recycling industry is facing a critical supply problem. Most people don’t realize that demand for the stuff we recycle at home is higher than the supply. When local recyclers aren’t able to reclaim enough material, it drives up costs, ex-

Guest Column

acerbates inefficiencies in the current system and makes it more difficult for manufacturers to source enough recycled stock materials to make their goods or packaging. Major consumer brands have committed to using more recycled material in new packaging and paper, but they can’t get enough of it. According to the shareholder advocacy group, As You Sow, Americans put into landfills or incinerate $11.5 billion in recyclable printed paper and packaging each year. Some of these valuable materials also can end up polluting the state’s coastline and waterways. One significant barrier to more efficient collection and recovery of valuable resources is that recycling standards and regulations vary by municipality and rely on oftenantiquated collection methods or confusing instructions that discourage consumer participation. Local government did a good job of initially establishing recycling systems, but over time many of those systems have become inefficient. It is not in government’s DNA to adapt to changing market conditions, and it often does not have the resources to meet the rapidly growing demand for

recycled stock materials. That’s where extended producer responsibility (EPR) can help. EPR is a system in which brand owners work together to create market-driven, recycling solutions. EPR takes advantage of economies of scale and leverages the business community’s experience with distribution networks, supply chains and customers to create more-efficient systems that achieve much higher recycling rates. It achieves these improvements through better leveraging the existing curbside household collection infrastructure, with no physical take back of any packaging materials at retailers. “Away from home” recycling improvements are achieved through drop-off bins in strategic locations in the community, such as public parks, beaches and gas stations. Under EPR, government sets a recycling target and creates a level playing field but allows the business community

to figure out the most efficient and cost-effective way to meet the goal. Consumer brands would pay for the cost of recycling instead of taxpayers and ratepayers and internalize that cost into new products. Consumers would then pay for recycling according to their consumption rather than paying the same amount by household as they do now. Local governments would no longer be on the hook to pay for and manage a local recycling effort. Instead, business would determine the true costs, manage the fee structure and direct how to spend the funds in consultation with government. Business would help scale up best practices that are currently done on a city-bycity basis and otherwise bring uniformity to a state’s recycling system. A strong, supportive business coalition will be necessary to maintain uniformity across the country as other states adopt EPR and to keep states from using EPR as a way to

Major consumer brands have committed to using more recycled material … but they can’t get enough.

fund government. If business stays on the sidelines on EPR, it just might lead to the problem faced with electronics EPR, in which state legislatures have created 25 different laws to address electronic waste in a compliance nightmare. Getting back to Rhode Island, the commission’s hearings have shown legislators that establishing an EPR program in which producers manage and pay for the recycling of their packaging would create a new system for managing these materials that costs municipalities less, takes advantage of the best features of the existing system, is fair to all participants and creates value by reclaiming these materials for manufacturing. EPR can contribute to solving significant environmental concerns, such as the marinedebris issue in Rhode Island, while also solving a significant supply-chain issue for businesses as well. n Paul Gardner is executive director of Recycling Reinvented in Shoreview, Minn. From 1997 to 2006, he was the executive director of the Recycling Association of Minnesota.

Investing in music will yield time-tested benefits I am writing this article to give the reader some investment advice. Generally investment advice is designed to maximize the return on money and applies to disposable income. But my advice is not about Herbert disposable income. It Rakatansky is directed at disposable time. Disposable time comprises those hours each day that are not devoted to the work needed to provide for the basics of life and the hours devoted to sleep, eating, medical care, etc. Disposable income is cumulative. It can be saved and invested, to be used at a future date. Disposable time is not cumu-

Guest Column

lative. Generally, it must be spent on the day one receives it. There are many choices about how to invest disposable time. Each person has values and areas of concern that are meaningful on a personal level. One of those areas can be music. It is a characteristic of every human culture. Some music is ephemeral, heard today and forgotten tomorrow. But there is a body of music that has stood the test of time, just as there are bodies of literature and visual art that have endured. Listening to music today, however, can be a fractured activity. We frequently multitask: we check our email as we watch a sporting event, listen to recorded music while we read a book, check the news on our electronic pad while we

watch a TV show, etc. Music exists only while it is being played, and attending live music performances is the only way for the listener to experience the artistic vision of the composer as intended, free of the competition from smartphones, iPads, picture-in-picture TV programs and other distractions. The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra presents these proven masterpieces of music right here in the Ocean State. A Beethoven symphony will stimulate and comfort today just as it has inspired for 200 years. There is a reason that Gustav Mahler’s music has been played for more than 100 years. How about Leonard Bernstein or Schubert? My investment advice is to enhance your life by spending about two hours

of your disposable time and join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra at a concert this spring. This investment in live music is time-tested. It has been a winner for several hundred years. There is no risk. In fact, the risk is that you will not choose this experience and that you will spend your disposable time in a manner that will return less on your investment. n Dr. Herbert Rakatansky is clinical professor of medicine emeritus at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School. He was a member of the board of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School for nine years and currently is a member of its artistic, finance and development committees.

Reader response A look at PBN.com’s weekly poll, plus this week’s poll Jan. 20-26

This week’s PBN.com Poll

After gaining 13.4 percent in 2012, what do you think the S&P 500 Index will do in 2013?

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Providence Business News

Hotels

salmon roulade and espresso crème with advertising largely confined to the Internet. “We do mostly online promobrulee, to list a few. “Our hotel is naturally very roman- tion,” explained Jose Estrompa, gentic,” said Tricia Carter, the Hotel Provi- eral manager at the Radisson Providence’s marketing manager. “We’re dence Airport Hotel in Warwick. “We very intimate and luxurious, which is advertise on our website, and we use why we have a lot of marriage propos- Constant Contact, a marketing compaals here.” ny, to do some e-blasting to our guests.” Near Valentine’s Day season, few Getaway packages range from afguests are looking for outside attrac- fordable to extravagant. For those on a tions, and that allows hotels to tar- budget, the Radisson in Warwick’s Valget customers from Rhode Island and entine’s package includes one night in nearby Massachusetts and Connecti- a suite equipped with a whirlpool bath, cut. “This time of year, we have a drive champagne and chocolate-covered market,” said Cassandra Earle, re- strawberries in the room, late checkgional marketing manager at the Hyatt out, and a $50 gift certificate for the dining room. The price: $150. Regency Newport, where “It’s a way to build almost every room offers a loyalty,” Estrompa said. romantic view of the sea. “When the price is afford“It gives us a chance to able, and people see all showcase our hotel, so it’s that you offer – the room a great way to attract reand the restaurant are expeat customers.” cellent – they’re hooked.” Valentine’s season is a time when hotels cater to For those ready to spend for a special indulrepeat customers, because gence, there’s the Ocean people want to return to House, a remodeled, turnplaces that have provided of-the-century hotel in the them with happy memories. First-timers who Westerly village of Watch Jose Estrompa leave with fond recollecHill. Its package – availtions will likely be back, Radisson Providence Airport able the weekend before Hotel general manager Valentine’s Day – includes too. “Many brides and grooms have been married two nights deluxe accomhere,” said Pamela Baldwin, director of modations, a bottle of champagne on sales and marketing at the Providence arrival, a Sunday jazz brunch and a speBiltmore. “They like to come back to cial Valentine’s dinner, with singers and musicians performing love songs. celebrate special events.” The same is true at the Castle Hill Prices start at $1,150, depending on acInn, a historic Newport mansion commodations. A sister hotel, The Weekapaug Inn, turned hotel. “At the risk of sounding hackneyed, there’s love in the air also in Westerly, offers a similar packhere,” said Brian Young, general man- age starting at a lower price, approxiager. “There’s probably not a day goes mately $600. The inn is a historic propby when I’m not writing notes to some erty that recently reopened after a $20 of our guests, saying congratulations million renovation. on your anniversary or your proposal.” Castle Hill Inn also targets those For that reason, marketing efforts seeking extra luxuries. The price: from are generally low budget and low key, $984 to $1,617 for the largest and most

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sions.” The Chanler is just one of the many Rhode Island hotels that expect to see an upward business spike this month by offering special deals designed to deliver romance. A typical package will include dinner at a top restaurant (either in the hotel or nearby), champagne and gourmet chocolate treats in the room, luxury bath products and a late check-out time. The strategy is working, as many hotels began to see reservations jump a month ago, especially for the weekend that follows Feb. 14. “We’re offering the package both weekends, before Valentine’s and after, and we’re very close to selling out both,” said Elaine Murphy, director of sales at The Hampton Inn and Suites Providence Downtown. “It’s easy to see why. Providence is a great city. You can take in a show or just explore the streets. There are many night spots and restaurants around the hotel. Everything is very close.” The big attraction around Valentine’s Day is indulgence, pampering, and a chance to focus your attention on your companion – and that’s what every hotel getaway aims to provide. Hotel Providence, for example, offers a package it’s calling “The Hopeless Romantic.” It includes champagne and oysters (or fruit and cheese if you choose) served in the room, breakfast for two, dinner for two, valet parking, and something the hotel calls “a rosepetal turndown,” which means the staff prepares the room with soft music, soft lighting and petals spread from the door to the bed. In the hotel restaurant, guests will have some special choices – pomegranate salad, pork osso bucco,

‘When the price is affordable, and people see all that you offer … they’re hooked.’

feb. 4-10. , 2013

luxurious suites, tax and gratuities included. “Our Valentine’s package is for two nights, available from [Feb. 13-17],” said Young. “It includes champagne, fresh flowers every day, a daily gourmet breakfast – in the restaurant or in your room – afternoon tea, and for one evening, a five-course dinner for two. We work very closely with Farmaesthetics in Portsmouth, a provider of organic skin and hair care products. They provide all the amenities in our rooms. … The Valentine’s package includes one of their special products, a body scrub they call Hot Toddy for the Body.” Those too busy to get away on the weekends closest to Valentine’s Day should know that most hotels offer romance packages year-round, and seasonal packages as well. At the Biltmore in Providence, for example, many couples take advantage of another weekend special, the “Skate and Stay Getaway.” The $179 package includes a night’s stay, admission to the skating rink at nearby Kennedy Plaza, skate rental, and a $20 gift certificate for the hotel’s Starbucks café, where you can warm up with hot chocolate in front of a crackling fireplace. Some in the hospitality business are predicting the bump could be bigger this year, because Feb. 18 is Presidents Day, a Monday holiday. People will be tempted to skip work Friday for an extra-long weekend. And Newport will likely be especially busy in mid-February, as Feb. 15 is the kickoff to the city’s 10-day Winter Festival. “Friday night there will be fireworks over the harbor, and you’ll be able to watch them from our hotel,” said Debbie Cardi-Neves, director of sales and marketing at The Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina. n

Loans

SEC filing for 2011, the average duration of their cash advances nationally was 18.2 days, well above the usual twoweek loan term and up from 17.6 days from page 14 in 2009. The average size of the cash advancIsland in 2005 and by 2010 operated 20 of the 29 payday lending centers in the es also grew from $361 in 2009 to $375 state, according to R.I. Department of in 2011, with the average charge to cusBusiness Regulation figures. Rhode tomers on those loans rising from $53 to Island is the only New England state in $55 over the same period. Last July, the Pew Center on the which the company operates and it is States added new ammunition to the now down to 19 Ocean State locations. According to Advance America’s debate in a report that found the avermost recent annual filing with the U.S. age payday borrower takes out eight Securities and Exchange Commission, loans per year and has an outstanding debt with a cash-advance since the end of the last delender for five months out cade, tougher government of the year. regulations and saturaPew surveyed paytion in the industry have day borrowers and found caused payday lenders to that 69 percent of those stop opening new stores they spoke with used the and focus on maximizing service to cover routine, profits at existing locarecurring expenses, comtions. pared with only 16 percent The nine Rhode Island for unexpected or emerpayday lending stores not gency expenses. run by Advance America “This year we have rein 2010 were run by Ohiosearch that shows most based Check n’ Go, which Margaux Morisseau borrowers use payday now lists seven Ocean Rhode Island Coalition loans to cover ordinary State locations on its webfor Payday Lending living expenses, not emersite. gencies,” said Margaux According to an IHS Reform organizer Morisseau, director of Global Insight report in community building at 2007, the payday-lending industry directly employed 41 people in Rhode Is- Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley and the organizer of the Rhode land. But while Advance America argues Island Coalition for Payday Lending that 260 percent is a misleading way Reform. “As for the alternatives, rackto look at the cost of their loans, oppo- ing up credit card debt or late fees is nents say it’s an accurate reflection of actually better than going to a payday the loan product, which they argue is lender.” The Pew survey also asked borrowdesigned, like credit card debt, not to be ers what they would do without payday paid back on time. According to Advance America’s loans. Eighty-one percent said they

‘Research … shows most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses.’

PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT

MONEY ON HAND: Advance America Assistant Manager Jocelyn Docouto, left, speaks with customer-service representative Sylvie Depina. The company has 19 R.I. locations.

would cut down on expenses, while less than half said they would seek a loan from another source. Whether cutting down on food, clothing or falling behind on bills is better than payday loans remains a subject of debate. Last year, Sen. Joshua Miller, DCranston, then the chairman of the Senate Corporations Committee, led a push for a compromise bill that would have further regulated all manner of shortterm lending, including check cashing. “If we just eliminate payday lending, the same vulnerable population will just be exploited by the Internet, pawn brokers, check cashers and loan sharks,” Miller said.

But neither the reformers nor lenders could agree on a compromise and Miller’s bill died as well. Paiva Weed spokesman Greg Pare said the Senate president still supports Miller’s approach to comprehensive changes that forge a compromise on payday lending. Larry Berman, spokesman for Fox, said the speaker is studying the issue but has also generally supported a compromise instead of the full elimination of the payday exemption. “[Fox] is doing his own work on this issue and looking for alternatives to the payday loans,” Berman said. “We should expect something on the regulatory part this year.” n


Providence Business News

feb. 4-10. , 2013

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feb. 4-10. , 2013


02-04-2013 Issue