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Robert Whitcomb: ‘All-Electric’ Future; Worcester Better Run? Genocidal Columbus? Another Religious

Monday, October 16, 2017

 

Robert Whitcomb

"The stillness of October gold

Went out like beauty from a face."

 

--   Edwin Arlington Robinson

 

"All politics is based on the indifference of the majority.’’

 

-- The late  New York Times journalist James Reston

 

 

 

Worcester’s bonds are rated Aa3 while Providence’s are a much lower Baa1. Worcester is in most ways a considerably less important city than Providence, and with a smaller economic and institutional base.

 

Worcester, better run than Providence?

So what explains the rating difference? I’d guess Providence’s continuing failure to get its pension and other employee costs under control is the biggest factor.  That’s at least in part because Worcester has a city manager system,  which encourages professional (“technocratic’’) administration with far more insulation from political and special-interest pressures (e.g., municipal unions) than you get in a traditional mayoral system like Providence’s. The lower the bond rating, the higher the interest rate that a city must pay and the higher the taxes to pay the bond interest.

 

 

xxx

 

In what must be giving the oil industry the shakes, General Motors and Ford will make a big push to switch to making electric cars and trucks from internal-combustion-engine-run vehicles, whose origins go back to the 19th Century.

 

GM, the largest U.S. automaker,  says it will move to an “all-electric future’’ over the next decade and plans 20 new all-electric models by 2023. Ford, for its part, says it will bring out 13 electric vehicle models over the next few years.

 

The companies are in part driven by China, which is pushing hard to replace all gasoline-powered vehicles with electric ones, partly for environmental reasons and partly to reduce its dependence on oil from very insecure regions, especially the Mideast and West Africa.

 

Such major nations as China, Britain, and France have made it a policy to eventually ban all sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

 

Electric Vehicle

The Trump administration, which is beholden to the fossil-fuel industry, is, of course, going the other way, by trying to weaken national car-emissions standards. But the car companies will have little alternative but to follow the tough standards set by many states – most notably giant California and  New York.  Indeed, so big is California that it pretty much sets the car-emissions-control standards for the nation; the Golden State’s leadership firmly believes in the urgent need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

President Trump, still obsessed with pleasing his base in coal states, has now thrown out President Obama’s power-plant emission-reduction program mostly aimed at addressing the global-warming effects of burning coal to generate electricity.

 

For a while, some of his backers may continue to believe that his action will dramatically increase the number of coal-mining and related jobs. But it won’t, because cheap natural gas from fracking and ever more affordable “green energy’’ from solar, wind power, hydro, etc., will make coal mining look economically worse and worse – beyond its devastating effects on health and the environment. Those effects include pollution of streams from mercury and other toxic minerals associated with coal mining, erosion and the general despoiling of the environment, particularly in Appalachia. Take a drive through parts of southwest Virginia, West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky and you’ll see what I’m writing about. This isn’t just about air pollution from burning coal.

 

Coal is yesterday’s fuel.

 

xxx

 

Columbus Day this year predictably included denunciations of the explorer and the colonialists who accompanied and followed him. Columbus, et al., was presented as world-historically brutal and are blamed for presiding over a huge genocide.

 

But members of Native American tribes were just as brutal to members of other tribes and to European usurpers. They just didn’t have the equipment (particularly guns) to defeat the far more technologically advanced Europeans, and, of course, their numbers rapidly declined after the European arrival because they didn't have immunity from the diseases brought over from Europe.

 

As for the African slaves brought over to the Americas by Europeans, we ought to remember that it was African chiefs who captured these poor souls and sold them to the Europeans. For that matter, slavery still exists in Africa.

 

People of all shades and nationalities are brutal. 

 

xxx

 

You have to suspect that the Russians have been doing their best through cyber and other tools to encourage the crazy Catalonia independence movement. Russia’s fascist dictator, Vladimir Putin, works hard to undermine the West by fomenting division and distrust and distributing fake news within and between countries. His strategy has performed well in America, with the help of members of the Trump circle, and in parts of eastern Europe.

 

Moscow will keep relentlessly trying to break up NATO and the European Union so that Russia can reestablish control in the nations of Eastern Europe that broke free of it with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

 

xxx

 

Meanwhile, I have to ask why any Western organization would do business with Kaspersky, the Russian cybersecurity and anti-virus company that Putin uses as a cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare tool against the West. Anyone in the West concerned about Russian aggression should cancel any link with Kaspersky immediately. That includes National Public Radio, which gets money from it.

 

xxx

 

New Englanders are familiar with “rotaries,’’ those confusing traffic circles infamous for creating confusion and accidents, albeit most of them minor. But now Massachusetts, which has more than 100 rotaries,  is replacing them with “roundabouts” (a very English-sounding name).

 

As The Boston Globe  reported: “The lack of organization on a rotary was both its beauty – cars could move quickly through them if the traffic was light, barely touching the brakes – and its chief problem, especially as traffic volumes swelled over the decades.’’ To read The Globe’s story, please hit this link:

 

So what’s the difference between a rotary and a roundabout? Here’s at least a partial explanation from City of Brooklyn Center:

 

“No lane changes occur within a roundabout. Except for vehicles that are turning right, entering a roundabout is a ‘crossing’ movement. A rotary is typically large, with entry speeds of 40 mph or higher. A roundabout is generally small; speeds are rarely more than 25 mph.’’

 

And from Northeastern University:

 

“Rotaries are typically a hundred to a few hundred feet across. Because the circle is so large, traffic moves very quickly. An important aspect is the tangential entries and exits. Speeds are 30-40 mph or higher because vehicles can drive straight onto the rotary with little or no deflection. The tangential entries also make it confusing for drivers.’’

 

“A modern day roundabout is very different from a rotary…. In a roundabout, the entering traffic approaches at a smaller angle than that of a rotary. Vehicles enter at an angle closer to 90 degrees. Drivers know they must yield before entering the roundabout. Because the diameter is smaller, and all cars must yield, the speed of traveling vehicles is approximately 25 mph or less.’’

 

“Another reason vehicles travel at slower speeds {in a roundabout} is that they are deflected. No vehicle can travel straight through the roundabout. All traffic is deflected around the center island and forced to only make right turns. This is much safer for vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross.’’

 

Rotaries are traffic free-for-alls; roundabouts are a major organizational and safety improvement. The rotary is a bit of New England quaintness we can do without. Visitors to New England from elsewhere have often complained about rotaries, of which New England has the greatest density in America. Because it’s basically the oldest part of the country?

 

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In Europe, it’s very common to name streets, bridges, parks and other public infrastructure after scientists, visual artists, writers, actors and directors. But in the United States, very few pieces of public infrastructure are named after these creative types.

 

So it was pleasant to learn that Congress might turn one of the rare public places in America named for an artist --- the Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, in Cornish, N.H. -- into a full-scale National Park, the first one in New Hampshire. Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) was a famous American sculptor and a major figure in the Cornish Art Colony, which also included such luminaries as the painter Maxfield Parrish. The buildings (including studio) and grounds are gorgeous. Across the Connecticut River in Vermont can be seen Mt. Ascutney, the subject of many paintings done by members of the Cornish colony. The fame of the Cornish  Art Colony may have led writer J.D. Salinger to move to the small town and became a famous recluse. I was in a class with his ex-wife Claire at nearby Dartmouth College; we never talked about Salinger.

 

And in Providence, there’s a move underway to make Megee Street, on College Hill, Bannister Street instead, after a distinguished 19th Century African-American painter and (of course) abolitionist Edward Bannister and his wife, Christiana, a businesswoman and philanthropist. The street is now named for the early 19th Century slave trader (one voyage) William Fairchild Megee, who was also involved in the China Trade (think opium). The latter business was Providence’s first great source of Big Money. (A lot of it was then invested in the city’s new textile, metal-related and other factories.)

 

Mr. Bannister was a co-founder of the venerable Providence Art Club and served on the board of the Rhode Island School of design.

 

So renaming the street would serve at least two good symbolic missions. I realize the name change would inconvenience people living on Megee, whose mail would probably be disrupted for months.

 

xxx

 

Many years ago, when I worked at the Boston Herald Traveler (RIP), I was amused that late summer and early fall brought lots of phone calls from gardeners and farmers claiming that they had grown the world’s largest vegetable – be it a tomato, a cucumber, a pumpkin,  a gourd, etc.

 

So reading about the achievement of Joe Jutras, of Scituate, R.I., in reportedly growing a world-record-size pumpkin, a record-long gourd and the heaviest squash was a nice nostalgia trip. Of course, while Mr. Jutras’s huge vegetables are impressive (if useless), it’s very unlikely that they’d be considered records if all of the world’s many millions of farmers could have submitted their freaks.

 

But what do vegetables of these sizes taste like?

 

xxx

 

Lee Smith has a nifty story in The Weekly Standard about why the long-whispered truth about the odious sexual predator, Clinton pal, Democratic contributor, former Steve Bannon partner and mega Hollywood producer is finally coming out now.  It’s revolting that so many luminaries shielded this creature for so long.

 

Among the Lee Smith’s observations:

 

“….That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax {the original name of the Weinstein operation} optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.’’

 

 

To read the piece, please hit this link:

 

 

xxx

 

As Massachusetts goes gaga over the prospect of getting Amazon’s “second headquarters,’’ here’s a little context from Craig Douglas, director of editorial research and analysis at Boston Business Journal:

 

“What Albuquerque’s favorite son {Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos} is accomplishing, and the ruthless speed at which he is accomplishing it, is unprecedented.

“He’s had lots of help along the way.

“Americans have supported the Bezos surge in two distinct ways: by buying everything from dog food to diamonds on Amazon.com and by kicking in at least $1.24 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies and incentives that have fueled the company’s growth across the country. That figure does not include hundreds-of-millions of dollars in additional breaks from deals to phase in state sales taxes, nor does it include dozens of hard-to-quantify tax abatements and land arrangements struck with a mosaic of towns, counties and school districts along the way.’’

 

Have these giveaways really been worth it economically, if you include the devastation to local retailing done by Amazon? Perhaps the convenience trumps everything else.

 

To read Mr. Douglas’s piece, please hit this link:

 

 

xxx

 

Marine-related industries should be a great competitive advantage for Rhode Island, for geographic and historical reasons. Thus the Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program launched by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association and the International Yacht Restoration School’s  School of Technology & Trades in  2009 is a terrific idea. Each summer, students in the program create a seaworthy vessel.

 

As Providence Business News reported in an Oct.6-12 editorial, “Summer shipbuilding program a great idea but needs follow-up’’:

 

“The program has grown from eight students that first year to 49 this past summer….{but} unfortunately RIMTA and its partners have not done a good job of tracking what the participants go on to do. Have they entered the marine trades?’’

 

Good question.

 

xxx

 

More news from the crooks-and-suckers world of the religion industry:

 

Roy Moore, the Bible-thumping, Trump-loving former Alabama chief justice and now  extreme right-wing GOP candidate for the U.S, Senate, arranged to get $180,000 a year for part-time work at the Foundation for Moral Law, although he had asserted that he  didn’t take a “regular salary’’ from this dubious evangelical outfit, The Washington Post reported. The organization has also covered his health-care benefits, travel expenses and bodyguard as he has used it to promote his political career and other personal interests.

 

The foundation is a nonprofit and so doesn’t pay taxes. So we the taxpayers have been subsidizing this sweetheart deal.

 

Mr. Moore got more than $1 million in total compensation as president from 2007 to 2012, an amount “that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years,’’ The Post reported. The Moore outfit has done its best to keep the payments as opaque as possible.

 

Further, the foundation “has employed at least two of Moore’s children, although their compensation is not reflected in tax filings. Moore’s wife, Kayla, who is now president, was paid a total of $195,000 over three years through 2015.”

 

In recent years, Moore’s compensation has amounted to about a third of the contributions to the group.

 

So the foundation is a Tea Party political group that also enriches the Moores. Why anyone would give a cent to Moore, Pat Robertson, the Falwells or the many other snake-oil salesmen in the religion-political complex is beyond me.

 

To read more, please hit this link:

 

 

 

xxx

 

After George W. Bush got big tax cuts (mostly for his fellow rich people), the economy eventually crashed after George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton got tax rises, the economy boomed. Economies are complicated….

 

Related Slideshow: Worcester’s 25 Wealthiest and Most Influential

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#25

Mel Cutler - CIO and Founder of Cutler Capital Management

 

Not only did Cutler found Cutler Capital Management, but he also is the founder of two banks - Flagship Bank & Trust and Madison Banc Shares.

Cutler Capital Management has $325 million in assets.The Melvin S. Cutler Charitable Foundation has more than $8 million in assets. He has been influential in business and in philanthropy for decades.

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#24

Bernie Rotman, Rotman's Furniture

 

Rotman has been in the family business for 35 years - with Rotman's Furniture in College Square - a landmark next to I-290.

He and his brother Barry have been running the business taking over for their parents Murray and Ida.

In the 1990's, Rotman's Furniture seemed like it was the only furniture store. In the day they dominated advertising - their TV spots ran in Providence and Boston markets.  Today, with Bob's and Jordan's in the market it is a lot more competitive.

In the early 1990s, Rotman’s partnered with the Central Mass Housing Authority (CMHA) to work with Donations Clearinghouse to donate used furniture to families in need. The family has been a major supporter for Walk for Homeless.

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#23

Charles and Janet Birbira - Owners of Beechwood Hotel

 

In 2015, the Birbiras invested in a multi-million dollar renovation of the Beechwood Hotel to make it more luxurious and upscale.

It’s already the most luxurious in Worcester - they’re aiming for the entirety of the remaining state west of Boston.

The Ceres Bistro cost was $9 million to add to the hotel back in 2010.

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#22

J. Robert Seder - Lawyer

 

In 2014, Seder was named the Worcester Corporate Lawyer of the Year. He was also named in 2014 as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorginzation Law.

He owns property in Worcester totaling nearly $6 million.

A partner at Seder & Chandler Law, Seder is also the former chair of the Worcester Business Development Corporation.

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#21

David Fields - Managing Partner, Wormtown Brewery

 

Former owner of Consolidated Beverages, Fields recently sold the company (which he and his father spent millions on ten years ago) to Quality Beverage.

Fields now solely focuses on Wormtown Brewery which just opened on Shrewsbury Street in March. Fields owns majority interest in the company - using the millions he made in the Consolidated Beverages sale to invest into Wormtown.

Fields is one of the youngest on the GoLocalWorcester list of the 25 Wealthiest and Most Influential.

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#20

Sue Mailman - President and CEO of Coghlin Electric

 

President and Owner of Coghlin Electric, Mailman is arguably the most talented businesswoman in Central Massachusetts. Mailman serves on a range of community focused boards and is the Chair of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce Board. 

Mailman is savvy and responsible for a business that is now part of WESCO Distribution, Inc. - a $3 billion concern.

She is the 4th generation leader of a company over 130 years old.

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#19

Tony Tilton - Director of Fletcher Tilton Law Firm

 

With roots in Worcester dating back 190 years, Fletcher Tilton is the 9th oldest law firm in the nation and is one of only five of the top 50 law firms in Massachusetts not located in Boston. 

The firm is responsible for multiple private trusts and foundations, and Director Tony Tilton oversees 20 private family foundations and handles nearly a half a billion dollars in assets.

In Worcester, if any charity is seeking donations - they typically have to go through Tilton. He and his partner, Warner Fletcher, decide where most of the charitable money in the city goes.

He is enormously responsible for raising the $7.5 million for the new Boys and Girls Club clubhouse nearly 10 years ago. Tilton is also Treasurer of Cape Cod Healthcare. 

He has honorary degrees from both Clark and Assumption.

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#18

Mark Fuller - Chairman of THE GEORGE F. and SYBIL H. FULLER FOUNDATION

At the end of last year, the Fuller Foundation had assets of nearly $55 million. The foundation awarded more than $3.6 million in grants ($2.9 of which went to 69 capital grants to local colleges and organizations).

Fuller is also Vice President of Benefit Development Group in Worcester and Treasurer of the Barton Center for Diabetes Education.

Prolific in his energy and focus to serving the community.

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#17

John Spillane - Attorney at Spillane and Spillane, LLC
 
Spillane’s father earned $55.6 million in payout in 2007 following the sale of Commerce Group, Inc. in 2007 to the Spanish firm Mapfre SA.

Commerce’s specialty is providing insurance through the AAA’s 100 million members.

Spillane is an attorney at Spillane and Spillane, LLC at the Worcester office. He served as co-chair of the United Way' campaign in 2013. 

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#16

Mary DeFeudis - Philanthropist 
 
DeFeudis sits on the Hanover Theatre board of directors and was instrumental in raising the $31 million needed to renovate the theatre. DeFeudis also contributed $1 million to the Hanover Theatre project.

DeFeudis is the Chairwoman of Worcester Sharks Charities and a member of the UMass Medicine Development Council.

DeFeudis has provided a full scholarship annually to a student at Worcester State University.

She may be the community's most active philanthropist.

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#15

Frank Carroll - Businessman

Frank Carroll founded the Small Business Service Bureau in the 1960s, a company designed to help and advocate for small businesses across the country. SBSB has grown into one of the largest small business groups in America.

Carrol's been helping people in Worcester ever since.

Carroll raised $1 million to build a Korean War Memorial in Worcester and was instrumental in the building of a hospital for American soldiers from Worcester County in Vietnam.

Carroll hosts a show at the Hanover Theatre to raise money for the St. John's Church Food for the Poor Program.

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#14

David R. Grenon - E-C Realty President

Grenon scored $22.5 million in profit shares following the sale of Commerce Group, Inc. to MapFre in 2006.  Grenon serves on the Board of Trustees for Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative. He is also a Trustee of Assumption College.

Grenon is the President of E-C Realty Corporation. Previously, he was the founder, President and CEO of Protector Group Insurance Agency - which was sold three years ago with annual revenues of $13.6 million.

Grenon runs a charitable trust in his name that holds $312,864 in assets.

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#13

Neil McDonough - President and CEO of FLEXcon

McDonough and his family have run FLEXcon for 60 years and the manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films and adhesives has grown to be a mega company. 

The global firm employs a reported 1,300 employees around the world. The private company has gotten more active in Worcester - with community sponsorships and earlier this summer, McDonough spoke at the DCU Center as part of the Worcester Research Bureau’s Acting Locally Panel. 

in 2009, McDonough was named the Worcester Business Journal's Big Business Leader of the Year.

However, the company’s reach is global with manufacturing and sales offices on nearly every continent on the globe.

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#12

Joe Salois - CEO, Atlas Distributing

Salois is President and CEO of Atlas Distributing in Auburn. He serves as the Director of Fidelity Bank and is a Trustee of Saint Vincent’s Hospital.

Speaking of influential, Salois was named to Governor Charlie Baker’s Economic Transition Team last December and Atlas played host to a Central Mass Delegation of Senators and State Reps in March.

He has a big impact on business, government and the community.

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#11

Mike Angelini - Chairman of Bowditch & Dewey

Angelini is known to be a lawyer's lawyer.  He was named one of the 2015 Best Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers, Angelini is known as one the nicest and down-to-earth guys in Worcester.

Angelini serves on the board at MassPort and is chairman of the board of Hanover Insurance. He, along with Sue Mailman of Coghlin Electric and Becker College President Robert Johnson, were instrumental in re-recruiting Ed Augustus to be City Manager in Worcester.

With Angelini at the helm of the firm, Bowditch & Dewey has been able to both expand the firm’s Boston presence and continue to prosper in Worcester.

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#10

Regan Remillard - Haven Country Club

Another big winner in the sale of Commerce lands on GoLocalWorcester's Wealthiest and Most Influential - the son of a prominent business owner who achieved success in his own right.
 
As the Boston Globe reported at the time of the Commerce sale, “Arthur J. Remillard Jr., who ran the company until his retirement in July 2006, will be paid $26 million for his 710,000 shares, while his children, Arthur III and Regan, will receive $43.6 million and $15.9 million, respectively. Arthur III and Regan are both members of the Commerce board.”

In 2012, the younger Remillard purchased the Haven Country Club in Boylston (formerly Mount Pleasant Country Club).  At the time of the rebranding of the golf course, Regan issued a forward-looking statement, “I see this as a club whose star is rising.  We’ve taken the traditional country club model and updated it a bit, to better fit the way people live today … A club should be someplace where you can have fun and feel at home. That’s the vision here.”

The Regan Remillard foundation has more than $500K in assets - while the Remillard Family Foundation has nearly $2 million.

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#9

M. Howard Jacobson - Vice Chairman of WGBH Educational Foundation Inc

 
Jacobson serves as the Chair of the Board for the Boston Market Corporation and the Wyman-Gordon Company. He is the Vice Chairman of WGBH Educational Foundation Inc. and a Trustee of WPI.

Jacobson served as Senior Advisor and Consultant at Private Advisory Services of Bankers Trust Private Bank from 1991 to 2001. 

Prior, he served as the President and Treasurer of Idle Wild Foods, Inc. until 1986.

Like many on this list, he is also on the UMass Medicine Development Council.

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#8

Valentin Gapontsev - Fiber Optics
 

There are people who are wealthy on this list and then there is Gapontsev.

Gapontsev, the father of the fiber-optic laser industry, is the only billionaire on this list because he's the only billionaire in Central Massachusetts. Thanks to lasers, his net worth is $1.24 billion.

This genius Russian and Worcester resident is the founder of IPG Photonics - located in the town of Oxford.

According to Forbes Magazine, he is #1533 on the Forbes Billionaire list globally.

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#7

Ralph Crowley Jr - CEO of Polar Beverages
 
Crowley runs Polar Beverages - a foundation in Worcester and a company the city is proud to hang its hat on. Polar Beverages is valued at nearly $500 million and Crowley is largely responsible for it. He's modernized the Seltzer water industry with numerous flavors and engages his customers to perfection.

Crowley made an attempt to purchase the T&G in 2009, but was snubbed by New York Times - who sold it  to John Henry (who sold it again within months). The Crowley family also owns Wachusett Mountain and the nearby Wachusett Village Inn.

EDITOR'S NOTE - We previously published a photo of Chris Rowley rather than Ralph. This has been corrected and we apologize for the error.
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#6

Robert Branca - Developer and Food Services 

 

Branca is a philanthropist, developer and Dunkin’ Donuts mogul.

He is a national leader in the Dunkin’ franchise structure

In Branca's family, nearly 700 Dunkin Donuts are owned - with him owning 60 DD franchises. 

Branca is the Chairman of the Dunkin' Donuts Franchise Owners Political Action Committee and Chairman of the Dunkin' Donuts Regional Advisory Council of all Dunkin' Donuts franchisees in the Northeastern U.S., and is the Vice Chairman of the Washington-DC based Coalition of Franchisee Associations.

Branca's company owns 72 and 60 Shrewsbury Street - the home of Volturno, Sweet and Wormtown Brewery.
 
Together, both buildings are valued at more than $3 million. 

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#5

Barry Krock - Real Estate
 
The DCU Center (former Worcester Centrum) was nearly named the Krock Arena. The Krocks have been a power in banking and real estate in the city for decades.

The Krock family owns 11 pieces of property in Worcester (worth multiple millions) including three parking lots across from the Worcester Courthouse and the building that formerly housed the Irish Times (worth $1.5 million total between the three lots and building).

Krock used to own the Commerce Bank Building before he sold the building for $4.5 million to David “Duddie” Massad in 2010  - for $400,000 less than its estimated value - after turning down offers of $21 million, $11 million, and $10 million.

For one perspective on the Krock family, check out Unlocking the Krocks.

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#4

Allen Fletcher - President of the Greater Worcester Land Trust

Up until 2008, Fletcher owned Worcester Magazine — once a top level alternative weekly newspaper. He, along with his brother Warner, inherited a tremendous wealth and he's utilized that money to make his own impression on Worcester.

Fletcher's money is part of what's behind the Canal District revitalization and he serves as the President of the Greater Worcester Land Trust - a non-profit organization that serves to protect the land of Worcester.

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#3

Warner Fletcher - Director of Fletcher Tilton

Fletcher maybe the most influential person in philanthropy in Central Mass.

Fletcher is the chairman of three charitable trusts in Worcester - including the two largest - George I Alden Trust, Stoddard Charitable Trust and Fletcher Foundation.

Last year alone, the Alden Trust gave $9.5 million in charitable donations - including a $3 million future payable donation to WPI. The Stoddard Trust has more than $70 million in assets and gave more than $3.5 million last year in charitable donations.

Fletcher, along with #6 on this list, Tony Tilton, run Fletcher Tilton Law Firm - which oversees 20 private family foundations and handles nearly a half a billion dollars in assets.

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#2

David "Duddie" Massad - Chairman of Commerce Bank


A Grafton Hill product, Massad owned several car dealerships including Diamond Auto Group, Emerald Chevrolet Oldsmobile, Duddie Motors and the largest Hertz franchise in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

Massad serves as the Chairman of Commerce Bank in Worcester - a company he purchased from the Krock family - that has over $1.7 billion in assets and 250 employees according to the bank. 

In 2005, he donated $12.5 million for a new medical facility at UMass Memorial Medical Center's Lake Avenue campus.

He was indicted for fraud in 2008 - but was ultimately proven innocent.

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#1

Fred Eppinger - CEO and President of Hanover Insurance

Eppinger may be the most able chief executive in central Massachusetts. His leadership in growing Hanover Insurance and his activism in the community is unmatched.

The company is trading 33% higher in the past year.

Eppinger, a Holy Cross graduate, made more than $5 million in compensation in 2014 as CEO and President of Hanover Insurance. 

Eppinger also has $28 million in options through Hanover. Eppinger has been with Hanover since 2003 - when it was called Allmerica and had lost $306 million. Since then, Eppinger has turned Hanover around as a business and the company has donated millions towards the Hanover Theatre, Hanover Field, and UMass Memorial.

He oversees more than 5,000 employees.

 
 

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