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

Dear Members,

MBR staff joined colleagues from 16 state business roundtables and representatives from the national Business Roundtable during the annual meeting in Washington, DC earlier this month. MBR developed the agenda for the meeting, which included policy discussions with Roundtable executives, a briefing at the BRT on energy and health care costs, as well as conversations with the Director of the National Economic Council Jeff Zients and Assistant to the President David Simas held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

State Roundtable leaders from New York, Ohio, Hawaii, Connecticut, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Washington, Florida, Delaware, Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota and Louisiana met at the EMC office on K Street to discuss transportation infrastructure, education/workforce development, immigration, as well as labor, energy and health care costs. Roundtable executives shared best practices around engaging business leaders, communicating effectively with policy makers and statewide competitiveness data metrics. Special thanks to MBR member EMC for hosting the discussion.    

Best,
JD

Roundtable Discussion with A&F Secretary Kristen Lepore Hosted by PWC
MBR convened a timely conversation between its members and the Baker-Polito Administration’s point person on fiscal matters, Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration & Finance, Kristen Lepore. The meeting was hosted by MBR Competitiveness Task Force Chairman Barry Nearhos at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston. Secretary Lepore highlighted the Administration’s commitment to fiscal discipline, reforming state government and conducting a thorough review of all 2,250 state regulations.

Secretary Lepore indicated the Administration is launching a Competitiveness Review to examine areas where the state can improve on its competitive disadvantages (i.e. costs, regulatory environment) and invest in its advantages (i.e. talented workforce). Roundtable members discussed a range of topics with Secretary Lepore including tax administration, the state’s capital budget, performance metrics, early retirement proposal and regulations.

MBR Co-Sponsors Employer Forum in Pittsfield on Workforce Development
The Roundtable partnered with the Mass. Business Alliance for Education and AIM for a special employer forum—Educating Your Future Workforce—hosted by Interprint in Pittsfield. The April forum included Commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education Mitchell Chester and now former Commissioner of Higher Education and former Roundtable member Richard Freeland for a discussion with Western Massachusetts business leaders on their workforce needs.

The Commissioners provided some sobering statistics and outlined goals to improve performance across the board in the state’s educational system. Commissioner Freeland noted that by 2020, 72% of all jobs in Massachusetts will require some college and there is a projected shortfall of approximately 60,000 graduates from public universities and colleges to meet the demand from employers. Commissioner Chester said that two out of three applicants to community colleges place into some remedial courses. The Commissioners outlined goals to boost college completion rates. Close achievement gaps and attract & graduate more students from underserved populations. They also answered questions from employers in the audience about standards and assessments including MCAS and PARCC (Partnership for assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). Jeffrey Cook, Roundtable Secretary and Chairman of Cohen Kinne Valicenti Cook in Pittsfield, noted that in competitor countries, the school year is 200-220 days. Commissioner Chester said that the city of Lawrence is having success adding to the number of hours students are in school.

READ more

Roundtable Member Delaware North Hosts Discussion on Olympics Bid with Boston 2024, UMass Donahue Institute & The Boston Foundation
At the suggestion of the MBR Executive Committee, the Roundtable convened a detailed discussion of the Boston 2024 Olympics bid earlier this month that included presentations by Boston2024, UMass Donahue Institute and The Boston Foundation. The Olympics briefing was hosted by TD Garden President Amy Latimer, with special thanks to Roundtable member Charlie Jacobs, CEO, Delaware North Boston.

Roundtable Executive Committee member Robert Popeo provided context and background on the bid by highlighting the job creation opportunities from hosting the Games and the potential catalytic effects on infrastructure development, as well as the use of sophisticated insurance products to mitigate financial risks. Erin Murphy, Chief Bid Officer for Boston2024 presented a video produced by Roundtable member Hill Holliday and provided details on the budget and plans for the Games. She highlighted opportunities for cities outside Boston and noted the legacy opportunities to create jobs, expand housing and support small businesses. She also said the London Games offer a good example of the tourism and hospitality opportunities for Boston.

To provide balance to the discussion, Mary Jo Meisener of The Boston Foundation introduced an independent analysis that tBf commissioned of the bid by UMass Donahue Institute to advance the conversation with fresh data and research noting that both Boston 2024 and No Boston Olympics have cited findings contained in the report. Senior researcher from UMass Mark Melnik, highlighted several challenges, risks and opportunities from hosting the Games.

READ Boston Foundation/UMass Donahue Report

Roundtable Chairman Michael Hogan Participates on Housing Panel at The Boston Foundation

The Boston Foundation convened a panel of experts that included Roundtable Chairman Michael Hogan to discuss the findings from the 12th annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card—Fixing an Out-of-Sync Housing Market. Barry Bluestone, Director, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, at MBR member Northeastern University presented the findings of the report that details major demographic changes, a shortage of housing and a mismatch in the types of housing available and what is most needed in the city. Boston Foundation President & CEO Paul Grogan kicked off the robust discussion on housing challenges for the greater Boston region before a capacity crowd. The conversation also included remarks from Chrystal Kornegay, Undersecretary, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. To learn more about the findings, below are links to the report, Dr. Bluestone’s presentation and a Boston Globe news article.

READ report

VIEW Dr. Barry Bluestone’s presentation

READ Boston Globe article

Governor Baker Unveils Special Commission Report Calling for Sweeping Reforms at the MBTA—MBR Urges Action on Key Recommendations
Earlier this month, the Baker Administration’s Special Panel reviewing the MBTA, which included Robert Gittens from Roundtable member Northeastern University, unveiled its report calling for sweeping management and governance reforms and acknowledged the need for investments of revenue at the MBTA.

The Roundtable supports the key findings and recommendations from the panel, which met with Roundtable members multiple times to gather input prior to the issuance of its findings. Most of the reforms closely correlate to principles adopted by Roundtable business leaders that call for more effective resource management, greater performance measurement, more efficient service delivery, sound planning, as well as increased transparency & accountability and address long-term revenue needs.

MBR members have long recognized the enormous importance of the MBTA as a key driver of the state’s economic competitiveness. It is clear there is significant work ahead for the MBTA to restore credibility and trust among riders and taxpayers across the state. For that purpose, MBR supports implementation of sound business practices that should lead to an improved customer experience and more effective management of the MBTA.

Investing in the state’s transportation infrastructure is essential for the Commonwealth to continue as a global hub with a vibrant and growing economy. The Roundtable has vigorously supported revenues to support the infrastructure necessary to transport our talented workforce and to move goods and services. Given the enormous management, operations and procurement challenges at the MBTA, the Roundtable urges action on the Panel’s recommendations to get the MBTA back on track to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth.

READ report

Roundtable Welcomes New Member Marylee Hanley of Spectra Energy
The Roundtable is pleased to welcome its newest member, Marylee Hanley from Spectra Energy Corp., which is among the nation’s leading pipeline companies working to connect natural gas supplies to key markets including New England.

Marylee is Spectra Energy's Director of Stakeholder Outreach for the Northeast United States and Director of Government Affairs for the U.S. portion of the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. Ms. Hanley develops and implements comprehensive stakeholder outreach strategies that are specific to the company's projects and operations in the Northeast. She also serves as the regional spokeswoman, often recognized by community leaders and the media as the face of the company and its projects.

Ms. Hanley serves as co-chair of the Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP), a public-private non-profit organization that protects and preserves critically important wetlands and aquatic resources.

An active participant in the energy industry, Ms. Hanley is a member of the Northeast Gas Association where she serves on the communications committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the New England—Canada Business Council (NECBC). She is a past President and Chief Executive Officer of NECBC and has chaired its annual U.S.—Canada Energy, Trade and Technology Conference.

Ms. Hanley previously worked for Spectra Energy's predecessor companies Duke Energy and Algonquin Gas Transmission Company.

National Business Roundtable Releases Report on Energy
The national Business Roundtable this month released Inventing the Future: How Technology Is Reshaping the Energy and Environmental Landscape—“a report that highlights, through a series of individual company vignettes, how the private sector is leveraging technology to solve real-world energy and environmental challenges here at home and across the globe.” Shared Roundtable members Siemens and AT&T are featured in the report, which also details the BRT’s guiding principles for federal energy policy that correlate to energy policies developed by MBR’s special Energy Task Force.

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

Biz leaders support smart regs, appreciate thoughtful approach, review by @MassANF to improve #competitiveness ma.gov/gevenor/press

U.S. reaches arbitrary cap on competitiveness. (USCIS release: U.S. Reaches FY 2016 H-1B Cap) http://www.uscis #immigration

RT @jonchesto Congressman Joe Kennedy hosts high-powered energy summit today to address electric market concerns. http://ow.ly/KIOC5

@MassLtGov Polito highlights Community Compact to expedite econ development projects across #MA

Mass is home to top #golf manufacturers: @teamtitleist, @CallawayGolf, @newbalance, @GoAheadGolf, @ChampSpikes. http://www.massgolfeconomy.com/golf-day.html

RT @MassDev @GlobeBiz: MassDevelopment sells tower, nets $90 million for state http://bit.ly/globe-100-cambridge #CRE cc @TheNewsHam @InterConRE

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

Berkshire Bank @BerkshireBank

Deloitte US @DeloitteUS

A & F @MassANF

MAEnergy Environment @MassEEA

495/MW Partnership @495MWPtnership

Mass Save @MassSave

Hannah Kane @HannahKaneMA

Mass. OCABR @Mass_Consumer

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

IBM Watson Health recently announced plans to hire hundreds of workers in a new Boston-area headquarters for its health care analytics division. READ more

On Monday, May 11th, The Philanthropic Initiative is holding its 25th Anniversary Celebration and Symposium. Space is limited, but there is still time to register!

 
 
In this issue
Roundtable Discussion with A&F Secretary Kristen Lepore Hosted by PWC
MBR Co-Sponsors Employer Forum in Pittsfield on Workforce Development
Roundtable Member Delaware North Hosts Discussion on Olympics Bid with Boston 2024, UMass Donahue Institute & The Boston Foundation
Roundtable Chairman Michael Hogan Participates on Housing Panel at The Boston Foundation
Governor Baker Unveils Special Commission Report Calling for Sweeping Reforms at the MBTA—MBR Urges Action on Key Recommendations
Roundtable Welcomes New Member Marylee Hanley of Spectra Energy
National Business Roundtable Releases Report on Energy
What's News on Twitter
Going Around the Table
 
Upcoming events

MAY 6, 2015MBR Policy Makers Series
Conversation with Attorney General Maura Healey
Noon–1:30 p.m.
Cabot, Cabot & Forbes,
125 Summer Street Boston
For members only.

JUNE 22, 2015Annual Meeting
Keynote remarks and a discussion with Congressman Joseph Kennedy III
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Location: EMC
For members only.

 
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