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Robert Whitcomb: CVS Race Day Paralysis; Vote at the Same Time; Burns’s Vietnam Take

Monday, September 25, 2017

 

Robert Whitcomb

“Not a ‘window on the world’

But as we call you,

A box, a tube

 

Terrarium of dreams and wonders.

Coffer of shades, ordained

Cotillion of phosphors

Or liquid crystal’’

 

-- From “Television,’’ by Robert Pinsky

 

 

It’s past time to end traffic-paralyzing and potentially dangerous road races in downtown Providence. The Sept. 17 CVS Health Downtown 5K showed what a mess these things can make. Yes, besides being an ad for CVS, this event raised money for some nonprofits. But these promotions can also bring other activities to a halt in the middle of New England’s second-largest metro. They can block police, fire and rescue vehicles and prevent consumers from getting to stores,  restaurants, and hospitals. Members of the public should just send money to their favorite local charities, without the city going through these disruptive events.

 

CVS and Traffic

The charity, teamwork, and goodwill associated with these races are very nice. But if we must have them why not keep them out in the country or suburbs, where they can’t snarl life for many thousands of locals for hours?

 

xxx

 

Harvard’s trendy invitation to the traitorous transsexual exhibitionist/narcissist  Chelsea Manning to be a fellow at the university’s Kennedy School was revolting. Manning’s theft of  U.S. military and diplomatic secrets and gift of them to the Kremlin tool WikiLeaks should have kept him or her in prison for life. Barack Obama’s commutation last January of Manning’s 35-year sentence, a sentence handed down in 2010, for his/her crimes handed was one of the worst things that the president did.  What an example to the military!

 

Chelsea Manning

Harvard, faced with a storm of protest, withdrew its offer of the fellowship for Manning but it will take a long time for it to wash away its shame from this case.

 

xxx

 

I watched the first part of Ken Burns’s Vietnam War series last  Sunday. It was well done – vivid visuals and rigorous research. But as someone who was smack in the middle  of the Vietnam War generation (the older Baby Boomers)  and who wrote and edited news stories about the war in the early ‘70s, I quibble with the assertion that after the war ended (for America), in May 1975, that neither Vietnam vets or the public wanted to talk about it for years. In fact,  from that time and through the ‘70s, there was nonstop talk, writing, TV shows and movies about it, which, of course, goes on to the present.

 

My other complaint is about the distracting cutting back and forth between deeper history (French colonial days, World War II, the French war with the Vietnamese Communists, etc.) and the American war. It would have worked better, in my opinion, as straight chronological history, from before the French to 1975.

 

President Richard Nixon

Something I particularly remember from those times was the huge role of chance. A good friend of mine, Steve Perry, was  #7 in the Selective Service lottery, was drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he was killed near Danang a month after arrival. I had #361,  and so barring a war with the Soviets, I was safe. And by the time I got out of college, in 1970, President Nixon had started to pull troops from that gorgeous if battered little nation.

 

There was also the role of class. Young men from middle-class and affluent families, who could afford to go to college, usually got higher-education deferments from their local draft boards; poorer people, however, who were less able to go to college, were much more likely to be drafted and sent to Vietnam.  We were very aware and uncomfortable about this in the late ‘60s.

 

xxx

 

The federal government, facing huge infrastructure and other needs and up to its neck in debt, can’t afford tax cuts. Indeed, taxes should be raised. But the Feds can do something that could give many taxpayers more money than they’d get from most tax-cut proposals  being floated:

 

Simplify the world’s most complicated tax code so that we don’t have to give so much of our money to CPAs and tax lawyers to process our taxes and so we don’t have to take so much time away from, among activities, earning a living, in order to fill out these Byzantine documents.

 

When I worked in France in the ‘80s, with a pretty good salary, the tax form for my wife and me was about the size of a postcard.

 

xxx

 

U.S. Senator Jack Reed

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and many other Americans think that elections should be held on weekends, as in many other democracies, to boost voting and overall civic and political engagement. I agree.

 

What I hate is that many states have made early voting – weeks before Election Day – so easy! This means that more and more voters are making their decisions on the basis of less accurate and less thorough information than are those who, quite properly and responsibly, are waiting until the very end of political campaigns to make their decisions. Except for the truly sick and for shut-ins, there should be no early voting. Citizens in an orderly republic should vote at the same time.  As for online voting, it’s  an open invitation to massive hacking by the likes of the Russians and other bad actors foreign and domestic.

 

xxx

 

What will become of cities as more and more work is done on the Internet and more and morstuff isis delivered by mail (and drones?). At first glance you might think that these changes will hollow out the cities.

 

But people seek respite from screens and, for that matter, much paid work will continue to be done off-screen.  Consider that big growth areas for future jobs include such trades as electricians, plumbers, roofers, linemen, etc.

 

Seeing people in the flesh, not just virtually, will become more attractive as we become sated with screen life. Indeed, it’s essential for good health. And important decisions will continue to be best completed, and new ideas most cogently expressed, in real encounters. That’s one reason that Manhattan still thrives, in spite of its high costs.  You can’t do a merger deal online. You have to meet in person.

 

Young adults, especially those with children, will continue to move to, or stay in, the suburbs, but future suburbs will look different from the 50s- and ‘60s-style subdivisions.  For one thing,  they will have dense, very walkable centers for shopping, distribution, and entertainment, and, especially, meeting people, with many smaller specialty stores in place of the vast malls and even vaster windswept parking lots around them. There will be fewer ugly big-box stores because so much of their brand-name stuff will be shipped directly to customers via Amazon, etc.

 

Highly specialized stores, many with unique items – some of them locally made ---can do well in these suburbs-becoming-mini-cities within broader metro areas. They’ll be staffed by salespeople very knowledgeable about their products and services and with long-term relationships with customers.  

 

The Boston Globe reports: “Credit Suisse has predicted that upwards of a quarter of the 1,200 malls in America will close in the next five years.’’

 

“Today, if you know what you need, you go to Amazon and buy it,’’ Pam Danziger, president of the Pennsylvania-based Unity Marketing, told The Globe. “Where you’re going to find interest is on Main Street and not in these homogeneous same-old, same-old outlet stores. Main Street — where people really know you — that’s where the future of retail is.’’

 

Read the highly instructive case of toney Manchester, Vt., suffering from the decline in shopping at its many national chain outlets and so now looking to go more local. Please hit this link:

 

Meanwhile, the car culture, even in the suburbs, will probably continue to fade with further proliferation of such ride-sharing services as Lyft and Uber and the expansion and diversification of mass transit associated with our aging population and environmental concerns.

 

Commuting to the suburbs

Some suburbs are starting to look like center cities. Consider Tysons Corner, in suburban Fairfax County, Va., outside of Washington.  Tysons looms like a mini-Manhattan, with office and residential towers. And then there are the small old cities within broader metro areas, of which there are many in New England – think Concord, N.H. and Portland, Maine. I think that they’ll grow as people seek the conveniences of more than traditional suburban density but without the costs of living in such big cities as Boston and New York, whose centers are increasingly for the rich.

 

Relatively new  suburban places such as Tysons are called  “edge cities." But we’ve got what are small old “edge cities’’ around here, such as Pawtucket, R.I., which might have the urban bones to become more lively and prosperous.

 

Then there are the mid-size cities, such as Providence, Worcester, and New Haven. They’ll draw people with their commercial and cultural attractions but won’t have the critical mass to become big cities. Rather, they’ll be ancillaries that will perform some of the services provided in nearby big cities -- e.g., Boston and New York. They’ll continue to lure folks who want to live in real cities but want/need somewhat less density and considerably lower costs than in Boston and New York.

 

Even Hartford, now an urban disaster area, ought to be able to eventually turn itself around and market its assets (especially its riverfront) as well as, say, Providence has done with its advantages.

 

Then there will be new mini-metro areas far away from big cities. One is the Lebanon, N.H.-Hanover, N.H.-White River Junction in the Upper Connecticut River Valley. There, the intersection of two major Interstate highways – Routes 89 and 91 -- along with the presence of a well-known university (Dartmouth College) and associated large medical center has for several decades been creating a kind of city – still sprawling but gradually being pulled together by, among other things, public transportation (encouraged by the proliferation of facilities, many of them high-end, for the elderly in areas with major colleges and medical centers).

 

New England, with its many still well-functioning towns and small cities with an almost European settlement pattern, would seem well placed to benefit from the technological and behavioral changes roiling the country,  the sprawling, utterly car-dependent metro areas of much of the Sunbelt and Middle West less so.  People will continue to seek community. At least in New England that will be easier to find and/or rebuild than in most of the country.

 

BONUS - Whitcomb on GoLocal LIVE

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It appears that the recent lethal ship collisions involving the Navy may be attributable in part to excessive work hours, rushed training and an over-emphasis on cheaper, online training, as opposed to teaching in person. The U.S. military has been overstretched for a long time: The collisions may be yet another example.

 

This reminds me of an intensifying problem in much of American business over the past few decades – major cutbacks in training. The reason is simple: Doing a thorough job of training your people, while it helps build the long-term strength of an enterprise, cuts into quarterly profits.

 

I saw this in the newspaper business. When most newspaper companies were closely held, and often family-controlled, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, many of these enterprises spent a great deal of time and money training their people, especially in new computer and other production-related systems. But then it became clear that many of the larger newspaper companies would eventually go public, whereupon many were then quickly sold to other public companies.  

 

As this happened, there was less and less training because that would have cut into quarterly earnings and thus the stock price – a key metric for senior execs as well as shareholders (the most important of which were usually pension funds and other institutions).

 

I saw this happen at the old Providence Journal Co. Costs were slashed to dress up the company for sale.

 

But in, for example, such very successful economies as Germany’s and the Scandinavian nations’, managements take a much longer view and expend much more money and time in training on a per-capita basis than found in short-term-focused America.

 

xxx

 

The Coast Guard does a terrific job in protecting Americans from storms, drug smugglers, and other perils. The recent rash of hurricanes has provided more reminders of that. But the Trump administration has proposed cutting funding for the service by 2.4 percent.

 

That comes as the Coast Guard has been spending millions on protecting Donald Trump’s for-profit Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. It spent $6.6 million just on six presidential weekend trips last spring! By the way, after Donald Trump was elected, the club jacked up its initiation fee to $200,000.  But anything to be a jet-setter and make some more money for our monarchical First Family.

 

Meanwhile, let’s watch how rising sea levels and more coastal flooding might affect the Coast Guard’ s mission and activities.

 

President Donald Trump

President Trump has called global warming a hoax but on that issue and most others, he turns out to have no fixed positions. He just takes whatever position seems the best political sale at the time, especially to his base.

 

He announced in June that the U.S. would leave the Paris Climate Accord. But now, says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, we might stay in it after all. Tillerson said last Sunday: “The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is a challenging issue.’’ Eh?

 

Tillerson said that Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, was overseeing the issue. Why him?

“So I think the plan is for director Cohn to consider other ways in which we can work with partners in the Paris Climate Accord. We want to be productive. We want to be helpful,” said Tillerson. Translation, please.

 

Would a couple of bad hurricanes hitting the U.S.  mainland in the past few weeks have anything to do with this apparent change? Trump is media-obsessed and the Irma and Harvey damage photos weren’t particularly good optics for global-warming skeptics.

 

So perhaps the president can be persuaded to rescind his reversal of  an Obama executive order that had required the Feds to consider climate change and accompanying sea-level rise when building/rebuilding such public infrastructure as highways, bridges and levees – an order that some seaside developers have sought to quash because it might ultimately depress real-estate sales on properties that shouldn't be built on.

 

Some of the challenges of addressing global warming can be seen in a couple of statistics: The population of U.S. coastal counties has grown 5.6 percent since 2010 while that of inland counties rose just 4 percent. People love to be near water, but they don’t want to think about the fact that they or at least their seaside property could end up underwater.

 

There’s the threat of rising seas to life and property on irresponsibly developed coastal strips. But poorly regulated coastal development also destroys such natural barriers to flood disasters as marshes, which are also essential places for the life cycles of fish and other wildlife. The sort of virtually uncontrolled seaside development we’ve seen poses very broad ecological threats.

 

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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