The High Tech Agenda keeps the High Tech Council’s members and partners up to date on its pro-growth advocacy concerning state and federal public policies and programs in support of its mission. The goal of the Massachusetts High Technology Council is to help make Massachusetts the world’s most attractive place in which to live and work, and in which to create, operate, and grow high technology businesses. Read our Mission Statement.


Secretary Jay Ash Meets With Council DirectorsScreen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.18.49 PM

Council Directors hosted Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash at their meeting on April 6. Ash began by stating a guiding principal of the Baker Administration: “do more of what works and less of what doesn’t,” before detailing six emerging economic development priorities under review. Ash observed that Council members’ focus on access to talent, cost competitiveness, and regulation align with the three overarching issues that top concerns of employers across all sectors of the economy. For more than an hour, 30 meeting attendees engaged in a conversation with Ash on a variety of topics ranging from the key role that a state or municipality’s preparedness plays in successful economic development; improved direct access to global markets; more efficient alignment of overlapping government economic development agencies; and tackling transportation and housing challenges.

Commonwealth Joins MATTERS as Sponsoring Partner

In April, the Baker Administration became a sponsoring partner of the Massachusetts Technology and Talent Economic Reporting System, MATTERS, validating the unique policy framework for assessing the state’s competitiveness created by the Council in partnership with Worcester Polytechnic Institute. We look forward to working with members of the Administration and leadership in the state legislature to advance the Commonwealth’s competitive posture, secure and extend our lead in areas of national advantage, and address and remedy areas that are distinct barriers to job creation.

MBTA Report and Recommended Reforms

The MBTA’s operating woes and fiscal challenges took center stage this week with the release of a report and recommendations from the Governor’s seven-member Special Panel to Review the MBTA. Entitled Back on Track: An Action Plan to Fix the MBTA, the report is laden with troubling findings, including evidence of chronic mismanagement and fiscal imprudence. The report paints a bleak picture of an agency whipsawed into fiscal distress and operational inefficiency by systemic overspending on many purchases coupled with frequent failures to invest in key areas, despite the existence of available revenues to do so. Other troubling findings include regular funding of operational costs through capital borrowing, poor employee productivity and epidemic absenteeism among the agency’s customer facing employees.

While some elected officials and business groups advocate additional funding to help “fix” the MBTA, the report revealed that officials failed to spend $2.2 billion in funding targeted for repairs and maintenance over the last 5 years. Although the report acknowledges the agency will need additional funding at some point, the panel explicitly insists that fundamental changes to the MBTA’s structure and governance, including the potential creation of a new Fiscal Control and Oversight Board, must take place before any revenue options are considered.

Infrastructure and transportation issues are a key concern to Council members and their employees. We will be working with policymakers to ensure management and operational reforms that result in a high performing transportation system that supports economic activity and growth are implemented as a precondition to discussions regarding new taxes. The Council’s May 20 Board of Directors meeting will include a discussion with Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, a member of the MBTA review panel and former House Chairman of the Mass. Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation.

Massachusetts Public Policy Roundup

Legislators continue to focus their attention on budgetary matters including key aspects of Governor Baker’s proposal to fill a FY 2016 budget gap estimated at $1.5B. A primary component of the Governor’s budget fix package, an extensive early retirement incentive program offered to state employees as a cost-saving measure, hit a snag. Although the proposal passed the House unanimously on March 25, this week Senate leaders raised concerns and expressed reluctance to adopt the measure and high level negotiations between Senate leaders and Baker administration officials are ongoing.

In the meantime, debate has begun on challenges and opportunities surrounding Boston 2024; transportation infrastructure; and alignment between the education pipeline and high tech workforce demand. However, below these headline-grabbers, a number of potentially impactful employment law proposals are attracting the attention of lawmakers and advocates including bills related to independent contractors, gender pay equity, employee leave mandates and non-compete agreements.

New Mass. Revenue Commissioner: Culture Change? 
We Hope!

On March 26, Governor Baker appointed Mark Nunnelly, a former managing director at Council member Bain Capital, as Commissioner of the Department of Revenue (DOR). Nunnelly’s appointment appears to be the first step in a widely-anticipated shakeup of DOR by Baker and Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore. DOR has long suffered from a highly negative perception among business leaders and taxpayers, consistently ranking near the bottom (48th in 2014) of the CFO Magazine State Tax Survey, with a reputation for unfairness and unpredictability. The Council has already begun outreach to Commissioner Nunnelly and looks forward to working with him to improve tax administration in the Commonwealth.

Governor Baker meets Hanscom AFB Leadership

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.29.34 PMOn April 10, Governor Baker made his first official visit to Hanscom AFB and received briefings on mission and capabilities that support the defense of the nation. Presentations by Program Executive Officers Mr. Steven Wert (Battle Management) and Maj. Gen. Craig S. Olson (C3I and Networks), preceded a demonstration in the Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center. Dr. Timothy Rudolph, AFLCMC Chief Technology Officer, led the demonstration with a mission emphasis on fostering leading-edge advances in defense applications, cyber defense and public safety among defense and non-defense organizations. Gen. Olson, Mr. Wert, and Dr. Rudolph will each be hosting MHTC CEO Roundtables in the coming months.

Council President Chris Anderson joined Maj. General L. Scott Rice (The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard) among other members of the community attending the visit that included senior leadership from MassDevelopment, and the chief of staff to US Rep. Niki Tsongas, a member of the US House Armed Services Committee.

New England Tech Vets and the Home Base Program Announce 2015 Programming

New England Tech Vets continues to gain momentum as a go-to talent recruiting and retention tool for Council members and participating companies.  Today more than 60 companies are participating and nearly 7,000 employment opportunities are listed on the NETV portal.  Led by co-chairs Mary Jane Knudson, VP Human Resources, Oasis Systems, and Michael Allard, Chief Operating Officer, Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, the New England Tech Vets Partner Advisory Committee has announced three 2015 meetings, each of which will feature a presentation and training session by the Home Base Program on a related topic, followed by a presentation of data and discussion regarding New England Tech Vets program metrics; user experience; workplace best-practices; and internship development with higher education partners.

Visit the Council’s Events Calendar for meeting details and registration links for participating New England Tech Vets employers and higher education partners.

2015 Run to Home BaseScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.16.25 AM

The Red Sox are back in action and you can follow “Big Papi”, Dustin Pedroia and the rest of the home team right across home plate at Fenway Park this summer. The Home Base Program is seeking sponsors, corporate 
teams and individual participants for the 2015 Run to Home Base event at Fenway Park on July 25. Contact Paula Goldfarb at the Home Base Program to learn more about opportunities to get involved.

Council Conducting Talent Supply and Demand Survey

This week the Council initiated a technology talent survey of Council member employers and, in partnership with the New England Board of Higher Education, is preparing a survey of all Massachusetts colleges and universities. The combined surveys will gather data for MATTERS and provide valuable insights to technology employers and academic leaders. Member responses to the surveys are critical to closing gaps in actionable data regarding the region’s technology talent – not only for “demand side” employers, but also for “supply side” education leaders, institutions and policy makers.  Michael Thomas,  President of the New England Board of Higher Education, states “Having such specific and focused data regarding employers’ regional workforce needs will be valuable for education institutions as they sharpen program offerings and mold graduates with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in the 21st-Century economy.”

Links to the employer online survey were sent to the primary or lead member from each Council member organization on April 2. If you have questions about the employer survey, please contact Mark Gallagher.

Charter School Expansion on Agenda: KIPP Model 
Shows Why

Since authorized in 1993, High Tech Council members have been actively supportive of these high-performing public schools, and the Council has been an advocate for increasing the number of charter schools available to students, parents, and teachers. Governor Baker and Secretary of Education Jim Peyser identify increasing the number of charter schools as a top priority.  Current limits on the growth of charter schools and high demand from parents and students have resulted in more than 40,000 children on enrollment waiting lists across the state.  The Council helped chart the successful campaign in 2010 which resulted in new Charter, Turnaround and Innovation Schools.

At that time, policymakers made a wise and forward looking decision despite political obstacles and thereby unlocked educational opportunities for thousands of students across Massachusetts.  The five KIPP Academies in Boston and Lynn are examples of the fruits of those efforts and their success can be seen in this inspiring video shown at the recent KIPP: MA 10th Anniversary Event: From Idea to Impact.

Boston 2024 Olympic Study and MHTC CEO Roundtable

Efforts to advance Boston as the host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics continue to dominate the headlines and capture the attention of policymakers. Polls have shown public support for the bid remains in flux, and Boston 2024 organizers recently expressed support for a 2016 statewide referendum that will allow Massachusetts citizens to weigh in on the decision of whether to proceed. Separately, Governor Baker and legislative leaders agreed to expend $250,000 to fund a study to assess the plan and its potential benefits and impacts. On Wednesday, April 22, the Council will host a CEO Roundtable with the Co-Chair of Boston 2024’s Fundraising and Finance Committee, Steve Pagliuca of Bain Capital, who is also a Council board member. Council member CEO’s are invited to attend. Visit the Council’s Events Calendar for more information and to register.

Boston Marathon 2015

There are many Council members and friends running in the 119th Boston Marathon on April 20, and we wish each of them—and the causes many of them are running for—success in this storied tradition. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest, most prestigious (and fastest) marathon in the world. According to Victor Matheson, Department of Economics and Accounting at the College of the Holy Cross; it attracts roughly as many live spectators each year as the Patriots, the Bruins, or the Celtics; it is among the most “non-local” races in the world (good for the local economy); and receives no direct public subsidy.

Data That MATTERSScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.02.22 PM

MATTERS_LogoOn average, the retail price of electricity in Massachusetts is the 7th highest in the nation. Find out how it MATTERS to technology businesses. But as reported recently in a presentation by Dr. Michael D. Goodman, Executive Director of the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, National Grid’s extremely high electricity rates create a dubious distinction.

 

 

 


Upcoming Council Events

April 22

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

MHTC 2015 CEO Roundtable with Stephen G. Pagliuca, Managing Director, Bain Capital

Location: Council offices.

The Massachusetts High Technology Council is pleased to welcome Council member Steve Pagliuca for a roundtable discussion with members on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.  Click here to view Steve’s full biography.

The United States Olympic Committee has selected Boston as its partner to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  As Co-Chair to Boston 2024 Olympics Fundraising and Finance Committee, Steve will present “Boston 2024 Vision and Road Ahead.”  For more information, visit 2024boston.org. Please click here to register at your earliest convenience.  Seating will be limited to facilitate discussion.

April 23

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New England TechVets WebEx

Location: Online Session.

The Council and its program partner, Monster Worldwide, Inc. will be hosting periodic WebEx training sessions for interested members and their recruiting staff to provide an overview of the features and functionality of www.NewEnglandTechvets.org. To register and receive WebEx instructions for the April 23rd session, please click here.

Contact Ron Trznadel for more information about the New England Tech Vets program and how to become a New England Tech Vets “Charter Employer”.

April 28

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Small Technology Business Initiative (STBI) Seminar Series – “Alternative Funding Options”

Location: Reservoir Woods 930 Conference Room at 930 Winter Street, Waltham, MA.

Focusing on strategies to raise funds, this STBI seminar will outline what investors and lenders look for when making financing decisions. Sara Castellanos, VC and Start-ups Reporter of the Boston Business Journal, will kick off our program providing a big picture view of the high tech space in Greater Boston, types of companies entering the market, those experiencing success, and forms of funding being granted.  Our agenda will also include two expert panel presentations highlighting financing options available to you and successful strategies for securing investment.

Please click here to register.  Event inquiries may be directed to Ron Trznadel.

April 28

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

New England Tech Vets Partner Advisory Committee – Featuring Home Base Program training topic: Military Culture

Location: Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. We are pleased to announce details for the first of our three 2015 committee meetings to be held on April 28 at Mass. General Hospital.  Each meeting will feature a presentation and training session by the Home Base Program on a related topic, followed by a presentation of data and discussion including New England Tech Vets program metrics; user experience; workplace best-practices; and internship development with higher education partners.

Please contact Ron Trznadel for more information about the New England Tech Vets Program and how to become a New England Tech Vets ‘Charter Employer’. Participating members, please click here to register.

May 6

8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

MHTC Talent Development Policy Team Meeting

Location: MHTC offices, Reservoir Woods, 850 Winter Street, Waltham, MA.

The Council’s Talent Development Policy Team meets regularly to develop and shape the Council’s education and workforce priorities and initiatives and develop highly-usable data and analysis of key talent and education metrics that are relevant to high tech companies. Participating members, kindly RSVP to Julie Champion.

May 20

8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Council Board of Directors Meeting

Location: Council offices.

Board members, kindly RSVP to Julie Champion.

May 26

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New England TechVets WebEx

Location: Online Session.

The Council and its program partner, Monster Worldwide, Inc. will be hosting periodic WebEx training sessions for interested members and their recruiting staff to provide an overview of the features and functionality of www.NewEnglandTechvets.org. To register and receive WebEx instructions for the May 26th session, please click here.

Contact Ron Trznadel for more information about the New England Tech Vets program and how to become a New England Tech Vets “Charter Employer”.

July 25

The 2015 Run to Home Base

Location: Council offices.

The 2015 Run to Home Base presented by New Balance is a 9K run and 2 mile walk fundraising event scheduled for July 25, 2015. All funds raised benefit the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. The Home Base Program is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war for post 9/11 veterans and their families.

The Run through scenic Boston ends with the unforgettable experience of finishing the race by literally crossing home plate at historic Fenway Park.  Friends and family can watch you from the stands at Fenway, with food, entertainment and fun family activities available in the concourses of America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. Tailored sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Paula Goldfarb at the Home Base Program to learn more.

Board of Directors

View our Board of Directors.

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