APRIL 2018
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

Leaders from seventeen state business roundtables met this month for our annual convening in Washington, D.C. to discuss federal issues of interest to the states, as well as operational issues and shared experiences from our respective organizations. The national Business Roundtable hosted a series of interesting policy discussions on issues such as tax reform, infrastructure, education and workforce development. The day also featured presentations from executives at IBM and Apple. This is a very valuable peer network, providing information from other states that not only helps to inform our work but also to provide value to our members. A short summary of our meeting is included below.

Special thanks to BRT President & CEO Joshua Bolten and his excellent team, as well as our colleagues from roundtables around the country, for sharing their expertise and strengthening this network of policy advocacy for our members.


MBR Meets with State Roundtable Executives, National Business Roundtable in Washington, DCBusiness Roundtable executives from states across the country met in the nation’s capital earlier this month to advance our shared policy priorities in areas including infrastructure development and closing the skills gap, as well as to receive updates from the national Business Roundtable on tax reform and trade. Roundtable leaders shared best practices for engaging CEOs and senior executives to drive public policy solutions as well as new ways business groups are providing value to their members.

In addition to discussions with leading technology companies, the DC meetings produced ideas and strategies that MBR will consider adopting into the Massachusetts Business Roundtable platform. Following are two takeaways from the day’s discussions:   

  • Tax Reform and Trade. The BRT and the Department of the Treasury led in-depth discussions on federal tax reform and trade. The consensus was that the impact of tax reform on the nation’s economy was overall very positive. Between the lowering of the corporate rate, as well as concurrent reduction in regulations, officials from the national BRT called it a “superb year for economic policy.” However, a major concern is the recent trade escalation with China, which has raised serious concerns that the gains of tax reform could undermined or erased. Though it was acknowledged by business leaders that there is a trade imbalance with China that should be addressed, a trade war —or “dispute” as Treasury calls it—might not be the best way to address it.
  • Shared Policy and Organizational Issues. The top policy issues of state roundtables from around the country are similar to those in Massachusetts, namely education/workforce development and infrastructure. IBM and Apple affirmed what many are seeing in our states, which is that companies are making significant investments in education and training and partnering with educational institutions to meet their workforce needs. Operationally, roundtables all struggle with issues of diversity on boards, and all of us have moved to a model where board meetings include member-to-member presentations and discussion, which has been clearly identified by all of our members as an important component of the value proposition.

Roundtable Offers Testimony to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff submitted comments regarding the Health Policy Commission’s (HPC) deliberations over potentially modifying the state’s health care cost growth benchmark. Using the Roundtable’s member-driven health care task force principles, MBR highlighted three themes for consideration by members of the HPC:

  1. The cost of health care remains a concern and a priority issue for employers. The Roundtable urges that public policy decisions continue to apply downward pressure on cost growth and health care spending.
  2. Health insurance premiums are an important measure of cost growth, pointing out that there is a distinction between health care cost growth as measured by the benchmark and growth in what employers pay through premiums.
  3. Cost containment at MassHealth must be part of the equation. The Roundtable supports efforts to address the unsustainable costs at MassHealth as part of the state’s strategy to reduce health care costs and lower spending. 

The health care cost benchmark is an important tool to both measure and contain costs. The Roundtable urged the HPC to continue using the tools at its disposal to achieve our shared goal of higher value in the health care marketplace—the highest quality care, in the most coordinated, cost efficient manner for all stakeholders in the system: insurers, providers, purchasers and consumers. 

READ Testimony

Roundtable Testifies on State Net Neutrality Legislation
Roundtable Deputy Director Chris Kealey testified and provided written comments to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy this month on proposed state legislation regarding net neutrality and internet privacy. MBR communicated its strong support for a consistent and comprehensive federal approach to safeguarding privacy and to ensuring open access to the internet for all businesses and consumers, and urged policy makers not adopt Massachusetts-only laws that may lead to unintended consequences harming the state’s innovation ecosystem and economic competitiveness.

READ Testimony

MBR Welcomes New Member Robert Cozzone, CFO, Rockland Trust, to the Roundtable Board of Directors
The Roundtable is pleased to welcome its newest member of the MBR Board of Directors, Robert Cozzone, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Consumer & Business Banking, at Rockland Trust.

Mr. Cozzone became Executive Vice President of Consumer and Business Banking in November of 2017, building upon his title of Chief Financial Officer of Independent Bank Corp. which he has held since he was appointed CFO in September 2013. From 2013 to 2015, concurrent with his Chief Financial Officer role, Mr. Cozzone served as Treasurer of Independent Bank Corp.

Previously, he served as the Treasurer of both Independent Bank Corp. and Rockland Trust from April 2008 to September 2013. He became Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Rockland Trust in 2002. Mr. Cozzone joined Rockland Trust in October 1998 as a banking officer. Prior to joining the Company, he held financial positions at Bank Boston.

Mr. Cozzone is a member of the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center Advisory Board and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable Board of Directors. He is a graduate of Bridgewater State University and received a Master of Science from Boston College. He lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts with his wife and children and is also a part-time resident of Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.

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

Roundtable Member AVANGRID, Inc. Advances Major Clean Energy Project for New England Grid
Roundtable member AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified energy company, and its subsidiary Central Maine Power Company (CMP) confirmed that the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project will advance under the Massachusetts Green Communities Act Section 83D request for proposals to bring clean hydroelectric power from Canada through a new 1,200 MW transmission line connecting to the region’s electric grid.

“We are grateful to Governor Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson, and the Massachusetts legislature for their resourcefulness and vision in passing a clean energy law that will allow every resident in the Commonwealth to benefit from clean renewable energy resources,” said James P. Torgerson, chief executive officer of AVANGRID. “The NECEC will supply renewable energy to Massachusetts for twenty years, and it will continue to deliver benefits for New England consumers for decades beyond. It is another example of how the AVANGRID companies are providing effective solutions to the region’s complex energy challenges. We are committed to investing in clean energy infrastructure, and delivering on the promise of the NECEC proposal.” READ Release


Roundtable Member Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Earns National Recognition on Opioid Overdose Prevention
The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted the work of Roundtable member Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for its efforts to combat the opioid crisis and reverse the trend of deaths from opioid overdoses. At a meeting of the National Rx Drug and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Mr. Adams noted that Harvard Pilgrim offers Adapt Pharma’s NARCAN® Nasal Spray to its members without copays in order to remove any barrier to obtaining the potentially life-saving medication. Harvard Pilgrim has also offered training on the use of NARCAN to all of its employees and plans to expand its offer of training to its employer groups.

“We believe that those who need access to NARCAN®—as well as their families and friends—should be able to obtain it easily and freely,” said Harvard Pilgrim President and CEO Eric Schultz. “We also believe this medication should be as readily available as fire extinguishers or defibrillators in the workplace.”

In addition to its efforts to combat addiction, Harvard Pilgrim has also broadened its offerings aimed at prevention, including Mindfulness, therapeutic yoga and acupuncture—practices that can aid in pain management. READ Release


Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff Appointed to Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Board of Directors
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation announced the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors:

  • JD Chesloff, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable;
  • Dr. Sandro Galea, Professor and Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health; and
  • Michael Hunter, head of business development at Trinity Financial, a community-driven real estate development company.

“We are pleased to have three individuals join our Board of Directors, bringing substantial experience and leadership in public policy, public health and business development,” said Phil Johnston, Chairman of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. “The perspective that they add to the Foundation’s work of overcoming barriers to health care access, closing gaps in the behavioral health system, and addressing social determinants of health is highly valued by the board and the leadership of the Foundation.” READ Release

Cyber Security Remains Top Priority for Roundtable Members
Cybersecurity has been identified by Roundtable members as a primary area of concern, making employers vulnerable to data breaches and other unauthorized use of confidential information. Member businesses are investing heavily in systems and training to safeguard customer information and data. Our friends at Isovera have developed a useful primer regarding what data breaches are, how they affect companies, and measures that can be taken to prevent them. For more information, visit Data Breaches: The 411.

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

"At @VertexPharma, we believe education is the most powerful force to address social and economic issues in this country." Jeff Leiden @UnitedWayMABay #BoSTEM

#IntheNews Roundtable Member @autodesk has partnered with Microdesk, making it the Autodesk Platinum Club Award winner for leading the Americas in the sales of Autodesk Cloud software.

62% of executives indicated they plan to increase compensation levels during the next six months @RSMUSLLP @joebrusuelas

#IntheNews: Roundtable member @BCBSMA reports on how they are working to reduce their environmental impact.

Congratulations to the next Senate President @KarenSpilka! We look forward to continuing our collaboration with you & @MA_Senate members to strengthen communities & businesses in every region of the state. #mapoli #mabiz

The North Adams Arts Enterprise Challenge @leverinc is an exciting opportunity for arts focused entrepreneurs. Winners get $25K, 4 months of office space, mentoring, fundraising support & housing – all in the beautiful Berkshires! 

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.
Rep. Paul Brodeur   @RepBrodeur 
UMass Dartmouth  @UMassD 
Public Policy Center   @PublicPolicyCtr 
Lever, Inc.   @LeverInc 
Protect Patient Safety   @MAPatientSafety
Vecna Robotics   @VecnaLogistics 
Jitender Makkar   @IndusPAD 

In this issue
MBR Meets with State Roundtable Executives, National Business Roundtable in Washington, DC
Roundtable Offers Testimony to the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
Roundtable Testifies on State Net Neutrality Legislation
MBR Welcomes New Member Robert Cozzone, CFO, Rockland Trust, to the Roundtable Board of Directors
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
Upcoming events

JUNE 13, 2018
Annual Meeting
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD
For members only

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