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Whitcomb: Holiday Horrors; Break Up Facebook, Google, too; New Use for Brayton Point?

Monday, November 27, 2017


Robert Whitcomb, GoLocal Columnist

“It is hard to hear the north wind again,

And to watch the treetops, as they sway.

They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech….’’

-- From “The Region November,’’ by Wallace Stevens



“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.’’

-- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger


“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….

“Grab ’em by the {expletive}. You can do anything.’’

-- President Trump, in his famous 2005 conversation with Billy Bush.


And so it goes. There’s little doubt that power, and proximity to it, builds a sense of sexual domination/privilege in many people as well as a sense of submission in their victims. And the longer that famous people hold power, the more their sense of domination grows as our celebrity culture pumps them up.


Then comes along some event, such as the outing of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as a serial abuser, to cause people to look around and see what’s happening. Then there may be a period of relative restraint before the abuse by the powerful (which usually means rich, too, in our wealth-worshipping country) starts all over again.


Former President Bill Clinton

That we’ve had two recent presidents – Bill Clinton and Trump – who are serial abusers may signify that whatever the outraged rhetoric, Americans are remarkably tolerant of such bad behavior.  One of the saddest things about this is related to the fact that the president is not only head of the Executive Branch, but also head of state. As such he (and maybe someday she) is supposed to represent the dignity and gravity of the nation as a whole. And so bad behavior by a president lowers the image and self-respect of the whole nation. That problem has reached industrial strength.


New York Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand was right to blurt out the other day that Bill Clinton should have resigned in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Was Senator Gillibrand being hypocritical, given the great assistance that the Clintons have given her over the years? Probably.  The country would have been better off if Bill Clinton had left the White House in 1998. If he had resigned, an intelligent and dignified man – Al Gore – would have taken over and probably been elected on the basis of having been a competent chief executive for a couple of years before the 2000 election, in which as vice president he got half a million more votes than George W. Bush.  (As usual, the 18th Century Electoral College system gave a big advantage to the GOP.)


Public decorum and dignity have been sliding for some time, but Clinton and far worse, Trump, have pushed them off a cliff.


As for Charlie Rose: His narcissism and curious insecurity were often visible in his fawning over celebrities on his interviews. Still, those shows were often very good television, in large part because of the ingenuity and energy of the young producers and other off-camera staff who used Rose’s reputation for softball pitches to get good guests with an astonishingly wide range of backgrounds and expertise. Some of those staffers, however, paid a price in being sexually harassed by Charlie Rose the relentless egomaniac. Now they feel safe to complain. Mighty late.


Celebrities in these sex scandals, such as Bill Clinton, Trump,  Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Al Franken, John Conyers, Joe Barton (he’s apparently just an exhibitionist rather than an abuser), etc. , etc.,  all have something in common – the desire to be at the center of everything. They’re all saying “look at me’’ all the time. This extends to the bizarre spectacle of so many of these far-past-the-Adonis-stage men displaying,  without invitation, their nudity (and/or excitable parts of their anatomy) to the women they’re hitting on. They’d do American culture a favor by going away.


Mark Halpren

Now the public is caught up in a Niagara of tawdry tales – a voyeur’s delight; the Weinstein case seems to have burst a dam holding back innumerable complaints. But citizens are so caught up in the circus that they might not notice the damage being done to federal functions by the Trump regime, such as gutting environmental protections and making it easier for Wall Street to pull us into another crash and recession. And a crooked tax “reform’’ bill aimed at further enriching the likes of the Trumps and the Koch Brothers moves toward possible passage. Scariest is the growing evidence of the tight collusion of the Trump mafia and the Kremlin, now at least briefly off the front page because of celebs’ sex scandals.




So, as the winds strip off the last leaves from the trees (except the oaks, many of whose leathery brown leaves will hang on through much of the winter), we enter the fearsome holiday season, bringing such features as Advent calendars, lots of colored lights, punch with mysterious ingredients and relentless retailing. It will be by turns exhausting, loud, fun and, perhaps toward the end, maudlin or even boring, much of it seasoned with social anxiety. Its best ending would be a cold, clear, calm New Year’s Day morning with its momentary feeling of a new start. 


There’s far too much emotion invested in the Christmas season, as any playing of “White Christmas’’ or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,’’ both written in the early ‘40s, brings out.  The intensity of the emotions around the holiday shows itself in how popular these melancholy songs remain after so many decades, and after so much rock, hip-hop and rap.


Back to the business of America – business. Obviously, online shopping will continue to expand this holiday shopping season, but will that expansion slow as shoppers realize that maybe they want to spend more time with people and other physical things and less on an increasingly unsatisfying (and sometimes dangerous) Internet?


The romance of touching a newspaper

David Sax had a Nov. 19 New York Times piece headlined “Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over.’’ He’s the author of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter.


He may be too optimistic. Obviously digital isn’t going away (and this is “Digital Diary’’!) but I sense that many more people these days are learning to regulate their screen lives. There’s increasing evidence that spending many hours a day online, especially in the social-media swamp, causes depression and anxiety.


It’s interesting to see the sales of books on paper rising and e-books falling. Likewise, vinyl records have been seeing a big comeback, as have paper notebooks. People want to (need to?) touch, see and smell things.  And who knows? Maybe this desire to get real things will create, for example, a successor small-store chain to succeed the sadly departing Benny’s. Maybe Adler’s Hardware, on Providence’s Wickenden Street, can lead the way around here. Benny’s was always an inviting place to find useful Christmas presents. Perhaps with a different kind of management, such small stores can succeed, at least in a few places with strong and stable neighborhoods.


We all must now swim in a digital sea but we will remain fundamentally analog. 


(Analog – adjective: “Relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position or voltage.’’)


To read Mr. Dax’s essay, please hit this link:




In other media news: The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is suing AT&T to stop its $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner. Well, yes, such a combination is too big. At first glance,  I find it nice to see the government apparently acting, at least in this case, to promote a more level playing field for startups and to limit a huge entity’s pricing power. If AT&T gets Time Warner it would steer its customers to its own content, at a high price, and might effectively keep some programs from being used by new online streaming programs, thus hindering innovation.


But I’m also suspicious that the Justice Department might be trying to stick it to CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.  President Trump, whose respect for rigorous journalism and, indeed, the First Amendment, are weak, has made his hatred for CNN as clear as his love for his pal  Rupert Murdoch’s Fox “News’’.


The Antitrust Division’s  action begs a bigger question: When will the government go after the rapacious near-monopolies of Facebook and Google, both of which also pose a powerful threat to personal privacy and national security, at least as they’re run now by moral, philosophical and political ignoramuses (if techno and business geniuses)? And then there’s America’s monster store --- Amazon. Facebook and Google have accumulated more power than AT&T in Americans’ daily lives. In administrations before 1990, they would have been broken up.





No fishing regulations, no fish. It’s good to remember that when reading the news that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has ordered around 60 fishermen and 22 vessels, mostly out of New Bedford,  to return to shore as a result of cheating on fishing catches of cod, haddock, flounder and some other groundfish. The owner of many of the boats, Carlos Rafael, aka “The Codfather,’’ has been convicted in federal court of massive fishing violations.


The fishermen haven't been keeping accurate counts of their catches: Translation: They’ve been cheating on the quotas meant to protect the viability of valuable species in the waters off New England. The cod population is under particular pressure, with surveys saying that it has fallen to about 6 percent of what’s needed for long-term sustainability.


We almost made the American bison (buffalo) extinct by acting for decades as if they were inexhaustible. We sometimes seem to be taking the same attitude toward fish in the sea. Anyway, this is bad news for New Bedford for the next couple of years.




Now here’s something that speaks to a sector in which Rhode Island actually has a comparative advantage. This came in from Providence City Hall:


“Mayor Jorge Elorza and DESIGNxRI announced the culmination of the Providence Design Catalyst program that provided 17 Providence-based design businesses with funding, mentorship, and professional development to catalyze their small business growth. The Providence Design Catalyst program is the first design business grant program aimed at catalyzing small design business growth in the City of Providence. It is a partnership between DESIGNxRI, Rhode Island School of Design, the City of Providence, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse and funded through federal … funds.


“’Providence is deeply rooted in art and design-based industries. The Providence Design Catalyst program builds on that strength by enabling small businesses to get off the ground and grow in the Creative Capital,’ said Mayor Elorza. ‘We look forward to the continued growth of the awardees of this innovative and creative funding opportunity and their contribution to a thriving design sector here in Providence.”’


This is the way to go: Leverage Rhode Island’s comparative advantages – most notably in design, ocean-related industries, and superb location  -- to attract and expand businesses. Don’t try to compete in sectors in which the state has no particular advantages. Of course, some firms can be lured by big tax and other public incentives.  But they’re unlikely to stick around for long.




As for Virgin Pulse, the Richard Branson-connected wellness-at-work company that’s moving its headquarters to Providence from Framingham: The main reasons, besides the inevitable tax incentives, are that it’s still close to the vast healthcare/techno center of Greater Boston (but cheaper) and Providence is a much more interesting place to work in than Framingham.  That Providence has a medical and nursing school doesn’t hurt either. Who knows where Virgin Pulse will be based in five years but we all hope its employees enjoy their visit, especially Providence’s many fine restaurants.




A Missouri-based company, Commercial Development Co., plans to buy the now closed and once heavily polluting fossil-fuel-powered Brayton Point Power Station, in Somerset, Mass. and may turn the 307-acre site into a center for wind power. How fitting.

 “Multiple factors attracted us to this site. Of greatest interest was the potential for renewable energy development,” said Randall Jostes, the company’s  CEO. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center sees very breezy Brayton Point as a possible site for an industrial wind port.


Some of us will feel a pang when the two huge and eerie cooling towers at Brayton Point, looming on the south side of Route 195, are torn down. A lot of people have thought that the facility was nuclear.



Last Wednesday, my friend Bruce Newbury asked me on his radio show (WADK-AM -- 1540)  what I was doing on Nov. 22, 1963, when shots were fired in Dallas.


I was cutting open a dead white rat soaked in formaldehyde in my high-school bio lab when some kid rushed in to say that “some {John} Bircher shot Kennedy.’’


The John Birch Society (still around) is a radical-right wing organization far more famous then than now. (Among other things the society asserted that the fluoridation of public water supplies was a Communist plot and that Dwight Eisenhower was a Commie fellow traveler. The Birchers in the ‘60s were sort of proto-Tea Partiers.)


My labmate and I went to find a TV set in a common room. As we got there Walter Cronkite, then the CBS News anchorman,  looking stunned and near tears, took off his glasses for a few seconds, and announced that Kennedy was dead.


In fact, of course, it was the Communist Lee Harvey Oswald, a former resident of the Soviet Union, who shot Kennedy. I increasingly think that others were involved in the assassination, too.


I was never a huge Kennedy fan, but the horrific way in which his administration, and in 1968 his brother Robert’s presidential campaign, ended have scarred American politics to this day. And we would have done better without the Camelot myth.




The idea of the “public intellectual’’ in the U.S. has long faded in a culture that has become more and more frantic, distracted and impatient. But as recently as about 20 years years ago, millions of people avidly listened to the likes of such public intellectuals as William F. Buckley Jr., the economist John Kenneth Galbraith and the writer Gore Vidal.


One of this tribe was the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger  Jr. (1917-2009), who used his writing and research talents and  academic and political connections to become a major figure of what Time Inc. co-founder Henry Luce called “The American Century.’’ Once a household name, he is now mostly forgotten. But maybe his career will win new interest with Richard Aldous’s new, gracefully written and rigorously researched biography, Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian (Norton, 486 pp. $29.95 hardcover).


It’s the best explanation I’ve read of a man who was both a powerfully effective political image-maker and a serious scholar who helped color how many citizens saw the cycles of American history. He had very broad interests, among which were movies; he wrote film reviews for years.


Mr. Schlesinger’s histories of the Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt administrations made him famous – which helped make him a speechwriter and adviser to Adlai Stevenson, and most famously John F. Kennedy, about whom the professor wrote a somewhat hagiographic personal history of the JFK White House called A Thousand Days after JFK’s assassination.


The bow-tied Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. represented a kind of confident Eastern Establishment political/academic/economic elite that now seems quaint.


Back when I was in high school, I received a history prize one of Mr. Schlesinger’s books. Although the school I attended had very Republican antecedents – it was founded in 1890 by the brother of William H. Taft, who would follow Theodore Roosevelt into the White House – Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. was considered so estimable (and famous) as a historian that despite his liberal Democratic affiliations, the prize givers didn’t fear that a student would be corrupted by reading him.




128 President Donald Trump

Finally, there’s Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, by Luke Harding, published by Penguin Random House. The book tells the tale of Donald Trump’s long infatuation with Russia and especially its dictator, Vladimir Putin, and the Russians’ brilliant use of Trump.


Amazon calls the book:


"An explosive exposé that lays out the Trump administration’s ties to Moscow, and Russia’s decades-in-the-making political game to upend American democracy.’’


Related Slideshow: Worcester’s 25 Wealthiest and Most Influential

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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