OCTOBER 2015
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

During the annual meeting of state roundtable executives in Seattle earlier this month, two policy themes continue to rise to the top—talent and transportation. Improving education and investing in transportation infrastructure are top priorities for business leaders across the country. State roundtables are also engaging on similar labor and business costs as well as competitiveness issues impacting employers.

While the politics are vastly different in other states, many of the challenges are remarkably similar. Roundtable executives shared best practices to move the needle on public policy, ideas to enhance the value proposition for member companies, as well as strategies to promote a pro-business climate. We discussed workforce development during a tour of the massive Boeing manufacturing plant and explored cybersecurity with experts at Microsoft’s corporate headquarters.

I was proud to share with my colleagues the progress we have made on important public policy challenges thanks to the continued commitment and engagement from MBR’s members.


6th Annual Jobs & Workforce Summit Features Roundtable Members, Public Leaders on “The Future of Work”
Senate President Rosenberg, Attorney General Healey and Secretaries Ash, Peyser and Walker Participated in the Event at Devens

"The foundation of progress is work.” Senate President Stan Rosenberg kicked off the 6th Annual Jobs & Workforce Summit at Devens in front of more than 250 business leaders, policy makers, educators, workforce development specialists, community and labor leaders. He also highlighted the importance of fighting income inequality and helping chronically unemployed workers find new economic opportunities.

Longtime Roundtable member State Street was honored at the Jobs Summit as the “Employer of the Year” for its ongoing commitment to providing opportunities for youth to gain valuable work experience and open up new pathways for youth.

MBR teamed up with the Workforce Solutions Group to develop and implement the Summit agenda. Roundtable members UMass President Martin Meehan and Becker College President Robert Johnson served on a panel with Berkshire Community College President Ellen Kennedy discussing how higher education is preparing students to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

Former MBR Chair Donna Cupelo moderated a discussion with the Governor’s “Workforce Skills Cabinet” featuring Labor Secretary Ron Walker, Education Secretary Jim Peyser and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey provided the luncheon keynote address highlighting her commitment to advance economic opportunity for families and ensure that students are prepared for the changing needs of employers. She emphasized STEM and critical thinking skills as essential for students. She said the Attorney General’s office will continue to aggressively pursue predatory for-profit schools that are taking advantage of students and veterans seeking to enhance their credentials and find better jobs.

The afternoon sessions explored the impact of automation and technology on the workforce; best practices in youth employment; and the changing nature of the workforce. AIM President Rick Lord and Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff capped off the summit focusing on policy efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce development system.

Roundtable Members Working with Baker Administration on Statewide Economic Development Strategy
Earlier this month, the Baker-Polito Administration convened a meeting of business leaders and public officials forming the Economic Development Planning Council. The Council is assisting Housing & Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash in the development of a statewide economic development strategy to be filed with the Legislature by the end of this year.

“The Planning Council offers an opportunity for engagement with business, public, and non-profit sector leaders on a wide range of economic development priorities and programs,” said Governor Baker in a news release. “Their invaluable experience will help guide our planning and implementation, and I look forward to continued partnerships as we work to develop Massachusetts’ economy, and ensure that communities across the Commonwealth share in our economic growth.”

Roundtable members have historically worked with the Governor’s office and members of the Cabinet to craft economic development strategies that generate new opportunity and build on regional strengths across the state. Several Roundtable member companies are represented on the Council including:

  • Mr. Colin Angle, Chairman of the Board, CEO and Co-Founder, iRobot
  • Ms. Donna Cupelo, Regional President, Verizon New England
  • Ms. Karen Kaplan, Chairman/CEO, Hill Holiday
  • Mr. Jeevan Ramapriya, Vice President, State Street Bank and Trust Co.
  • Mr. Robert F. Rivers, President and COO, Eastern Bank
  • Mr. JD Chesloff, Executive Director, Mass Business Roundtable

READ Press Release

MBR Advocates for More Competitive, Sustainable Solar Energy Strategies
As the Legislature and Baker Administration consider increasing the net metering cap and other subsidies for the solar industry, MBR and numerous business groups are advocating for a more balanced, competitive, sustainable approach that continues the state’s commitment to solar energy but mitigates the cost to ratepayers.

In a letter this month to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, the groups are united in calling for the “Legislature and Baker Administration to adopt solar subsidies that are based on competition, that are more aligned with the true costs, that are transparent, and that guarantee that the most solar will be constructed at the lowest possible prices.”

READ Letter

Roundtable Welcomes Perry Sternberg, Head of Global Neuroscience and Ophthalmics, Shire
MBR is pleased to welcome Perry J. Sternberg from Shire, a major Massachusetts employer and global leader in the life sciences, as the newest member of the Roundtable.

Mr. Sternberg heads up the global Neuroscience and Ophthalmics Business Units, as well as global commercial operations for the company. Additionally, Mr. Sternberg co-chairs Shire’s Inline Committee, which is responsible for setting global strategies aimed at optimizing the commercial success of the Company’s portfolio of marketed medicines. The Inline Committee is one of Shire’s four executive governance committees. Mr. Sternberg reports directly to the CEO of Shire.

Mr. Sternberg brings 25 years’ pharma-biotech sales and marketing experience to his role at Shire, including 10 years focused in ophthalmics. He started his pharmaceutical industry career at Merck & Co, Inc., as a sales representative and moved on to a succession of sales and marketing roles of increasing scope and responsibility at that company as well as at Novartis, Novartis Ophthalmics and Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Shire in 2013, Mr. Sternberg served as Vice-President & General Manager, US & Canada Pharmaceuticals at Bausch & Lomb. In his career, Mr. Sternberg has worked across a number of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, neuroscience, osteoporosis, genitourinary and ophthalmics.

READ Perry's Biography

MBR, Major Business Groups Oppose Legislation Expanding Access to Confidential Taxpayer Information
The Roundtable joined with the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Chamber and the Mass. Society of CPAs sending a letter to the Joint Committee on Revenue opposing legislation to expand access to confidential taxpayer information for the State Auditor and Inspector General. Two bills before the Committee would provide each office with access to confidential personal and business income tax returns.

The letter states, “Treating tax returns as confidential documents and protecting taxpayer privacy is paramount in the state’s tax system. Expanding access to tax return information beyond the Department of Revenue (DOR), especially any data that directly or indirectly identifies a specific taxpayer, begins to erode a cornerstone of our tax system.”

Existing state law already provides the auditor access to myriad documents and records enabling that office to perform important audits of state departments and agencies, identify areas for improved service across state government, and expose fraud in state programs. While the business community supports the important functions performed by the State Auditor and Inspector General, it opposes expanding access to confidential tax information beyond the Department of Revenue.

READ Full Letter

Roundtable Opposes Ambulance Reimbursement Bill
MBR partnered with 13 business organizations to oppose Amendment 29 of Senate Bill 2025, Mandated Payment of Non-contracted Ambulance Service Providers. The amendment would “require health plans to reimburse ambulance service companies regardless of whether they were in a health plan's network, leaving it to the municipality and the ambulance company to determine the reimbursement rate that health plans would have to pay.”

Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald have published multiple editorials opposing this legislation noting this ambulance payment language "makes little sense from the perspective of cost containment," would "create a disincentive for ambulance companies to join networks" and lead to higher costs. 

The coalition opposing the legislation reasons that “this amendment runs counter to the Commonwealth's payment reform law (Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012), which is intended to bring health care costs more in line with the state's economy, and would undermine the efforts to make health care more affordable.” 

READ Letter

READ Editorialds:  Boston Globe Editorial  |  Boston Herald Editorial

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

Mass Biz Roundtable ‏Great profile of Roundtable member Jim Tierney @JLLBoston via @BosBizJournal

Congratulations to @StateStreet recognized at the #MAJobsSummit2015 as the Employer of the Year!

Coding, problem solving need to be core competencies in K-12 just like reading & writing says @BeckerPrez #MaJobsSummit2015

Thank you @MassAGO Maura Healey for a terrific discussion on economic, educational opportunity for students, families at #MAJobsSummit2015

3 Cabinet secretaries thank our member @VZNewEngland President Donna Cupelo @techcup for her work on econ dev., wkfc dev #MAJobsSummit2015

Roundtable mbr @UMass President Meehan highlights importance of #STEM, experiential learning to prepare workforce #MAJobsSummit2015

Congrats to @Shireplc & employees for providing tremendous day of service helping so many great projects

Shire plc @Shireplc
57 employees @ the Urban Science Academy making this amazing school an incredible learning environment JR #ShireGDS

Sept. state revenues total $2.55 Billion, slightly below benchmark; 3 months into fiscal year, revenues $35 million above benchmark

@MassGovernor declares October Cyber Security Awareness Month#MassITCyber @MassCyberAlerts @MassachusettsIT

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

Michael O. Moore @SenMikeMoore

WB Senate Office @WBSenOffice 

Becker College @BeckerCollege

VTBusinessRoundtable @VTRoundtable 

Crystal Sullivan @NatixisNews 

Center Plaza @CenterPlazaBOS 

NAHU @nahudotorg 

O'Neill & Associates @ONeillandAssoc 

CWU @LiveWorkThrive 

Capital Conversations: Talk to MassDOT about Transportation Projects in Your Area
Roundtable members identified transportation infrastructure as a top priority for the state’s economic competitiveness. MBR’s Transportation & Infrastructure Task Force has actively worked with current and past policy makers and public officials to support major transportation reforms and strategic investments to improve aging roads, bridges and transit.

MassDOT is convening a series of “Capital Conversations” across the state to learn about priority projects in different regions and to solicit innovative ideas for managing the state’s transportation assets. Please share this list of upcoming conversations with members of your team who can provide feedback to MassDOT.

• Thursday, October 22, 6:30 p.m., Cambridge Rindge and Latin HS, 459 Broadway, Cambridge
• Monday, October 26, 6:00 p.m., Braintree City Hall, 1 John F. Kennedy Memorial Drive, Braintree
• Monday, October 26, 6:00 p.m. Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst
• Tuesday, October 27, 6:00 p.m., Heritage State Hall, North Davol Street, Fall River
• Tuesday, October 27, 6:00 p.m., Middlesex Community College, Lowell Campus, 33 Kearney Square, Lowell
• Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 p.m., Peabody City Hall, Wiggin Auditorium, 24 Lowell Street, Peabody
• Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 p.m., Natick Town Hall, 13 East Central Street, Natick
• Thursday, October 29, 6:00 p.m., Pittsfield City Hall, City Council Chamber, 70 Allen Street, Pittsfield
• Thursday, October 29, 6:00 p.m., Plymouth Town Hall, 11 Lincoln Street – Harbor Room, Plymouth
• Monday, November 2, 6:30 p.m., Mansfield Town Hall, 6 Park Row, Mansfield
• Thursday, November 5, 6:00 p.m., Springfield City Hall, 36 Court Street, Springfield
• Thursday, November 5, 6:30 p.m., Cape Cod Community College, Tilden Arts Theater, 2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable


Department of Revenue Enhances Dispute Resolution
Roundtable members cited the lengthy dispute resolution process at the state’s Department of Revenue as an area for improvement. DOR solicited feedback from business leaders through the Roundtable and other organizations in an attempt to strengthen communications and customer service for taxpayers across the state. DOR recently produced the infographic below highlighting efforts to speed up the dispute resolution process.

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

Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.

In this issue
6th Annual Jobs & Workforce Summit Features Roundtable Members, Public Leaders on “The Future of Work”
Roundtable Members Working with Baker Administration on Statewide Economic Development Strategy
MBR Advocates for More Competitive, Sustainable Solar Energy Strategies
Roundtable Welcomes Perry Sternberg, Head of Global Neuroscience and Ophthalmics, Shire
MBR, Major Business Groups Oppose Legislation Expanding Access to Confidential Taxpayer Information
Roundtable Opposes Ambulance Reimbursement Bill
What's News on Twitter
Capital Conversations: Talk to MassDOT about Transportation Projects in Your Area
Department of Revenue Enhances Dispute Resolution
Going Around the Table
Upcoming events
NOVEMBER 5, 2015Northeastern University CEO Breakfast
Featuring Converse, Inc. President & CEO Jim Calhoun
7:30–9:00 a.m.
Four Seasons Boston
Register online
For members and representatives of member companies.

NOVEMBER 10, 2015
Statewide STEM Summit
8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Location: Worcester

DECEMBER 10, 2015
Roundtable Board Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
KPMG, Two Financial Center
60 South Street, Boston
For Members Only

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