APRIL 2016
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

Special thanks to Roundtable members iRobot and Becker College for two terrific events. iRobot CEO Colin Angle gave members a special behind-the-scenes tour of iRobot and highlighted the importance of STEM education to the future of our economy. Becker College President Robert Johnson brought us together with Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus for a conversation on the importance of entrepreneurship and the power of ideas to lift people out of poverty. Thank you to our friends at the New England Council and to all our members who participated in these discussions.

I also want to acknowledge and thank former Roundtable Chairman, Eversource CEO Tom May, for his service and outstanding commitment to the Commonwealth. Congratulations to long-standing member of the Roundtable Executive Committee Jim Judge on being appointed to serve as the new Eversource President & CEO next month. We appreciate Jim’s continued support and leadership at the Roundtable.


Roundtable Teams Up with Becker College, NE Council for Conversation with Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus
“All human beings are entrepreneurs,” said Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus discussing his pioneering work and experiences in micro financing with business leaders convened by the Roundtable and New England Council at Bank of America in Boston.

Earlier this month, Dr. Yunus launched the first Yunus Social Business Centre in the U.S. at Becker College thanks to the leadership of Roundtable member and Becker President Robert Johnson. Dr. Yunus is a global leader in social business, utilizing micro-finance to help develop self-sustaining business solutions to address major challenges throughout the world. He has been recognized with more than 100 awards from 26 countries including the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.

The vision for the The Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College is to develop “a national model, empowering individuals to identify world problems and create self-sustaining business solutions that have social impact, while generating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities that drive economic development regionally and around the world.” For more information, visit online

“Behind the Scenes” at Roundtable Member iRobot
iRobot CEO Colin Angle hosted a special conversation with Roundtable members about technology, innovation, and best practices in STEM education at the company’s Massachusetts headquarters in Bedford. This up-close look at one of the state’s most innovative companies included a tour led by Colin of the museum and an opportunity to learn more about the history and current technology driving iRobot’s success as a global leader in robotics today.

iRobot’s STEM program manager Lisa Freed highlighted best practices in STEM education and the importance of getting students—especially those in middle school—excited about math and science at an early age. More than 50% of iRobot employees spend time in classrooms engaging students and getting them interested in science and technology on STEM Learning Days that have reached more than 78,000 kids so far.

MBR Offers Testimony Supporting Governor Baker’s Economic Development Legislation
Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff submitted testimony in support of H.3893, An Act to Provide Opportunities for All, to the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. The Roundtable supports several member-driven priorities included in the legislation including significant new investments in vocational technical education to meet the future workforce need of companies across the state. Roundtable members participated on the Economic Development Council, convened by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The plan supports the state’s economic development strategy focused on areas such as:

  • Preparing Communities for Success
  • Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Advancing Key Clusters and Industries
  • Creating a Balanced Regulatory and Business Cost Environment
  • Expanding Workforce Development and Talent Retention
  • Adopting Housing Policies that Support Economic Growth
  • Improving Transportation Access

READ Testimony

Roundtable Advocates for Increased Natural Gas Capacity with Federal Energy Regulatory CommissionMBR sent letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency that regulates interstate transmission of electricity and natural gas, conveying support for the policy goal of increasing the supply of natural gas through increased pipeline capacity as a strategy to control the high cost of energy in our region. Massachusetts has the third highest residential electricity costs of any state in the country. For industrial users, the cost of energy in Massachusetts is more than twice the national average based on data from January of 2016. This puts Massachusetts ratepayers at a competitive disadvantage.

READ Letters of Support  |  MBR Energy Principles

Roundtable Supports Plan to Boost College Savings
MBR joined with the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, as well as several other business groups signing a letter in support of S.1468, a bill to create a state tax deduction for contributions made to 529 college savings plans including the Massachusetts UFund and UPlan. Thirty-four other states have a similar deduction, which provides an incentive for families to save for college.

The bill received a unanimous favorable report from the Revenue Committee. This advocacy fits within MBR’s member-driven education and workforce development policy priority for 2016.

Roundtable Members Support Transgender Equality Legislation
The Roundtable joined with a dozen of its member companies signing a letter urging the Legislature to take a favorable vote on H1577/S735, An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination. Roundtable members Eastern Bank, Google, Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, State Street, Suffolk Construction, Reinventure Capital, Korn Ferry, Hill Holliday, Liberty Mutual, Celticare Health, EMC, Blue Cross Blue Shield, National Grid all added their logos and support to the effort.  
The letter states, “Promoting equality is not just the right thing to do—it is also good for business. Discriminatory laws make it harder for companies and regions to recruit talented employees, attract customers, and build a thriving economy. That is why more than 200 companies have endorsed this bill.”

READ Letter  |  Boston Globe Column

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

Roundtable Member GE Commits $50 Million for Education and Health Care
Roundtable member General Electric recently announced its commitment to provide $50 million in philanthropic support to be donated over the next five years “to empower Boston’s students, build capabilities & careers and improve health.” From its press release, GE detailed plans including the following:

  • GE will invest $25M in Boston Public Schools, including the development of GE Brilliant Career Labs
  • $10M will be donated to building a diverse workforce population in STEM and health care fields in Boston and surrounding areas
  • $15M devoted to expanding capacity at community health centers and increasing training for specialty care
  • Economic study shows HQ relocation will also add 4,000 temporary and permanent jobs across the Boston region
  • 800 GE employees to expand GE Volunteer network and contribute an additional $1 million in charitable contributions annually

“Together GE and Boston will lead the digital transformation of industry. To build a global digital company and community, we must invest to further educate our children in science and math and improve health care in underserved communities. GE’s investments will create thousands of new jobs and support Boston’s regional and economic activities,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. READ Release

Roundtable Member Verizon Launches $300 Million Fiber Investment Plan in Boston
Roundtable member Verizon this month announced “a new partnership with Mayor Walsh to make Boston one of the most technologically advanced cities in the country by transforming Boston’s network into an advanced fiber optic platform.”
Verizon’s announcement highlights plans to increase wireless capacity in Boston, launch a Smart Cities traffic management pilot with the City, and offer both residents and businesses more choices for data and entertainment services.
To build out its fiber network, Verizon will separate the city into “Fiber Zones.” The first zones are planned in Dudley Square in Roxbury, West Roxbury and Dorchester. Residents and businesses can register interest and vote online at to influence the sequence of the Fiber Zones.
We’re thrilled that Verizon has selected Massachusetts and Boston.  READ BBJ Story

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.

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

Special thanks to former Roundtable Chairman @EversourceMA CEO Tom May for your leadership & service to communities

Congratulations to a great business leader, Roundtable member Jim Judge, on being named CEO of @EversourceMA #mabiz

Excited to partner with @NECouncil @BeckerCollege for conversation with Dr. Muhammad Yunus @Yunus_Centre #mabiz

Great conversation w/terrific #STEM students in Easton. Thanks to @RepJoeKennedy @Daniel_W_Smith1 @DoctorErika @iRobot @SiemensUSA @Ang62

MBR testimony in favor of #EconDev bill, strong support for vocational technical schools @MassEOHED @MassEducation

The Roundtable supports clean, sustainable & cost effective energy resources for consumers & businesses #mabiz

Terrific op-ed by House Speaker DeLeo @SpeakerDeLeo on #BigData opportunity for Mass. #mabiz via @bostonherald

Tremendous commitment to education, health care by Roundtable member @generalelectric #mabiz #mapoli

Looking forward to a great event at Easton Middle School April 5th w/@RepJoeKennedy @DoctorErika @Daniel_W_Smith1

Offshore wind may take off with big projects via @BostonGlobe

Roundtable member RSM @RSMUSLLP Launches First-of-its-kind Middle Market Economic Index

Congrats to Roundtable member @comcast for expanding Internet Essentials to help close the #digital #divide

Roundtable member @iRobot CEO Colin Angle hosts discussion w/biz leaders on #STEM, #innovation & inspiring students

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

ScienceFromScientist @SciScientists
CVS Health @CVSHealth
MIT EnergyInitiative @mitenergy
EdVestors @EdVestors 
TheBulfinchCompanies @BulfinchCos 
MassCBC @MassCBC
In this issue
Roundtable Teams Up with Becker College, NE Council for Conversation with Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus
“Behind the Scenes” at Roundtable Member iRobot
MBR Offers Testimony Supporting Governor Baker’s Economic Development Legislation
Roundtable Advocates for Increased Natural Gas Capacity with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Roundtable Supports Plan to Boost College Savings
Roundtable Members Support Transgender Equality Legislation
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
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MAY 3, 2016
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101 Seaport Blvd., Boston
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