return to Around the Table archives   FEBRUARY 2015
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

When we ask members how the state can spur economic growth in Massachusetts, one answer always near the top of the list is “reduce regulatory burdens.” Our members favor smart regulations that protect the environment and consumers. However, Massachusetts is an outlier in areas that add unnecessary costs and time to projects. Following a recent meeting with senior members of the Baker-Polito Administration, we provided a list of regulatory burdens impacting businesses. We encourage all members to send us any specific examples of regulations that you would like to see modified or eliminated. Working with Governor Baker’s team, we have an excellent opportunity to enhance the state’s reputation as a place to do business and help companies grow and thrive in the Commonwealth.       


Energy Task Force to Meet in February Hosted by MBR Member Foley Hoag
MBR is convening a meeting of business leaders and experts from industry to serve on the newly created Energy Task Force, which will be the Roundtable’s focal point for addressing one of our top public policy priorities, the high cost of energy. The Task Force will be led by Chairman Joseph Basile, a Partner at Foley Hoag and a member of MBR’s Executive Committee.

The Energy Task Force will initially develop a mission statement and guiding principles to inform MBR’s advocacy on Beacon Hill during this legislative session. It will then determine the issues of greatest priority to the MBR membership and identify strategies for engaging with and impacting public policy in those areas. MBR will work closely with other business organizations to coordinate the business community’s efforts on this important set of policies. If you would like to participate in MBR’s Energy Task Force, please contact the MBR office.

MBR Board Meeting March 19th Features Conversation with Energy Secretary Matthew Beaton
The Roundtable is convening a timely conversation with new Energy & Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton in March to address the region’s energy costs, capacity constraints and opportunities to improve the state’s competitiveness. Roundtable members recently adopted a Framework for Long-Term Economic Prosperity that calls for the state to adopt strategies to reduce energy costs and expand pipeline capacity.

Secretary Beaton oversees the state’s environmental, natural resource and energy regulatory agencies including: the Departments of Environmental Protection, Public Utilities, Energy Resources, Conservation & Recreation, Agricultural Resources and Fish & Game. He also serves as Chairman of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Energy Facilities Siting Board, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Prior to his recent appointment by Governor Baker, Secretary Beaton served as a State Representative from Shrewsbury.

READ Matthew Beaton's bio.

Roundtable Welcomes New Member Bruce R. Magid, PhD., Dean, Brandeis International Business School
MBR is pleased to welcome Bruce R. Magid, PhD., Dean, Brandeis International Business School, as a new member of the Roundtable. He has served as Dean of Brandeis International Business School since 2007. Dean Magid holds the Martin and Ahuva Gross Chair in Financial Markets and Institutions and brings a broad background in academic leadership, global business and public policy. He has particularly strong expertise in international trade and finance, having lived and worked in Venezuela and Brazil, as well as conducted business throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Before entering academia, Dean Magid served as a managing director and senior vice president at Bank of America over two decades.

“Brandeis International Business School is a hub of innovation, research and scholarship,” said Michael Hogan, Chairman of the Roundtable and CEO of The A.D. Makepeace Company. “Bruce’s vast professional experience in business and his public policy acumen will strengthen the important work ahead to ensure that Massachusetts competes effectively in the global economy.”

“The Roundtable brings together leaders from business, higher education and government to address some of the most important policy issues facing our economy,” said Dean Magid. “I look forward to engaging with business leaders on behalf of Brandeis International Business School to advance our innovation initiatives and strengthen our relationships with businesses competing around the world.”

READ press release.

Microsoft New England Blog: Reflecting on “Educating your Future Workforce: A Forum for Employers"

Blog posting by JD Chesloff.

Microsoft’s Innovation and Policy Center—New England hosted an event last week entitled “Educating your Future Workforce:  A Forum for Employers,” sponsored by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. The event, kicked off by Microsoft’s Director of Government Affairs Brian Burke, highlighted the challenges employers face in finding workers with the skills needed to fill open positions, actions that are required, and the roles that the state’s K-12 education system, public colleges and universities must play to address the challenge.  The conversation, led by the state’s Commissioner of Higher Education, Richard Freeland, included remarks from employers who all agreed on a common theme:  there is a disconnect between the education system and employer needs, and progress is dependent upon better understanding and communication between the two.

A survey of employers across Massachusetts, conducted by the sponsors of the event, found that 69% have difficulty in finding employees with the skills necessary to fill open jobs.  While the panel acknowledged there are pockets of excellence in vocational technical education and on some Community College campuses, systemic change is needed to bridge this divide.

There is a side effect to this disconnect, however, that is not directly related to the workforce pipeline:  if business feels disconnected from public education, particularly higher education, it is less inclined to be an active and vocal advocate for it.  Employer panelists at the event talked about strategies they are undertaking to meet their own workforce needs, such as in-house training or partnerships with individual institutions to define curricula and, essentially, create their own pipeline.  While these strategies meet the needs of employers, they circumvent the public system and are not systemic change.  Yet given the current landscape, employers feel like these strategies are their best option

Commissioner Freeland noted that, due to a perfect storm of circumstances, the public higher education system needs close to $500M in new state investment.  In order for business to be invested in advocating for the public education system, the disconnect must be addressed.  Two-way communication, a mutual understanding of needs, and genuine partnerships between business and education throughout the system, scaled to incorporate best practices, would be a start.

National Business Roundtable Advances Employer Wellness Programs to Reduce Health Costs
Wellness Programs Create a Partnership Between Employers and Employees

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) lays out specific requirements that employers must meet when offering incentive-based wellness programs. 

Employer Requirements Under the ACA
  • Offer a Well-Designed Program
  • Ensure that Privacy Protections Are in Place
  • Limit the Value of Incentives to Be Offered
  • Offer a Reasonable Alternative to Meet the Incentives for Those Employees Who Cannot Participate for Medical Reasons

In testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee today, Gary Loveman, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, and Chair, Health and Retirement Committee, Business Roundtable, described how employers are offering innovative wellness programs under the ACA that provide better health care value for workers and their families. 

READ the full testimony.

For more examples of programs designed to drive innovations in employer health care, read the Business Roundtable report, Driving Innovation in the Health Care Marketplace: A CEO Report.

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

Check out our new website, It’s responsive, mobile-optimized, and designed to make it easy to do business with us.

MBR TweetMT @ericspiegel Are #STEM degrees gaining momentum over time? A look at trends over the past decade via @usnews:

MBR TweetRT @JohnRRegan: Cost of electricity matters - State Senate Panels Hears Struggles and Successes of Western Mass 

MBR TweetRT @Covidien Interested in learning about @Medtronic & its mission? Check out  & find out how we’re creating #MeaningfulChange.

MBR TweetRT @PwC_LLP Wanted: Jacks of all trades? 80% of US CEOs look for more skills than in the past: 


The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley @AyannaPressley

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson @titojackson

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu @wutrain

Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini @jimfiorentin

Colliers International @Colliers_Boston

JLL Boston @JLLBoston

Going Around the Table
News, links and information about members of the Roundtable

Roundtable Member Northeast Utilities Transitions to Eversource
“Three years ago, Northeast Utilities and its operating companies Connecticut Light & Power, Public Service of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric and Yankee Gas merged with NSTAR Electric & Gas to better serve New England. Each day since has been spent working to build a single, united company around the mission of delivering reliable energy and superior customer service.”  READ more.


Roundtable Members EMC and Brandeis International Business School Highlight Partnership with Israel
In a piece that ran in The Jerusalem Post this month, Dean of the International Business School at Brandeis Dr. Bruce Magid and Corporate Vice President Growth & Innovation for EMC Dr. Orna Berry highlight the numerous economic partnerships between Massachusetts and Israel. With a new direct flight from Boston to Tel Aviv, that partnership will continue to grow. The op-ed points to a report by the New England Israel Business Council that found Israeli-founded companies contributed $6 billion to the  Massachusetts economy in 2012 accounting for more than 6,000 jobs. READ more.

In this issue
Energy Task Force to Meet in February Hosted by MBR Member Foley Hoag
MBR Board Meeting March 19th Features Conversation with Energy Secretary Matthew Beaton
Roundtable Welcomes New Member Bruce R. Magid, PhD., Dean, Brandeis International Business School
Microsoft New England Blog: Reflecting on “Educating your Future Workforce: A Forum for Employers"
National Business Roundtable Advances Employer Wellness Programs to Reduce Health Costs
What's News on Twitter
Going Around the Table
Upcoming events

MARCH 19, 2015Board Meeting
Noon–1:30 p.m.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Two International Place, Boston
For members only.

JUNE 11, 2015Annual Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD
For members and representatives of member companies

Hot links
Framework for Long-Term Economic Prosperity
Roundtable Member List 2015
Follow us Follow US
National Business Roundtable
BRT on Employer Wellness Programs
BRT on Streamlined Permitting
BRT on College & Career Readiness
Biz & Politics
List of Members on BRT and MBR
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