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Providence Business News



updated daily July 15-21, 2013 Vol. 28, Number 15

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BACK IN BLACK Newport festival celebrates links to Japanese city.

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Bryant, town clash boils over By Patricia Daddona Contributing Writer


DYNAMITE: Once the site of the proposed Dynamo House project, the former South Street Power Station in Providence is being considered for a massive redevelopment, with Brown University and Commonwealth Ventures LLC eyeing the property.

‘Eyesore’ pitched as job catalyst By Patrick Anderson

Brown University and Commonwealth Ventures LLC are receiving rave reviews for their bid to redevelop Providence’s empty South Street Power Station. The decrepit brick shell of the former Narragansett Electric Co. plant has cast a shadow over the city’s fledgling Knowledge District since a plan to turn it into a hotel and

museum called Dynamo House collapsed in 2009. Filling the building with Brown offices and a longsought, advanced nursing school for the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College should kick-start activity on other fallow properties in the neighborhood, members of the local development community say. “I think it’s a huge winner,” said Karl F. Sherry, partner at Hayes & Sherry commercial real estate brokerage in See Station, page 30

A 17-year-old dispute between Smithfield and Bryant University over the latter’s tax-exempt status finally came to a head this month, after state lawmakers passed a bill requiring the school to negotiate an agreement to help cover the annual cost of its use of town public-safety services by March or be forced to pay those bills. Questioning the legality of the legislation, Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley, who has been at the helm for 18 years, called the mandate “a tax on a nonprofit.” He threatened to challenge its constitutionality in court if the bill became law. While Machtley last week was pushing for Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee to veto the bill, that would merely buy the university more time to resolve a longstanding issue that has strained relations between the town and school. Machtley has said he remains “willing to sit down to talk to the town.” But having a direct Town Council-to-university president discussion has been the sticking point over the years, town councilors and lawmakers say – as contentious as the issue of the proposed agreement itself. “I can’t even fathom that Bryant would spend money to seek legal representation when they could just travel See Bryant, page 30

Will tax credits nudge developers? By John Larrabee Contributing Writer PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT

BRINGING IT BACK: Peter Bouchard, Valley Affordable Housing Corp. executive director, in front of Cumberland’s Ashton Mill Village, which the organization hopes to use historic tax credits for.

Fred Presley, West Warwick’s interim town manager and economic-development coordinator, has seen firsthand how tax credits for preservation of historic properties can be a boon to a

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community. Once one of the world’s busiest hydro-powered cotton mills, by the end of the last century the Royal Mills had become instead another industrial eyesore, and there was talk of demolishing the old granite buildings. In-

Main street

Omnia Agency’s gamble pays off. PAGE 10

stead tax credits allowed a developer to transform the property into 250 apartments and 50,000 square feet of retail space. “It’s a beautiful project that really adds something to the area, but it would never have happened without


tax credits,” Presley said. “For some time now people have been saying we need to bring back the preservation program.” You’ll hear similar stories in every Rhode Island city or town that boomed during See Historic, page 9

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Page 2 July 15-21, 2013

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Black Ships Festival marks 30th anniversary

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Festival celebrates historic ties between City by the Sea and Japanese community.


The Nation’s Housing: The housing rebound is in full swing.


Venture for America hosts group fellows at Brown University, with the aspiring entrepreneurs looking to gain the skills for success.




The first day of the academic year was also the first official day for Brown’s School of Public Health. The university’s newest professional school will now seek accreditation. 11 Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis offers “cautious optimism” for a slight uptick in second-quarter stats for new-business growth. 12

Veterans take swings at Fenway Disabled military veterans from across New England participate in a CVS Caremark Baseball Camp on July 3 at Fenway Park. The camp is a partnership between CVS Caremark and the Boston Red Sox. Veterans worked with Red Sox Hitting Coach Greg Colbrunn and Assistant Hitting Coach Victor Rodriguez. They took swings at the Green Monster and enjoying lunch in the dugout, a tour of the park and tickets to that evening’s game against the San Diego Padres.

LIST: Chambers of Commerce 22 NEWSMAKER John Grogan, president of Plainridge Racecourse, talks about the gaming climate in southern N.E.



Correction: The July 8 story about the opening of Providence farm supply store Cluck! misspelled the owner’s name. It is Drake Patten.

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life sciences

Next frontier in tribal research is underwater By Rhonda J. Miller

come more prominent because of the attention to offshore energy developThe oral history of the Narragan- ment, said URI oceanography professor sett Indian Tribe and research being John King. He is leading the scientific done by scientists at the University research on the project with David Robof Rhode Island have intersected in a inson, a marine archaeologist at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, in project exploring a submerged ancient collaboration with Harris and the Narlandscape in the area of Greenwich ragansett tribe. Bay, along routes that reach to the “It raises issues about how to manshores of the Ocean State age offshore development. and eventually into the AtThere are significant imlantic Ocean. pacts,” said King. “There The project funded by are submerged cultural the U.S. Bureau of Ocean resources. There are imEnergy Management is the portant issues for the Narfirst on submerged ancient ragansett tribe. Tribal landscapes that includes a oral history and science partnership with tribal are starting to converge historic-preservation repon what the truth is.” resentatives, according to The Rhode Island reinformation from the fedsearch, informally called eral agency. the Paleo-Landscape Proj“Usually the tribal hisect, was awarded a $2 toric-preservation office David Robinson million contract from the works with projects on U.S. Bureau of Ocean EnURI Graduate School of land,” said Doug Harris, ergy Management, King Oceanography marine a preservationist for cersaid at a June 20 meeting archaeologist emonial landscapes for the of stakeholders to discuss Charlestown-based office the Rhode Island ocean of the Narragansett tribe. “But accord- Special Area Management Plan. ing to the tribal oral history, the anA final report is due Sept. 30, accordcient villages of the Narragansett tribe ing to information from BOEM. were out where the ocean is now. The New England states, especially in oral history is that the waters began to southern New England, “… are increasingly becoming the focus of proposed rise and the people had to evacuate.” The interest in landscapes on the offshore wind-energy development to submerged continental shelf has be- supplement or fulfill BOEM’s

‘Hundreds of artifacts have been found by local residents, mostly fishermen.’


WHAT LIES BENEATH: A coring barge used in a URI Graduate School of Oceanography initiative exploring submerged ancient landscapes.

tive energy objectives,” according to the agency background material on the project. “The absence of a scientifically proven, standardized, ‘best practices’ methodology for identifying submerged relict landscapes on the Atlantic OCS, (Outer Continental Shelf) and the ancient tribal archaeological resources these landscapes may potentially contain, has long been a concern among federal, state and tribal historicpreservation officers and has made environmental decision-making problematic for the BOEM.” Only three such studies have been made in the past three decades and “… these studies have not integrated tribal historic-preservation concerns or tribal research partners as part of their research designs,” according to BOEM. “We have archaeological evidence

from about 11,000 years ago,” said Robinson. The evidence of human occupation is stone tools from about 11,000 to 500 years ago, he said. “Hundreds of artifacts have been found by local residents, mostly fishermen.” King said the artifacts raise “issues about how to manage offshore development. There are significant impacts. There are submerged cultural resources.” “On the continental shelf, certain scenarios say there are landscapes that need to be protected. How do we identify these landscapes?” said King. “Evidence is becoming quite compelling for people living on the shoreline about 23,000 years ago. That’s way older than previously thought about how long people have been on the landscape.” The continental shelf extends out See Submerged, page 5

Page 4 July 15-21, 2013


Providence Business News

R.I. gaming’s main competition won’t be Indian casino By Patrick Anderson

PBN: Do you think Plainridge is indeed the front-runner? GROGAN: We have been at this for a long time. We started the business 15 years ago and have been very active in moving our project along. The building is fully permitted. We are almost finished with the environmental process. Our long lead-time item, the garage, is already up. So we are poised to move ahead aggressively.

Before becoming involved with the Plainridge Racecourse harness track in Plainville, Mass., John Grogan’s game was investment banking. Grogan first met the president of Plainridge while working on a leveraged buyout and because of that relationship came out of retirement in 2009 to work as consultant for Plainridge. When Plainridge President Gary Piontkowski retired earlier this year, Grogan took over. After years of preparing for Massachusetts’ entry into gambling, Plainridge is now considered the front-runner for the lone slot-parlor license being issued in the state. Grogan discusses his vision for Plainridge, the licensing process and his facility’s competition. PBN: Why should Plainridge win the Massachusetts slots license? GROGAN: We are going to build a spectacular facility – state of the art. We have a location on the intersections of Route 1 and Interstate 495. Our traffic engineers tell us 84 percent of our traffic is coming right off the highway and not touching town road. When you think of siting for all these gaming facilities, the No. 1 issue is traffic. We have just an A-plus site for traffic and community impact. And we are also a live racetrack. One aspect of the Massachusetts gaming bill was to support live racing, and we are the only category-2 license [applicant] that has a live race track. PBN: Paint the picture for me of what Plainridge would look like if all goes according to plan. GROGAN: We have an exist-


WORTH THE GAMBLE: John Grogan, president of Plainridge Racecourse, says the No. 1 issue for siting gaming facilities is traffic.

ing five-eighths of a mile harness track. What we have added already is a 1,080-space parking structure and we are going to add a 106,000-square-foot gaming venue in addition to our existing 50,000-square-foot facility. … We will have a casual dining restaurant, sports bar, food court, a bar in the gaming floor and a bar in our live racing concourse. The architects are JCJ Architecture, probably the premier architects for non-Las Vegas-based gaming. The Mashpees, Foxwoods, Twin River are all clients of JCJ. PBN: Will it look like the casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island, or are you going for something different? GROGAN: It’s less of a look we are trying to convey than in terms of how this facility sits on the property. It is not a tall building, so it is meant to harmonize within our space, which is a former rock quarry that sits about 50 feet below Route 1.

PBN: You guys recently hired Silverton Casino as a consultant, but did you consider bringing in a larger partner like some of the other applicants have? GROGAN: Well if you think about it, most of the other applicants, with the exception of Suffolk Downs, didn’t bring in operators, they are large operators. We decided to make this a Massachusetts-centric product. This is a local business that has been here 15 years with local investors, and we are going to run this with the help and consultation of Silverton. They brought in some needed operational expertise.

GROGAN: It’s Twin River. One thing is we know what we are and know what we are not. We are not the largest casino in the world. We don’t have hundreds and hundreds of hotel rooms. That product is very different and Twin River’s product is very similar to ours. PBN: How about harness racing? Does it stay if you get the license and close if you don’t? GROGAN: If we get the license, it is required by statute to continue harness racing and part of the tax structure is 9 percent of gaming revenue from the category 2 licensee is going to a horserace development fund, which is a purse fund for both standard bred and thoroughbred. … If we don’t get the license, we lose money on harness-racing business every year. PBN: What is it like going from investment banking to gambling? GROGAN: In some aspects it is similar. In all of these things you have a complex puzzle; you have to keep all the pieces together to put it all together. In the gaming the pieces are different and there are a lot of pieces moving together. It is fun. It is challenging. It is different in the specifics but similar in the general idea of a complex project.

We are perfectly positioned to pick up that traffic that’s going by to Twin River or Connecticut.

PBN: What is your target market geographically? GROGAN: We have a lot of gamers in Massachusetts, and one of the points of the legislation was to recapture some of the billions of dollars that leaves Massachusetts and goes to Connecticut or Rhode Island. We are perfectly positioned to pick up that traffic that’s going by to Twin River or Connecticut. PBN: So is Twin River your main competition or Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun?

INTERVIEW John Grogan Position: President, Plainridge Racecourse Background: A Harvard-trained Boston investment banker, Grogan put off retirement to work as a consultant at Plainridge Racecourse in its bid for a Massachusetts slot-machine license. When the president of Plainridge retired last year, he put Grogan in charge of the harness track. Education: AB in biochemistry from Harvard University, 1979; MBA from Harvard, 1984 First job: Working the snack bar at a swimming pool Residence: Westwood, Mass. Age: 56

PBN: If you get the license are you in this for the long haul, or would you consider it mission accomplished and turn it over to someone else? GROGAN: I am here to stay. n

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July 15-21, 2013

Submerged from page 3

various distances along different shorelines, he said. The four-year Paleo-Landscape Project includes training young members of the Narragansett tribe to assist with the research, including diving, said Robinson. Five members of the tribe are working with the project so far, and they, in turn, will train other members of the tribe, including college students, in some of the archaeological research. The Rhode Island research project is starting inland in the area of Greenwich Bay, but that’s just a small part of the area of longer-term interest. “That’s about 25 percent,” Robinson said.”About three-quarters of it is offshore.” The scientific research tries to reconstruct human land use - where people lived, hunted and practiced religion, said King. “One hypothesis is that people tended to live along the shoreline. There is a lot of connectivity using waterways with sites inland and sites offshore. It’s not easy to find the sites offshore. “We have found a series of sites in Western Greenwich Bay and by Gorton Pond,” said King. “It’s a series of sites about 15,000 years old connected by a river system, going to the coast and offshore. “The sites we’re going to investigate dovetail nicely with the [state’s ocean Special Area Management Plan] SAMP,” said King. “We’ve gathered a lot of data in the course of conducting the Ocean SAMP. A lot of data was gathered by Deepwater Wind,” King said. Providence-based Deepwater Wind has a planned five-turbine, wind-energy project off Block Island currently being reviewed by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council and several federal agencies, the council’s Executive Director Grover Fugate said at the SAMP meeting. Deepwater Wind is also one of nine energy companies that have qualified to compete for two offshore blocks of three-square miles each to be leased by the U.S. Bureau of Energy Management, Fugate said. The blocks are about 15 miles offshore in what’s called the Area of Mutual Interest by Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The leases will be awarded July 31 and extensive assessments will be required before final construction of the offshore wind farms will move ahead. A minimum of four years is anticipated before energy production would begin, he said. “Finding sites offshore, in this case, is trying to find the old paleo-landscape that was impacted as sea level rose,” said Robinson. “As we’ve seen with recent storms now, there’s a lot of damage. Our challenge is to find the elements of the paleo-landscape that survived. We use remote sensing instruments. We’ll excavate with an underwater dredge like an underwater vacuum cleaner. “We may find burial sites,” said Robinson.” If we do, we’ll consult with the tribe.” The project is confirmation that collaboration with scientists and working with the federal government can have an exceptionally positive outcome, said Harris. “It’s an exciting time when the tribal process can interface with the scientific process and the regulatory process and lead to cultural, social and scientific breakthroughs,” Harris said. “This submerged landscape research – this is a major frontier.” n n 5

Investing in the future…

The Breakers

Preservation Starts on the Roof For most of its 118 years, the roof of The Breakers was not quite itself. Even before it was 40 years old, it was torn apart by the legendary 1938 hurricane. For the next 60 years, it leaked in heavy rain storms, and its original vibrant tile pattern was lost in a mottled mixture of monochromatic repairs. In 1999, The Breakers roof was entered into a new digital historic preservation database administered by Preservation Society of Newport County Properties Director, and native Newporter, Curt Genga. That database, created by the internationally known firm of McGinley Hart, became the source for a 30 year, $100 million preservation and maintenance master plan for the Preservation Society’s properties that prioritized the most urgently needed projects. The Breakers roof was high

Curt Genga

up on that list. Consisting of 36,000 tiles in 9 different shapes and 5 different colors, the tile set was thought virtually impossible to replicate. It took more than a year just to precisely pin down the 5 original colors. Meanwhile, Curt found a manufacturer that could replicate the tiles and contractors willing to take on the job. It took more than 2 years and $2.4 million, but, the end result is a 21st-century roof that looks identical to its 19th century original, and that will protect the irreplaceable interiors of this National Historic Landmark for at least the next 75 years. That’s just one of the $42 million in preservation projects that Curt Genga has overseen for the Preservation Society since 2001.

The Preservation Society of Newport County is a team of people - 400 staff strong - committed to excellence. They come from every walk of life, combining their skills and passion for a common goal: To protect, preserve and present Newport and Newport’s history.

www. NewportMansions .org

Providence Business News

6 n

July 15-21, 2013


Newport festival celebrates connection to Japanese city By Emily Jones

A black-tie gala the following night at Marble House will host Naval War Visitors to Newport this weekend College President Rear Admiral Walter will find the historic harbor city’s Tou- Carter and Mayor Shunsuke Kusuyama ro Park transformed into a Japanese of Shimoda, along with other represencultural bazaar for the Black Ships Fes- tatives of both countries. Together they tival, which runs from July 18-21. The will crack open a wooden sake drum, a festival, which will mark its 30th anni- Japanese tradition for opening a grand versary this year, commemorates the event. One thing absent from the Black first treaty between the United States and Japan and celebrates the friend- Ships Festival, however, is any actual ship between Newport and its sister black ships. The name comes not from what festival-goers see today but from city, Shimoda, Japan. what the Japanese saw on The weekend features their horizon more than demonstrations of Japa150 years ago. nese arts from Origami In the early 19th cenand calligraphy to Samutury, Japan had isolated rai swordplay and several itself from the outside martial arts. Two sushi world for two centuries. and sake tastings aboard That policy meant almost the schooner Aurora sell no trade or interaction out every year, according between the island emto festival organizers. Evan Smith pire and the increasingly The workshops can be Discover Newport global naval powers in the a real learning experience president West. for Americans, said DisThen, in 1853, President cover Newport President Evan Smith. “How much does that fam- Millard Fillmore tasked Commodore ily know about Japan?” he said of va- Matthew Perry, a Newport native, with cationing families who stumble on the forming a treaty with Japan. Perry’s event. “It’s kind of like a geography 101 first attempt at an agreement in July of that year failed, according to his biogclass for people.” Several formal occasions highlight raphy on the website of the U.S. Navy the festival’s significance as well. At Museum. But when he returned the folthe opening ceremonies July 19, a na- lowing February, he successfully negoval color guard and artillery salute will tiated the first-ever treaty between the welcome a delegation from Shimoda two countries. CommLending2TransactionsAd 7/2/13 2:49 PM Page 1 and mark the start of festivities. For the United States, the Treaty of Contributing Writer

‘They put on a showthat just leaves you saying, “wow.” ’


BEAT GOES ON: Taiko drummers perform at Cardines Field in Newport during the Newport Black Ships Festival in 2010.

Kanagawa guaranteed American ships could refuel in Japan and paved the way for a new trading alliance. But as Japan’s first trading agreement with the West, it signaled a dramatic change in policy for that country. Thus Perry’s squadron of blackhulled ships sailing into Tokyo Bay became a symbol of a new era for the Japanese. The tradition of the Black Ships Festival began in Shimoda, where Perry signed the treaty. It has been a major annual event there for 74 years, billed as a celebration of “the Dawn of Japan’s Modernization.” “It’s such a significant event in Shimoda,” said Newport festival organizer David Rosenberg. “You can walk the path where [Perry] left the ship and walked through the city, to the temple

where he signed the treaty.” The festival there, held this year in May, includes traditional garb, a parade and fireworks. A comical play reenacts the signing of the treaty. The United States first celebrated the treaty in 1953, with a stamp to celebrate the 100th anniversary. It shows a bust of Commodore Perry alongside a drawing of his famed black ships entering the harbor. Rosenberg, who has been involved with all 30 Newport Black Ships Festivals, said the tradition of an annual festival in Shimoda inspired Newport organizers to launch their own celebration in 1983. The event has grown over the last three decades, he said. It now includes more martial arts, See Black Ships, page 23

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In case you missed it: housing’s rebound is in full swing You’ve probably seen some of the reports during the past month about home sales and prices. Housing is hot. n New home sales in May were almost 30 percent higher than a year ago, and average prices jumped by about 10 percent during the past 12 months to $308,000. n Resales of homes were up by 13 percent in May over May 2012. Median Kenneth R. prices increased by Harney 15.4 percent, the sixth straight month of double digit gains and the largest monthly advance since October 2005. n Median prices of new listings in some cities where inventories of homes listed for sale are tight and multiple bidding situations are routine have gone off the charts. In the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, list prices were nearly 28 percent higher in May than the year before, according to data compiled by from local multiple listing services. In San Diego, median list prices were 21 percent higher. Washington D.C., 18.8 percent. Seattle, nearly 18 percent. Charlotte, N.C., 11 percent. But one key housing number that hasn’t gotten as much attention – yet directly affects the financial health of millions of Americans – is home e q u i t y . Thanks to the big gains in home values, total home equity balances have grown by more than $2 trillion within the past 12 months to nearly $9.1 trillion, a 28.6 percent gain, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s $2.5 trillion above where it was at the end of 2011, but still below the $10 trillion it hit in 2007, on the eve of the market crash. During the last three months of 2012 alone, total home equity grew by a stunning $816 billion. Numbers like these may be hard to get your head around, but they can be distilled down to the personal level: Home equity is the value of your home minus all the debt you have against it – generally first mortgages, junior liens and equity credit lines. If your house is worth $400,000 and your mortgage is $200,000, you’ve got positive equity of $200,000. If your home is worth $200,000 and your debt is $400,000 you’ve got $200,000 of negative equity. If you were at $60,000 negative equity three years ago, and the resale value of your home has gained by $70,000 plus you’ve paid down $5,000 in principal balance on your mortgage, you now have positive net equity of $15,000. That’s what’s happening across the country as real estate markets rebound from five years of recession. Not everybody is sharing equally in the realty wealth boom, however.

The Nation’s Housing

New data from a study by realty information firm CoreLogic reveal that current equity holdings vary widely around the country. In some metropolitan areas, just about every owner has positive equity. In Dallas and Houston, and on Long Island, N.Y., more than nine out of 10 homeowners have positive equity. Pretty much the only people with negative equity are those who overpaid on their last purchase and mortgaged the house to the hilt. In Seattle, 87 percent of owners have positive equity. In Los Angeles, just under 84 percent do. And in Washington, D.C., and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, it’s 78 percent. In other metropolitan areas, the economic rebound hasn’t replenished

equity quite as fast. In Miami and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., more than 40 percent of owners are still in negative territory; less than 60 percent have positive equity. Chicago also has been a relative laggard in the recovery – with just 65.8 percent of homeowners having positive equity, 34.2 percent with negative. Nationwide, roughly 57 percent of all homeowners have at least 20 percent equity in their homes, but another 23 percent are what CoreLogic calls “under-equitied” 7.5'' – they’ve got less than 20 percent. As of the first quarter of 2013, 19.8 percent of all homes with mortgages continued to have negative equity, but that’s falling fast – down from nearly 22 percent at the end of

2012. If home prices rebound another 5 percent nationally, says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, another 1.6 million homeowners will regain positive equity. So the overall outlook on home equity appears to be encouraging. But last week another research organization, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, sounded an alarm for one segment of owners: seniors. More and more owners in their 60s are carrying heavy mortgage debt loads. Between 1989 and 2010, the share of owners aged 60 to 69 with mortgage debt rose from just 32 percent to 60 percent. n Ken Harney’s email address is

Total home equity balances have grown by more than $2 trillion within the past 12 months. 10"

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July 15-21, 2013




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COMING TOGETHER: Venture for America fellows take part in a Lego competition designed to help participants understand team roles and responsibilities, during a training camp at Brown University.

Nonprofit widening path toward entrepreneurship By Rhonda J. Miller

ties and businesses, especially small businesses, are some of the things that Venture for America founder and make a city healthy,” said Chaves. She CEO Andrew Yang thinks the United liked the idea of being matched to a startup. States has a problem. After training, she’ll earn $38,000 a “Not enough of our talent is heading toward entrepreneurship, small year, with health care options, workbusiness and growth businesses,” said ing at Splitwise, a Providence-based Yang, a 1996 graduate of Brown Uni- company that stores data in the “cloud” versity who’s not waiting around for to help people organize and share information to make it easy to split bills, other people to fix the problem. “We’re in hurry. It’s a big country such as dividing rent with roommates and there are a lot of people who want or sharing the cost of lunch. “Splitwise designed a Web tool like a to learn to build businesses and create jobs,” said Yang, who has been on the calculator and the goal is equity,” said Brown campus with this year’s 68 Ven- Chaves. Skill-building and learning about ture for America fellows for the fiveweek training session that ends July entrepreneurship during training set her on the right course to start her job 18. This is the second year Brown host- at Splitwise, she said. “I had a good amount ed the fellows, providing of faith I’d get a job, but I support with lodging and wasn’t sure I’d get a job I meeting space, said Yang. love that advances my caThe project launched last reer,” she said. “I think year with 40 fellows. this job will be a great fit Yang is clear about the for me. mission of Venture for “I very much wanted to America: “To revitalize stay in Providence. I can American cities and comabsolutely imagine buildmunities through entreing a career here,” said preneurship.” Chaves, who is from New Two additional overYork. “I think when you’re arching goals guide the in a place like Rhode IsVenture for America iniland you can really see the Zoe Chaves tiative. One is “to enable our best and brightest to Venture for America fellow impact of your work.” Working in smaller citcreate new opportunities ies with startups and seefor themselves and others.” Another goal of the organization ing the impact of the work is how Yang is “to restore the culture of achieve- designed Venture for America. After he graduated from Brown, he ment to include value-creation, risk went to law school at Columbia, started and reward and the common good.” New York-based Venture for Amer- a that went down when the ica recruits top college graduates, pro- bubble burst in 2001 and was presivides five weeks of training through dent of Manhattan GMAT, which was lectures and meetings with seasoned acquired. Yang then decided to help investors and entrepreneurs and then change the well-worn routes taken by matches each fellow with a startup for many of the nation’s bright, young college graduates to cities such as New two years. One of the 2013 fellows is 21-year- York, Boston, San Francisco, Washingold Zoe Chaves, who graduated from ton, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. Knowing that many top graduates Brown in May with a focus on architecgo into banking, management consulttural studies and urban planning. “I was taking a course with a profes- ing and law for prestige, good salaries, sor who was involved with Venture for opportunity for advancement and a America,” she said, and what she heard professional community, Yang decided to create those advantages with Vensparked her interest. “I had an awareness that universiSee Venture, page 23

‘When you’re in a place like Rhode Island you can really see the impact of your work.’

July 15-21, 2013

Historic from page one

the state’s manufacturing heyday, then sagged when those industries moved south or overseas. Before the historictax-credit program was suspended for budgetary reasons in 2008, almost every old, industrial center in the state saw once-blighted buildings come to life again as shopping plazas, office space or housing. With a partial restoration of the program during this year’s legislative session, that trend is expected to resume, and municipal leaders all over the state are sending signals they’re ready to work with developers. West Warwick is one example. Presley is hoping to attract investors to several old structures, most notably the Crompton Mill at the corner of Main and Pulaski streets and the Arctic Mill on Factory Street. He’s quick to point out that reviving those properties would do more than simply save cultural landmarks. The town’s tax base could get a healthy boost, too. “If those buildings were renovated and rented to new tenants, it would greatly increase their value,” he said. “For tax purposes, it would help this town tremendously.” Communities will reap other economic benefits as well, according to Scott Wolf, executive director of Grow Smart Rhode Island. “It’s going to be a real shot in the arm for some of our hard-pressed municipalities, because those are the areas where a significant number of historic buildings are located,” he said. “Historic buildings and neighborhoods are potential magnets for knowledge-economy companies and workers, and this state has an expansive collection. And one sector of our economy that was really hit hard by the economic downturn was the construction industry. They’ll be helped by this.” The new version of the historic-preservation program provides a pot of $34.5 million for tax credits. Only $12 million of that can be used in a single year, and no project will receive more than $5 million. That’s not enough to benefit some larger renovation projects – like the one proposed at 111 Westminster St. in Providence (known as the Superman Building) – but no one doubts there will be plenty of interest in vacant factories and empty commercial buildings in the state’s smaller cities. As yet, no one can say for certain which historic landmarks will be getting a boost. “We’re not sitting here with a stack of projects ready to go,” said Edward Sanderson, executive director of the R.I. Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, which approves historic-tax-credit renovations. “This isn’t the same law that we had before. It’s very similar, but there are some differences, and we’ll have to get a look at those new regulations to see what qualifies.” All the same, there’s a wish list in every community, including many properties on the National Register of Historic Places. Valley Affordable Housing Corp., a Cumberland-based nonprofit that develops affordable housing, is making plans to renovate 10 red-brick row houses dating back to the mid-1800s. Ashton Mill Village sits adjacent to Ashton Mill, at the corner of Cumberland’s Middle and Front streets. A developer already converted the mill into high-end apartments. Now the nonprofit group hopes to turn the village tenements into 60 or more affordable units. Its plan also calls for using vacant lots

Providence Business News at the site for two new residential build- from Cumberland,” he said. “It could be a gateway project for the city.” ings as well. There are vacant mill properties in VAHC has experience renovating other historic properties throughout other parts of Central Falls as well, LarRhode Island. The group purchased rick notes. Several buildings on RooAshton Mill Village for $2.5 million, sevelt Avenue were turned into highbefore it became apparent tax credits end condominiums a few years ago, would be available again. but some still await renovation. And a The project is expected to cost about sprawling industrial complex that was $11 million, according to Peter Boucha- once home to the Conant Thread Factord, the organization’s executive direc- ry sits partly in Central Falls and partly tor. The group expects to use federal in Pawtucket. A few of the buildings historic tax credits, which could gen- are rented out for uses as warehouse or erate $1.2 million. If they qualify to the manufacturing, but most are empty. state tax-credit program “The Conant Thread site covers more than a as well, that figure could million square feet,” Lardouble. “As soon as the procerick said. “But it could dure [for historic tax credwork as a series of projits] is established, we’ll be ects that are developed getting in line,” he said. piece by piece. At one time Tax credits may also it was the largest threadbe used to renovate Cenmanufacturing facility in the world. It’s got the kind tral Falls Landing on of architecture and histothe Blackstone River, a ry and urban location that 40,000-square-foot lot that could attract knowledgeincludes a 10,000-squareeconomy companies.” foot industrial building. East Providence planBack in the late 1800s, the property was the site of ning director Jeanne Scott Wolf the American Supply ComBoyle is hoping tax credits Grow Smart Rhode Island spur interest in the Odd pany, according to Steve executive director Fellows Hall on Warren Larrick, Central Falls planning and economic-development Avenue, a shingle-style fraternal lodge built in 1889. coordinator. Developers may also be eyeing the The city acquired the landing property from the state Department of En- Phillipsdale Landing, an industrial vironmental Management. The agen- complex in the city consisting of 13 cy created a launch for boaters who buildings on the Seekonk River. The want to explore the Blackstone River, owner had qualified for historic tax and it’s also used as a boarding area credits in the past, but failed to use for its canopied riverboat owned by the them before the program was suspendBlackstone Valley Tourism Council. ed. Another former industrial building Larrick suggests the area would be now known as the Almacs Warehouse ideal for a restaurant with an outdoor sits adjacent to the landing, and city eating area. “It’s right on the Black- officials are hoping to see renovation stone where you enter Central Falls work there, too.

‘Historic buildings and neighborhoods are potential magnets for knowledge-economy companies.’ n 9

A top priority in Pawtucket is the former School Administration Building on Park Place, now owned by a private developer. “They were eyeing tax credits in the past,” said Barney Heath, director of planning and redevelopment. “It could be commercial office space or maybe a restaurant with retail, and we wouldn’t be opposed to residential.” Warwick has the Pontiac Mills on the Pawtuxet River, built in 1863. Workers there produced Army uniforms during the Civil War, and later Fruit of the Loom brand cloth. “It’s 15 acres and 23 buildings at 334 Knight St.,” said Karen Jedson, director of tourism, culture and development. “And it’s ready for mixed-use development.” Woonsocket has several downtown properties City Hall leaders hope to see renovated soon: the Stadium office building in Monument Square, which sits next to the renovated Stadium Theater, and the commercial block on Main Street. Matt Wojcik, the city’s director of economic development, also points to Bernon Mills, on Front Street near the Court Street Bridge. The buildings stand out from other industrial properties because they’re built of stone, not brick. “A lot of work has been done in one building,” Wojcik said. “A developer had owned the property, but it fell into foreclosure and now it’s owned by a bank. The city would like to see market-rate apartments.” Time has run out for Woonsocket’s French Worsted Mill, which was located off Hamlet Ave. A developer bought the property more than a decade ago, with renovation plans that involved tax credits. Last year, however, the owner razed the red brick buildings and sold the property to a party looking for a vacant lot. n

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Providence Business News

Accounting app for small biz

Every year, The Sleeter Group – a firm that helps business owners and accountants work together – conducts a competition to identify the best tech and software services for smallbusiness accounting and finance. Some are add-ons to QuickBooks, while others are standalone products that can make your life Daniel Kehrer easier, and help improve profits. In order to qualify for what Sleeter calls its “Awesome Add-On” awards, the product or service must come from a solid company with a reputation for outstanding customer support. The product must also show superior design, implementation and features, integrate effectively with QuickBooks and other software solutions, and conform to good accounting principles. These recent winners are worth considering for a small business: n Receivables. This service, which is an upgrade ($5/month) to a Payable account, is great for any business that sends invoices to customers and wants to offer the option to pay electronically, online. By allowing businesses to manage the entire accounts receivable process in the cloud, has taken a big leap forward. In addition to sending electronic invoices and reminders, you can receive payments online and by credit card, and customers can access their own portal (for free) to see their invoicing and payment history. n Bill & Pay, from Skyhill Software, is great for small businesses that want to streamline their receivables process online. Bill & Pay automatically uploads invoices from QuickBooks, Peachtree, Great Plains and other accounting software into a Web portal where they can be tracked and managed. There’s also an “Easy Invoice” feature that lets you create your own invoices without using any accounting software. n ViewMyPaycheck, from Intuit, lets QuickBooks payroll users upload paycheck information to the cloud, where employees can securely access pay stubs, vacation/sick time balances and W-2 forms. Employees can view, print or download copies of their payroll information anytime, from anywhere. This is free for QuickBooks Payroll subscribers at all levels, including Basic. n is a Webbased time-and-expense reporting tool that helps you streamline the process of time tracking, expense reporting, as well as purchasing and invoicing. ExpenseWatch includes modules for expense reports, purchasing and AP invoice management that you can subscribe to individually, or as a fully integrated expense control suite. n


Daniel Kehrer can be reached at


TAKING A GAMBLE: Gail Morris, left, and Stacey Liakos are managing partners at Omnia Agency, the Providence advertising firm the two founded in 2008. The full-service agency specializes in media buying, website development and graphic design.

Roll of the dice that has come up 7 Landing Twin River early on set the stage for Omnia’s growth trajectory By Patrick Anderson


mnia Agency LLC is proof of the enduring value of the oldfashioned cold call. The Providence advertising agency was a fledgling two-woman shop in 2009 when managing partners Stacey Liakos and Gail Morris reached out to Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln, which wasn’t entirely satisfied with its website and traditional marketing. Twin River was impressed with Omnia and later that year made the firm its agency of record, helping propel the company to its current size of 10 employees and $7 million in annual sales. As lucrative as Twin River’s business has been for Omnia, it should get better as the casino begins to promote its expansion to table games in the increasingly competitive New England gambling market. “We were very persistent, and with a little bit of luck and timing we started working with Twin River, redesigned their website and made a television ad,” Liakos said. “Being such a small agency, to acquire them with such a large marketing budget was huge. With our team’s expertise, we see future growth to help them gain more market share and brand themselves as a destination appealing to a whole new demographic.” Both North Providence natives, Liakos and Morris founded Omnia after their previous firm, Optimal Communications Group, began to break apart in 2008. Liakos came to advertising from broadcast journalism, where she spent time at television and radio stations in both an on-air and production capacity before switching to the advertising world.

COMPANY PROFILE Omnia Agency LLC Owners: Stacey Liakos and Gail Morris Type of Business: Advertising agency Location: 115 Harris Ave., Providence Employees: seven full time and three part time Year Established: 2008 Annual Sales: $7 million

When the two started working together, Morris was already an advertising veteran with 25 years of experience in the business, including managing marketing for the Apex department store chain. Liakos said they decided to break away from Optimal Communications to pursue a more dynamic business plan, taking enough of their old clients with them to give the new firm a foundation. Now celebrating its five-year anniversary, Omnia is a full-service agency specializing in media buying, website development and graphic design. The firm does market geography and demographic research, creative concepts, logo design, online analytics, website content management and custom coding. Social media marketing is also a big part of Omnia’s campaigns, especially for smaller clients with limited resources. For larger clients Liakos said social media and Internet marketing now complement traditional ad buys in print, radio or television. The proliferation of different media platforms has fragmented advertising budgets, requiring Omnia and other similar agencies to constantly gain new technical capabilities. Even within Internet advertising,

practices are changing rapidly, with mobile emerging and video taking over from the print-like banner ads that were the standard even five years ago. “We were reviewing statistics on how much online video is taking over,” Liakos said. “Now static banner ads are not getting you too far. Besides social media and banner advertising, there is more programming and more ways for people to watch television on smartphones and tablets and then digital radio like Pandora.” At Twin River, the move to table games is not just expanding the size of the casino’s potential market, but also shifting its target demographic. Liakos said Twin River’s advertising previously targeted a predominantly female customer over the age of 45. Now with table games, Twin River expects to draw a younger clientele, starting at the age of 25, and more males. That means Twin River’s new marketing campaign will look toward sports, including radio and websites geared to a male audience such as Omnia helped Twin River launch its new website and mobile app last month and worked on tweaking the casino’s tag line from “so much, so close,” to “so much more, so close.” As for Omnia’s future, Liakos said the firm intends to continue growing, in Rhode Island if possible, but looking farther afield if necessary. “It’s always something we wrestle with. Being born and raised here, it is always great to work with clients you have a relationship with, so there is a loyalty factor,” Liakos said. “But the con is there is always only so much you can get here, because the pie is so much smaller. In Boston the pie is so much larger it seems endless.” n

Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013 n 11


Brown launches public-health school By Rhonda J. Miller

The new Brown University School of Public Health, officially launched on July 1, gives the university’s program in public health a new level of independence and the opportunity to better compete for federal funding. The program was previously part of Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School. The schools will continue to work together in education and research, in Brown’s tradition of interdisciplinary studies across the university, inaugural Dean of the School of Public Health Terrie “Fox” Wetle said last week. “We see this as a wonderful step forward. We’ve been working toward this goal for 10 years, so this is very exciting for us,” said Wetle, who came to the program more than a decade ago with the mission of developing the independent school of public health. “We have worked to put all of the pieces in place. So in some ways it is a modest step, but in other ways it’s a very large step,” Wetle said. The school continues at the same South Main Street address. And it is still working toward accreditation, expected to take two years. That would put it in the ranks of 49 U.S. schools accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health. The new designation will open the door to compete for federal funding available only to s c h o o l s of public health, Wetle said. “In terms of our educational programs, I believe it will expand our pool of applicants Terrie “Fox” Wetle to our variBrown University ous gradupublic health dean ate programs and therefore improve the pool of already good students,” Wetle said. “When we talk with students who are accepted at several places and they make a decision not to choose us, one of the primary reasons they give is they want to go to a school of public health – and we will now be a school of public health. “Another reason is we have, over the last several years, recruited faculty into our four public health departments with the promise that we were working toward a school of public health,” said Wetle. The School of Public Health increases the capacity of what the previous public-health program and Brown’s medical school already contribute to the state, said Dr. Michael Fine, director of the R.I. Department of Health. “A lot of what we do is in partnership with Brown, supported by their capacity to analyze data and in epidemiology,” said Fine. “It’s very important because the work we do requires specialized knowledge and expertise. The process of epidemiology is a specialized area of analysis.” Epidemiology, the scientific and medical study of the causes and transmission of disease, has been one of the major study areas of Brown’s program in public health. The areas of study continue in the new school, including

‘[The designation] will expand our pool of applicants to our various graduate programs.’

undergraduate concentrations in community health and biostatistics; a master’s of public health degree; master of science degrees in biostatistics, epidemiology and behavioral and social science intervention; and doctoral programs in epidemiology, biostatistics and health services research. A fourth doctoral program, currently going through the university’s internal approval process, is in behavioral and social health sciences, said Wetle. The R.I. Department of Health collaborates with Brown on a variety of programs. “Brown might analyze the impact of how we help primary care practices manage chronic disease,” said Fine. “Or Brown might study the impact of

lead poisoning on the population.” Brown’s 11 public-health research projects include the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, Brown University AIDS Program, the Center for Statistical Sciences and the Center for Environmental Health and Technology. “I think the school of public health will give us more traction and the ability to make Rhode Island the healthiest state in the nation at some time,” said Fine. “We’re No. 10, up from No. 13 a year ago. The school helps give us boots on the ground.” Brown’s new school of public health is an important factor in Fine’s goal.


NEW SCHOOL: Brown University School of Public Health Dean Terrie “Fox” Wetle says the new designation will open the door to compete for federal funding available only to schools of public health.

“I think we have the people, we have the health professionals, we have the health resources,” said Fine. “We want to make Rhode Island the healthiest state in the nation.” n

A site for your eyes... Providence Business News took two first-place awards in the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Better Newspaper Competition, one for website design and another for a three-part series about the transformation of the Jewelry District in Providence into the Knowledge District. The results of the competition were announced at the awards dinner following the organization’s annual conference held at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA.

was also named the second-best website in the nation among members of the Alliance of Area Business Publications at the organization’s annual editorial excellence contest. The results of the contest, which included 573 entries from 44 publications from across the United States, were announced at the association’s summer conference, which was held in Nashville, TN.

400 Westminster Street, Suite 600, Providence, RI 02903

Providence Business News

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Economy becoming ripe for new businesses? First half of 2013 shows more positive numbers By Patricia Daddona Contributing Writer

Kevin B. Murphy of Warwick has not only been busy setting up new incubator startup and title insurance companies; he has resurrected his dormant law firm – all in the past two months, to catch what he believes may be a wave of economic rebounding. Last month, Murphy and his three brothers formed Hatch Entrepreneurial Center LLC in Providence to try and retain startups and prevent the “brain-drain” of talented college grads leaving Rhode Island. Murphy also launched Triton National Title Agency LLC, based in Providence, an unrelated venture that involves writing title insurance for first and second mortgages. At about the same time, Murphy brought back the law offices of Kevin B. Murphy & Associates LLC, with offices in Providence and Warwick, which he had formed under a different name in 2008, “when the economy tanked.” He started working as principal on July 1, leaving Adler, Pollock & Sheehan in order to do so. Steadier home prices and declining unemployment suggested the economy was “starting to turn the corner,” he explained. According to Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, a slight uptick in newbusiness formation in the second quarter, which ended June 30, may bode

well for future growth, in part because when 1,906 new business entities regisit comes close to the level recorded tered with the office, a nearly 4 percent when the economic downturn began drop from the year before. The vast majority of new business five years ago. In the second quarter, Mollis report- types are typically limited liability ed, a total of 1,909 new businesses regis- companies, or LLCs, and the second tered with the state. The count is 34 shy quarter proved no different, with 974 of the 1,943 that registered in the second businesses being constituted as such, quarter of 2008, he said. However, the Mollis said. Other major types of busitotal is 36 more than the 1,873 recorded nesses include nonprofit, business and foreign business corporations, as well in the second quarter of 2012. Urging “cautious optimism,” Mollis as foreign limited liability companies. The Providence office pointed out that this year’s of the Center for Women second-quarter figures reand Enterprise trained flect three straight periods 282 women between April of second-quarter growth 1 and June 30, said Carfor the first time since his men Diaz-Jusino, the seoffice began keeping these nior program director, statistics in 2005. and of those, 120 were new“We’re very careful business owners working about reading too much on business planning and into the numbers, espeaccounting. For her ofcially in an economy that fice, that’s an increase of is giving mixed signals, Carmen Diaz-Jusino 17 percent, compared with but it’s always good to Center for Women and the first quarter of 2013. see modest growth,” MolEnterprise Providence She did not have data for lis said. “It’s great to see the previous year. some positive numbers, senior program director “What I’ve seen a lot of especially when it comes is, some people are done to consecutive years and where we are compared to when this downturn start- looking for jobs [offered by an employer],” she said. “They are creating ed.” Since the recession took hold in their own. We’re seeing that more and 2008, the six-month period of January more.” The CWE helps women start busithrough June reached its height in 2012 with 3,849 new businesses formed and nesses, grow those businesses and conregistered by the state, Mollis said. This nect with their peers. She could not year’s six-month total, however, comes quantify how many women started a business instead of continuing the job in a strong second at 3,815, he said. This quarter’s slight increase con- hunt. CWE also helps sole proprietors, trasts with the first quarter of 2013,

‘Some people are done looking for jobs. They are creating their own.’


Climbing out This year is shaping up as the second best for new-business formation – right behind 2012 – since the economic downturn began in 2008. Jan.-June 2013............................................ 3,815 n 2012............................................3,849 n 2011.............................................3,770 n 2010............................................3,600 n 2009............................................3,675 n 2008............................................3,973



who register with cities or towns and not the state. As such their numbers are not reflected in state statistics, Diaz-Jusino said, but one woman the center helped is finding success early. Jennifer Ray of Cranston recently started Characters Café, a sole proprietorship, serving breakfast and lunch, and hosting live entertainment Friday through Sunday. Her business is affiliated with Theater 82 in Cranston, which is owned by Warwick-based Gateways for Change, a nonprofit that helps mentally challenged adults. “It’s been unbelievable,” she said. “I never thought when we opened three months ago we would be this busy.” In Ray’s case, timing of the economy had nothing to do with opening a new business. Rather, Gateways for Change See New Biz, page 18


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Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013 n 13

Health Care News Briefs

RIH’s successful care management for EEE is reported by journal PROVIDENCE – The successful treatment of a 21-year-old patient with severe neuroinvasive Eastern Equine Encephalitis by Rhode Island Hospital, minimizing neurological deficits, was published July 8 in an online account in the journal Neurocritical Care. “Every summer we hear about cases of EEE, and for the severe cases the outcomes are rarely favorable,” said lead author Dr. Linda C. Wendell of the department of neurology and neurosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital. “We were able to diagnose this patient quickly, and through an aggressive approach we were able to manage brain swelling, stop his seizures and significantly minimize brain injury. “The patient was in great physical health, which no doubt contributed to his recovery,” she said. “It was a scary time for a few weeks, but he continues to make progress and we could not have hoped for a better outcome.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the U.S. It has a mortality rate of approximately 33 percent, and those who survive are likely to suffer significant brain damage. No specific treatment for EEE has been identified, rather care is based on the patient’s symptoms. “There is no protocol for avoiding EEE, other than to be careful,” Wendell said. “Unfortunately in many areas of the country, mosquitoes are simply a fact of life – we can get bitten by them at any time during the warm weather months. But by protecting yourself with appropriate clothing, mosquito repellent and staying indoors during peak mosquito hours (dusk), you can minimize risk.”

CareLink chosen to lead two Medicare initiatives PROVIDENCE – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has chosen CareLink Inc. to lead two projects in Rhode Island that support national initiatives aimed at improving care for Medicare recipients. The first initiative, known as the “Community-Based Care Transition Plan,” part of national health care reform, will test innovative programs at four Rhode Island hospitals – Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital – to reduce readmissions from high-risk patients, improve quality of care, lower Medicare spending and coordinate better care transitions. Under the second program, known as the “Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative,” seven CareLink agencies will receive a bundle payment for health care services or “episodes of care” that include financial and performance incentives. “Hospitals, acute-care facilities and public health officials alike all recognize that changes need to be made to how we are paid,” said Joan Kwiatkowski, CEO of CareLink. “CareLink member agencies are committed to providing high-quality patient care as well as providing leadership in the development of the long-term care system.”

Miriam Hospital earns award for stroke care PROVIDENCE – The Miriam Hospital received the “Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association,” hospital officials announced on June 27. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines, with the goal of improving the quality of care, reducing disability and saving lives. “The Miriam Hospital is dedicated to making our care for stroke patients among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program helps us to accomplish this goal,” said Dr. William Corwin, the hospital’s senior vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer. “This recognition demonstrates that we are on the right track and we’re very proud of our team.”

Veteran Affairs official visits BrainGate labs PROVIDENCE – Dr. Tommy Sowers, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, toured Brown University’s BrainGate laboratories on June 27 to observe braincomputer interface systems that use neural activity for three-dimensional control of robotic arms. The BrainGate initiative is a collaborative program between Brown, the VA and Massachusetts General Hospital. Sowers also visited the campus of the Providence VA Medical Center, where he visited the VA’s Center of Excellence for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology. During the tour, he received demonstrations of several projects involving robotics rehabilitation and gait analysis. The Center of Excellence is a collaboration among the Providence VA Medical Center, the Brown Institute for Brain Science at Brown University, Butler Hospital, Lifespan, and Mass. General

Bliss joins Providence Center leadership team PROVIDENCE – The Providence Center, a community-based behavioral health organization supporting more than 12,000 adults and children with mental health and substance-use disorders, named Garrett Bliss as the director of government relations. “We are thrilled to add Garry Bliss to our senior leadership team at TPC,” said Dale Klatzker, president and CEO of The Providence Center. “His experience in Rhode Island will be critically important as we continue to build a health system that meets the needs of Rhode Islanders seeking behavioral health treatment.” In his new role, Bliss will be responsible for managing The Providence Center’s relationships with local, state and federal policymakers, promoting strategies to help the center achieve its mission of providing high-quality behavioral health and substance-abuse services and supports to all who need them. n

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Providence Business News n 15

Rhode Island & Massachusetts News Briefs

Whaling Museum receives $1.8M gift for education center NEW BEDFORD – The Whaling Museum in New Bedford last week announced a $1.8 million gift that the museum says will allow it to construct a new building on its campus in addition to expanding educational programs, The Standard-Times reported. The four-year grant came from museum benefactors Irwin and Joan Jacobs. It will be administered by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. The grant was given with the recommendation that it be used to construct a new education center and research library in the vacant lot between the museum and Sundial Building on Water Street. Irwin Jacobs, a New Bedford native, is the CEO emeritus of technology giant Qualcomm. The Jacobs now live in La Jolla, Calif., but return to the Whaling City annually to award scholarships to local students. The building is as-yet unnamed. It would quadruple classroom space, add a research and reading room and provide space for Azorean whaleboat craftsmen. The added space also would consolidate Whaling Museum staff in one place, allowing officials to sell off the museum’s Purchase Street building. The new building is part of a $10 million capital campaign started by the museum’s trustees in 2011, The Standard-Time reported. Officials expect the construction project, which includes infrastructure upgrades to the existing buildings, to cost $5 million, with the rest of the money going toward creating an endowment. The museum has reached 80 percent of its $10 million goal. Construction is expected to begin in 2014 and continue for a year, the newspaper said.

CBRE: Gateway Center sale price $13.2 million BOSTON – CBRE/New England last week announced the sale of Gateway Center at 15 Park Row West in Providence, stating in a news release that the property was sold to Albany Road Real Estate Partners for $13.225 million. The 117,981-square-foot, Class A office building is the current home to tenants such as TIAA-CREF, the American Athletic Conference (the former Big East Conference), Admirals Bank and Andera. The building was 87 percent leased at time of sale. 15 Park Row West Holdings LLC previously owned the property. CBRE/New England’s Alden Anderson, senior vice president/partner, and Bill Moylan, executive vice president/ partner, represented the seller and procured the buyer in the transaction. Completed in 1990, the Gateway Center is considered one of the premier, low-rise Class A buildings in downtown Providence. CBRE/New England said that recent capital improvements have exceeded $1.2 million and included a roof replacement, lobby renovation, electrical submetering and firstand second-floor demising.

Recording fee classaction suit dismissed RESTON, Va. – Merscorp Holdings Inc. last week announced that a U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of Merscorp Holdings Inc., Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. and other member-bank defendants in

a Rhode Island recording-fee suit. Judge John J. McConnell Jr. dismissed a class-action suit filed by the town of Johnston on its own behalf and on behalf of all other similarly situated Rhode Island cities and towns. Allegations included violations of Rhode Island’s recording requirements and unjust enrichment. Both counts were dismissed. “Rhode Island law does not require that all mortgages and mortgage assignments be recorded,” Judge McConnell wrote in his decision. “Absent a statutory requirement to record, there are no damages, and, therefore there is no cause of action.” Rhode Island courts have “consistently upheld MERS valid role and authority,” MERSCORP Holdings’ Director of Corporate Communications Jason Lobo said in a statement. “This ruling mirrors similarly dismissed recorder-fee lawsuits brought by counties in North Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky.”

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WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The Shaw’s supermarket chain said last week it plans to close six “underperforming” stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, The Associated Press reported. The stores scheduled to close by early next month are in Fall River, Fairhaven, Stoughton and Taunton in Massachusetts and Westerly and Woonsocket in Rhode Island. Based in West Bridgewater, Mass., Shaw’s said the stores have not been profitable for quite some time. Efforts to turn them around have not worked, the company told the AP. Management will work with unions to find displaced workers positions at other Shaw’s stores. The company, owned by Cerberus Capital management LC, will continue to operate more than 160 Shaw’s and Star Market stores in five New England states.

Kilmartin, Coakley urge EPA to adopt new rule WASHINGTON – Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and his Massachusetts counterpart, Martha Coakley, this month joined a letter urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a newly proposed rule for reducing air pollution from passenger cars and trucks. Also joining in the letter were the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, and the corporation counsels of Chicago and New York City. The coalition is urging the EPA to fully adopt the Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards rule, proposed by the agency in March, which is estimated to reduce motor-vehicle emissions of smog-producing pollution by 80 percent and soot pollution by 70 percent. The coalition letter urges the EPA to finalize this critically important rule by the end of 2013. “EPA’s proposed rule has enormous potential to clean up pollution from cars and trucks, which is causing harmful ground-level ozone,” Coakley said in a news release. Pollution reductions achieved by the standards would have the same effect as taking 33 million of today’s vehicles off the road during the 2017 to 2025 period of the rule’s applicability, according to the letter. n


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Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013

July 15-21, 2013

Providence Business News n 17

Providence Business News

18 n

Starved for calamari recognition? Eighty-six the calamari. As you are most likely aware, Rhode Island is still without an official state appetizer. Calamari, fried up tender and served with spicy pepperoncini, appeared to be on the fast track to fame as the Ocean State’s culinary standard-bearer. A handful of restaurants around the state had jumped on the bandwagon and Bruce Newbury had been promoting their version of the popular dish as “Rhode Island’s State Appetizer” not long after Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, introduced House Bill No.5654 way back in February. The legislation cited that among other things, “squid is to Rhode Island what lobster is to Maine and cod is to Massachusetts.” On March 27, the Health, Education and Welfare Committee recommended the measure be held for further study. To use a restaurant analogy, at that point the bill was on the warming table in the kitchen waiting for a server to bring it to the table but that server had a big party to wait on and would not get to it for a long while. The bill was not dead yet. As the contentious 2013 General Assembly session reached its end, the calamari bill was still up for a vote. At the 11th hour of the last day of the session on July 3, the legislation was one of the last items on the Senate’s calendar. But alas, the

Dining Out

Senate adjourned without voting on it. McNamara’s bitter disappointment was clear in his comments to the media that night. He described the action – or lack thereof – as a “symbolic insult to the state’s fishing industry,” and “petty politics at its worst.” We won’t starve officially, however. There is the state fruit, the greening apple, or perhaps the state bird, the Rhode Island Red or the state fish, the striped bass. Lucky for us, we still have lasagna, even if we have to share it with the rest of the nation. July 29 is National Lasagna Day and there is a local celebration: Angelo’s Civita Farnese on Providence’s Federal Hill will be celebrating National Lasagna Day with the rest of the nation. Lasagna is described by the organizers of the day as “a favorite Italian dish of millions of Americans.” It is considered a cuisine of central Italy with several regional variations. In the southern provinces of Italy, the sauce is mostly a simple tomato sauce and ragu, whereas in northern Italy, a Béchamel sauce is more popular. According to food historians, lasagna’s name may derive from a Greek word that refers to flat, thin unleavened bread. The Romans adapted the word as “lasanum,” Latin for “cooking pot.” Italians would later use this word to refer to the pan in which lasagna is prepared. Publicity material provided for the day brings up a good point about the

timing of a celebration of a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dish in the middle of the high summer: “We all would eat it more often, but this culinary work of art, made with loving hands, takes time to make and bake.” Valerie LeDuc, Angelo’s vice president of operations, invites Angelo’s guests to help commemorate National Lasagna Day by sending in a favorite lasagna recipe with a picture. A panel of celebrity lasagna experts will pick one recipe that they would like to try and the home chef who created it will be invited to the restaurant to cook it on the afternoon of July 29. The public is invited to a tasting that evening at 7 p.m. For the record, there are no congressional records or presidential proclamation for National Lasagna Day. And it would appear that calamari still has the inside track for official Rhode Island recognition, the recent legislative action notwithstanding. And if we have to share a food celebration with the rest of the country, at least lasagna is a dish that serves many, so there will be enough to go around. n

Calamari still has the inside track for official R.I. recognition.

Bruce Newbury’s “Dining Out” food and wine talk radio show is heard Saturdays and Sundays on WPRV-AM 790, weekdays on WADK-AM 1540 and online and mobile app on iHeartRadio. He can be reached by email at

July 15-21, 2013

New Biz from page 12

managers sought her help in providing baked goods for a café, and she decided to open her own business rather than work for a business that they might have built. “To put in that amount of work and not own the business wouldn’t be profitable or healthy for me,” she said. Adriana Dawson, state director of the Rhode Island Business Development Center, said that while an increase at RIBDC in new-business formations is not quantifiable, people interviewed in intake sessions say they are feeling more optimistic about the economy. “We have noticed more folks coming in that are exploring the trades industries – contractors, plumbers,” she said, as well as the more common restaurant and retail store owners. Jennifer Cookke of Lincoln, a commercial developer and property manager, organizes a new LLC every time she starts a major project, such as UO Realty LLC, created this past quarter for a new medical building under construction on Eddy Street in Providence. “In the last two years, the only growth we’ve experienced is in the medical community, whether through a hospital system or private doctors,” she said. “The medical community in the state is robust and I don’t think Obamacare will alter that. We are optimistic about Rhode Island. The regulations and some of the politics can be disheartening at times, but we remain optimistic about investing in the state.” n

PBNFocus Report Construction, Design & Architecture Architects, engineers and builders are taking their creativity to a new level – in part to meet the challenges presented by the vast array of commercial and residential projects underway and planned across Rhode Island. We will look at some of the most interesting projects in new construction, historic preservation and rehabs.

July 22, 2013

October 7, 2013

TOP LIST: Industrial Parks

TOP LIST: Architectural Firms

For advertising information, email Lauren Soares, 400 Westminster Street, Suite 600, Providence, RI 02903 401-273-2201

Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013 n 19 breaking news, July 4 - 10

Raimondo: End of SEC investigation clears pension system PROVIDENCE – The Securities and Exchange Commission will not take any action following its investigation of the Rhode Island pension system’s disclosures and statements, announced General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo. “Our pension practices are transparent, our disclosure is accurate, and our pension system is on a firm foundation,” Raimondo said in a statement. “Any cloud that lingered over our pension disclosure is gone. Our public employees and retirees should have greater peace of mind today.” The investigation began in early 2011 and examined the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island’s pension-finance disclosures and statements from 2007 to 2011, when Raimondo’s term began. During the course of the investigation the state enacted various pension-reform measures. Addressing the decision not to initiate enforcement action, Paul Mac, a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani said, “Several factors may have been influential. Treasurer Raimondo’s Truth in Numbers initiative, combined with adding an overall robust commitment to state-of-the-art financial disclosure, training and best practices to existing good disclosure, plus decisive legislative action on pension reform, all likely influenced the SEC’s decision.”

Slater boosts investment in VoltServer by $500K PROVIDENCE – The Slater Technology Fund has reinvested in Charlestown-based power-distribution company VoltServer, committing $500,000 as part of the company’s $2 million Series A financing round. The $500,000 investment comes after Slater’s initial $250,000 investment in the company in 2012. VoltServer has “pioneered” a technology known as Packet Energy Transfer, which “revolutionizes the way electrical power is controlled and distributed,” according to a Slater release. Slater lauded the technology as being safer than other electric transmission methods due to its ability to distinguish in real time between current being drawn by load equipment and a person accidentally touching power conductors. It automatically discontinues the power before it becomes lethal. VoltServer said that its technology has applications across multiple industries but that its initial target is telecommunications.

Foreclosure inventory falls in Rhode Island IRVINE, Calif. – Rhode Island’s foreclosure inventory rate fell 0.4 percentage points in May from the same month last year, according to the National Foreclosure Report from CoreLogic. With 2.5 percent of all homes with a mortgage in a stage of foreclosure, the Ocean State’s rate is currently hovering just under the national average of 2.6 percent. There were 1,614 completed foreclosures in Rhode Island from June 2012 to May 2013. Throughout the country there were

52,000, a 27 percent decrease from the number reported in May 2012. The Rhode Island rate of mortgages in serious delinquency, or mortgages that are 90 days or more past due, is 6.7 percent, roughly one percentage point above the national average of 5.6 percent. Nationally there are 2.3 million mortgages in serious delinquency. “The stock of seriously delinquent homes, which is the main driver of shadow inventory, is at the lowest level since December 2008,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming said in a statement.

Westerly, Attleboro get ‘Main Street’ makeovers MONTAVALE, N.J. – Westerly and Attleboro are among 20 communities that will be a part of Benjamin Moore & Co.’s 2013 “Main Street Matters” program. The annual project is designed to renew support for communities and local businesses by presenting a “revitalization package” to all participating neighborhoods that includes the exterior painting of local businesses in twoto three-blocks of the community. The communities were selected after a six-week voting period on and During the voting period more than 130 towns across the nation vied for selection. Aside from generating excitement on the voting website, citizens and business owners used social media such as YouTube and Twitter to encourage support for their hometowns. Benjamin Moore will engage in the project in partnership with various other organizations, including local municipalities and Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Make It Right foundation. Work will extend from this summer through early 2014.

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EDC awards $400K to two small businesses PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Economic Development Corporation has approved $400,000 from its Small Business Loan Fund for two small Rhode Island businesses, Meridian Ocean Services LLC and S&M Appliance Service Corp. “Providing companies with access to capital makes doing business easier in Rhode Island and allows small businesses to stay competitive and create or retain jobs in the state,” Marcel A. Valois, EDC executive director, said in prepared remarks. Both recipients of the loans are in the process of expanding their staffs. Meridian Ocean Services, a Newport-based business that provides midwater subsea inspection and survey services, received $250,000. The money will act as working capital to help purchase necessary equipment such as underwater research vehicles, according to the EDC. Smithfield-based S&M Appliance Service Corp. was granted a $150,000 loan to help the company buy their current facility. Founded in 1953, the company is a distributer and servicer of gas grills, pellet stoves and gas heating appliances. n

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

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Providence Business News


I’ve been playing music for the bulk of my life mostly and simply for the love of it. I feel lucky to have found something that I love to do. When I won my Providence Phoenix award for Best Male Vocalist recently, it came as a great surprise. I didn’t expect the readers of the Phoenix to vote for an older rock ‘n roller like me when there were so many other younger and equally worthy nominees. The bands I’ve been in have won awards through the years but getting this one at this point in my life had some extra poignancy. It truly was and remains inspirational. The award and what it means has helped me to feel relevant in the vibrant music scene we have here in our hometown. It’s a symbol of a little victory in life. I display it proudly in my home studio and when I feel a little down about things, it’s a tangible reminder that I’ve done something that was worthy of someone’s attention.

Mark Cutler




July 15-21, 2013

Going against tide can lead to flood of sales Salespeople are often known for their “can do” attitude when it comes to getting an order. They don’t let anything get in their way. Yet, the road to closing sales is getting rougher, with more obstacles, hairpin turns and fewer straightaways. Customers are more discerning, demanding and cautious. They guarantees, expect free enhancements, John Graham incredible support and, of course, a “white knuckles” price and beyond. They’re not satisfied with reducing risk; they want to eliminate it. All this drives salespeople to search for more inventive ways to get the job done – everything from finding appropriate prospects to nailing down appointments and getting the order. Because selling is a tough job, it’s often necessary to go against the tide in order to move forward – to do things differently to close sales. Here are some thoughts about how to go about it: n Forget about getting the order. Sounds harsh, almost subversive. But it may not be so crazy when you consider that closing rates are painfully low. And if that isn’t enough, the toughest lesson salespeople must learn if they want to survive is coping with constant rejection. If a customer gets the feeling that a salesperson’s sole objective is getting the order, the chances that it will happen drop to near zero. It’s easy to forget that customers want to buy; they do not want to be sold – even if they need what a salesperson is selling. n Skip “courting” customers. Salespeople are known to make a serious effort at “building a relationship” with prospects. They do those things that build goodwill and establish friendships, all of which they hope will lead to getting the account or coming away with a contract. While such efforts may produce short-term results, enduring relationship-building can require a lot more today. Initial contacts with prospects are of crucial importance, far beyond just getting acquainted or establishing common ground. It’s sizing up time, when first impressions become indelible. It’s when prospects decide whether or not to work with a salesperson, which is why being perceived as a knowledgeable, competent and committed professional is essential. So, don’t derail the opportunity with distractions. This is the time to demonstrate your insights into the business, including challenges and opportunities. n Push “getting” out of your mind. “Pay forward” is a core value of selling, although it is mostly misunderstood. This has nothing to do with spending time and money “courting prospects” or “keeping customers happy” with tickets to sporting events, special excursions or even free dinners

Guest Column

and the like. It has to do with another type of “giving before you get.” Specifically, it’s about “funding an account” with your demonstrated value before prospects become customers. How to do it? Just begin by asking for an opportunity to demonstrate your value. Whether it’s a problem to solve, researching an issue, finding a needed resource, or offering insight from your experience, consider it a “mini-internship,” if you like. n Make differentiating yourself a top priority. Many salespeople claim they don’t worry about the competition. Well, perhaps. Or, maybe they’re just “whistlin’ Dixie.” While your company may work at differentiating itself from the competition, it’s equally important for salespeople to do it, too. Start by analyzing the way other salespeople who serve your prospects and customers do their job. Get acquainted with what they do, how they perform and how they interact with your prospect. Develop an understanding of their modus operandi. n Anticipate customer needs to grow your sales. There are two negative behaviors that ill-serve salespeople: Customers hear from them when they want an order or the sales manager instructs everyone to get on the phones for two hours on Thursday. Both quickly become clearly transparent to customers. These same customers learn to rely and trust those sales reps who take the time to create a “needs profile” so they can be in touch at the right time. They listen carefully and pick up on upcoming projects, new business opportunities, organizational changes, and problems that will, at some point, need attention. The objective is to know when a customer faces a specific issue and to make contact at that moment. This is when a customer feels that a salesperson is an alter ego, a person who knows what a client is thinking. n Educate customers to build trust. Even though it may seem futile today, there are salespeople who persist in acting as “information gatekeepers,” attempting to control customers by managing the information they give them. In answering a customer question, they’re “selective” in the answers they give them. Ironically, it’s just the opposite that builds trust with customers. Confidence in a salesperson comes from making sure customers have accurate and reliable informatiovn, even when it may not reflect favorably on what a salesperson is selling. Highly effective salespeople want to be regarded as reliable, forthright and competent resources. Going against the tide isn’t really an ethical issue. It’s quite practical. What’s in the best interest of customers is good for salespeople, too. n

Customers want to buy. They do not want to be sold.

John Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales consultant and business writer.

Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013 n 21

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Page 22 July 5-21, 2013

Providence Business News

Chambers of Commerce (ranked by membership) 2013 rank

2012 rank

President/CEO Website

No. of members Minimum dues Paid staff Operating budget

Areas served

Year founded



Greater Providence 30 Exchange Terrace Providence, R.I. 02903 (401) 521-5000 Fax: (401) 621-6109

Laurie White, president

1,500 12

$275 $1,900,000

Rhode Island




Cape Cod 5 Patti Page Way Centerville, Mass. 02632 (508) 362-3225 Fax: (508) 362-3698

Wendy K. Northcross, CEO

1,328 19

$260 $2,200,000

Barnstable County




Newport County 35 Valley Road Middletown, R.I. 02842 (401) 847-1600 Fax: (401) 849-5848

Jody J. Sullivan, executive director

1,200 7

$315 $400,000

Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton




Martha's Vineyard 24 Beach Road / P.O. Box 1698 Vineyard Haven, Mass. 02568 (508) 693-0085 Fax: (508) 693-7589

Nancy Gardella, executive director

1,000 5

$299 $900,000

The island of Martha's Vineyard, including the communities of Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury




New Bedford Area 794 Purchase St. New Bedford, Mass. 02740 (508) 999-5231 Fax: (508) 999-5237

Roy Nascimento

917 6

$285 $630,000

Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, Wareham, Westport




Central Rhode Island 3288 Post Road Warwick, R.I. 02886 (401) 732-1100 Fax: (401) 732-1107

Lauren E.I. Slocum

850 5

$295 NA

Warwick, West Warwick, Coventry, West Greenwich and businesses statewide




Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. 200 Pocasset St. Fall River, Mass. 02721 (508) 676-8226 Fax: (508) 675-5932

Robert A. Mellion, Esq., president and CEO, and general counsel

800 5

$295 NA

Dighton, Fall River, Freetown, Lakeville, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport, Mass., and Bristol, Little Compton, Tiverton, and Warren.




The United Regional 42 Union St. Attleboro, Mass. 02703 (508) 222-0801 Fax: (508) 222-1498

Jack Lank, president

800 3

$260 $500,000

Attleboro, Bellingham, Blackstone, Foxboro, Franklin, Mansfield, Medway, Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleborough, Norton, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk and Wrentham




Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area 1 Chamber Way Westerly, R.I. 02891 (401) 596-7761 Fax: (401) 596-2190

Lisa Konicki, executive director

774 5

$195 $400,000

Hopkinton, Richmond, Westerly, Pawcatuck, Conn.




Nantucket Island 0 Main St., 2nd Floor Nantucket, Mass. 02554 (508) 228-3643 Fax: (508) 325-4925

Patricia J. Martin-Smith, executive director

600 5

$105 NA

Nantucket Island




Southern Rhode Island 230 Old Tower Hill Road Wakefield, R.I. 02879 (401) 783-2801 Fax: (401) 789-3120

Elizabeth Berman, director

550 2

$125 B $182,000

Greater Washington County area




North Kingstown 8045 Post Road North Kingstown, R.I. 02852 (401) 295-5566 Fax: (401) 295-5582

Martha M. Pughe, executive director

450 3

$215 NA

Exeter, Jamestown, North Kingstown




Taunton Area 6 Pleasant St. Taunton, Mass. 02780 (508) 824-4068 Fax: (508) 884-8222

Kerrie L Babin

450 2

$273 $190,000

Berkley, Dighton, Raynham and Taunton




East Bay 16 Cutler St., Suite 102 Warren, R.I. 02885 (401) 245-0750 Fax: (401) 245-0110

Mark G. Devine, chairman

400 1

$240 NA

East Bay of Rhode Island




East Greenwich 580 Main St. East Greenwich, R.I. 02818 (401) 885-0020 Fax: (401) 885-0048

Stephen Lombardi, executive director

380 5

$200 $210,000

East Greenwich




Narragansett 36 Ocean Road Narragansett, R.I. 02882 (401) 783-7121

Deborah Kelso, executive director

380 3

$150 $135,000

Washington County




Tri-town 280 School St., Building L100 Mansfield, Mass. 02048 (508) 339-5655 Fax: (508) 339-8333

Kara J Griffin, executive director

350 3

$270 NA

Foxboro, Mansfield and Norton




Block Island 1 Water St., Drawer D Block Island, R.I. 02807 (401) 466-2982 Fax: (401) 466-2711

Mary Lawless, board president

300 4

$60 $200,000

Block Island




Charlestown 4945 Old Post Road Charlestown, R.I. 02813 (401) 364-3878 Fax: (401) 364-8794

Heather Lynn Paliotta, executive director

300 2

$100 $300,000

Washington County




Greater Cranston Chamber of Commerce 150 Midway Road, Suite 178 Cranston, R.I. 02920 (401) 785-3780 Fax: (401) 785-3782

Stephen C. Boyle, president

300 1

$265 NA

Focusing on Cranston, but servicing all of Rhode Island




East Providence Area 1011 Waterman Avenue East Providence, R.I. 02914 (401) 438-1212 Fax: (401) 435-4581

Laura A. McNamara, executive director

250 1

$275 NA

Barrington, East Providence, Rehoboth, Seekonk




North Central 255 Greenville Ave. Johnston, R.I. 02919 (401) 349-4674 Fax: (401) 349-4676

Deborah J. Ramos, president

210 2

$295 $123,000

Foster, Glocester, Johnston, North Providence, Scituate, Smithfield


Chamber of Commerce

NA = Not available/not applicable. NL = Not listed last year. B Current members of any chamber can join for discounted rate of $125, otherwise membership starts at $225. LIST RESEARCHED BY Barbara Lipsche 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

Upcoming Lists: New England Resorts (deadline October 4) and Property Management Firms (deadline October 11)

July 15-21, 2013

Providence Business News




from page 8

ture for America. Large companies have more time and money to recruit top graduates, so Yang made recruiting for startups in lower-cost cities his mission. The project launched by matching fellows with startups in Providence, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans and Las Vegas. So far, Venture for America has 19 fellows working full time at startups in Rhode Island, said Yang. The expansion map includes Baltimore, Cleveland, New Haven, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham. The goal is to bring talent and create jobs that contribute to the vitality of these cities. Thirty-eight-year-old Yang points to Charlie Kroll, a Brown graduate who founded Providence-based Andera, a venture-backed technology company focused on online banking, as the inspiration that led him to create Venture for America. Yang recalls being on a panel with Kroll in 2008 when he heard that Kroll didn’t get the job he wanted as an investment banker in New York, so he started a company. Yang decided to provide a path for top graduates to head directly to startups. “We have lots of recruiting challenges, just like startups all over the country,� said Kroll. “There’s no question that the unemployment rate is high, nationally, so people think there are lots of people looking for work, but the people with the skills our kind of company hires are really in short supply.� Kroll is on the Venture for America board of directors and Andera was matched with one of the fellows last year and again this year. “Venture for America gives us an opportunity to hire top talent,� said Kroll. “If you look at where the top college grads are going to work, they’re going to Boston, New York, San Francisco and D.C. to work for big companies that have the resources to recruit on campus. “It’s very hard for us to attract college grads who got job offers in October of their senior year,� said Kroll. “Certainly technology is the hardest thing

Black Ships from page 6

including Aikido and the sword art of Laido, to help draw teenagers more interested in those events. Arts and cultural groups from around the country visit to watch the various art forms performed by masters of their craft. Families, meanwhile, turn out in droves for the Taiko drum performance planned for July 21. Rosenberg estimates about 1,200 people fill Cardine’s Field to watch the show. Costumed drummers perform almost like dancers, beating out complex rhythms with broad, dramatic movements on their giant, round drums. “People just go crazy. The energy’s fantastic,� said Discover Newport’s Smith of the drum concert. The all-ages appeal of the festival’s events is one of its best features, said Jody Sullivan, executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. She said it can be a challenge to provide “family-friendly things to do with kids,� but Black Ships fits the bill. n 23


JOINT VENTURE: Venture for America fellows work in teams to brainstorm during a design-training session.

to hire for and computer science grads are incredibly hard to recruit. Competition for them is very high. “Venture for America creates a safe path to work for startups. It creates a safety net,� said Kroll. “If the startup fails, they match you with another company.� The program is a unique way to bring talent to cities across America, said Kroll. “It’s certainly an unusual program in the entrepreneurial world. The model is very well-established in education with Teach for America,� he said. Teach for America provides training, support and career development for people who teach for two years in a low-income community, according to its website. Yang has raised $6 million, so far, to support Venture for America. Contributors from the Ocean State include the Blackstone Foundation, $150,000; Bhikhajii Maneckji, $50,000; Delta Dental, $25,000; The Rhode Island Foundation, $25,000; Alan Hassenfeld, $5,000 and Kroll and Andera, $3,000, said Yang. Venture for America’s goal, according to its website, is “to create 100,000 new U.S. jobs by 2025 by helping growth companies expand and by training a critical mass of our top graduates to themselves become business builders and job creators.� Kroll said he’s an example of how Venture for America can attract talent to smaller cities. “I graduated from Brown, I started this company here and never left,� said Kroll, whose 13-year-old company now has 100 employees. “These people will spend two years seeing the best of Providence. Some will leave, but many will stay.� n “It’s a great, family type of event that you just don’t find anywhere else,� Sullivan said. “It’s wonderful that Newport can have such a big menu for people to choose from.� Sullivan said the festival is a boon to local commerce as well. With so many events at local venues and visitors staying in the area, she said, Black Ships provides “a lot of trickle down� business for Newport. Smith agreed the popular event helps the local economies of both Newport and Shimoda, and helps spread Newport’s name and reputation around the world. But he said it holds a deeper importance as well. Smith has traveled to the Shimoda festival and welcomed the delegation to Newport. He explained he is often moved by the affection and understanding that can develop across a language barrier, particularly in light of the rancor and unrest in much of the world. “I speak maybe four words of Japanese, they speak maybe four words of English, but you can communicate,� he said. After four days of festivities, “They leave, and you want to hug each other. And you say, ‘we can do this.’ � n

Take advantage of low advertising rates and put your best sales message in front of 37,500 top executives.

Reach these key decision-makers: n n n n

44% influence information technology purchases 38% Telco equipment 54% Desktop computers 52% Office copiers

These decision-makers will know what your company has to offer when they see your ad. You can build response and recognition. PBN will help you create your advertising message, at no additional charge.

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Providence Business News

24 n

July 15-21, 2013

Help! My main contact left, and I’m panicked! Dear Jeffrey, I sell copiers in NYC, and this year I finished as the No. 1 rep in the nation. I truly believe that would not have been possible had it not been for your Little Red Book of Selling. I do have a question and would greatly appreciate your advice. Recently, I have been noticing a high turnover of people (including executives) at my accounts. When this happens it’s almost Jeffrey Gitomer like the reset button has been pressed and the replacements have no allegiance to

sales moves

me or my service and are usually unaware as to how hard I’ve worked to earn their company’s business. How should I conduct myself when I know there is a new person in a company I have to work with? Is there a specific process I should follow? Common problem. Uncommon answer to follow. Loss of key contact (the person that buys from you) happens often in business, and most salespeople (not you of course) are totally unprepared for it. There are two variations to this scenario: 1. Someone is promoted from within. If you’ve done your homework, built multiple relationships within your customer’s company, and you

know the replacement, then you should be fine. If you don’t know him, you have to scramble and start over. 2. Someone was hired from the outside. This is basically a start-over situation and all the answers you need are stated below. There are 5.5 specific things you can do to prevent a total tragedy. NONE OF THEM are options. 1. Start with prevention. This is a major point of understanding: You have to ask yourself, “What would happen, what would I do, if all my prime contacts left tomorrow?” Begin to plan and act from there. 2. Then ask yourself … How is the purchase made? Discover the chain of purchase, and know everyone who impacts purchase. Add them to your CRM

Hospitality Publishing August 19 – Reserve Space by August 12 Hospitality is one of the top industries in Rhode Island. Whether measured by employment levels, taxes generated or sales income to local companies, hospitality is a sector PBN watches closely. So on August 19, we’ll publish the springtime special focus section on the Hospitality Industry in southeastern New England. Other hospitality sections coming up this year include Corporate Outings and Tourism.

Top List: Meeting Facilities PBN Reader Demographics: n

n n n n n

9,400 make the company decision about conventions, meetings and catering 20,800 decide about travel arrangements 13,000 decide about corporate gifts 7,800 make referrals to visitors about area hotels 13,500 decide on a meeting site On average, our readers spend 19 nights each year at hotels and they take six airline trips.

Reach them by advertising in the Hospitality Focus Reserve your space before August 19 Contact Dave Dunbar at or 401.680.4801 Advisory_Hospitality.indd

notes. Who’s the boss? Get to know the boss and make sure they know your value. Who are the users? Talk to and meet with the people that USE your product or service. They are not the ones who purchase, but they can play a major role in the decision to purchase. And they tell the real story of quality and service response. Who else is influenced by or involved with your product? When you meet, add others from the inside. Get to know co-workers. 3. Meet the key decision-maker outside the office at least monthly. Coffee at 7:30 a.m. will build the personal relationship. 4. Get known and recognized. Your weekly email about office productivity, communication, and morale will get passed around if it’s valuable – even forwarded to other professionals in other companies. And when you visit the customer, they’ll recognize you as “you’re the guy who…” smiling as they say it! 5. Build reputation across the company. Know everyone, but more important, have everyone know you – not just know you as a person, but as a person of value. If all of this seems like hard work, it pales in comparison to the work you’ll have to do if you’re unprepared after the fact. Okay, so the new person starts. Did the departing person tell you or was it a surprise? If the old person told you in advance, that’s a sign your relationship was strong. If the relationship was really strong, the departing person will put you on a preferred list of recommended vendors. If you’re blind-sided by the news, that’s a report card, too. Let’s take worst-case scenario – new person, no history with you, bringing HIS or HER contacts, connections and vendors: 1. Introduce yourself and offer help acclimating. Gain access. 2. Have coffee with them ASAP – get the personal relationship in gear. Share the history. Ask for their wisdom, their experience and their goals. 3. Print your CRM history and present it to the new person so they can see your relationship and your value. (All of a sudden, CRM diligence can have an impact.) 4. Enlist others to speak on your behalf. 5. Follow ALL the ideas above. The key to having a new person in charge of your future sales is to be ready. It’s a simple rule of “the more the more.” The more mature and solid a valuebased relationship has been built with the key contact AND the rest of the company, the more likely it will be that the new person will continue doing business with you. n

Knoweveryone, but more important, have everyone knowyou.

Jeffrey Gitomer is president of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or email to

Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013 n 25

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26 n

Providence Business News

SURF’S UP: URI assistant kinesiology professor Emily Clapham, left, with young surfer Tessa Egan during the Surf Ocean Therapy Intervention program, which helped children with disorders improve their health and fitness.

URI offers surf-therapy program to children The University of Rhode Island Kinesiology Department recently helped 23 local children of varying abilities learn to surf at Narragansett Town Beach thanks to a community-adapted physical education program called Surf Ocean Therapy Intervention. The children, ages 5-19, recently concluded an eight-week program, where they worked one-on-one with surfers. The children suffered from a range of disorders including Down syndrome, autism, attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities or cognitive delays.

“There aren’t very many activities for children with disabilities, and the result of the pilot surfing program we did last year showed so many positives,” said assistant kinesiology professor Emily Clapham, who created the surfing program. “There was increased core and upper-body strength, enhanced balance and just a better overall sense of well-being.” The Kinesiology Department offers the community a range of adapted physical education programs throughout the year. n

Calendar of Events

dise” party from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the chamber offices, 3288 Post Road, Warwick. There will be games, music, face painting, limbo and more. Net proceeds will go to benefit the restoration of the Victorian Lady, the historic building where the chamber is currently located. Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-12, free for Children 3 and under. Some games also require purchasing tickets. For more information and to register, call (401) 732-1100 or visit 

MONDAY, JULY 15 NORTH CENTRAL GOLF TOURNAMENT The North Central Chamber of Commerce will hold its 20th annual golf tournament from 1 to 8 p.m. at Kirkbrae Country Club, 197 Old River Road, Lincoln. The event includes lunch, dinner, goody bags, gifts and raffles. Cost: $150 per player. For more information and to register, contact Kelly Patz at (401) 349-4674 or visit

WEDNESDAY, JULY 17 REAL ESTATE PRESENTATION Residential Properties Ltd. will host a presentation by Rhode Island Real Estate Attorney James Caruolo at 10 a.m., at 750 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett. Caruolo’s presentation will focus on changes in the state law in regards to home-inspection provision and the Rhode Island purchase-andsales agreement. Caruolo has more than 20 years of legal experience in Rhode Island. For more information call (401) 274-6740 or visit SMALL-BUSINESS FACEBOOK WORSHOP The Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Center will host a workshop for small businesses on using Facebook effectively from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Centerville Seminar Center, 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick. Led by Deirdre Weedon, a social media consultant for small businesses, the workshop will include advice on setting up a Facebook business page, attracting an audience and advertising on the social network, as well as a question-and-answer session. Cost: free. For more information and to register, call (401) 447-8000 or visit AFTER-HOURS PARTY The Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce will hold an “After Hours in Para-

THURSDAY, JULY 18 HEALTH CARE INFO SESSION The North Central Chamber of Commerce will hold an information session for smallbusiness owners explaining the Affordable Health Care Act and how it will affect employers from 6 to 7 p.m. at Claiborne Pell Manor at 1609 Plainfield Pike, Johnston. The session will delve into questions about the law’s impact on employees, new fines to which employers might be susceptible and tax credits businesses can get. For more information and to register, contact Kelly Patz at (401) 349-4674 or visit BROWN-BAG LUNCH The Newport County Chamber of Commerce will hold its monthly brown-bag lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Chamber, 35 Valley Road, Middletown. The lunch will offer an opportunity for Chamber members to present their businesses to each other and provide marketing materials. The Business During Hours event follows the chamber’s regular Business After Hours and Business Before Hours meetings. Panera Catering is providing lunch. For more information and to register, call (401) 847-1608 or visit www. AFTER-HOURS NETWORKING The New Bedford Chamber of Commerce will host its monthly after-hours mixer for members and nonmembers from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Office Technology Group, 651 Orchard

July 15-21, 2013

A $5,000 GRANT from the Roy T. Morgan Foundation will help support therapeutic programs at Easter Seals Rhode Island. Pictured here: Occupational Therapist Kristen Pepe with client Lia-Mae at the Pediatric Outpatient Clinic.

Morgan grant funds Easter Seals programs The Roy T. Morgan Foundation, a Warwick-based nonprofit, recently gave a $5,000 grant to Easter Seals Rhode Island in support of their outpatient programs. The physical and occupation therapies offered by the outpatient program cater to children affected by neurological, developmental or orthopedic conditions. Services aim to improve areas varying from coordination, balance, sensory integration, endurance and range of motion. The program launched in October 2011 and served roughly 100 children and St., Suite 103, New Bedford. The informal event will include a cash bar, a raffle and a variety of desserts. Cost: free for Chamber members and their guests; $15 for nonmembers. For more information and to register, email Caitlin Tapper at or visit

FRIDAY, JULY 19 PROBLEM-SOLVING PROGRAM The Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program will host “Aristotle’s Model for Complex Problem Solving” from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Centerville Seminar Center, 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick. The program will feature a presentation by Jeffrey Deckman, founder of Capability Accelerators, which will help instruct participants in the systematic approach that Aristotle used to assess and address problems he faced creatively and thoroughly. Participants will then learn additional tools to predict and avoid the unintended problems caused by narrowly focused solutions. Deckman is a former engineer, a serial entrepreneur and a founding partner of a “Human Capital Think Tank.” Cost: free. For more information, call (401) 447-8000 or visit

TUESDAY, JULY 23 RECYCLING-FACILITY TOUR The North Central Chamber of Commerce will lead a field trip to the Rhode Island Resource and Recovery Center to see the materials and recycling facility from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at 65 Shun Pike, Johnston. The tour, which will offer a window into what happens to our trash and recycling, is the inaugural event in the Chamber’s series of summer field trips. Open to all ages. Cost: free. For more information and to register, contact Kelly Patz at (401) 349-4674 or visit

young adults in 2012. “With help from the Roy T. Morgan Foundation, the Pediatric Outpatient Program will provide physical and occupational therapies to children and young adults helping them become more independent, adjust to change, develop new skills, and play with their peers,” said Pat O’Leary, Easter Seals clinical supervisor.  Easter Seals outpatient programs ensure people with special needs – from birth up to age 21 – have the opportunity to learn and participate in their community. n CROWD-FUNDing WORKSHOP The Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program will host a crowd-funding workshop from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Centerville Seminar Center, 875 Centerville Road, Building 2, Suite 5, Warwick. The workshop, led by Dave Nash, founder of the Rhode Island Small Business Recovery Program, will discuss elements of creating a successful crowd-funding campaign including: platforms, incentives for contributors, compelling narratives with images and video, extending marketing reach, and engaging the audience. A simulated crowd-funding campaign will be created during the workshop. Cost: free. For more information, call (401) 447-8000 or visit

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 BUSINESS-GROWTH WORKSHOP The North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce will offer a business-growth workshop from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Chamber offices, 8045 Post Road, North Kingstown. Conducted by a representative from the Growth Coach, the event will include advice about time management, interpersonal relations, business growth and cash management. It will also provide opportunitites for networking. Cost: $10. For more information, contact Carol Palmer at (401) 295-5566 or email  BUSINESS AFTER HOURS The Westerly Community Credit Union will host an event for networking from 5 to 7 p.m. at 71 South County Commons Way, South Kingstown. The Westerly Community Credit Union offers a variety of financial products and services, including checking, savings and investment services, to car loans and home mortgages. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards to this event for networking. Cost: $5 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (401) 783-2801 or visit


Providence Business News

Miriam’s Goldstein receives physician of the year honor Dr. Lisa J. Goldstein, a pathologist at The Miriam Hospital, has been named the 2013 Charles C.J. Carpenter, M.D., Outstanding Physician of the Year. Goldstein was nominated by her peers for the award, which acknowledges her outstanding contributions to medicine, leadership, professionalism and patient care. Goldstein serves as director of the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and as clinical assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She is also a member of the American Medical Association and Rhode Island Society of Pathologists, and a fellow of both the College of American Pathologists and American Society for Clinical Pathology. PBN: You’ve been involved with The Miriam Hospital in some way or another since you were 12 years old. How did these experiences contribute to your career path? GOLDSTEIN: I was most fortunate that everyone in the laboratory at The Miriam Hospital went out of their way to answer my questions, encourage my curiosity and teach me. They were enthusiastic mentors during my formative years, and these experiences led directly to my choice of pathology as a career. I now try to “pay it forward,” as it were, in my teaching of Brown University medical students, residents and fellows.

Medicine is also an art.

PBN: How has pathology evolved over the years? GOLDSTEIN: There has been a virtual knowledge explosion in molecular and tumor pathology over the years. In fact, the amount of information that the current Brown University medical students, residents and fellows have to master is many times what I learned. The use of special stains can now, in most cases, help to more [specifically] identify tumor types, and when used in conjunction with the expanding repertoire of available molecular techniques, [stains] can more specifically target tumor treatment. PBN: What do you think is most important for the education of premedical students? GOLDSTEIN: Medicine requires a commitment to lifelong learning beginning in the undergraduate years. Premedical students obviously need a good, solid, basic education in the usual premedical science courses in order to master the science of medicine. However, medicine is also an art, and for this a more well-rounded education, including the humanities and social sciences, is required. n

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Caroline Norato has been appointed assistant treasurer, small-business lending officer at First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, where she will be responsible for the development and growth of small-business and commercial loans throughout the SouthCoast and Cape Cod regions. She holds a B.A. in business administration and management from Bryant University.

Jenna R. Pingitore has joined Barton Gilman LLP as an associate, where she will focus on civil litigation matters. Previously, she served as a law clerk to George E. Healy Jr., chief judge of the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. She holds a J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law.

Tricia Fazio has been elected to the board of directors at The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Fazio is an audit senior at LGC&D, a regional CPA and Business Advisory firm in Providence. She is a member of the Rhode Island Society of CPAs and holds a B.A. in accounting from Johnson & Wales.

Frank Connor has been named as municipal court judge for Barrington, where he will have jurisdiction over housing and zoning ordinances and other Barrington ordinances. Connor is an experienced trial and appellate attorney in federal and state courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Leon C. Boghossian III has been appointed president of the The Sandra FeinsteinGamm Theatre’s board of directors. Boghossian, a partner in the Providence law firm of Hinckley Allen, joined the board in 2008, most recently serving as vice president and co-chair of the development committee. He holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Michelle Faust has joined the Carnegie Abbey Club as sales director for the Newport Beach Club. Faust has more than 25 years of experience in the field. Previously, she worked as a sales manager at Pulte Homes/Del Webb of New England LLC. She holds a B.A. in marketing from Palm Beach State College.

Angela Carr was elected to serve on the board of directors of the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island. Carr serves as a partner at Barton Gilman, where she focuses her trial practice on professional liability defense, employment law, business litigation, real estate disputes and insurance coverage law. She holds a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Dan Meyer has been elected to the board of directors at The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. He is an attorney at Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP, where he specializes in commercial real estate transactions and corporate law. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Saint Michael’s College and a J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law.

Christopher Caldwell has been promoted to senior vice president of Latin America and the Caribbean at GTECH S.p.A., where he will be responsible for leading the company’s operations and pursuing new-business opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. He holds a B.A. in business administration from Northeastern University. n

Arthur Diedrich has been named vice president of commercial lending at First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, where he will be responsible for maintaining and growing commercial loan and deposit relationships in Taunton, Raynham and their surrounding communities, as well as in the Cape Cod area. He holds an MBA in accounting and finance from Wayne State University.

INSURANCE Sean Cottrell has been promoted to vice president at Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage Inc., where he will continue to act as managing director of social services/nonprofit practice group. He holds two designations in his field; certified insurance counselor and commercial lines coverage specialist. Cottrell holds a B.A. in management from the University of Rhode Island.

Tim Ludwig has been appointed to Make-AWish Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Rhode Island Advisory Board. Ludwig is a general agent at MassMutual Southern New England, where he is responsible for leading team of financial service professionals. He holds a B.A. in finance and economics from Quinnipiac University.



Page 28 July 15-21, 2013


Providence Business News


Smithfield must back down, make deal As a result of what the town of Smithfield characterizes as a 17-year dispute over Bryant University’s tax-exempt status, legislation was passed by the General Assembly in the just-concluded session requiring the school to negotiate increased cash payments for town public-safety services by March or face taxation for those services. One impression that this week’s Page 1 story on the topic leaves is that the town’s leaders are upset that Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley has not sat down in person to conclude long-running negotiations to update the school-town agreement. Really? The town compares itself to Providence, which has reached agreements with its major universities within the last year to increase the payments in lieu of taxes the schools make to the city. But the comparison is not an apt one. As has been reported often, 40 percent of Providence land is owned (and thus not taxed) by nonprofits. In Smithfield, Bryant owns 2 percent of the town’s land. In addition, Smithfield does not have the capital-intensive infrastructure and staffing needs of a city the size of Providence. And finally, the state already remits nearly $500,000 to the town as part of its payment-in-lieu of taxes program to make up for the money that an institution such as Bryant does not send to town coffers. While Machtley last week was pushing for Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee to veto the legislation, the best long-term answer for this issue is for the town to back off its loaded-gun approach to negotiations and make a deal that improves the quality of life of its citizens – one that Bryant is willing to make – and stop trying to hurt one of its best residents.

Cooperation yields big dividends for R.I. As dysfunctional as the relationship between Smithfield and Bryant University seems to have become (see above), the city of Providence and the state, as well as Brown University, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island seem to have recognized that their mutual best interests are best served by cooperating. Brown, RIC and URI plan to fill the empty South Street Power Station (and erstwhile Dynamo House museum/hotel complex) with administrative offices (Brown’s) and the much discussed advanced nursing school (RIC and URI). In addition, Brown plans to build a dormitory for graduate students (including for the nearby Warren Alpert Medical School, and the city is joining in by building a parking garage to help take care of that need. The state is contributing through the dormant (but not lost) historic-preservation tax credits that the Dynamo House project had received. This all adds up to an estimated $206 million development, proof that talking and thinking big can make good things happen. n

Gratitude has its rewards CNN recently interviewed a young woman docRyan writes: “Because the mind cannot experitor who had just returned from working in Africa. ence two opposite emotions at the same time, it’s The reporter asked her the principal difference important to keep yourself in a state of gratitude between practicing medicine in Mozambique and as often as you can. For instance, the next time you in the United States. “In Mozambique the people are having a bad day, take a moment to think about bring me little gifts,” she told the interviewer. “A something that you’re grateful for and you will fistful of walnuts, some eggs, a chicken, whatever start to move into a happier place.” they can to express their gratitude. She divides her book into four sections using “In the States,” she said, “I get sued.” the acronym SHOW. “S” is for Self because What kind of gratitude is that? gratitude improves your attitude and out“Gratitude is not only the greatest of look. “H” is for Health – improved physical virtues, but the parent of all the others,” health results from appreciation. “O” is said the Roman philosopher Cicero. for Others – acknowledgement influences In America, we put gratitude on the and improves our relationships. “W” is for calendar – the fourth Thursday of NovemWealth – gratefulness has a positive imber each year. You may recall your early pact on your bottom line. American history – two-thirds of the PilOne of the points that really struck me grims did not make it to the first Thanksin her book is how people respond to regiving they celebrated. Harsh conditions ceiving a “thank you” today. People now and little food were daily challenges. Acsay, “It’s no problem” ... “It’s nothing” ... cording to H.U. Westermayer: “The Pil“Don’t worry about it.” Ryan says that’s grims made seven times more graves than Harvey Mackay the same as taking a gift and throwing it huts. No Americans have been more imback. We should accept the gift with a simpoverished than these who, nevertheless, ple, “You’re welcome.” set aside a day of thanksgiving.” Even when you can’t acknowledge the gift-givBut is one day really enough? er, you should still adopt an attitude of gratitude. Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Here’s a story you might remember by Daniel DeSouthern Methodist University in Dallas and Rob- foe. ert Emmons of the University of California at DaWhen Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked on vis, conducted an experiment on gratitude and its his lonely isle, he drew up in two columns what he impact on well-being. Participants were divided called the evil and the good. He was cast on a desointo three different groups and asked to keep dialate island, but still alive – not drowned, as all his ries. The first group wrote what happened during ship’s company were. He was divided from manthe day without being told specifically to write kind and banished from human society, but he was about either the good or bad things. The second not starving. He had no clothes, but he was in a hot group was told to record their unpleasant expericlimate where he didn’t need them. He was without ences. And the last group was instructed to make means of defense, but he saw no wild beasts, such a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily as he had seen on the coast of Africa. He had no soul gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported lev- to speak to, but God had sent the ship so near to els of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, opti- the shore that he could get out of it all things necesmism and energy. In addition, the gratitude group sary for his wants. So he concluded that there was also experienced less depression and stress, while not any condition in the world so miserable that it helping others more and making greater progress didn’t contain something positive for which to be thankful. n toward achieving personal goals. This is just one of the studies that gratitude exMackay’s Moral: Gratitude should be a continpert Lisa Ryan writes about in her new book, “The Upside of Down Times: Discovering the Power of uous attitude. Gratitude.” Ryan says: “Gratitude is not a nowand-then thing. We need a consistent practice of ac- Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times knowledgement to keep our appreciation muscles best-seller “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.” He can be reached through his strong.” She recommends keeping a gratitude journal, website,, by emailing sending thank-you notes and cards, and consistent- or by writing him at ly acknowledging and appreciating the people who MackayMitchell Envelope Co., 2100 Elm St. SE, make a difference in our lives. Minneapolis, MN 55414.

Mackay’s moral


Providence Business News

Page 29 July 15-21, 2013

Hospitals, health dept. draw picture of R.I. health When it comes to gathering information about our health, there’s no shortage of sources. From the media, to the blogosphere and health care profesDr. Michael Fine sionals in our own circles, and Edward opinions Quinlan and advice on how to be healthier are everywhere. For those who want to take a proactive approach to their health, the challenge isn’t how to find information – it’s how to find credible health information and, ultimately, how to put that information in its proper context. Without context, it’s easy to lose sight of the “big picture” that leads not only to good individual health, but also to healthy communities and a healthier state. That’s why the Hospital Association of Rhode

Guest Column

Island and the R.I. Department of Health partnered recently on the creation of Rhode Island Health Care Matters (, a new website devoted to capturing nonbiased data, local resources and a wealth of information for Rhode Islanders in a format that is searchable and user friendly. The site, which includes a dashboard of more than 80 health and quality-oflife indicators, demographic information, promising practices, news articles and information about community events, is immediately translatable to 70 languages. (Esta pagina de internet interactiva permite a todos los usuarios a contribuir con informacion e ideas y es inmediatamente traducible a 70 idiomas.) This valuable tool will assist consumers, hospitals, physicians and a wide range of health care providers by tracking key indicators about

the health status of Rhode Islanders. While consumers can use the information to inform their own health care and behavior decisions, Rhode Island Health Care Matters can also play an important role in the work of policymakers and professionals, allowing these sectors to establish and track community goals, better understand the challenges impacting a particular population or community, and tap into a wealth of background knowledge for tasks such as writing grants and drafting policy. In addition, the evolving nature of the site allows all users to contribute information and ideas, making it a true community resource for Rhode Island.

Hospitals, in partnership with the Department of Health, have a longstanding commitment to improving community health in Rhode Island. But doing so requires additional information on the health status of each community. In addition to Rhode Island Health Care Matters, hospitals recently concluded a statewide community health assessment. The results of this examination will be released later this year and identify goals toward which hospitals will be working to improve community health over the next three years. Concurrently, the Department of Health is organizing a more-expanded community-health assessment with its many partners.

The future of the health care delivery system must include a strong focus on population health.

With the implementation of the federal health reform law, the future of the health care delivery system must include a strong focus on population health. Hospitals and the Department of Health have responded with innovative tools and insightful analyses. We are confident that collecting, analyzing and making health data available to all organizations involved in health reform initiatives will serve as the foundation to improved health for all Rhode Islanders. These projects once again demonstrate that in Rhode Island, health care matters. n Dr. Michael Fine is the director of the R.I. Department of Health. Edward Quinlan is the president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.

Fumbling through banking fog around too big to fail When Republicans invite a Democrat to testify at a congressional hearing and Democrats invite a Republican, we should pay attention. It was certainly the case recently, when the House FiServices ComSimon Johnson nancial mittee held a hearing on how to end “too big to fail.” Specifically, the topic of the June 26 session was “Examining How the Dodd-Frank Act Could Result in More Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts” – whether the procedures put in place since 2010 to handle the failure of very large financial institutions would work, and whether we should expect the extraordinary official support provided to those institutions to fade away. The conclusion: The problem of too-big-tofail banks is alive and well, and looms over our financial future. In the more optimistic camp was Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. His assessment was that the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation created sufficient legal powers to tackle the threat of large, complex, cross-border financial institutions. In particular, he said

Guest Column

that regulators would be able to determine when financial companies are too big or otherwise too difficult to resolve through bankruptcy – and could use Title I powers under the legislation to make banks (and others) small enough and simple enough to fail. This looks like wishful thinking. Most people at top levels of the Fed seem to have a broadly positive view of the financial sector today: Everything is moving in the right direction and anyone who thinks otherwise is being too negative or even undermining the home team. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, is a welcome exception among central bank officials. He has extensive experience in the private sector and understands how highly leveraged situations can unwind in brutal fashion. Fisher and his colleagues at the Dallas Fed find that large financial institutions receive big, implicit subsidies. Sheila Bair, former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., was surely right to say that Dodd-Frank created some important new legal powers that can be used to resolve failing financial institutions. (Bair is the Republican who was called to testify by

Democrats, and Fisher is the Democrat who was called by Republicans). But over the past three years, has there been any indication that top regulators can see through the fog of finance and actually apply the powers available under Dodd-Frank? I am increasingly pessimistic. (Bair chairs the private sector Systemic Risk Council, to which I belong. As Tom Hoenig, the current FDIC vice chairman, put it at the hearing: “Short-term depositors and creditors continue to look to governments to assure repayment rather than to the strength of the firms’ balance sheets and capital. As a result, these companies are able to borrow more at lower costs than they otherwise could, and thus they are able to increase their leverage far beyond what the market would otherwise permit. Their relative lower cost of capital also enables them to price their products more favorably than firms outside of the safety net can do.” Unfortunately, the Fed’s Board of Governors seems unable to state the problem as clearly. And without the Fed board, there is very little chance of progress within the existing DoddFrank framework.

In the absence of further legislative instruction, reform is stuck. The regulators could make use of their existing powers to do more, but they won’t. Very large financial companies are likely to be rescued in future crises; the credit markets take this into effect when providing funding. Fisher strongly advises that further steps be taken to make the banks simple enough and small enough to fail. He has some practical suggestions, such as limiting the official safety net to traditional commercial banking, while forcing everyone engaged in lending to higherrisk trading or investment banking to acknowledge they have no downside protection from the government. We desperately need strong voices on Capitol Hill, both Republicans and Democrats, to take up these ideas. Putting this kind of pressure on regulators is the only way to make the financial system significantly safer. n Simon Johnson is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and a Bloomberg View columnist.

Reader response A look at’s weekly poll, plus this week’s poll June 30-July 6

This week’s Poll

What would you do with an employee who is charged with a felony?

Do you think the state should approve Prime Healthcare’s bid to purchase Landmark Medical Center?

Page views: 717

• Yes, it’s the only way for Woonsocket to keep a fully functional hospital • No, the hospital cannot survive on its own anymore • No, Prime is not the right buyer • I don’t know

To vote in this week’s poll, go to and follow the link on the home page.

Op-Ed, Letters policy: Providence Business News welcomes opinion pieces as well as letters from its readers on local business, financial and political issues. Opinion pieces and letters cannot have been published anywhere else before appearing in PBN. They should include a daytime telephone number and e-mail address. All pieces may be edited for space and clarity, as well as for length. Send to: Editor, Providence Business News, 400 Westminster Street, Suite 600, Providence, RI 02903,, or by fax: (401) 274-0670.

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Station from page one

Providence. “It has been an eyesore for the last five or six years and getting activity and people moving around there will jump-start that whole area.” Interstate 195 Commission Chairman Colin Kane said the project should stoke interest in the 20 acres of stateowned former highway land his group is trying to develop nearby. “Just having an incomplete, burnedout, vacant building in the neighborhood in a very prominent location adjacent to open space was a problem,” Kane said. “So anything that could rehabilitate it is a big deal. Not only did they solve the Rubik’s Cube, but this is the closest thing in the area to being shovel ready and deserves a standing ovation.” The public reaction to the $206 million Brown proposal has been far warmer than responses to High Rock Development’s $114 million proposal to convert the downtown Industrial Trust Tower into apartments. Both projects are requesting substantial government assistance, somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million in combined city, state and federal investment. But public-sector support, and confidence, in higher education far exceeds confidence in housing. Where both Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras opposed the High Rock proposal, both support the power-station plan. Chafee in Brown’s news release called it a “promising project” that “will further cement Rhode Island’s reputation as a center of excellence in academia, health care, medical research and collaborative innovation.” Asked why the mayor supported

Bryant from page one

down the road to meet with the Town Council and come to an agreement that works for both of us,” said Town Councilor Suzanna L. Alba. Machtley, however, views the issue as one concerning “fundamental rights and fairness.” Smithfield’s General Assembly delegation and Town Council members had a mostly unified response in interviews last week about Machtley’s assertion that the bill constituted a “frontal attack” on the university, saying he has failed repeatedly to do what he says he will – sit down and negotiate in person. Newly elected Sen. Stephen Archambault, D-Smithfield, introduced a version of the bill in January that would have removed Bryant’s tax-exempt status entirely, but that did not garner support. He amended it to its present form, which passed the Senate, along with a companion House bill backed by Smithfield lawmakers, late in the recently ended legislative session. In June, Archambault and others say Machtley’s staff indicated he couldn’t show up for a council meeting on the topic because of freshman orientation. Machtley later informed the public and Town Council that he had to have surgery. But the inaccessibility has a longer history, Smithfield leaders say. “I was frustrated with the lack of willingness on the part of Bryant to sit down and negotiate with the council in good faith to try to come to an agreement with the town,” Archambault

Providence Business News

July 15-21, 2013

As years passed with apparently one proposal and not another, Taveras spokeswoman Liz White said “support little interest from commercial develof Nursing & Health Sciences” was one opers in restarting the Dynamo House of the top priorities in his city econom- project, Galvin became increasingly ic-development plan. intrigued with the idea of bringing The power-station plan unveiled by the much-larger power-station propBrown combines several major objec- erty next door into a more-far-reaching tives that had proven unfeasible on Davol Square project. Along with its location, the power their own, but proponents say are viable combined. station was attractive because Dynamo Both URI and RIC have wanted to House developer Stuever Bros. Eccles & build a new facility for their upper- Rouse had reserved $35 million in state level nursing students that would allow historic tax credits. And because the historic-tax-credit them to expand enrollment and take advantage of clinical opportunities at program was suspended, the Dynamo the nearby Providence hospital com- credits were the only way to access that level of state financing. plex. Building a space that Galvin said the project would accommodate both will use $28 million in state URI and RIC was intendhistoric tax credits plus ed to get the most out of $26 million in new federal the new building and URI historic-tax credits. President David Dooley To keep those state suggested employing a pricredits alive, Commonvate developer to add specwealth will create a new ulative laboratory space. ownership entity for the The state studied possible locations, including property that will inthe South Street Power clude Beatty Development Group LLC of Baltimore, Station, but it was considered too large, expensive the company that bought Karl F. Sherry and difficult to convert. Dynamo’s mortgage to Hayes & Sherry partner Meanwhile, Brown was protect its earlier investment in the hotel project. looking for more graduateEven with the tax credits and Brown student housing and had solicited bids from developers about potential sites agreeing to lease 120,000 square feet of in the Knowledge District and College the rehabbed power station, Galvin still Hill. needed another major tenant to make One of the interested developers was the massive project work and reached Richard Galvin, a Brown graduate and out to URI and RIC. founder of Commonwealth Ventures, a With the power-plant building Connecticut-based real estate company leased, Galvin intends to build a new with holdings throughout New Eng- 150,000-square-foot apartment building land, including two buildings within for Brown international and medical the Davol Square complex and its park- students on the site of Davol Square’s ing lot (Brown owns 1 Davol Square). current surface parking lot. Galvin had been looking to build The building will also have 20,000 graduate-student housing for Brown at square feet of incubator office space and Davol Square, but a stand-alone project 15,000 square feet for shops and restaurants. And Galvin hopes to work with didn’t take off.

National Grid, owner of an abutting vacant lot, to complete a public river walk from Point Street to the planned I-195 park. The last piece of the puzzle was parking and there the city stepped in and agreed to build a new 600-space parking garage on a surface lot across Point Street from Davol Square that Brown now leases. In addition to state and federal tax credits, other recent historic-reuse projects in Providence have taken advantage of property tax “stabilization” breaks. White in Taveras’ office said it was too early to know whether the project would be eligible for or receive a taxstabilization deal. She also said it was too early to know if the parking garage would generate revenue for the city, pay for itself, or cost the city money. An analysis of the project by Brown consultants Appleseed estimated that it would generate 998 construction jobs and eventually 622 people will work at the complex, including 400 from Brown; 75 from URI and RIC; 80 from startups in the incubator space; 58 in restaurants and shops; and nine in building maintenance. It estimates $248 million in direct and indirect economic output from the project. The General Assembly passed a resolution authorizing the state to negotiate leases for URI and RIC and the next step is to hammer out detailed agreements with each of the partners. Galvin said the project is unique in his experience and compared its potential to the development going on in Boston’s Seaport District. “We think there will be more interest in the I-195 land and more people willing to make bets on Providence because they see the state and Brown making these big investments,” Galvin said. n

said. “It’s a very frustrating thing at the Town Solicitor Edmund L. Alves Jr., 11th hour, after a whole session of hard without taking action, according to work, [to have] President Machtley out council President Alberto J. LaGreca, there misleading the public by saying Jr. Alves said Machtley was not there there have been multiple meetings to and it was unclear if his representawork this out with the council. There tives were in the audience. haven’t been.” Alves said the latest proposal calls Machtley, who put out multiple for $300,000 in annual payments, four press releases and held a press confer- separate payments of $150,000 each for ence on the subject, told Providence emergency equipment and formation Business News he has made a bona fide of a “town/university cooperative comeffort to extend himself to mittee” to resolve ongoing the town. issues, among other stipu“I don’t think those lations. kinds of statements, which Town leaders contend just aren’t true, further that most other Rhode reasonable resolution of Island host communithe issues,” Machtley said. ties receive voluntary “This isn’t personal. The cash contributions from council and I have had their resident colleges cordial relations over the and universities, and that years and will continue to the annual $490,000 in PImeet.” LOT (Payment in Lieu of Machtley’s public camTaxes) money received annually doesn’t cover paign for a gubernatorial Bryant’s growing demand veto included urging the for police, fire and rescue university community to services. ask Chafee to reject the “I’m glad that Bryant bill. University is in town,” The governor had until said Ron F. Manni, council July 11 to decide whether Ronald K. Machtley vice president. “They do to sign the bill or not, or let Bryant president add to the community. But it become law without his they also take away from signature. A spokeswomthe community in terms an for Chafee last week declined to say whether he supported the of public-safety services. The campus is bill. Even a gubernatorial veto, how- expanding and that is their plan. We’re ever, would not stop town officials from not asking for anything other than what other communities ask schools pressing Bryant on the issue. The Town Council on July 9 dis- for: pay for the services you use.” In June, Bryant proposed a 10-year cussed a newly proposed 20-year memorandum of agreement drafted July 1 by agreement of $35,000 in annual pay-

ments, enhancement of in-kind services, and $80,000 worth of used computers. The town had countered with a 20-year agreement similar to the one now on the table. Machtley has said publicly and in a letter to the Bryant community that the university pumps more than $17 million into the local economy, and contributes $800,000 to Smithfield annually in direct and in-kind support, more than $300,000 of which he described as “voluntary.” When asked why this issue has remained unresolved for so many years, Machtley said part of the reason is that the town keeps asking for cash. Such payouts would contradict the university’s mission as a nonprofit, which is to reinvest surplus money in the institution, he said. Coming up with that cash each year could only be done at the expense of students by charging higher tuition, Machtley said. “Eighty-nine percent of revenue for Bryant is tuition, room and board,” he said. “Any additional money we’re obligated to pay is going to come [from] students. It’s the equivalent of a head tax.” Machtley said he doesn’t know how much tuition would have to be raised to address this issue, but notes that if Bryant did pay the amount Smithfield is seeking, “the state should reduce the town’s PILOT funding because the town would be getting paid for [those] services.” The Town Council expects to continue discussion of its latest draft memorandum at its next meeting on Aug. 6. n

‘Getting activity and people moving around … will jump-start that whole area.’

‘Any additional money we’re obligated to pay is going to come [from] students.’

July 15-21, 2013

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Providence Business News

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July 15-21, 2013

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07-15-2013 Issue