The Roundtable’s 2017 policy priorities and advocacy agenda is coming into focus thanks to the engagement of our members and leadership of our various task forces. We are developing principles and specific items to pursue this legislative session in public policy areas identified as priorities to our members.
Thank you to Drew O’Brien, the former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, for engaging Roundtable members in an informative discussion about domestic and world affairs during this time of change in our federal government. And thanks to Roundtable members for their active engagement as the new state legislative session begins.
The year is off to a fast start and I am grateful for the active participation of our membership. Thank you for your continued support!
Driverless cars, demand responsive bus service, public-private partnerships and innovation were just a few of the many topics discussed during a far-reaching Transportation Task Force meeting Chaired by Roundtable Executive Committee member Jay Doherty this month. Braintree Mayor and current MassDOT Board member Joseph Sullivan also led a discussion with Roundtable business leaders on the importance of long-term planning, major reforms at the MBTA, federal advocacy capital and transportation revenues. The Task Force also discussed innovative transportation models with BRIDJ COO Jon McBride and worked to update the Roundtable’s transportation principles and policy priorities for the 2017—18 legislative session.
Task Force Chair Jay Doherty highlighted the important nexus between employment and transportation as well as the major impact transportation has on economic development and housing starts in communities. He noted that people are spending a greater percentage of their incomes on housing, especially when they can rely on transit and no longer need a second vehicle. Mr. McBride described the valuable role BRIDJ, which was created in Boston in 2014, is playing in helping connect employees to companies in Boston and Cambridge. Many Roundtable member businesses offer private shuttles and other transportation services to facilitate access to talented workers.
William Lyons, CEO of Fort Hill Companies led a discussion on the potential impacts of autonomous vehicles, the sharing economy as well as the massive challenges and opportunities related to data collection, maintenance, sharing and security. Members of the Task Force highlighted the importance of data management becoming a core competency of government. For example, BRIDJ is one of the innovative companies that has significant data that could be a tremendous asset to promote sound capital planning of public transit and infrastructure.
The Roundtable shared a rough draft of transportation principles that will lead to specific policy priorities. If you were unable to make it to the meeting but would like to share feedback to guide our advocacy, please email suggestions to Chris Kealey.
Roundtable Executive Committee member and former Chairman Thomas Hynes, CEO of Colliers International, hosted a special discussion on globalization and trade with Drew O’Brien, former Special Representative for Global Partnerships and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry. Current Roundtable Chair Marcy Reed and Vice Chair Robert Rivers joined business leaders from more than a dozen companies for a conversation about international issues, concerns and opportunities arising from the transition of power in Washington, DC.
Mr. O’Brien shared his experiences while working at the U.S. State Department to advance education, entrepreneurship and work to benefit both the environment and economies in developing nations. He described the State Department’s partnership with business leaders to help combat the Ebola crisis. Mr. O’Brien also discussed the Trump Administration’s relationship with Canada as something to watch going forward, especially in the context of the relationship with Mexico. For those unable to attend the meeting, contact Mr. O’Brien via email. He is currently serving as Executive Vice President for Global Partnerships at Weber Shandwick and can be reached.
READ Washington Post story on Trade, Canada
The Roundtable and its member companies have long supported efforts to strengthen STEM education and provide new opportunities for students across the state. A newly expanded state initiative—MA STEM@Work—has been launched by the state’s STEM Advisory Council, of which MBR members Marcy Reed and Steve Vinter are members.
Perhaps the single biggest challenge facing our state’s innovation economy is a shortage of highly-skilled, work-ready employees to fill critical job openings. Right now the Commonwealth has more open science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related positions than employees to fill them. MA STEM@Work is addressing this challenge by connecting promising high school students to STEM internships at companies across the Commonwealth. These internships, in the summer and during the school year, are crucial to provide students with the type of hands-on, real world experience they need to pursue further education and careers in these fields.
More than 250 STEM businesses across the Commonwealth are participating, and Governor Charlie Baker and the STEM Advisory Council are making a simple, but powerful ask of other companies: consider hiring at least one high school student for a STEM internship.
MA STEM@Work is growing and playing an important role in addressing the skills gap, and the program was recently featured in the Boston Business Journal and the New Bedford Standard Times. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Congressman Joseph Kennedy and Vertex CEO Dr. Jeffrey Leiden also discussed the importance of MA STEM@Work in a recent Boston Globe op-ed.
To learn more or sign up, please contact Blair Brown.
The Roundtable this month joined Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Mass. Taxpayers Foundation and a broad array of organizations representing consumers, providers, health plans, businesses, labor unions and faith organizations to form the Massachusetts Coalition for Coverage and Care, which will educate policy makers in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. on the potential impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The mission of the Coalition includes demonstrating a commitment to a shared responsibility to ensure that any federal action does not disrupt the health coverage and care for residents of the Commonwealth. The group has two goals:
- Preserve and improve access to, and the affordability of, health insurance coverage in Massachusetts
- Protect the gains in access to care, health, and health equity that have resulted from near universal coverage in the state.
The Roundtable is pleased to welcome its newest member, Ty Ondatje, Senior Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer for Iron Mountain. Mr. Ondatje has been with Iron Mountain for 24 years serving in a number of management and senior leadership roles.
Mr. Ondatje holds a business degree from the University of La Verne in Southern California and holds certifications through UCLA in labor relations and mediation services. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Iron Mountain Foundation and is an Advisor on the Board of The Posse Education Foundation—Los Angeles.
“How we conduct our business, treat the environment, value our employees and engage with our communities can have a profound impact on people’s lives and make the world a better place. At Iron Mountain, we’ve aspired to do business responsibly and ethically. We continue to seek to better understand, share and address the impacts of our business.” -Ty Ondatje
Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a global business dedicated to storing, protecting and managing, information and assets. To learn more about the company, visit online at www.ironmountain.com/
Eastern Bank, the largest and oldest mutual bank in the country, announced at the beginning of the year that Robert Rivers was elected by Eastern’s Board of Directors to serve as its Chairman and CEO.
From Eastern Bank’s news release: “In just 16 months, Eastern Bank will celebrate our 200th year in business as the United States’ oldest and largest mutual bank,” said Rivers. “While our leadership has changed over the years, our commitment to mutuality and the communities we serve remains the same. I look forward to building upon Rich Holbrook’s legacy and I’m grateful for the Board’s confidence in me as we lead Eastern into our third century of business.”
Congratulations to Eastern Bank and Roundtable Vice Chair Robert Rivers on this exciting new chapter! READ Release | READ Globe story
Longtime Roundtable member and terrific employer in Massachusetts, Siemens, announced plans to expand its research and development facility in Walpole that will create an estimated 400-700 jobs in the state over the next ten years. Congratulations and continued success to Roundtable Executive Committee member Tom Foley, General Manager Siemens Infrastructure and Cities—Building Technologies. READ 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.
Christophe Weber, President & CEO, @TakedaPharma @Northeastern #CEOBreakfastForum. #Takeda is transforming into a global company.
Over 50 MA companies will exhibit at #CES, including Roundtable members @iRobot and @LibertyMutual #IntheNews
Congratulations to new @BizRoundtable CEO Joshua Bolten! We look forward to working with you & continuing our great partnership with the BRT
Congratulations to Speaker Pro Tem Pat Haddad @rephaddad & Matt Morrissey from Roundtable member @DeepwaterWind for their leadership READ Story
Our leadership & culture propels us to lead in #rarediseases & highly specialized conditions. A look at what we did in 2016 #YearinReview
The #STEM talent pipeline remains a top issue for Roundtable members. Thanks @DoctorErika for your leadership, and we'll keep at it in 2017!
Great leadership from STEM Council @MassLtGov @RepJoeKennedy @VertexPharma Jeff Leiden & employers like @SiemensUSA
Investing in #health: Member @TuftsHealthPlan awards $62K grant to @HealthyWaltham. READ Story
@marty_walsh highlights Roundtable member @generalelectric bringing innovation, good jobs & commitment to helping Boston schools #SOTC2017
Enjoyed the constructive @MABizRoundtable Transportation & Infrastructure Task Force Meeting to keep MA a leader of disruptive technology.