MARCH 2017
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

Thanks to all who participated in MBR’s Competitiveness Task Force meeting this month at PricewaterhouseCoopers to discuss ways to strengthen the state’s economy. And, special thanks to Senate President Stan Rosenberg for participating in a terrific discussion with business leaders during our March Board meeting hosted by Roundtable member AECOM. Finally, we are pleased to again partner with member Northeastern University for its highly successful CEO Breakfast Series featuring Viacom CEO Robert Bakish on March 31st.

Thanks for your continued support!


Roundtable Adopts Key Principles & Policy Priorities for New Legislative SessionMBR’s Board of Directors voted unanimously at the March meeting to adopt a series of policy priorities and specific policy interventions recommended through the work of the Roundtable’s five standing Task Forces:

• Education & Workforce Development
• Health Care
• Energy
• Transportation & Infrastructure
• Competitiveness

The document will help guide MBR’s advocacy on state and federal issues that are important to Roundtable members. The report highlights several key themes including technology, globalization and collaboration while detailing a framework for a more competitive Commonwealth. The priorities document will be updated during the year based on the work of the Roundtable and its members. Special thanks to Task Force Chairs Tracy Pitcher, Comcast, Dr. Robert Johnson, Becker College, Joseph Basile, Foley Hoag, Jay Doherty, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes and John Farina, PwC for their leadership and to all the members who participated in the work of the groups.

READ Policy Priorities

MBR Welcomes Senate President Stan Rosenberg to March Board Meeting at AECOM in Boston
Roundtable members and prospective members braved a March Nor’easter to engage in a conversation with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg at the Board of Directors meeting hosted by Frank Sweet at AECOM in Boston. MBR Chair Marcy Reed and Executive Director JD Chesloff met earlier this year with Senate President Rosenberg to discuss ways that the business community in general and the Roundtable specifically could work more collaboratively and effectively with the Senate this session. The President invited the Roundtable to be the first business group to engage in a special discussion with the Senate Caucus last month at the State House and noted that he was pleased to continue that discussion with business leaders.

In his remarks, Senate President Rosenberg highlighted some priorities, including the Senate’s work to address MassHealth, creating a new regulatory regime for legalized marijuana, and other priorities being discussed in the Senate’s “Commonwealth Conversations” policy forums being held across the state. In addition to discussing key priorities, Roundtable members engaged with the Senate President on topics including tax policy, pension reform, uncertainty in Washington, health care and immigration. He invited members to work collaboratively with him and members of the Senate this session and appreciated the opportunity to meet with business leaders.

Roundtable Competitiveness Task Force Meets at PwC
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Managing Partner and member of the Roundtable Executive Committee John Farina led a discussion with members on ways to enhance the state’s competitive edge in the global economy. He presented findings from PwC’s recent survey of nearly 1,400 CEOs all over the world. While U.S. CEOs are expressing confidence in the economy, familiar challenges loom on the horizon, notably the speed of technological change, cyber threats and lack of trust in business in the digital age. The survey also noted that a “new kind of relationship between business and government is needed.” 

Members of the Competitiveness Task Force had a robust discussion about developing and retaining talented workers, ways to encourage innovation, as well as regional equity, business costs and uncertainty in tax and health care policy at the federal level. The Task Force affirmed the draft policy priorities and policy interventions and urged MBR staff to focus on working collaboratively with policymakers to develop solutions that work for employers and employees.


A Skills Gap Solution Helping Low-Income Boston Residents Improve their Financial Future
By Anthony Benoit, President of Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT)

Massachusetts Business Roundtable member Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) sits where the skills gap meets the opportunity gap. A recent study by the nonprofit National Skills Coalition says middle skill jobs in fields such as computer technology, healthcare, and manufacturing account for 53 percent of the labor market, but only 43 percent of workers are sufficiently trained. In Massachusetts, the report found middle skill jobs represent 46 percent of the labor market, but only 35 percent of workers have enough training. These number are exacerbated by the upcoming retirements of baby boomers who are turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 people per day.

At BFIT, we are creating college graduates who possess both practical, technical skills, and critical workplace abilities like communication and problem solving that employers need right now. BFIT is a private, nonprofit college providing cost-effective associate and bachelor degree pathways to high demand technical fields such as advanced manufacturing, construction management, medical electronics, opticianry, health information technology, automotive service. We have relationships with more than 75 Boston area companies to give students opportunities to gain marketable skills through internships and to meet industry experts who can serve as mentors in their field of study.

Our student population is 70 percent minority. Most of our students are from Boston, and many are the first in their families to go to college. We set our students up for success with our small 13 to 1 student to teacher ratio, counseling to build financial literacy, scholarship aid to more than 90 percent of students. Our 2015 alumni survey found over 90 percent of our graduates are placed in jobs or further higher education upon graduating with a median starting salary above $35,000 per year. According to the Department of Education’s 2016 College Scorecard BFIT students earn the highest salary after attending compared to students from all two-year colleges in Massachusetts (excluding nursing). BFIT’s graduation rate is double the national rate and triple the state rate for 2-year colleges.

Visit our website to find out more about Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. We are helping local businesses and local students work together to build a brighter future.

MBR Participates in “Fix Our T” Coalition Press Conference Supporting Reforms at the MBTA
As a member of the “Fix Our T” Coalition, a group of 53 business and municipals partners, the Roundtable participated in a press conference this week prior to a meeting of the Fiscal Management & Control Board to underscore the MBTA’s vital place in the economy and our continuing support for the organizational, financial and operational improvements to ensure a transit system that is safe, effective and reliable. The press conference offered members of the Coalition an opportunity to provide public support for the members of the Fiscal Management & Control Board to explore outsourcing opportunities for bus maintenance contracts and other functions to reduce costs and improve services to transit riders.

The Roundtable has served as a member of the Coalition since its inception calling for the implementation of meaningful reforms, management improvements, and better use of technology to improve services for those who rely on the transit system to get to work and school. The press conference was held at the state’s Transportation Building immediately before the Fiscal Management & Control Board was set to address additional reform measures authorized by the statute that included relief from the state’s anti-privatization law. The meeting of the Fiscal Management & Control Board was well attended by union members voicing opposition to the proposed changes at the MBTA.

Eileen McAnneny, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and Co-Chair of Coalition said, “The Fix Our T Coalition is here today to voice our strong support for exploring the benefits of outsourcing bus maintenance. We do so because we know that in order for the T to turnaround and become the modern, customer-centric public transit system that we all want it to be, it has to balance its operating budget and invest those savings into its infrastructure.”

READ Press Release

VIEW Members of the Fix Our T Coalition

Roundtable Advocates for Massachusetts to Adopt Tax Date Conformity with Federal Government
The Roundtable joined the Mass. Society of CPAs, Greater Boston Chamber, Associated Industries of Massachusetts and Mass. Taxpayers Foundation signing a joint letter to Senate and House leadership in support of legislation to conform Massachusetts law to the federal tax return due dates included in Governor Baker’s supplemental budget. In 2015, the federal government modified the due dates for corporate and partnership tax returns causing challenges for some businesses in Massachusetts, one of only two states that has not adopted these changes. From the letter:

“By adopting this proposal now, Massachusetts taxpayers will be able to plan effectively for the year ahead, without the confusion and additional costs associated with different state and federal tax return due dates. Such predictability and uniformity are essential components of a voluntary tax system.”

READ Letter

Roundtable Partners with Member Northeastern University for CEO Breakfast Series
The Roundtable is pleased to team up with member Northeastern University in presenting its CEO Breakfast Forum. Roundtable members are invited to attend the next event—featuring Robert Bakish, President & CEO of Viacom Inc., which includes entertainment brands across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms in over 160 countries and territories—on Friday, March 31, 2017, at 8am, at The Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boyslton Street in Boston.

Robert Bakish is the President and CEO of Viacom Inc. He is responsible for growing Viacom's industry-leading brands—including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and BET—and the world-renowned Paramount Pictures film and TV studio. He is focused on investing in and developing new content, expanding distribution and pursuing strategic growth opportunities in Viacom's core businesses.

Roundtable members interested in attending should contact Chris Kealey. Space is limited.

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

Roundtable Members Get Their Kicks at the SCORES Cup
Once again this summer, MBR members will take to the field at Gillette Stadium to compete for local bragging rights in the SCORES Cup soccer tournament. The SCORES Cup, now in its 12th year of operation, is staged by Jamaica Plain-based non-profit America SCORES Boston in partnership with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer.

The 7-on-7 coed tournament has grown into the largest corporate charity soccer tournament in the United States, thanks in part to strong support from MBR members. 15-player teams from firms such as EY, KPMG, Mintz Levin, PwC, RSM and State Street are already confirmed for the 2017 SCORES Cup on Saturday, July 15th. MBR can even claim two prior champions! UBS hoisted the Cup in 2010. State Street brought home the hardware in 2014.

“We started with a dozen teams on a college field in 2005,” said America SCORES Boston Chief Operating Officer Andy Crossley. “Deloitte and PwC were two of the firms that helped us get this thing off the ground that first summer. Today we have 40 teams and 600 players competing in nearly 100 matches over the course of a single amazing day at Gillette Stadium.”

The SCORES Cup raises over $300,000 annually to support the mission of America SCORES Boston. The 17-year old organization serves over 1,400 youth in the Boston Public Schools and is one of the largest and fastest-growing after-school programs in Boston. SCORES offers an innovative blend of soccer, academic support and enrichment programs to improve students’ health, academic engagement and global citizenship.

Several spots remain available in the 2017 SCORES Cup on July 15th. Visit or contact Angela Figurido for more information.


Roundtable Member Shire Launches “Rare Count” Campaign
Roundtable member Shire launches Rare Count campaign on Rare Disease Day. As you may know, Rare Disease Day is an annual awareness day dedicated to educating the public about rare diseases and their associated challenges. Rare Disease Day takes place every year on the last day of February -the rarest date on the calendar—to underscore the nature of rare diseases and what patients face.

At Shire, we’re committed to being a champion in the fight against rare diseases, every day. Shire launched our Rare Count campaign to personalize the global impact of rare diseases. Rare Count aims to bring rare diseases to the forefront and help make them personalized and tangible for all of us by applying the “one in 20” statistic to our personal social networks. Now available at, you can determine how many people in your life could be living with a rare disease—your Rare Count—and share your number through one of your specified social media channels, e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.


Roundtable Member MassTech Collaborative Unveils Report on State’s Innovation Economy
Roundtable member MassTech unveiled the 20th edition of MassTech's Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy. Over the last 20 years, the Index has demonstrated that the Commonwealth's enduring economic strength stems from our talented workforce and our capacity to build off of our foundation of academic and research institutions to develop innovative solutions. Despite the many challenges faced by the Massachusetts economy over time, the Commonwealth remains a global hub for new research and development in a wide range of industries. That fact was driven home in early 2016 when General Electric made the decision to relocate its headquarters to Massachusetts, citing our robust innovation ecosystem and R&D prowess as key reasons for their decision.

The Index is an annual report on the Commonwealth's system of innovation and high-tech development which compares Massachusetts to other innovation-focused U.S. states. The report provides in-depth perspective on the many factors that strengthen our current innovation economy, but also those issues which might impede future growth. Download the Index.

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

Engineering in the Classroom: Member @GDMS brings hands on learning to Reid students. (View article.)

The Roundtable is proud to stand with @MassAGO, @SenStan, @SpeakerDeLeo & other leaders to support equality & rights #ProtectTransKids

Member @Shawmut_Builds completes $10M modernization of office property on Huntington Ave in #Boston

Thanks to a grant from member @Mass_Tech, @UMassAmherst begins to roll out its new #GPU cluster

Bring in the #robots: Member @iRobot discusses how #Boston is the new home of robotics

#TechETA: Boston-tested app from member @Comcast rolls out nationwide for tracking technicians #MAtech

Member @ATT lends #Boston store space for musicians to practice as part of the #BostonCreates program

Member @HarvardPilgrim awards $2.5M to nonprofits across #NewEngland for healthy food & nutrition initiatives

Member @Steward acquires eight hospitals in 3 other states #MAhealth

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.
Michelle DuBois  @RepDuBois 
Alice Peisch  @RepAlicePeisch 
Jaime Paris Boisvert  @JPBoisey 
James Birge  @MCLAPres 
MA Growth Capital  @massgcc 
McDermott Ventures  @McDermottBoston 
EdTech Times  @edtechtimes 
In this issue
Roundtable Adopts Key Principles & Policy Priorities for New Legislative Session
MBR Welcomes Senate President Stan Rosenberg to March Board Meeting at AECOM in Boston
Roundtable Competitiveness Task Force Meets at PwC
A Skills Gap Solution Helping Low-Income Boston Residents Improve their Financial Future
MBR Participates in “Fix Our T” Coalition Press Conference Supporting Reforms at the MBTA
Roundtable Advocates for Massachusetts to Adopt Tax Date Conformity with Federal Government
Roundtable Partners with Member Northeastern University for CEO Breakfast Series
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
Upcoming events
JUNE 14Annual Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Roundtable members only
Hot links
MBR 2016 Annual Report
MBR Biz-Education Partnerships Report
MBR on Early Education & Care
Roundtable Member List 2017
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BRT on Top Regulatory Concerns
BRT on Enhanced Cyber Risk Standards
BRT CEO Survey
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