Council Cautions Against Inquisition on “Job Exodus”

In the run-up to the March 29 Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee hearing on recent announcements by Fidelity to relocate some jobs out of state and Evergreen Solar to eliminate others, the Council sent members of the State Legislature a memo encouraging them to avoid an inquisition designed primarily to embarrass Fidelity, and instead focus on the root causes of job losses – cost and business climate. The memo received wide media coverage, including by State House News, the Boston Herald, WBUR, and WGBH. Senate Post Audit and Oversight Chairman Mark Montigny began the hearing by claiming it would not be an inquisition.

The Council agrees with Chairman Montigny that the state ought not to “pick winners and losers” but see a distinction between the single-sales tax laws enacted nearly 15 years ago that govern the tax filings of Fidelity and other mutual fund companies – as well as many manufacturers and defense contractors – and a company-specific tax “break.” To suggest Fidelity, or any other company which long ago met or exceeded its job obligations under single sales is enjoying a “free ride” if it ever reduces its workforce is contrary to the letter and spirit of that law and counter-productive to incenting job growth going forward. It’s worth noting that most of Massachusetts’ competitor states also now use the single sales formula. The Council will continue to track and weigh in on this issue as part of its historic advocacy on tax policy, which includes having spearheaded the state’s research and development tax credit. For more information, contact Council Vice President Jim Rooney at jim@mhtc.org.

Innovation Access Network Attracts Dozens of New Companies

Launched at the Council’s annual meeting on February 18, the Council’s Innovation Access Network (IAN) has already attracted dozens of technology companies seeking to make connections with larger companies on their technology innovations. Companies now making use of IAN include those specializing in aerospace defense systems, IT solutions and mobile applications, and LED lighting systems. IAN anchor “seekers” such as the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center are populating IAN with technology requests; additional postings are forthcoming from other seekers including Textron, BAE Systems, and Draper Labs. Learn more by visiting IAN at www.innovationaccess.org or contacting Director of Member Services Daniella DeChristopher at daniella@mhtc.org.

Give Cities and Towns Health Plan Design Authority, Council Urges

On March 8 the Council submitted testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Service, urging state officials to give cities and towns the same authority enjoyed by the Commonwealth to design health insurance plans outside of collective bargaining to sustain the fiscal health of our cities and towns. It also asks the state to require that all eligible local retirees enroll in Medicare as their primary source of health insurance coverage. The Council continues its sustained outreach on this issue which has a direct impact on available resources for public education including STEM programs, as well as the preservation of our high quality of life which is a major factor in the attraction and retention of technology workers and the location decisions of companies. Click here for more or contact jim@mhtc.org.

New Hampshire Defense Tech Sector Leaders Convened

On the heels of last month’s annual meeting featuring Sen. John Kerry and the Council’s strategy to strengthen connections between the region’s defense sector assets, Council President Chris Anderson and Vice President Jim Rooney met with defense sector leaders in Manchester, NH. More than 15 members of the New Hampshire cluster and government officials were convened by the New Hampshire High Technology Council. Presentations focused on the Council’s new Innovation Access Network and plans to develop a regional asset mapping of the New England defense cluster with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Special thanks to Matt Pierson and Matt Cookson of NHHTC for organizing the meetings and brokering follow-up stakeholder engagement in those states. Similar discussions with our partners in RI and CT are continuing. For more info contact Council President Christopher Anderson at chris@mhtc.org.

Tech Health Program Piques Member Interest

On March 2, more than a dozen Council members participated in a presentation and webinar introducing the Council’s Tech Health Program, an initiative that seeks to reduce member healthcare costs through creation of a member-owned captive health insurance company. Savings could accrue to members from several sources, including commission-free premiums, tax-free premiums on the self-insured portion of risk, decreased administrative fees and profit and risk charges, and opportunities for maintaining investment income. The Council, which is working with TD Insurance and Spring Consulting Group on this effort, seeks enough interested members to support a detailed feasibility analysis to inform the creation of this program. Those interested should contact Chris Anderson at chris@mhtc.org for more information or with any questions.

Council members are encouraged to consider becoming founding members of this program by participating in a confidential feasibility study for a modest charge. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reviewed the trend toward the growing interest in this approach that is being developed exclusively for you as a benefit of your membership in the Council.

Chief Sustainability Officers Symposium to be held on April 6

The Council’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Team will co-host a symposium on the importance and role of Chief Sustainability Officers in advancing transformational sustainability practices and ethics at member companies across business lines and operations. Co-hosted with the North Shore Technology Council, the symposium will feature presentations by: Asheen Phansey, Product Manager, Sustainability, Dassault Systemes SolidWorks; Paul Lukitsch, Worldwide Energy Manager, Millipore; Kristine Kalaijian, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, Philips Electronics, NA; and Sarah Hammond Creighton, Sustainability Director, Endicott College, and will be moderated by Mitch Tyson, Principal, Tyson Associates, and Chair of the Council’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Team.

The symposium will be held 8:00 am – 10:00 am at the McLane Law Firm at TradeCenter 128, 300 TradeCenter, Suite 6400, Woburn, MA. RSVP to Jane Stoy at jane@mhtc.org or for more info, contact Jim Rooney at jim@mhtc.org.

Fidelity and Boston Foundation Executives Advise on School Rebranding

How to rebrand and market turnaround schools was the focus of an Education and Talent Development Team meeting held on March 8 for nearly all of the Boston Public Schools turnaround principals and several Council members and guests. The meeting featured presentations by Sheila Cavanaugh, Sr. Vice President for Community Relations and Corporate Affairs at Fidelity Investments, and David Trueblood, Director of Public Relations at the Boston Foundation, as well as remarks by Dalia Hochman, Field Director at Mass Insight Education. Cavanaugh highlighted Fidelity’s robust partnership with the Dearborn Middle School which includes creating a school transformation day, partners advisory council, and rebranding/marketing plan, and Trueblood presented ten elements of a new branding toolkit based on the Foundation’s extensive work in education reform, advising the principals to tell their story before someone else tells it for them. For more info, contact Jim Rooney at jim@mhtc.org.

Council in the News

In addition to coverage of the Council’s advocacy around the Senate Post Audit Committee hearing, Council Vice President Jim Rooney was quoted in a recent Boston Globe article on a new website designed to stimulate school children’s interest in science and discovery and a Worcester Business Journal article on the Innovation Access Network (IAN). Visit our News Room for more information.