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Robert Whitcomb: Raimondo’s No-Bid Contract, Gov. Baker’s MBTA, and Spring

Monday, March 27, 2017

 

Robert Whitcomb

Bumpy Road Into Spring; Turn It Off for a While; Horizontal Internet; MBTA Weekend Commuter Service Saved; Rockefeller Review; Prettiest Campus?

“Yes, one of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it. There is only one thing certain about it, you are certain there is going to be plenty of weather.”

-- Mark Twain, who lived many years in Connecticut but it was said that his favorite place was Dublin, N.H., New England’s highest town.

 

And so we go into another spring, up and down weatherwise but trending the right way. First the flowers that can take freezing and thawing and refreezing – the crocuses and the snowdrops. Then the somewhat less hardy daffodils and the tulips.  

 

It will be “Mud Time’’ for a few weeks in New England’s north country.  And, of course, it’s pothole season!

 

A lot of folks are so impatient for spring that they strip down to shorts and T-shirts and wander around outside when it’s still in the forties, in a triumph of hope over experience.

 

 

#1

Travel + Leisure magazine has declared the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, to have the most beautiful college campus in Massachusetts. I have  always found it windswept ( it is on a high hill) and forbidding. Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s campus is considerably more inviting.

 

Plant the radishes first!

 

The buds on the trees swell and then seem to almost explode on one afternoon in late April or early May—that is, except right along the coast, where the cold water delays the season as the warmed-up water delays winter late in the year. As visitors to Fenway Park know “Boston’s famous east wind’’ can drive down the temperature of a mid-April day by 20 degrees in 15 minutes.

 

Then comes that hot, humid day in late May or early June when the lushness is almost tropical. In New Hampshire when I lived there, it sometimes seemed as if winter ended one day and summer started the next.

 

Spring seems at once the real start of the year, at least of the natural year, as well as its ending, a feeling that for most people goes back to their memories of the school year’s approaching end.

 

xxx

 

The proliferation of hotel projects in Providence looks like an unexpectedly enthusiastic show of confidence in the future of the city.

 

xxx

 

I’m pretty sure that there has rarely, if ever, been such political frenzy in  America as the reaction to President Trump, most of it anti but some of its fanatically pro. The rage rolls into social media and won’t quit. But most of the fulminations are in echo chambers and a waste of time. Trump foes (many of whom didn’t vote last November and are now surprised by what they’re getting) especially waste a lot of energy on Facebook expressing their anger amongst themselves.

 

That anger is partly from feeling powerless. They can address that by participating in local politics either as candidates or as supporters of candidates. That should mean that they cough up a few dollars to send to their favorite party or candidates. Take action, don’t just look at the news.

 

State legislative seats are particularly important because state legislators do the redistricting of congressional districts, aka gerrymandering.

 

Of course, getting  citizens involved in local civic and political activities is tougher than it used to be, in part because media pull people into affinity interest groups that aren’t  grounded in geography. Some media also undermine American society by focusing almost entirely on negative news and conspiracy theories. The biggest culprits are cable TV and social media.  They tend to treat as many stories as possible as scandals or potential scandals, brewing cynicism, lack of trust in  such essential institutions as government and professional journalism and discouraging participatory citizenship, including voting. It becomes a vicious circle.

 

We need to grit our teeth and become more active citizens again, out of enlightened self-interest, if nothing else. It does matter who gets elected.  And ‘’they’’ aren’t all crooks.

 

Reduce stress by limiting your time following the hijinks in Washington. Just read the news once a day, and push aside the obsessive-compulsive drive to look for the latest outrageous news bulletin every 10 minutes.  The added time for reflection will let you understand more of what’s going on and what to do about it.

 

The Internet is undermining our capacity for developed thought, connections with family and real friends (not Facebook-style ones) and our privacy in the addiction to the rush produced by looking at screens.

 

xxx

 

Meanwhile, Michael Andor Brodeur, writing in The Boston Globe, suggests we’d all feel better if there was less “verticality’’ on social media, which tends to drag us down, down, down in triviality. He writes in “How toppling the timeline is changing the Internet’’ (March 3):

 

“From the earliest bulletin boards and forums to the first frontiers of the blogosphere, the standard-setting timelines of Facebook and Twitter, and the non-coincidentally named ‘verticals’ of digital publishing, the necessity to scroll down to catch up — or more generally, the predicament of reverse chronology — is a fundamental flaw of our online experience.

“We spend hours each day diving over and over again into the unfathomable depths of the recent past, snatching up whatever we can until we’re gasping for the fresh air of the present, clicking to refresh, and preparing for yet another dive into the vastness of whatever we just missed.

“The exercise of online life often feels like treading water to stay afloat in a lake with no floor and no shore. It’s exhausting. Overwhelming. Intrinsically hopeless.’’

So, he writes, a partial solution to this Internet ennui is running things horizontally.

 

‘’{M}ore and more, I’m seeing apps and mobile platforms pushing things in different directions — to the left and right, specifically. There seems to be a (figurative) elevation of the horizontal underway (and it goes beyond the new language of approval taught to us by Tinder swipes).’’

 

“It’s an Internet that moves with you rather than against you, that doesn’t drag you down and force you back to the top. It emulates the natural way we move through narrative space (however illusory our linear perception of time may ultimately be, professor) and in doing so, it helps impose some order where chaos rules — or at least creates a clearing for context in an otherwise hostile wilderness.’’

 

Even better – read a book or take a walk.

 

xxx

 

Back in Moscow, with Trump’s hero Vladimir Putin, we see that lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov died the other day after he was pushed out of a window. He had been working on behalf of the family of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who was murdered in  a Russian prison.

 

Then we have a former Russian member of parliament who defected to Ukraine and began sharply criticizing Putin gunned down Thursday in downtown Kiev in an apparent contract killing.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the murder of Denis Voronenkov, a former member of Russia’s Communist Party who fled to Kiev in October 2016, an “act of state terrorism by Russia.”

 

Putin’s enemies tend to have untimely deaths.

 

This is the  regime with which some Trump colleagues have been very close. As investigations continue in Washington into cooperation between the Trump team and Putin’s  murderous kleptocracy, the smell of Russia-linked corruption grows ever stronger in the White House. The Trump-Russia connection is a real scandal.

 

xxx

 

 

Gov. Charlie Baker

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (a Republican who, with California’s Jerry Brown,  a Democrat, may be the best governor in America) has wisely dropped a proposal to end all weekend MBTA commuter rail service to reduce the agency’s red ink,  though apparently there might still be weekend cutbacks on some lines.

 

The original proposal would have made the MBTA the only commuter rail service in America to shut down on weekends! With work schedules becoming more fluid and business and building booming in Boston, such a shutdown would have been a false economy. 

 

Of course, labor contracts and  some other things need to be changed at the deficit-ridden agency but, still,  it produces far more wealth for Greater Boston than it costs. It does this by easing road congestion, making business schedules more reliable, reducing the disruption from bad weather, providing a service that lets people work (and sleep!) while they commute and all in all improving the quality of life in Greater Boston (and to some extent in Rhode Island, too.) And, if you tally up all the costs,  it’s always cheaper to take the train than to drive a car you own. The MBTA is a major reason that Greater Boston is prosperous.

 

What the MBTA needs to do is to heavily promote its weekend service to raise ridership. Regularity and reliability of service are essential for successful promotion.

 

 

xxx

 

One good thing about President Trump’s budget proposal is that its extreme cuts in some programs encourage serious thinking about what the Feds should do. For example, do we really need the Small Business Administration? How about the billions of dollars a year in giveaways to agribusiness?

 

I was thinking of adding the relatively tiny National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities to this question. Their foes note that they tend to appeal to the affluent. However, they both provide, among other projects, very useful educational programs for  public schools in poor districts.

 

As for NPR and PBS, while they also tend to appeal to more affluent (and older) people, they do important public-information work in news and other fields that commercial stations  do less and less  of, and they’re accessible to everyone. They deserve public support (and provide exposure for the sort of individuals and groups – artists, writers, etc. -- who benefit from the NEA and NEH). That the BBC is arguably the  world’s best broadcast news operation can be explained in part by the fact that it doesn’t depend on ads. As most commercial news organizations continue to lay off reporters to maximize profit, NPR and PBS have had to step up their efforts to help keep the public informed.

 

By the way, the  annual cost  to the taxpayers of security for the Trump family at their gilded residences and as they fly around among their estates and on their luxury vacations and business trips may end up exceeding the total budget of the NEA, which right now is about $150 million a year, as is the NEH’s. Not only is this famously tax-avoiding clan costing the taxpayers a fortune so that the family can continue to live in the baronial style they demand but the taxpayers are in effect paying to promote the Trump Organization’s business interests.

 

What a country!

 

Anyway, let’s take a good look at the Trump budget before cursing the whole thing because of some of its horrors, such as its attack on the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. It’s always healthy every few years to review our assumptions and look at  the outcomes of government programs. And, yes, the political third rails of Social Security and Medicare do need reform.

 

 

xxx

 

Raimondo and Gainer

No-bid public contracts should be avoided except in times of extreme need. They often raise questions of propriety and can spawn suspicions of corruption. Thus it is with a no-bid $225,000  consulting contract for Terrance W. Gainer Sr. LLC to help formulate strategies to increase diversity in the Rhode Island State Police. 

 

Mr. Gainer is a politically connected and nationally respected former law-enforcement person. (He also used to be the U.S. Senate’s sergeant-at-arms, among other jobs.) As it turns out, Mr. Gainer’s niece Bridget gave a $1,000 campaign donation to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s election campaign in 2014. The two women had discussed public-pension reform on TV in Chicago, where Ms. Gainer is a Cook County commissioner who has been considered a possible future  Democratic mayoral candidate. Ms. Raimondo had become nationally known for public-pension reform in her term as state treasurer. GoLocalProv broke this story on March 16.

 

A spokesman for the governor said that her office had recommended Mr. Gainer’s firm but that she hadn’t known of Bridget Gainer’s link to Terrance Gainer until well after the State Police announced the hiring, in February.  I doubt if there was any quid pro quo but this sort of thing undermines public trust in the state contract process. Stay away from no-bid contracts; they tend to carry the aroma

of real or perceived corruption.

 

 

xxx

 

My friends at The Boston Guardian report that there’s an effort underway to get some residents to  help reduce the swelling Canada geese population by “egg-addling,’’ which includes “painting vegetable oil on the eggs or gently scrambling them so they don't come to term. ‘’ Sounds cruel, but the goose droppings are a bit of a health issue, albeit probably exaggerated.

 

Marion Larson, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, explains that Canada geese were once used as live decoys for hunters until that practice was banned in the ‘30s. But, she told The Guardian, while many of these birds were then liberated, they had “their migratory instincts bred out of them.’’ So now their descendants hang around all winter and make a mess, although they are  fun to watch.

 

They particularly love golf courses, which take up too much open space.

 

Like raccoons and more recently coyotes, these wild animals have learned to live among people, opportunistically taking advantage of the human-related food, such as garbage and backyard plants, and the relative lack of other predators near people. Given how human over-population is rapidly taking over and ruining much wildlife habitat, in the end perhaps only such opportunistic species will thrive in the future.

 

 

xxx

 

The role of governors and  states’ dominant political philosophy  and policy in the economic success or lack thereof of these jurisdictions has always been exaggerated. Economies are very complicated.  You see this in the list of states that haven't regained the jobs lost in the Great Recession. In New England, those are Rhode Island and Connecticut – both states mostly run by liberal Democrats. But the other states on the list --- Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming – are all run by Republicans.

 

xxx

 

I’ve had some medical adventures, most recently cataract operations.

 

For one thing, I’ve been surprised by the extent to which I’d been seeing things through a grayish/brownish haze for years, with loss of depth and color perception.

 

Everything is  now much, much sharper and more vivid. A handy improvement as we slide into the colors of spring. Of course, there will still be plenty of things I’d be better off not seeing.

 

Cataracts used to make many people legally blind – but they’re now removed and replaced in fast, efficient, assembly lines in outpatient clinics.

 

Consider such much more traumatic procedures as coronary-artery bypass surgery (which I’ve also had) – a rather gory affair. These things are now routine.  

 

That’s a happy note in the cacophony about U.S. healthcare reform, whose problems are more about payment than about treatment.  The sickest part of our healthcare system is our insurance system, upon which feed physicians, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical and medical-device companies all striving to  maximize their profits.

 

xxx

 

So the last of what were called in their mid-20th Century heyday “The Brothers,’’ has died at 101. David Rockefeller, like his brothers, Nelson (New York governor,  vice president and would-be president); Winthrop, who among other things was governor of Arkansas (of all places), and John D. Rockefeller III and Laurance, the latter two best known as philanthropists, all saw public service in various forms as their calling.  David, however, is most remembered for his time running the Chase Manhattan Bank, now JP Morgan Chase.

 

They all had their foibles, Winthrop and Nelson particularly, but all in all they represented a kind of quiet noblesse oblige/civic-mindedness, combined with an innovative spirit, that looks particularly edifying compared to some of the Big Money types today.

 

"Barbara and I were deeply saddened to hear that our wonderful friend, David Rockefeller, has passed from this good earth," former President George H. W. Bush said. "So many knew him as one of the most generous philanthropists — and brightest Points of Light — whose caring and commitment to the widest range of worthy causes touched and lifted innumerable lives."

 

Actually quite accurate. The vast fortune made by the Rockefeller Brothers’ sometimes rapacious grandfather John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and America’s first billionaire, ended up doing a lot of good, especially under the stewardship of his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his hard-working sons. (Their other grandfather was the very tough and very pro-business U.S. Sen. Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, nicknamed the “general manager of the United States.’’)

 

‘’Rich as Rockefeller’’ was a phrase you’d hear all over the place until a few decades ago. Long before I worked in New York in the ‘70s, when “The Brothers’’ still bestrode the city as benevolent dukes, their name had come to evoke good works as much as wealth.

 

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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