Construction Outlook June 2019

Page 1

JUNE | 2019

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5 President’s Message:


7 Legislative Update:

R. M. Pacella, Inc.

Cape Cod Making Progress • House Files GreenWorks Legislation • Broad Coalition of Business and Employee Advocacy Groups Ask for a Three Month Delay for Family and Medical Leave Law • MassDEP Awards 2019 Public Water System Awards • Massachusetts’ Unemployment Continues to Decline • Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Holds Hearing on Wage Theft Legislation • State House News in Brief

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19 Legal Corner:

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Addresses Prevailing Wage Act Issues

23 Springfield Water and Sewer Commission Launches $115M Project to Build Pump Station, Connecticut River Pipe Crossing 27 Trench Safety Stand Down Week June 17-21, 2019 29 The Top 10 Reasons Contractor Succession Planning has Evolved 33 UCANE’s 40th Annual Golf Classic 34 Contractor Member of the Month: Jay Cashman, Inc.: The Boston Harbor Dredging Project

45 Safety Corner:

Professional Development

49 J. D’Amico, Inc. Named Region 1 Prime Contractor of the Year by SBA 51 Spotlight on Cape Cod: Cape and Islands Water Protection Board Gets to Work

54 65 69 71

UCANE’s 45th Annual Scholarship Awards Night Employer Confidence Falls in May UCANE’s Updated Employee Safety Manuals Now Available Financial Management: • Mid-Year Tax Planning • How IRAs Affect Medicaid Planning • New Rules for Business Travel Deductions

Editor: Anne Klayman, Associate Editor: Suzanne Hatch, Magazine Designer/Assistant Editor: Sherri Klayman Construction Outlook Chairman: Richard Pacella, Jr. Editorial Board: Richard Pacella, Jr., Marcella Albanese, Ryan McCourt, and Brian Cooney CONSTRUCTION OUTLOOK published monthly by the Utility Contractors’ Association of New England, Inc., 300 Congress Street, Suite 101, Quincy, MA 02169; Tel: 617.471.9955; Fax: 617.471.8939; Email:; Website: Statements of fact and opinion are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of UCANE and the Construction Outlook editorial board and staff. Subscriptions are included in dues payments for UCANE members. Presorted Standard postage paid at Brockton, MA. POSTMASTER, please send form #3579 to Construction Outlook, Crown Colony Office Park, 300 Congress Street, Suite 101, Quincy, MA 02169.


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Cape Cod Making Progress

As we begin the summer months, I hope that UCANE members find themselves busy as we move into the peak of the construction season. Summer is also peak time for tourism in Massachusetts, especially for Cape Cod and the Islands. While there are approximately 215,000 residents that live there year round, over 5 million people will make there way over the Cape Cod Canal in the next few months. The entire region’s economic well-being is dependent upon keeping Cape Cod an attractive destination for vacationers from around the world.


s beautiful as it is, the region is facing several challenges in the coming years. And no, I am not just talking about sharks. The most pressing issue is that Cape Cod has a wide-spread pollution problem due to too much nitrogen getting into its ponds, lakes, and bays over the last several years. The excess nitrogen is extremely harmful to the ecology and environment. Studies have shown that the waters need nitrogen reductions of up to 87 percent. This is not a new problem, and municipalities on the Cape have been under court order for several years to fix the problem under what is known as the Section 208 Plan. The cost of the solution is estimated to be $4 billion, a price tag that has given pause to many residents in the past and delayed action, which only exacerbated the problem. More recently, however, elected officials and residents of the Cape have made significant progress, completing several water infrastructure projects with many more on the horizon. UCANE has long advocated for the Cape municipalities to address their water quality issues. In fact, we dedicate space in every isJUNE, 2019

sue of this magazine to provide an update on the latest happenings and the progress being made. And there has been no shortage of articles on the topic! Several projects have been approved or are underway in Orleans, Bourne, Chatham, Harwich, and Nantucket in the past few months alone. The entire Cape Cod legislative delegation should be commended for prioritizing the problem and working to mitigate the financial burden placed on its residents. They unanimously supported (as did UCANE) legislation dedicating revenue from short-term rentals towards investing in rebuilding their water infrastructure. UCANE looks forward to continuing to work with them and other local leaders, such as Andy Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. They, and so many others like them, have worked tirelessly over the years to find solutions, and we will continue to support them so that those efforts continue to come to fruition. It will mean not only a healthy and vibrant Cape Cod for future generations of residents to enjoy, but it will also keep the Cape a premier tourist destination. n



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House Files GreenWorks Legislation


ouse Speaker Bob DeLeo recently followed through on his pledge to create a climate resiliency bill that will provide the Commonwealth with a foundation for addressing the issue of climate change. The $1 billion GreenWorks plan outlined in February by Speaker DeLeo to help communities finance climate adaptation projects has grown during its development and now includes a $295 million Climate Resiliency Act of 2019. Officially filed by House Chairman Tom Golden of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, An Act Relative to GreenWorks (HB3846), features a resilience act within it that proposes $100 million for municipal microgrid energy systems, $125 million for public sector electric vehicle fleets, $20 million for municipal sustainability coordinators, and $50 million for Green Resiliency Fund loans to municipalities. The legislation is a response of sorts to legislation Governor Charlie Baker filed in January. The Governor’s proposal, which called for a real estate transfer excise tax increase to fund a 10-year, $1 billion climate change impact proposal, was heavily opposed by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, as well as other organizations. The Speaker’s legislation, which relies on bond authorizations, contemplates the bonding not counting towards the Commonwealth’s overall bonding limit. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that failure to make necessary investments in infrastructure will cost the United States over 2 million jobs and $4 trillion in gross domestic product over this decade (2016 – 2025) and that the average household will lose $3,400 a year. As reported, According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, “many parts of the country are currently rebuilding infrastructure damaged during the extreme weather events of 2017. In 2017 alone, the United JUNE, 2019

States experienced 16 weather and climate disasters resulting in losses exceeding $1 billion each, with a record-breaking $306 billion in cumulative losses.” The House and Senate are expected to undertake some form of climate resiliency or environmental bonding legislation this session. To review the House GreenWorks legislation, please visit: continued on page 9

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Legislative Update continued from page 7

Broad Coalition of Business and Employee Advocacy Groups Ask for a Three Month Delay for Family and Medical Leave Law


s the date for employers to implement a new payroll deduction to fund the paid family and medical leave program approaches, a coalition of “grand bargain” participants, who negotiated the details of the program, are asking for a three month extension. The new law, which is slated to start payroll deductions on July 1, calls for up to 12 weeks of jobprotected paid leave to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, to care for a new child, or to meet family needs arising from a family member's active duty military service. It also authorizes up to 20 weeks of job-protected paid leave to recover from a worker's own serious illness or injury, or to care for a seriously ill or injured service member. Benefits are slated to become available on January 1, 2021 for workers seeking time off to bond with a new child, take care of a sick or injured service member or to tend to a serious personal health condition. On July 1, 2021, benefits are expected to be made available for workers to care for a family member with a serious health condition. The coalition of former opponents and proponents includes RaiseUp Massachusetts, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, SEIU, and other organizations have requested a three month extension. In doing so, the coalition sent a letter to the Governor, Speaker of the House, and the Senate President, stating: “As we embark on full scale implementation of the new law, which will impact millions of workers across the state and tens of thousands of employers, the members of the RaiseUp Massachusetts coalition and representatives from the business community are working together to ensure a successful rollout of this new program for employees and employers alike. In the course of our work together we have identified the need for a three month extension of the July 1, 2019 deadline for approval of employers’ private paid family and medical leave plans and the commencement of the required plan contributions. In addition, there are five other amendments to chapter 121 of the Acts of 2018 that are necessary for clarification of rights and responsibilities of stakeholders to effect the smooth implementation and operation of the new law. JUNE, 2019

However, given the lack of employer clarity on the regulations, the importance of communicating with employees regarding payroll deductions, and the ability for insurance providers to offer a private sector option, we continue to support and urge legislative action on the proposed amendment extending the deadline for private plan approvals and the commencement of required contributions from July 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019.” The State House News Service recently reported that legislative leaders and Governor Baker are considering the proposed changes seriously and, if a change is to occur, it would have to occur in the beginning of June. Massachusetts is one of the early adopters of the movement towards state programs providing paid family and medical leave benefits. continued on page 11

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Legislative Update continued from page 9


MassDEP Awards 2019 Public Water System Awards

n recognition of National Drinking Water Week, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced the 61 recipients of the annual Public Water Systems Award. Each year, MassDEP honors the state’s many dedicated drinking water professionals, while acknowledging certain noteworthy accomplishments that involve excellent water service to the public. As reported in a MassDEP press release announcing the awards, “The awards are held in conjunction with ‘National Drinking Water Week’, a time to recognize the importance of source-water protection, water quality, and conservation, as well as the value, importance, and fragility of the Commonwealth's water resources. MassDEP works with drinking water utilities to make sure that the water delivered to consumers meets all federal and state standards. The awards recognized 48 public water sys-

JUNE, 2019

tems in the different categories of non-transient, non-community, small community, consecutive, and medium and large community water systems. As noted in the MassDEP press release, all awardees have excellent compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations. To that end, the water systems have complete compliance with regulations for calendar year 2018 and no violations in the past five years. The awarded systems have gone beyond compliance by testing for secondary contaminants and by having adequate capacity. Systems that have won for three consecutive years are not eligible, but are issued a letter of commendation. There are also four operators who received awards for their merit; and two schools and 12 other public water systems that will receive awards for water and energy conservation, lead reduction, source protection, and special recognition. For example, the Groton Water Department was also recognized for implementing a comprehensive water pumping and energy management upgrade that improved water quality for customers and allowed the Town to save more than $8,000 per year from its new updated electrical peak-demand operations. In other awards, the Fitchburg Water Department, through land acquisitions over the last year, which secured six parcels of land for a total of more than 173 acres for the purpose of source protection, received the Source Protection Award. The Systems Taking Action to Reduce Lead (STARL) Award was given to the Littleton Water Department and Littleton Public Schools as well as the Medway Water Department and Medway Public Schools to reduce lead in school drinking water. Finally, the Water Conservation Award, to those systems that met the average of 65 RGPCD (residential gallons per capita daily) and 10 percent unaccounted for water usage standards, went to: the Spencer Water Department; the Sterling Water Department; the Templeton Municipal Light and Water Plant; and the Wilmington Water Department More information on drinking water in the Commonwealth can be found at drinking-water-program continued on page 13



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Legislative Update continued from page 11

Massachusetts’ Unemployment Continues to Decline


ccording to a press release from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), the Commonwealth’s total unemployment rate is down one-tenth of a percentage point at 2.9 percent in April. In particular, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 4,100 jobs. Over the month, the private sector added 4,000 jobs as gains occurred in construction; professional, scientific, and business services; education and health services; financial activities; information; and other services. Trade, transportation, and utilities; manufacturing; and leisure and hospitality lost jobs over the month. From April 2018 to April 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 37,100 jobs. The April unemployment rate was seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.6 percent. The labor force decreased by 3,200 from 3,843,500 in March, as 1,600 fewer residents were employed and 1,600 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped six-tenths of a percentage point. The state’s labor force participation rate, the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks, decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 67.8 percent. Compared to April 2018, the labor force participation rate is up 0.4 percentage point.

The largest private sector percentage job gains over the year were in professional, scientific, and business services; information; construction; and education and health services. In particular, construction added 2,400 (+1.5%) jobs over the month. Over the year, construction has gained 2,700 (+1.7%) jobs. Professional, scientific, and business services added 2,300 (+0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, professional, scientific and business services gained 11,100 (+1.9%) jobs. Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 2,500 (-0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year, trade, transportation, and utilities added 2,200 (+0.4%) jobs. Overall, the April estimates show 3,728,100 Massachusetts residents were employed and 112,200 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,840,300. The unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.9 percent. The April labor force decreased by 3,200 as 1,600 fewer residents were employed and 1,600 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, is down one-tenth of a percentage point at 67.8 percent. The labor force was up 52,300 from the 3,788,000 April 2018 estimate with 73,200 more residents employed and 20,800 fewer residents unemployed. Detailed labor market information is available at: www.

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Legislative Update continued from page 13

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Holds Hearing on Wage Theft Legislation


ith the 2019-2020 legislative session now in full swing, the various committees are in the process of holding public hearings on measures that made progress last session, but ultimately did not pass. One of those measures, House Bill 1610 / Senate Bill 1066, An Act Relative to Wage Theft, was recently heard by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. At a hearing chaired by House Chairman Paul Brodeur and Senate Chair Pat Jehlen, Committee members heard from a myriad of employee advocacy groups urging the Committee’s fast action on the legislation. The legislation imposes unlimited vicarious liability on employers; empowers the Attorney General and Department of Labor with enhanced powers, including the ability to issue stop work orders; increases penalties on employees; creates notice requirements and creates a private right of action for aggrieved employees, among other measures. The legislation, which is backed by a bipartisan coalition of over 100 Representatives and Senators, is a major priority bill for the AFL-CIO Massachusetts this session. While the Senate has twice previously passed ver-

sions of the bill, the House has not moved the legislation in either session. As a result, Speaker Bob DeLeo incurred the wrath of the AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, who suggested that the Speaker was “no friend of labor,” last fall. A variety of business organizations, including UCANE, have opposed the legislation for differing reasons – whether it is concern over vicarious liability, the use of stop work orders, or simply, the lack of the enforcement of current wage and benefit laws. In an effort to provide a different mechanism for discussion, Senator Viriato deMacedo has filed his own version, Senate Bill 1062, of the wage theft legislation to provide a “neutral” ground for conversation. According to written testimony submitted by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the deMacedo legislation would help employees by providing “wages in a timely fashion through a victim's fund, by private right of action or stop work orders subject to due process.” It is anticipated that the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will release the wage theft legislation favorably as it has in previous sessions.

continued on page 17

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Legislative Update continued from page 15

State House News in Brief •

House Passes Distracted Driving Legislation. es that forced policy changes at Starbucks, FeLegislation prohibiting the use of mobile elecdEx, Harvard University, and American Airlines. tronic devices by drivers unless the device is beA Malden Democrat who had served in Congress ing used in hands-free mode, with a single touch since 1976, Senator Markey won his Senate seat or swipe allowed to activate hands-free operain a 2013 special election. tion, was passed by the Massachusetts House • Senate Passes FY20 Budget. The Massachuof Representatives in late May. The restriction setts Senate passed its version of the fiscal year would not apply to public safety personnel or first 2020 budget in the middle of May. The budget, responders performing their duties, and drivers which included revenue increasing measures could still use mobile electronic devices in certain through the taxation of e-cigarettes and opioid emergency situations. Violations would be punmanufacturer assessments, did not contain a large ished by, $100 for a first offense, $250 for a secnumber of policy initiatives. While funding was not ond offense, and $500 for third or later offenses. included for the Commonwealth Rate Relief proThe House bill would require annual analysis of gram, funding for the MassDEP was increased racial and demographic identification of drivers over previous years and the contract assistance issued citations during traffic stops. line-item was funded with over $63 million. One initiative included in the Senate’s budget was lan• Senator Markey to Have Primary Challenger. guage directing $5 million of funds previously apAttorney Shannon Liss-Riordan has announced propriated to the Clean Water Trust to be made that she will challenge United States Senator Ed available for lead remediation grants for public Markey in the Democratic primary for the 2020 schools. The Conference Committee on the FY20 election. A labor attorney, she has represented budget will meet in June and produce its report drivers in a class action lawsuit against Uber and, Kendall Lubricants Announcement 7.5 x 5 6-18.qxp_Dennis K. Burke 6/21/18 3:19 PM Pagethe 1 start of the July 1 fiscal year. n before according to her campaign website, brought cas-

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Addresses Prevailing Wage Act Issues The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) issued a 29-page opinion at the end of May that will be of interest to contractor-employers working on public projects in Massachusetts. This article discusses two of the various issues addressed in the court’s opinion: (1) the contractor’s use of the day-rate method of paying its workers in light of the requirements of the Prevailing Wage Act; and (2) the statute of limitations applicable to third-party beneficiary contract-based claims for unpaid prevailing wages.


he defendant in the case was a waste disposal contractor working under public contracts with several Massachusetts municipalities for waste collection and disposal services. Ten of the contractor’s “shakers” (employees who load the dump trucks and operate hydraulic levers to compact the waste material) brought suit alleging unpaid wages under the Prevailing Wage Act. Among other things, the employees asserted breach of contract claims, contending they were third-party beneficiaries under the contractor’s municipal contracts. As a defense to the workers’ claims, the contractor argued that it paid the employees a “flat sum per day regardless of hours worked.” Using this day-rate method, the contractor asserted that it paid the plaintiffs at rates equal to or greater than the prevailing wage rates because it paid its employees for eight hours per day, “even though the plaintiffs actually worked fewer hours.” As for the third-party beneficiary claims, the contractor asserted that the three-year statute of limitations applicable to Prevailing Wage Act claims barred the employees from recovering alleged unpaid wages beyond the statutory period. Addressing the day-rate argument first, the SJC acknowledged that the Department of Labor Standards has “endorsed the day-rate method as a means to satisfy an employer’s prevailing wage obligations.” However, that endorsement comes with a caveat: an employer using JUNE, 2019

the day-rate method must “separately calculate an employee’s pay on an hourly basis to ensure proper payment and make up any shortfall that might occur.” As a result, it is necessary to track actual hours worked and maintain and submit payroll records as required by law to demonstrate payment of the applicable prevailing wage. The SJC determined that the contractor “failed to comply with its recordkeeping obligations that would entitle [it] to rely on the day-rate method.” Because the contractor did not “separately calculate the plaintiff’s pay on an hourly basis to make up for any shortfall that might have occurred in a given pay period,” the SJC rejected the contractor’s reliance on the day-rate method as a defense in this case. Notably, the court did not permit the contractor to introduce evidence to refute its own time records. Turning to the statute of limitations issue, the SJC concluded that – on the specific facts of this case – the plaintiffs could not recover alleged unpaid wages becontinued on page 21



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Legal Corner continued from page 19 yond the three-year statute of limitations applicable to Prevailing Wage Act claims. Although styled as a breach of contract claim (which is normally subject to a six-year statute of limitations period), the court concluded that the Prevailing Wage Act “preempted” the plaintiff’s third-party beneficiary claim for wages. This is because the plaintiffs used the requirements of the Prevailing Wage Act as the basis for their third-party beneficiary claims. As a result, because “the statute itself...creates the third-party beneficiary claim,” the employees could not avoid the three-year statutory bar by styling their statutory claim as a contract claim. The Prevailing Wage Act is a powerful tool for workers, even though statutory wage claims are capped at three years. Beyond the fact that the Prevailing Wage Act is a strict liability statute, the law provides for treble damages and attorneys’ fees, as well as for personal liability of certain corporate individuals. This case serves as yet another important reminder of the need to ensure compliance with applicable prevailing wage requirements. Among other things, careful recordkeeping is an absolute must.

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Springfield Water and Sewer Commission Launches $115M Project to Build Pump Station, Connecticut River Pipe Crossing SPRINGFIELD — Local, state and federal officials gathered to launch a $115 million water infrastructure project along the Connecticut River that officials say will enhance the regional wastewater system and protect the river.


Ludlow, Wilbraham, and Longmeadow. he project includes a new wastewater pump station on York Street and a new river pipeOfficials including U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal and line crossing under the Connecticut River in Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said the project enhances the city’s South End connecting to the Bondi’s Island the water and sewer system and the environment. regional wastewater treatment plant. Neal praised the efforts of state and federal The new pumping station will replace a 1938 faagencies and local workers, who year after year procility. The increased capacity will reduce combined tect the state’s water and wastewater system. sewer overflows by 100 million gallons in a typical "Contrast that with the nightmarish story that took year, said Josh Schimmel, executive director of the place in Flint, Michigan where good people began to Springfield Water and Sewer Commission. drink bad water only to find deaths, diseases, all beThree new wastewater pipes under the Connecticause of the decision to embrace thrift rather than to cut River will join 50- and 85-year-old pipes, Schimembrace a long-term commitment that is necessary to mel said. maintaining the quality of the water supply," Neal said. The project is part of a $1 billion, 20-year master Others praising the project in Springfield included: plan for infrastructure improvements to the regional Deb Szaro, acting administrator for Region 1 of the water and wastewater treatment system, Schimmel Environmental Protection Agency; Martin Suuberg, said. Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department continued on page 25 "And this is all extremely necessary investment," Schimmel said. "The cost of not doing this work is far more than the cost of actually doing it." The project is funded primarily through federal Clean Water Trust State Revolving Fund loans administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and will create approximately 150 construction jobs, officials said. A $100 million low-interest loan from the revolving fund was critical for the project, Schimmel said. The pumping station and river crossing project, expected to be complete by 2022, will reduce river pollution, renew aging infrastructure, provide resiliency and system redundancy, and jobs, officials said. SWSC Commissioners, Congressman Neal, Mayor Sarno, and The pumping station and river crossing EPA and MassDEP officials break ground for the York Street project will serve customers in Springfield, Pump Station and CT River Crossing Project on May 20, 2019

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Trench Safety Stand Down Week June 17–21, 2019 OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation remains a high agency priority. NUCA, OSHA, NAXSA, TSSA, and NAHB have teamed up for our 4th annual TSSD Week to educate workers on trenching hazards. Who Should Participate Companies or organizations whose companies or members engage in trenching operations, including contractors, builders, military, unions, trade schools, safety professionals, and safety equipment manufacturers. How Companies Can Hold A Stand Down • Hold a 20-Minute Toolbox Talk • Show an Excavation Safety Video • Hold a Training Class Recognition Every company or organization that holds a TSSD will receive a certificate of participation, as well as hard hat stickers for all employees who participated. Recognition will also be given in a press release, and in NUCA, NAXSA, TSSA, and NAHB publications.

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The Top 10 Reasons Contractor Succession Planning has Evolved The following is a guest post from Wayne Rivers, co-founder and president of The Family Business Institute.


uccession planning has always been a hot topic among contractors of a certain age, and that’s not likely to change. What has most definitely changed, however, is that today’s discussions are broader and include many more alternatives. There will always be family-owned construction companies, but, for today’s contractor, succession decisions are much more merit-based than family-driven. Thanks to societal, macro-economic and leadership changes the succession pendulum has dramatically swung in the past few years. Here are 10 drivers that have shaped 21st century succession planning. Mobility. Whereas it was common a couple of generations ago to be born, grow up, live, work and die in the same general area, that’s much less prevalent than it once was. Young people are much more mobile and willing to take educational and vocational opportunities outside of their hometowns. Education. Most successful contractors believe in quality education, and they invest, sometimes quite heavily, in their children’s educations. In some cases, the children may even become “too educated” to become contractors. For example, a son or daughter who attends medical school may be unlikely to join the construction industry. JUNE, 2019

Postponed marriages. People are marrying later and having children later in life which, in turn, means their children may be quite young when the parents inevitably start thinking about their business exits around age 55 or 60. At age 60, for example, they simply can’t afford to wait 10 additional years to assess whether or not their kids are attracted to construction and possess the characteristics that would make them successful business operators. Work ethic. Whether or not it’s universally true, a perception certainly exists in the construction field that appetites for hard work have decreased compared to workers a generation ago. Many senior-generation contractors who live to work find that their kids work to live, and the respective definitions of what constitutes a healthy work-life balance often are not remotely in concert. Job opportunities. While returning to the family business may have been the most attractive or lucrative job opportunity available a generation ago, today’s graduates have job choices galore. For them, working in the family business may seem like a humdrum, comparatively unexciting alternative. continued on page 30



Succession Planning continued from page 29 Business complexity. The construction industry has never been more complex. For previous generations, a son taking over dad’s business wasn’t so different from dad taking over his own father’s company years prior; the pace of change was less aggressive. Today, any construction business of any size has an incredible number of moving parts, not the least of which is technology. The war for talent. Talented employees have greater leverage now than they ever have had. In fact, it’s not uncommon for talented nonfamily employees to ask for a “piece of the action” in the form of company ownership. Even if they’re not pressing for ownership, they often demand transparency into the succession plans of the leadership generation. They want to know that the careers they have carved out will be preserved through robust ownership, management and strategic succession planning. Discernment. Construction business owners are quite discerning today about their prospective successors. They realize that traditional stereotypes about construction executives — gender, age, education and experience, for example — are no longer determinative of future success.

Furthermore, while many contractors would love to pass the business to their children, they also realize that some of their non-family employees simply have much more leadership and business potential. They lean more toward meritocracy than nepotism when choosing successor candidates. Another significant change is that today’s leaders think about retiring while enjoying good health and work-life balance; their predecessors were often predisposed to a “die with your boots on” mentality, which allowed them to postpone succession planning or ignore it altogether.

Business success. Many of today’s contractors are more successful than their parents were. This means that their children had more comfortable and secure upbringings than they did, and potential family successors may not be as hungry to lead and build an organization as they were. In addition, it may be quite daunting for a young son or daughter to attempt to follow in the footsteps of a mom and dad who have been extremely successful. There are too many family business stories of successor generations following entrepreneurial giants and failing. Young people may be deciding that they don’t want their careers to be ones of constantly trying to measure up to mom and dad. continued on page 31

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Succession Planning continued from page 30 Employee stewardship. Successful construction executives today exhibit a strong stewardship attitude toward their business families. They love and want to reward the employees that have helped them be successful over time, and they are much more interested in allowing long-term employees to have a stake in ownership and leadership than was the case a generation ago. When we started working with construction companies 30 years ago, business succession generally meant only one thing: The company would pass from a senior family member to his children. There has been a sea change in contractor attitudes toward succession planning, however, and most plans now favor non-family, key employee ownership as opposed to passing along family lines. n Wayne Rivers is the president of The Family Business Institute, Inc. FBI’s mission is to facilitate lasting business success and family harmony for our clients. Wayne can be reached at 877-326-2493,, or on the web at

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(Some of Cashman’s crew aboard the Dredge “Dale Pyatt”: (L-R) Corey Welch, Superintendent; Brian Rawston, Chief Estimator; Paul Marsala, Project Engineer; Aaron Barton, Project Manager; Stacy Ragus, Operator; and Jesse Martin, Deckhand

The Boston Harbor Dredging Project Most UCANE contractors are busy this time of year digging up streets across the Commonwealth and controlling traffic around and through their jobsites. Longtime UCANE member Jay Cashman and his affiliated companies are no stranger to traffic controls themselves, having performed multiple projects on Boston’s Big Dig. But these days Cashman’s Dredging Division is dealing with traffic controls of a different nature as their crews maneuver some of the largest marine construction equipment in the country around Boston’s Inner Harbor.

continued on page 36

JUNE, 2019



Jay Cashman, Inc. continued from page 35


September 2018, Cashman and joint venture partner Dutra Marine from California were awarded one of the largest New England dredging projects in Army Corps history. At $122 million, the massive project is tasked with deepening the shipping lanes in Boston Harbor from the Conley Terminal in South Boston eastward to open ocean at a location known as Finn’s Ledge – a distance of seven miles. The project, won by the Cashman team, was estimated to take 31/2 years to complete. It is Phase 2 of a multiphased offshore project estimated to cost $350 million. The offshore work is being complemented with another $500 million worth of landside construction at Conley Terminal to be bid over the next 10 years, including extensive infrastructure work, expanding berths, and upsizing three ship-to-shore cranes at a cost of $15 million each. The $850 million investment is being financed by a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and MassPort. It

(L): Jay Cashman, Owner of Jay Cashman, Inc.

The 100 Ton “Dale Pyatt” bales muck in tight quarters at the Conley Terminal



JUNE, 2019

will allow Conley Terminal to receive the new super-sized container ships, continue to keep the Port of Boston competitive with other East Coast ports, and will protect and grow blue-collar jobs at the working port. Conley Terminal is the only full-service container terminal in New England and serves eight of the top 10 shipping lines in the world. Each year, more than 1.9 million metric tons of cargo passes through the terminal. Longshoremen at Conley Terminal set a port record in 2018 by offloading nearly 300,000 individual containers and sending them out on tractor trailers. The Port generates $4.6 billion in annual economic impact and supports 7,000 direct jobs. On a nice sunny day in May, UCANE Construction Consultant Mike Lenihan was able to meet up with Cashman’s project team and learn a little more about this large project of theirs that was somewhat unknown to most of Jay Cashman’s fellow UCANE members. Cashman’s Chief Estimator (and UCANE Board member) Brian Rawston introduced Mike to Steve Tobin, Project Executive, and Aaron Barton, Project Manager, for the Boston Harbor Project. Steve is a 15 year dredging veteran and has trav-

eled extensively for Cashman during his 13 years with the company. Aaron graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering Technology from the University of Toledo. Aaron has worked in the dredging industry for 14 years and has been with Cashman for eight of those years. The Cashman/Dutra project involves excavating and transporting a daunting total of 11,700,000 cubic yards of soils varying from muck to Boston blue clay, and from glacial till to weathered rock. Blasting of rock will be bid on a future phase. The excavated materials are being loaded onto giant scows and hauled by tugboats through the harbor to the Army Corps disposal site located approximately 16 nautical miles beyond Deer Island. For most of the 1,200 acre project site the shipping lane will be lowered to an elevation between -49 feet Mean Low Water (MLW) and -51 feet MLW, meaning that approximately 6-10 feet of existing harbor bottom will be excavated. Digging to these depths (50 plus feet below the water surface) and removing these quantities of materials obviously requires dredging equipment on a giant scale. continued on page 39

Project Sign off Summer St. in Boston

Army Corps map showing multiple phases of the Boston Harbor Navigation Project. The Cashman/Dutra project is shown in blue/purple. It is the largest phase and involves 11.7M cubic yards of excavation.

JUNE, 2019



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Jay Cashman, Inc. continued from page 37 As one looks out towards Boston Harbor from Castle Island or from other parts of the Boston waterfront, the Cashman/Dutra equipment and the container ships staged in the harbor awaiting their turn to come into Conley Terminal may not look so big. But a 10 minute boat ride from Cashman’s office trailer complex on Summer Street, an up close look aboard this specialized equipment provides a much clearer and larger picture. The Cashman crane and barges and the container ships moving in and out of Conley Terminal are massive. Jumbo jets landing at Logan Airport fly low over the dredging equipment and container ships all day long. Controlling marine and air traffic while trying to work in Boston Harbor is unlike any other landside construction job – but failure to do so could have drastic consequences. Logan Airport, Conley Terminal, and Cashman’s dredging crews are all working 24/7. Through GPS positioning equipment and constant radio communication between the Logan Tower, Conley Terminal, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the captains aboard the flotilla of Cashman vessels in the Harbor, a remarkable choreography takes place constantly.

Steve Tobin explained, “The workhorse of the Cashman project is the 100-ton (duty-cycle) crane called the ‘Dale Pyatt’. It has a 28-cubic yard heavy duty clamshell bucket, a 33-cubic yard medium duty bucket, but can also handle a 56-cubic yard environmental bucket.” Owner Jay Cashman named this impressive piece of equipment after current President of Jay Cashman, Inc., and longtime employee, Dale Pyatt. Dale also served for many years on the UCANE Board of Directors, including a term as UCANE President. The Dale Pyatt crane is essentially custom built for this heavy marine application and sits on a 180’ x 65’ barge secured in the water with two spuds at the bow and one stern walking spud that are 42 inches in diameter and 95 feet tall. The captain’s house on the barge and the crane operators cab are both fully synched and equipped with electronics and sonar equipment that profile the harbor bottom constantly and measure the volume of each clamshell bucket of material hoisted out of the water. The crane moves effortlessly as it swings 90 degrees and dumps 25 to 30 yards of wet material with each cycle into the 5,000 cubic yard capacity split hull dump scow that continued on page 41

UCANE’s Mike Lenihan with Cashman Project Executive Steve Tobin aboard the “Dale Pyatt”. The 28-cubic yard dredge bucket weighs in at 110,000 lbs. empty.

JUNE, 2019





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Jay Cashman, Inc. continued from page 39 is tied alongside the Dale Pyatt. At 267’ x 54’ and standing 24 feet above water when empty, it is one of the largest material barges on the East Coast with bottom dump capability by hydraulically opening in the middle to allow rapid dumping at the designated disposal site. Cashman has two of these scows working alongside the Dale Pyatt so when one scow is full and being towed out, the empty scow is pulled into position. According to project Manager Aaron Barton, “On a good day, with weather permitting, the Cashman crew will send five to six scows (over 20,000 cubic yards) out to the dump site.” But Aaron is quick to note, “New England weather is the constant variable in marine work.” The dredging operation will go on 24/7 for 12 months a year with only a few non-working holidays or severe storm days. Finding workers to man these vessels in summer months is not so difficult, but showing up for this type of work during New England winters takes a special employee. Jay Cashman credits his employees for much of his suc-

cess and considers them “some of the toughest and most loyal guys in the marine business.” Standing on the crane barge with the scow alongside, and looking at all the other support boats and specialized equipment involved in this work, makes one understand why there are relatively few contractors in the heavy marine and dredging business. The capital equipment investment required to be in this industry dwarfs any other construction type business. The Dale Pyatt itself, with its scows, tugs, and support boats, represents an equipment investment of nearly $60 million for this single dredging operation in the harbor. Brian Rawston pointed out other dredging equipment working on the job including Cashman’s Dredge F.J. Belesimo, another clam shell dredge slightly smaller than the Dale Pyatt; the Captain A.J. Fournier, fitted with an enormous Liebherr 994 excavator that can dig 75 feet deep; and Dutra’s Paula Lee, an impressive clamshell dredge weighing in at 2,100 tons. continued on page 43

Recently the Cashman crew celebrated 1000 loads of dredged material removed on the Boston Harbor Project.

JUNE, 2019



Jay Cashman, Inc. continued from page 41 The massive project site is gridded off into hundreds of rectangular sections within multiple 70 foot wide “cut lanes.” As the dredge systematically removes the material from each section, the barge raises its spuds and slowly advances to the next defined grid with the assistance of on-board GPS equipment and powerful 2,000 to 3,000 horsepower tugboats. Cashman engineers, under the direction of Project Engineer Paul Marsala, deploy fully equipped survey boats daily to check all excavated areas making sure there are no high spots missed and, just as importantly, making sure no over-excavation has occurred. Payable excavated quantities are reconciled daily with the Army Corps inspectors. The project is currently ahead of schedule and on April 5, 2019 the company reached a milestone with four million yards of material being removed.

This Boston Harbor Dredging Project is certainly a challenge but this first generation contractor has faced many of them along his impressive career. Whether it be complicated Central Artery Projects for MassDOT, the Greenbush Commuter Rail Extension for the MBTA, Dredging PCB’s for three years in the Hudson River, or installing the Deer Island Outfall Diffuser for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Jay Cashman and Dale Pyatt have tackled some landmark projects and have exceeded expectations every time. Jay says, “You will see Cashman Companies continuing to pursue challenging projects both on land and on water. Our company philosophy is “Think Impossible.” It is trademarked and you’ll see it painted on our equipment. With many talented employees working with me, including my team at Boston Harbor, I truly believe that there is no such thing as an impossible project.”

We would like to thank Jay Cashman and his management team, for the tour and an “up close” look at this amazing Boston Harbor Project. UCANE is proud to count Jay Cashman, Inc. as one of our members and we wish them continued growth and success in the years ahead. n

Cashman’s 100-ton (duty cycle) dredge busy at work in May 2019.

JUNE, 2019



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Patrick W. Saltmarsh Corporate Safety Director J. Derenzo Companies

Professional Development “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” ~ Benjamin Franklin The more time an employee works in a particular position, performing the same task, the easier it is to become comfortable and complacent. In fact, if you polled many of these employees, they may refer to themselves as “experts” who have become selfproclaimed masters of the job they are performing. I beg to differ, career and industry training / education should never stop. Professional development for employees should be just as important for employers as it is for their employees. Whether it is onsite training with a new tool, review of an existing safety standard, or registering for a class, updated knowledge and skills will ultimately improve your business.


ffering professional development training programs allows current employees to perform their work better and prepares them for positions of greater responsibility. Progressive companies have come to realize that investing in the growth and development of key employees will help to improve the overall competency of the organization. When an employee is trained in a new skill or management responsibilities, they become better equipped to take on additional work and may be inspired to work towards a leadership role in the future. Employee development and career development may appear to be similar concepts, but there are key distinctions between the two. Employee development typically refers a company’s efforts to train its employees and improve upon their current work skills. While career development generally refers to one’s personal efforts to learn and develop new skills in an effort to position themselves for a promotion, increase their pay, or perhaps a career change. Career development programs place more of an emphasis on the personal growth of an individual emJUNE, 2019

J. Derenzo Co. Foremen participating in one of the many professional development training programs available to them throughout the year.

ployee, however this path still benefits the company they currently work for. Any type of continued education or additional training, employees learn skills they can immediately apply while working on your job sites. Encouraging your employees and sponsoring continued on page 47



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Safety Corner continued from page 45 them to attend industry training will help foster loyalty. In essence, companies that offer and facilitate professional development opportunities will be providing both the company and the individual employee with benefits that can easily justify the cost and time spent as a worthwhile investment. Each employee represents an investment of both time and money. Employees with access to training and development programs will come to realize they have an advantage over employees in other companies who are left to seek out training on their own. It is this investment in training that will show your employees that they are truly valued.

When employees achieve more, your company will benefit. When you offer training and development opportunities, you will be building a positive reputation as an employer that cares about its workforce and strives to employ the best. Working safer today than we did yesterday requires companies to expose their employees to new experiences, which in turn will keep them engaged in their work, build enthusiasm, and inspire loyalty. n

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J. D’Amico, Inc. Named Region 1 Prime Contractor of the Year by SBA Randolph-Based Company has Been Building Infrastructure in the Bay State Since 1928

J. D’Amico Vice President and General Manager, Nicholas Biello (holding award), along with owners James D’Amico, James Baker, and Anthony D’Amico were honored at the annual SCORE Boston / SBA awards luncheon along with other 2019 Massachusetts Small Business Week winners at Assumption College on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.


he Small Business Administration (SBA) named J. D’Amico Inc. of Randolph, MA as this year’s 2019 Prime Contractor of the Year for Region 1. J. D’Amico Inc. earned the recognition for its success with overall satisfaction in government client contract performance. J. D'Amico is a general contractor specializing in a wide range of heavy construction projects. The company performs its own work, having completed construction projects such as: water, sewer, drain pipe, steam pipe, pumping stations, dam reconstructions, bridges, and seawalls. “Small business prime contractors such as J. D’Amico are providing efficiency and effectiveness to government agencies through their experience and management expertise,” said SBA Massachusetts District Director, Robert Nelson. “It is an honor to recognize the team at J. D’Amico for their exceptional service to the government community.” The company was founded in 1928, has worked with many federal, state, and municipal government agencies. J. D’Amico maintains certifications from the

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Massachusetts Highway Department and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance. J. D'Amico maintains a reputation as a very thorough contractor that provides exemplary service to clients such as Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, and scores of municipalities throughout Massachusetts. The company self-performs 90% of the work on projects they are awarded, removing layers of paperwork and the potential for miscommunication. All employees are OSHA 10 trained, and key employees are certified OSHA 40 hour Hazmat, CPR, and maintain blasting licenses and construction supervisor licenses. Vice President Nicholas Biello sits on the Board of Directors of the Utility Contractor's Association of New England (UCANE). “This is a huge honor for J. D’Amico, Inc. For over 90 years, J. D’Amico has operated as a small business, committed to quality and professionalism, and performing infrastructure projects that make a real difference in our communities,” said Vice President, Nicholas Biello. n



Cape and Islands Water Protection Board Gets to Work Panel will oversee fund to ease burden of costly wastewater projects.


ARNSTABLE — The Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund Management Board, established through the state’s short-term rental tax bill, is officially up and running. The board, made up of one member from each of the Cape’s 15 towns, held its inaugural meeting Tuesday at the Barnstable County Complex to organize, elect leaders and hear from state officials. “This is where the real work begins,” state Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, said in opening remarks to the board. The fund was established in late 2018 to help Cape Cod towns pay for wastewater management projects through a 2.75 percent excise tax assessed on traditional lodging and short-term rentals. The tax will not be levied until July 1 and will be collected in Cape towns above and beyond a 5.7 percent state tax and as much as a 6 percent local tax established by the short-term rental bill. Peake and state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, led the charge on Beacon Hill to establish the fund, and both attended the kickoff meeting. “I feel like I’m standing here with our newborn baby,” Peake said. She expressed hope the new fund would provide financial relief to communities and taxpayers as they embark on wastewater management projects that could cost the region $4 billion over 50 years. “This has the potential to transform what’s

JUNE, 2019 2016 SEPTEMBER,

possible here on Cape Cod,” Cyr said. The Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund is a dedicated fund within and administered by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The newly seated board received presentations from state Department of Environmental Protection and Clean Water Trust officials during the meeting, focusing on the mechanics of the program and how projects could be funded. Sandwich Town Manager George “Bud” Dunham was elected board chairman, and Orleans Selectman Kevin Galligan was chosen to be vice chairman, both for one-year terms. “It’s really interesting to hear where we all are with our wastewater plans and how we can work together to address what we’ve needed to continued on page 53


00 51

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Spotlight on Cape Cod continued from page 51

The next meeting of the management board is scheduled for June 26, when representatives from the state Department of Revenue are scheduled to discuss fund collection and distribution. Written by Geoff Spillane. Reprinted from the Cape Cod Times. n

do for a long time,” Dunham said. The board also voted to authorize communities from Dukes and Nantucket counties that are not members of the fund to participate on a nonvoting basis on the board. Island towns may opt in to membership in the fund — and assess the 2.75 percent tax — if they have an active Section MBO Precast Inc. 208 water quality management 4 Marion Drive • Carver, MA 02330 T: 508-866-6900 • F: 508-866-5252 plan or an approved “208 plan equivalent” by the Department of Environmental Protection. Stone Strong Retaining Wall Systems The board also received nominations from six members Manholes / Catch Basins / Custom Structures to create a subcommittee to deSeptic Tanks / Leaching Products velop bylaws under which the board will operate. “Bylaws are important,” Dunham said after the meeting, regarding next steps for the board. “We’re still trying to figure out what we’re supposed to do.”

JUNE, 2019



UCANE’s 45th Annual Scholarship Awards Night “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


ver the years, UCANE has seen many changes, both in the industry and in our communities. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is UCANE members’ commitment to the next generation of leaders. That is why over the past 45 years UCANE has awarded more than a million dollars in scholarships to collegebound seniors who are the sons and daughters of UCANE members. Although these students vary in their career choices and interests, each one them exemplifies what UCANE stands for as an association: hard work, commitment to family, and service to their communities. On May 15, the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Norwood, MA was once again the location for UCANE to recognize the outstanding achievements of these 12 remarkable high school seniors. Joining the students were families, friends, UCANE members, and guests at UCANE’s 45th Annual Scholarship Awards Night sponsored by C. N. Wood Co., Inc. While each of these young men and women were uniquely deserving of the award, they all shared some common traits: academic excellence, participation in extracurricular activities, community service, family support, volunteer work, and charitable endeavors.


The evening began with UCANE President Richard Pacella, Jr. welcoming those in attendance. He also addressed the award recipients, saying, “Tonight’s award is the culmination of many years of working hard at being the best that they can be, and it is only fitting that each of them be recognized for their efforts.” Rich then called on Executive Director Anne Klayman to introduce the keynote speaker for the evening, former New England Patriot Lineman, Joe Andruzzi. Anne began by thanking Todd McDonald and Broadstone Advisors, LLC for helping to make the evening even more memorable by sponsoring Joe’s appearance. Joe has been a good friend of UCANEs, and in past years has helped secure other current and former Patriots to speak at our Scholarship Dinners. However, Joe’s own story and message is so powerful that he was asked to address this year’s winners and guests. Joe’s career with the Patriots began in 2000 when he was signed as a full-time starter for the team, and then went on to win three Superbowl rings with them. While playing for the Patriots, he started in 76 consecutive regular-season games and was the anchor of an offensive line that protected Tom Brady. A popular player with both his teammates and Patriots’ fans, he may best


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be remembered by his emotional news conference the day after 9/11 when he found out that his three brothers, who were New York City firefighters, had survived the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. In May of 2007, at the age of 32, Joe was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Although the aggressive cancer ended his playing career, it did not diminish his spirit. In introducing Joe, Anne said, “With the tremendous support of his family and friends, Joe fought cancer the way he played football…hard and relentless, never giving in, never giving up, and to this day, he remains in remission and his prognosis is excellent!” She added, “Since that time, Joe has told me that he lives with a deeper understanding of the meaning of life, the unbreakable bond of love of family and friends, and the commitment so many doctors and nurses made for his recovery to be successful. Joe also believes in the concept of paying-it-forward… which is why more than 10 years ago, to help families continued on page 57

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Joe Andruzzi Former New England Patriots Lineman



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Scholarship Awards Night continued from page 55 who are going through cancer treatment, Joe and his wife Jen started the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.” Joe took to the podium and shared his experiences growing up in New York City, and his non-traditional path to playing professional football. Specifically, never having played football until he reached high school, and then ending up at a small college in Connecticut, not having been recruited or receiving any scholarship offers. Through perseverance he got his education and after graduating, an opportunity to play in the NFL. He shared several anecdotes about his years in the NFL and also related how his cancer diagnosis changed his life, the experience motivating him to give back and make a difference to other families dealing with illness. One concrete idea Joe shared passionately with the recipients and everyone in attendance was to never lose sight of your goals, literally. He suggested that everyone make a list of their goals and make that list a screen saver on their phone or hang it on the back of a door or on a mirror you look at every day. The value of that being, if you look at your goals everyday you will never lose sight of them and although you may not reach all of your goals whether they be academic or personal – seeing them in front of you every day exponentially increases the likelihood of reaching some, if not all of them. He concluded by saying to the students, “Keep pushing forward, keep paying it forward, and be the best person you can be.” His remarks were met with a well-deserved standing ovation from the crowd. Anne then began the formal Scholarship Awards presentation by explaining that while our applicants are judged in part by their academics, which includes class standing, scholastic honors, SAT and Achievement Test scores, judging takes into equally important consideration the student’s extracurricular activities both in and outside of school, community and

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volunteer service, career objective, and the maturity and presentation of their essay. Each applicant is blindly reviewed and graded by a committee of educators who are not affiliated with UCANE. Anne then introduced the 12 young men and women along with the attributes each had exhibited that resulted in them being awarded one of our scholarships. Company and family representatives, in whose memory each scholarship was named, then presented the students their award. Each individual student, when accepting their scholarship, took to the podium to personally thank their family and UCANE for their award.

Anne ended the evening by again congratulating our 12 scholarship recipients and thanking Joe Andruzzi for taking time from his family and training to attend this event, speak to the students, and impart his positive message of resilience and persistence. It was a special evening that those in attendance will always remember, especially the students as they continue their education and make their contributions to society in the years to come. n




Walee Attia

Joseph D’Amico Memorial Scholarship

alee is the son of Sana Ali and Khaled Attia of Randolph, MA. Sana works for UCANE member firm J. F. White Contracting Corp. Walee attended Al-Noor Academy in Mansfield where he maintained high honor roll status in all honors and advanced placement classes. Walee is President of the Neuroscience Club, Team Captain of the Business Club, a member of his school’s Honor Council, and co-founder of the Speech and Debate Club. He was the recipient of the Headmaster Award, the STEM Award and he was a finalist in the Boston Regional Brain Bee, selected to compete on the Math Olympic Team, and he also participated in the Harvard MIT Math Tournament. Walee has taken advanced and challenging courses at Bridgewater State University and has assisted in conducting research at the Single Molecule Biophysics Lab there. Outside of scholastic achievements, Walee is an Elite Soccer player and hopes to make it to the U.S. national team. He has earned his black belt in Taekwondo and is a first-degree black belt in Krav Maga and Muay Thai. Walee will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland this fall. He plans to major in Biomedical Engineering and minor in Economics. He hopes to pursue his passion for computational neuroscience and become a skilled artificial intelligence programmer. Nick Biello, President of J. D’Amico, Inc. presented Walee with the Joseph D’Amico Memorial Scholarship.


Carter Bergeron William Zoppo Memorial Scholarship

arter is the son of Kerry and Wade Bergeron of Holden, MA. Wade works for UCANE member firm United Rentals Fluid Solutions. Carter attended Wachusett Regional High School where he maintained high honor roll status in all honors and advanced placement classes, and he is a member of the National Honor Society. He was elected to the Wachusett Student Council and was the co-founder and Vice President of the Wachusett Civics Club. He has served as Director, Treasurer, and President of DECA and was one of the top 20 international finalists at their competition in Atlanta, GA. Carter was also a member of the Model United Nations and participated in a variety of competitions. Outside of school, Carter is a member of the Boy Scouts of America and he earned Eagle Scout in 2018. He is an avid participant in his church and for his Eagle Scout project he renovated the church attic, built new shelving units and restored the nativity statues. Carter will attend Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business where he will study Finance. He plans to go on to pursue his MBA and possibly Law School. Victoria and David Zoppo presented Carter with the William Zoppo Memorial Scholarship.



JUNE, 2019

Margaret Burnham Frank McCourt Memorial Scholarship


argaret is the daughter of Carolyn and Matt Burnham of Holden, MA. Matt works for UCANE member McCourt Construction Company of South Boston. Margaret attended Wachusett Regional High School where she has maintained high honors status in all honors and advanced placement classes. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the Math, French, and Science Honor Societies. Outside of the classroom, Margaret was the team captain of the indoor Cross Country and outdoor Track teams and also plays Field Hockey. She is a passionate piano player, having played since she was four years old. She loves languages, is fluent in French and learning German. Margaret will attend St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT where she intends to major in Public Health and minor in Statistics and Biochemistry. She hopes to become an epidemiologist and study patterns in human disease in order to prevent future outbreaks. Ryan McCourt presented Margaret with the Frank McCourt Memorial Scholarship.


Kelly Clougherty Herman Snyder Memorial Scholarship

elly is the daughter of Susan and Joe Clougherty. Joe works for UCANE member firm Jay Cashman, Inc. Kelly attended Scituate High School where she has maintained honor roll status throughout high school. She is a member of the National Business Honors Society and has taken part in the DECA business role-play competition. Outside of school Kelly played volleyball and worked to establish the team as a varsity sport at her school. She held three jobs during her high school years and spent many hours volunteering for her community and church. Kelly will attend Bryant University where she will major in Marketing and minor in Entrepreneurship. Her career goal is to become a marketing manager. Bob Ferguson from Hinckley Allen presented Kelly with the Herman Snyder Memorial Scholarship.

JUNE, 2019



Gabrielle Dieu


Ronald Pacella Memorial Scholarship

abrielle is the daughter of Diem and Hai Dieu. Diem works for UCANE member firm Milton CAT. Gabrielle attended the Advanced Math and Science Charter School in Marlborough, MA where she has maintained high honor roll status in mostly all honors and advanced placement classes throughout high school. Gabrielle was inducted into the National Honor Society as well as the Spanish Honor Society. She received the Science Olympiad Award in grades 6-12. Outside of school, she has volunteered as a teaching aid in science at a low income pre-school. She has also assisted with the Special Olympics and a local soup kitchen. Gabrielle will attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She plans to pursue a career in Public Health on a Physician Assistant track. She is particularly interested in women’s health and public policy. Querino Pacella of RJV Construction Corp. presented Gabrielle with the Ronald Pacella Memorial Scholarship.


Isabelle Driscoll Steve Barlow Memorial Scholarship

sabelle is the daughter of Aimee and Dennis Driscoll. Dennis works for UCANE member firm The Driscoll Agency. Isabelle attended Milton High School, where she maintained high honor roll status in mostly honors and advanced placement classes, and she is a member of the National Honor Society. Isabelle is the editor of the Yearbook Club and the leader of the French Immersion Club. She captained the Varsity Cheerleading team for two years and was a Bay State All Star award winner two years in a row. Outside of school Isabelle figure skates and in April she traveled to France for her first international competition. She will represent Team USA at the Nations Cup. Isabelle has also been the team manager for the Babe Ruth Baseball team and a leader in her CCD class. Isabelle will attend Providence College and plans to major in either Business or Education with a double major in French. UCANE Executive Director Anne Klayman presented Isabelle with the Steve Barlow Memorial Scholarship.



JUNE, 2019

Lauren Grela Robert B. Our Memorial Scholarship


auren is the daughter of Linda and Peter Grela. Peter works for UCANE member firm Dagle Electrical Construction Corporation. Lauren attended Ursuline Academy in Dedham where she maintained an A average in all honors and advanced placement classes throughout high school. She is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Yale Book Award. She has also been honored scholastically by being named top student in Biology, Geometry, Spanish, Algebra, and Calculus. Outside of school Lauren participated in Varsity Cross Country as well as the Track and Field team, where she served as captain for both. She has done a variety of volunteer work focused on her community and the issue of poverty. Lauren will attend Columbia University where she plans to major in Neuroscience and Behavior Studies. She will minor in either Human Rights Studies or Sociology. Her career goal is to become a Brain Surgeon. Robbie Our presented Lauren with the Robert B. Our Memorial Scholarship.


Jonathan Kelley

Tony & Anthony Umbro Memorial Scholarship

onathan is the son of Joanne Kelley and Lee Empey. Joanne works for UCANE member firm Feeney Brothers Utility Services of Dorchester. Jonathan attended Boston College High School where he maintained honor roll status. His involvement at school included participating in the Mock Trial and Business Clubs, Concert Choir and Band, as well as the Running Club. Outside of school Jonathan is part of the Boy Scouts of America as an instructor and an assistant senior patrol leader. He has been an altar server at his church, has volunteered at the Marshfield Fair at their horticulture exhibits, and has an interest in gardening. He has won ribbons for his creative plant arrangements. Jonathan will attend Suffolk University where he plans to major in Finance and minor in Business Law and Business Analytics. Joe and Paul Umbro presented Jonathan with the Tony and Anthony Umbro Memorial Scholarship.

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Sophia Kubosiak


Philip Jasset Memorial Scholarship

ophia is the daughter of Rebecca and Edward Kubosiak. Rebecca works for UCANE member firm James J. Dowd & Sons Insurance Agency of Holyoke. Sophia attended Hampshire Regional High School where she maintained high honor roll status and was ranked #6 in her class of 88 students. She has taken mainly honors and advanced placement classes. Sophia received the highest GPA in 2018 in the Distinguished Young Women Competition. She was the recipient of the Springfield College Book Award, the John and Abigail Adams MCAS Scholarship, and has achieved Excellence in AP Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Chemistry. Outside of school Sophia was captain of the Varsity Cross Country Team, participated in Track and Field, and earned her orange belt in Taekwondo. Sophia will attend St. Louis University where she will take part in an accelerated six year Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. UCANE Executive Director Anne Klayman presented Sophia with the Philip Jasset Memorial Scholarship.


Michael Lee

Arnold Belli Memorial Scholarship

ichael is the son of Rachel and Hui Lee. Rachel works for UCANE member firm Feeney Brothers Utility Services of Dorchester, MA. Michael attended Winchester High School where he maintained honor roll status in a mix of honors, college prep, and advanced placement classes. In school he authored an article for the school newspaper and worked as a teaching assistant. He edited and filmed his schools safety video. Michael served as a leader in the school choir. He has always been passionate about helping others since a young age. Michael will attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He plans to pursue a career in English Education at the Secondary level. Lisa DeFelice from A. R. Belli, Inc. presented Michael with the Arnold Belli Memorial Scholarship.



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Faith Occhipinti

Robert DeSanctis Memorial Scholarship

aith is the daughter of Katie and Frank Occhipinti. Frank works for UCANE member firm Weston & Sampson Engineers of Peabody, MA. Faith attended Salem High School where she was ranked #3 in a class of 260 students. She maintained high honor roll status in mostly honors and advanced placement classes throughout high school. She was named Outstanding Freshman Global Studies Student, Outstanding AP Literature Student, and was the recipient of the Yale Book Award. She was also named Salutatorian of her senior class. Faith worked on the Student and Class councils, the National Honors Society as treasurer, and was a member of Girls Who Code and Key Club. Faith has been involved in theatre arts both in and outside of school. She has volunteered at Relay for Life as a team member and has worked as a counselor at a summer camp. Faith will attend Northeastern University where she will dual major in Biology and Computer Science. One of her career goals is to do stem cell research in order to make regenerative organ growing a feasible option in the future. Jordan Tirone from the DeSanctis Insurance Agency presented Faith with the Robert DeSanctis Memorial Scholarship.


Emily Yorns

Richard McCourt Memorial Scholarship

mily is the daughter of Marsha and Mark Yorns. Mark works for UCANE member firm Guard Air/AirSpade of Chicopee, MA. Emily attended Longmeadow High School where she maintained high honor roll status in mostly honors and advanced placement classes. She is a member of the National Honor Society and won a silver medal in the National Spanish Exam. Emily participated in Soccer, Indoor Track, and Lacrosse. She was also involved with the SADD and Women STEM organizations. Outside of school Emily assisted in youth soccer and lacrosse clinics. She also volunteered for A Hand Up, an organization that assists in transitioning those effected by homelessness into apartment living. Emily will attend Connecticut College where she plans to major in Biology and minor in either Spanish or Economics. Her career goal is to become a bioengineer or physicians assistant. Unfortunately, Emily was unable to attend our scholarship dinner as she was accepting another award at her school.

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JUNE, 2019

Employer Confidence Falls in May Employer confidence weakened in Massachusetts during May amid renewed trade tensions and concerns among companies about increased operating costs from paid family leave and other government mandates.


he outlook among business leaders has moved in a narrow, overall optimistic, range for much of 2019. The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Business Confidence Index (BCI) lost 3.2 points last month to 57.1, its lowest level since October 2016. The Index has declined 9.5 points since May 2018. All of the constituent indicators that make up the BCI weakened during May with the largest drop coming in employer views of conditions six months from now. The erosion of confidence during the past 12 months has been driven largely by caution about the national economy and concern among manufacturing companies. “The Business Confidence Index continues to reflect the Goldilocks economy in which we find ourselves – US GDP growth is expected to remain at a modest level of 2 to 3 percent and there is not much inflation or deflation. There are both encouraging

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signs and red flags,” said Raymond G. Torto, Chair of AIM's Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Design. Several employers participating in the survey said regulatory costs have become a significant concern. “The cost to operate has increased dramatically higher wages, benefit costs, supply costs and cost of compliance with all the new regulations coming out of State House,” one employer wrote. The AIM Index, based on a survey of Massachusetts employers, has appeared monthly since July 1991. It is calculated on a 100-point scale, with 50 as neutral; a reading above 50 is positive, while below 50 is negative. The Index reached its historic high of 68.5 on two occasions in 1997-98, and its all-time low of 33.3 in February 2009. The Index has remained above 50 since October 2013. continued on page 67





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Employer Confidence continued from page 65 Constituent Indicators The constituent indicators showed a broadbased retrenchment during May. The Massachusetts Index assessing business conditions within the Commonwealth fell 2.3 points to 60.9, while the US Index shed 3.3 points to 55.0. The Massachusetts reading has declined 9.1 points during the past 12 months and the US reading has dropped 14.3 points during the same period. The Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, tumbled 4.5 points to 56.0. The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, lost 1.8 points to 58.2, 8.4 points lower than a year ago. The Employment Index declined 1.2 points for the month and 5.1 percent for 12 months. Analysts say employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers in a state economy with a 2.9 percent jobless rate. Non-manufacturers (60.0) were more confident than manufacturers (54.7). Small companies (58.4) were more bullish than large (55.0) or medium-sized companies (57.6), a reversal of the usual pattern. Companies in Eastern Massachusetts (59.3) continued to be far more optimistic than those in the west (54.0).

Elmore Alexander, Retired Dean of the Ricciardi College of Business at Bridgewater State University and a BEA member, said Massachusetts employers are reflecting general concerns about tepid national economic growth, renewed geopolitical tensions and slowing corporate spending. “Few see an imminent recession, but most experts believe US economic growth will slow from 3 percent last year to 2.1 percent this year to 1.9 percent in 2020,” Alexander said.

Rising Costs

AIM President and CEO John R. Regan, also a BEA member, said the national economic uncertainty comes at a time when Massachusetts employers are struggling with a series of expensive new employment law mandates such as the state’s $1 billion paid Family and Medical Leave Program. “AIM has joined Raise Up Massachusetts and other groups in asking the Baker Administration to delay the scheduled July 1 start of paid leave by three months to provide employers time to consider how much of the cost they will share with workers and whether they wish to opt out of the state system. The delay is necessary to ensure a smooth rollout of this new entitlement,” Regan said. Regan joined the BEA after being named President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM. n

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Your Company Must Have A Comprehensive Safety Program! This year’s Safety Manual includes information on: • OSHA’s Updated Crane & Derrick Rule (1926.47) • OSHA’s Final Rule on Silica Exposure Limits • OSHA’s Final Rule on Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses • OSHA’s Final Rule on Confined Space in Construction • OSHA’s New Requirements for Reporting Severe Injuries • OSHA’s Updated Trenching & Excavation Safety • Updated State & Federal Posting Requirements

Promote A Safe Working Environment It should be your company’s policy to provide a safe place to work, with the prevention of accidents being your ultimate goal. Your Insurance/Bonding carrier requires a Safety Program. State and Federal Agencies require a Safety Program.

OSHA Inspectors Will Be Enforcing: • Overall Construction Safety (29 CFR 1926) • Excavating Standards • Written Safety and Health Plans

• Hazard Communications Programs • Drug Free Workplace • OSHA 10-Hour Training Requirements

Examine The UCANE Pocket Directory When ordering Company Safety Manuals, the Safety Manual section only, in the back of UCANE’s Pocket Directory, will be made up into an individual Employee Pocket Safety Manual with Your Company Name & Logo printed on the cover. Employee signature cards verifying compliance with safety manual procedures are included. When signed, these cards should be placed in each employee’s file.

Employee Pocket Safety Manual Order Form

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IN THIS ISSUE • Mid-Year Tax Planning • How IRAs Affect Medicaid Planning • New Rules for Business Travel Deductions

Smart tax, business and planning ideas from

Mid-year tax planning Mid-Year Tax Planning


a mon so the throug emplo 100% r investm

ear-end tax planning is on the agenda for many taxpayers, with good reason. That said, you don’t have to wait for November or December to make astute moves. Planning in June or July can lead to tax savings that might be reduced or lost altogether if you wait for late fall to act. Here are some areas to consider. Retirement Plan Contributions

Go over scheduled salary reductions for contributions to 401(k)s and similar employer plans. Make sure to find out if any employer match is offered and, if so, that you’ll be eligible for the full match. Beyond matched contributions, consider unmatched contributions. The 2019 limit for 401(k) salary deferrals is $19,000 ($25,000 for those age 50 or older), so some or most of your contributions might be unmatched. Example 1: Mona Newton, age 44, earns $100,000 at ABC Corp., which offers a 100% match on 6% of pay for its 401(k) participants. Mona has scheduled $1,000 a month in traditional 401(k) contributions, so the $6,000 she will have contributed through June will deliver $6,000 of employer contributions to her account: a 100% return on these contributions, with no investment risk. Midway through the year, Mona can decide if she wants to continue her scheduled contributions. Does she want to increase them from a total of $12,000 for 2019 to as much as $19,000? Does JUNE, 2019

Year-end tax planning is on the agenda for she want to switch to a Roth 401(k) option going many taxpayers, with good reason. That forward, if that’s allowed in her employer’s plan? said, you waitpay for more November or That woulddon’t meanhave Monato would tax in the second half of but potentially buildPlanning up an acDecember to 2019 make astute moves. count that she eventually could tap, tax-free, in rein June or July can lead to tax savings that tirement. might be reduced or lost altogether if you Debt Repayment wait for late fall to act. Paying down outstanding loans delivers a return down a credit card balance with interest rates of 12%, 15%, or more is often a savvy move. Retirement plan contributions In addition, paying down a loan without tax benGo scheduled salary reductions efitsover is better than paying down a loan with tax-defor contributions to 401(k)s and similar ductible interest. If you took the standard deduction for 2018 rather than itemizing your deductions, and employer plans. Make sure to find out if any likely will do the same in 2019, prepaying your home employer match is offered and, if so, that loan is a better deal. The same is true for student loan you’ll eligiblethe forinterest the full match. debt, ifbe deducting is not likely. continued on page 73 equal are to the interest Therefore, paying Here some areas consider.

Beyond matched contributions, consider unmatched contributions. The 2019 limit for “BUY FROM THE ADVERTISERS IN CONSTRUCTION OUTLOOK” 71 401(k) salary deferrals is $19,000 ($25,000 for those age 50 or older), so some or most

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Financial Management continued from page 71 In addition, current tax law makes it more difficult to deduct interest on home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). If you’re in that situation, prepaying a HELOC with a 6% interest rate is the same as earning 6%, after tax, with no investment risk, which may be appealing.

Roth IRA Conversions Under current law, income tax rates are generally lower than they were in 2017. Example 2: Owen and Pam Rose have taxable income around $240,000, which puts them in the 24% tax bracket on their joint tax return in 2019. Two years ago, that same income would have put them in the 33% tax bracket. After 2025, tax brackets are scheduled to return to the same rates as those effective in 2017. Keeping that in mind, the Roses may decide to convert some of their traditional IRA money to Roth IRAs. They might pay tax at 24% today and avoid future taxable withdrawals at 33%. After 5 years and after age 59½, all Roth IRA withdrawals may be untaxed. However, current tax law also prohibits recharacterization (reversal) after a Roth IRA conversion. The amount that’s converted will generate a tax bill for this year.

That’s where mid-year planning can pay off. By this time, the Roses may have a good idea about whether their taxable income will be the same in 2019 as it was in 2018. If so, the Roses could be confident aboutthe amount they’ll move from their traditional IRAs to the Roth side. With expected 2019 taxable income of $240,000, the Roses could convert $80,000 to a Roth IRA in 2019, staying within the 24% bracket. Such a conversion could cost $19,200 in tax (24% of $80,000), an outlay they believe would be worthwhile, possibly leading to tax-free cash flow in the future. Projecting year-end income at mid-year could lead to tax-effective moves from pre-tax to after-tax IRAs. continued on page 75

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Financial Management continued from page 73

How IRAs Affect Medicaid Planning


With many people facing such requirements, he national median cost of a private some strategies have emerged to permit some asset room in a nursing home is $8,365 preservation for those who need extensive and exa month (over $100,000 a year), acpensive care. Often, these plans involve placing ascording to the 2018 Genworth Cost of sets in trust. Therefore, if you are interested in MedCare Survey. Similar costs for assisted icaid funding for long-term care, you should consult with an experienced elder law attorney. living and home health care are nearly $50,000 a year. Costs are higher in some Avoiding the IRA Trap areas, lower in others, but throughout the Individuals and couples who have done most of United States it can be very expensive to Area Boston their saving in tax favored retirement accounts face pay for any form of long-term care. Locations an added hurdle. continued on page 77 Insurance coverage is 2 Dexter Street available, but not everyone Everett, MA 02149 Boston Area Boston Area (or their elderly loved ones) Locations Locations 431 Second Street has this protection. MediEverett, MA 02149 care offers limited coverage 2 Dexter Street 2 Dexter Street Everett, MA 02149 Everett, MA 02149 for long-term care. Consequently, many nursing home 431 Second Street 431 Second Street residents and others receivEverett, MA 02149 Everett, MA 02149 ing custodial care rely on BOSTON AREA LOCATIONS Medicaid to pay those bills. 100 Fremont Street 2 Dexter Street 431 Second Street Worcester, 01603 Everett, MAMA 02149 Everett, MA 02149 Earning Eligibility

Medicaid is designed for lowincome individuals, so people with “too much” income won’t qualify. The same is true for those with “too much” in assets. The actual limits vary from state to state and differ if the applicant is single or married. Very generally, income must be lower than Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc., a few thousand dollars a month, Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc. and unmarried people must have Serves over 2500 customers a week and is one of New England’s largest Serves over 2500 customers a week and is one New England's largest buyers, less than a few thousand dollars in buyers, sellers, and processors of scrap metal. Forour overgoal 60 years goal sellers and processors of scrap metal. For over 60 years has our remained assets. Certain assets are exempt remained the same - to in provide the best along prices in thetop industry along with the same - tohas provide the best prices the industry with notch top notch service! Fred Rogers at 617-595-5505 from the asset count, including a service! customer Callcustomer Fred Rogers at Call 617-595-5505 home and car. Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc., Minichiello Bros./Scrap-It, Inc., Moreover, Medicaid rules aim Serves over 2500 customers a week and is one New England's largest buyers, to limit asset transfers that create sellers and processors of scrap metal. For overa60week years ourisgoal Serves over 2500 customers and onehas Newremained England's largest buyers, questionable poverty. There gen-- to provide the best prices in the industry along with top notch the same sellers and processors of scrap metal. For over 60 years our goal has remain erally is a five-year look-back pe-service! the customer Callsame Fred -Rogers at 617-595-5505 to provide the best prices in the industry along with top notch riod for tracking such transactions customer service! Call Fred Rogers at 617-595-5505 (in California, the look-back period is 30 months). Someone who applies for Medicaid within 5 years of Turn your metal into money today! an asset transfer will face a waitTurn your metal into money today! ing period before Medicaid pays Minichiello Bros. Inc./Scrap-It Inc. Minichiello Bros. Inc.,/Scrap-It Inc. for long-term care.

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Financial Management continued from page 75 Example: Mark Harper, who was the family breadwinner, invested primarily in his company’s 401(k) plan; he later rolled that money into a traditional IRA. After Mark’s death, his widow Sue — the IRA beneficiary — has few assets outside of this tax-deferred account. If Sue needs, say, $50,000 to pay for care now, she may have to withdraw $60,000 from the IRA to have the money she needs, after paying income tax. It’s true that Sue might be able to claim her long-term care costs as an itemized medical deduction, but the addition to her adjusted gross income could wind up adding to her tax bill after all the numbers are crunched.

Double Trouble If Sue needs long-term care and considers applying for Medicaid, two problems can arise. First, the IRA money may be counted as an asset by Medicaid authorities, putting Sue over the limit. Second, withdrawals from the IRA could put Sue over the monthly income ceiling. Now for the good news. Some states consider a retirement account that’s in pay-out status to be exempt assets, for Medicaid purposes. If Sue is 70½ or older and taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from her IRA, she might be able to exclude her assets from the Medicaid count. (Younger IRA

owners may elect to take regular, periodic distributions based on life expectancy tables in order to claim pay-out status.) However, RMDs from the IRA could put her over the state income limit for Medicaid eligibility, especially if Sue is receiving an ample amount from Social Security. If excess income is blocking a Medicaid application, creating an irrevocable qualified income trust may be a solution. Sue’s IRA RMDs and her Social Security benefits might go into the trust, reducing her income but allowing Medicaid to pay for costly care. Another possible tactic is for Sue to spend down her IRA, using the money for bucket-list travel and home repairs. The IRA money probably will be taxed at some point, but spending now will reduce the IRA balance and future RMDs, helping to reach Medicaid eligibility. In addition, putting money into home improvements might raise the amounts passed to heirs. In 2019, depending on state law, home equity ranging upwards from $585,000 to a maximum of $878,000 may not affect Medicaid eligibility. (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York are some of the states that have adopted this $878,000 limit; California has no home equity value limit). Again, working with a capable attorney might be required for such tactics to succeed. continued on page 78

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d count. lect to utions

to spend down her IRA, using the money for bucket-list travel and home repairs. The IRA money probably will

attorney might be required for such tactics to succeed.

Financial Management continued from page 77

New Rules for Business siness travel deductions Travel Deductions

ductible, s Act a vely o claim st part, y at the


usiness still tax-deductible, Under thetravel TCJA,ismiscellaneous under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of itemized deductions no longer exist. 2017 (TCJA), but there is a major difNo matter muchfew Al spends on ference now. how Relatively individuals an employee now, willbusiness be able totravel claimas such deductions; for how that comparescan withbehistaken the and most part, deductions onlyAGI, at the company level.on a tax return there is no place How is this different from prior law? Before the to deduct unreimbursed employee TCJA took effect in 2018, people who itemized debusiness expenses. ductions could deduct miscellaneous itemized deductions that exceeded 2% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). Among the allowable miscellaneous According to plan deductions were unreimbursed employee business Some individuals can still deduct expenses.

ior law? in 2018, ions businessIn travel expenses. That Example: 2017, Al Coleman was an employee itemized of ABC includes individuals Corp. Heself-employed traveled extensively as part of his job, filing with noas reimbursement from ABC.and On his 2017 % of sole proprietors tax return, Al added up all his miscellaneous itemized (AGI). partners whohis are not reimbursed deductions, including business travel expenses, laneous and by theirthe partnership. Inofthose deducted amount over 2% AGI. Under the TCJA, miscellaneous itemized deducsed situations, business travel is another tions no longer exist. No matter how much Al spends s. expense item determining annual on business travel as an employee now, and how that profitwith or his loss. compares AGI, there is no place on a tax an was anreturn to deduct unreimbursed employee business raveled expenses. Conversely, if you are an employee, Plan from , with you mayAccording get no taxtobenefit Some stillare deduct travel C. On his travelindividuals outlayscan that notbusiness reimbursed expenses. That includes self-employed individuals all his by your employer. Your best filing as sole proprietors and partners who are not uctions, reimbursed tactic by then be toInrequest theirwould partnership. those situations, business travel is another expense item determining reimbursement by your company — annual profit or loss. amount specifically under an accountable Conversely, if you are an employee, you may get plan. (See Trusted advice.) Then, no tax benefit from travel outlays that are not reimbursed by your employer. Your best tactic then would be to request reimbursement by your company — specifically under an accountable plan. (See Trusted advice.) Then, you would get cash back without having to report taxable income, and the company would get a business deduction.

Entertainment Eliminated

you getchange cashtoback without Thewould other major the taxation of business travel underto thereport TCJA istaxable the elimination of deductions having income, and for business entertainment. Whether you are at home the company would get a business or away, whether you’re self-employed or on a company deduction. continued on page 79 If a company’s reimbursement plan is deemed non-accountable, the tax consequences can be severe. The amount reimbursed will be subject SANDtax& as STONE to income well asCORP. payroll taxes, if applicable. 192 Plain St.

North Attleboro, MA 02760 Entertainment (508)eliminated 699-1922 The other major change to the taxation of business travel under the TCJA is the elimination of deductions for business

continued on next page


If a company’s reimbursement plan is deemed non-accountable, the tax consequences can be severe. The amount reimbursed will be subject to income tax as well as payroll taxes, if applicable. 78


JUNE, 2019

Financial Management continued from page 78 payroll, entertainment deductions have been abolished. You can still take clients or prospects to games, plays, and concerts, but no tax benefit will result. Fortunately, a straightforward business meal is still deductible, in part. Meal deductions are 50% of the total cost, including beverages, tax, and tip. That’s true whether you’re picking up the tab for a meal with a business contact or just dropping by a diner for dinner while you’re on the road. Besides meals away from home, many other outlays can qualify as deductible business travel expenses. That includes air or rail travel, plus any limo charges for getting to and from an airport or railroad station. Other acceptable costs might be baggage charges, reasonable tips, and hotel bills if you’re away from home with a valid purpose. As has been true in the past, commuting to and from work is not considered deductible business travel. However, using your personal vehicle to make business calls can qualify for deductions. To calculate the amount, you generally can either track your actual costs or use a standard rate. In 2019, the standard mileage rate for the use of a car, van, pickup truck, or panel truck is 58 cents per business mile. Reprinted from CPA Client Bulletin. n

Trusted Advice Accountable Plans

For an employer’s reimbursement arrangement to be an accountable plan, it must meet the following requirements: • Reimbursed expenses must have a business connection. The employee must have paid or incurred the expenses while performing services for the employer. • The employee must adequately account to the employer for these business expenses within a reasonable amount of time. • The employee must return any excess reimbursement or allowance within a reasonable period of time. Other conditions may apply. Your accountant can help your company create and maintain an accountable plan.

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