Lockheed Martin Sippican and University of Massachusetts Join Innovation Access Network (IAN); Rick Mahoney Named IAN VP of Business Development

Interest in the Council’s recently launched Innovation Access Network – or IAN – continues to grow, with Lockheed Martin Sippican and the University of Massachusetts the latest large organizations welcomed into the fold. They join the U.S. Army Natick Soldier R,D & E Center, BAE Systems, Draper Laboratory, MassPort, and Textron Systems as IAN Seekers, with several others including Hanscom AFB, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, and Naval Undersea Warfare Center finalizing their participation. In addition, the Council has been building on its partnership with U.K. Trade and Investment and is in discussions with similar entities in Asia, North America and Europe to make IAN a truly global network. Already, IAN has been joined by more than 100 Innovators who are eager to share their expertise and new innovations with larger firms and entities.

The Council is also pleased to welcome Rick Mahoney as IAN’s Vice President of Business Development. Rick is no stranger to the Council, having worked with us on our WhiteGlove House Call Health program; previously he served as Regional Sales Director at Salary.com. Rick has hit the ground running and is busy working to grow the Innovator base, drive sponsorship, and add to our prestigious list of founding Seekers. Please reach out to Rick directly at rick@innovationaccess.org or 781-890-6482 x15 to discuss IAN membership opportunities.

State Senate Features Municipal Health Plan Design in Budget

Following on the heels of groundbreaking proposals by Governor Deval Patrick and the House of Representatives, the State Senate included in its FY12 budget a local option for cities and towns to design municipal health plans outside of collective bargaining as advocated by the Council and like-minded business and civic organizations. The Senate plan allows municipalities to make changes to co-pays and deductibles using the states’s Group Insurance Commission as a benchmark while requiring mitigation for retirees, low-wage workers, and high users, and negotiations with unions for 30 days over the terms of new plans. If municipalities and unions do not agree to terms after 30 days, a municipal review panel would ensure co-pays and deductibles are not higher than the GIC and reserve the right to assign up to one-third of first-year “savings” to employees.

Recent studies by The Boston Foundation and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation show that municipal employees currently receive disproportionately generous benefits compared with the private sector and state employees and that municipal budgets are unduly strapped due to runaway health care costs at the expense of critical investments in education. The Council will continue to advocate on this issue and seek to advance the best components of the various Gubernatorial, House, and Senate proposals throughout the state budget process as the quality of life of our cities and towns is a key factor in the location decisions of technology companies and their workforce. Click here for the Coalition statement. Contact Council Vice President Jim Rooney at jim@mhtc.org with any questions or for more information.

Dozens of Business Leaders Attend Boston Schools Showcase; Council Explores Leadership Training and Technology Brokerage

The Council was a proud co-sponsor of a showcase of Boston Schools Racing to the Top held on May 4 that attracted dozens of business leaders including representatives from Council members Analog Devices, Fidelity, Northeastern University, and PTC; the event was hosted by Council member University of Massachusetts and co-sponsored by Council member The Boston Foundation. The showcase highlighted changes sweeping across both charter and district schools in Boston. The principals of 14 schools provided elevator pitches to business leaders looking to get more involved in supporting change and student achievement. Several speakers remarked at the rapprochement between district and charter school leaders that promises to usher in a new era of accountability and accomplishment in Boston schools; this new spirit has been reflected at the State House where there have been fewer legislative attempts to derail charters this year. See the Boston Globe editorial highlighting this here and Globe columnist Scot Lehigh’s take here. Fact sheets for the schools can be found here.

Meanwhile, several Council members continue to serve as occasional mentors to the dozen turnaround principals in the Boston Public Schools. Projects include targeted efforts to develop a data collection and reporting tool for one school to wider assistance to help provide new technology. As the first school year of the Boston turnarounds approaches a conclusion, the Council is exploring opportunities to inform leadership training for BPS principals, drawing on its participation in the Lynch Leadership Academy at Boston College, which is convening principals across Boston district, charter, and Catholic schools, and related initiatives such as the Racing to the Top showcase. It is also working with BPS and key stakeholders to create a more streamlined way for technology companies to donate equipment to schools in need. For more information contact jim@mhtc.org.

Council Joins Health Care Debate

The Council recently joined with other business associations in successfully advocating against several proposed amendments to the Massachusetts House FY12 budget that would have unduly added costs to business with dubious value created for consumers. These amendments entailed extensions of coverage of certain ambulatory, chiropractic, dental, and telephonic consultations, as well as extension of enrollment periods. The Council is also working closely with Mass Insight and other groups on efforts to define key questions and issues as state leaders consider a shift from fee-for-service to global payments. Council Vice President Jim Rooney will participate in a Mass Insight panel on May 26 moderated by former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care President & CEO and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker on next steps in the Commonwealth’s efforts to control health care costs.

Win America Campaign Launched

Last week the Council participated in the launch of the Win America Campaign to secure an immediate reduction of taxes on the return of income earned by American companies overseas. This Campaign supports the Freedom to Invest Act of 2100, a bipartisan bill that would effectively reduce corporate earnings taxes from 35% to 5.25% for one of two years on earnings above what a company on average brings back. The legislation also includes a disincentive designed to discourage American companies from repatriating earnings at the lower rate and reducing their workforce. An estimated $1 trillion currently sits in foreign banks that could otherwise be put to use on American soil were it not for wildly higher corporate tax rates in the U.S. Earlier efforts to incent repatriation have yielded immediate investments. Other members of this coalition include Qualcomm, Adobe, Microsoft, Pfizer, EMC, Oracle, Broadcom, Google, and TechNet. For more information, visit Win America’s site or contact jim@mhtc.org.

Tech Hub Outreach to Legislators Continues with State House Day on May 26

Over the last several weeks the Council has co-sponsored meetings with key state legislators in their districts as part of the Mass Tech Hub coalition of technology associations. Organized in conjunction with Sen. Karen Spilka, meetings have been held with Sen. Harriett Chandler, Sen. Michael Moore, Rep. Charley Murphy, Rep. Alice Peisch, Sen. Richard Ross, Rep. Christopher Walsh, and others. On Thursday, May 26, Tech Hub will organize a State House Day co-hosted by Sen. Spilka and Rep. Joseph Wagner, Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, to which Council members are invited. The event, which will run from 10:00 am-1:00 pm in the Great Hall at the State House, will feature a keynote address by Colin Angle, Chairman, Co-founder & CEO of iRobot on “Building Billion Dollar Businesses in the Tech Hub” and presentations by other leaders such as Michael Greeley, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Secretary Greg Bialecki of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development on topics such as tech start-ups, the MA tech eco-system, and collaborating for growth. A showcase of technology companies and their products will also be on display. For more information visit Mass Tech’s site or contact jim@mhtc.org.

Other Extended Invitations

As part of its strategic partnership with the North Shore Technology Council, the Council is pleased to invite members to attend a North Shore Technology Council forum on “STEM Education for Workforce Preparation: What Our Schools and Your Business Can Do to Meet the Need” featuring Dr. Yvonne Spicer, Vice President of Advocacy and Educational Partnerships at the National Center for Technological Literacy, an initiative of the Museum of Science, Boston. The event will be held on May 25 in Peabody from 7:00-9:00 am. For more info, visit North Shore Tech Council’s site.

Also, the MA Office of the Attorney General extends an invitation to Council members to register for the quarterly meeting of the New England Energy Consumer Liaison Group to be held on June 2 in Essex, VT; the meeting is geared to businesses and nonprofits and will feature presentations on the smart grid and impact statements, the wholesale electricity market’s new consumer warning system. If interested in registering for either event, please contact Jane Stoy at jane@mhtc.org.

Xconomy is hosting the XSITE 2011 Summit on Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship on June 16 at Babson College. The event will feature several keynote speakers including Desh Deshpande, Founder, Sycamore Networks; Edward Jung, Co-founder, Intellectual Ventures, former Chief Architect, Microsoft; Phillip Sharp, MIT, Nobel Laureate and Co-founder of Biogen and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals; Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Founder & Chief Merchandising Officer, Gilt Groupe; Stephen Friend, Co-founder and President, Sage Bionetworks; Pattie Maes, Founder and Director, Fluid Interfaces Group, MIT Media Lab; Stephen Kaufer, CEO, TripAdvisor. Click here for more information.

Council in the News

The Council continues its advocacy on a wide range of issues beyond its public policy priorities, including defending the MCAS as a critical component of ongoing education reform; see recent State House News here.