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RI Biz: Winners & Flops

Monday, August 01, 2011

 

Introducing a New GoLocalProv feature – RI Biz Winners and Flops – a review of the people and comapnies who make RI’s economic engine go or slow. With Rhode Island's economy in need of a realignment and greater economic velocity, it is critical to support successes.

Winners:

Hasbro – could have moved its work force anywhere in the world. The move to downtown Providence is a double winner for Providence as the relocation to downtown is functionally adjacent to the 38 Studios location on Empire Street. Combined – the two have the potential to bring in more than 750 smart, techno, new-economy workers to a three-block region.

Providence Equity Group – closed two big deals in July, which may be a good indication that the M&A world are starting to heat up. First, Providence Equity purchased Blackboard, Inc., an education software company for $1.64 billion. Second, they completed their buyout of SRA International, a technology provider in areas of homeland security and defense - a deal worth $1.88 billion.

Bryant University is hosting the fourth annual Supply Chain Management Summit to be held at Bryant University on Thursday. Aug. 25. Ray Fogarty and his team at the Chafee Center for International Trade are at the key leaders of the effort.

The keynote presentation is by author, educator and award-winning consultant Kate Vitasek, whose expertise in the field of supply chain management has earned her recognition around the world.

Washington Trust – for putting their money where their mouth is and promoting RI, its people and businesses with a pro-Rhode Island marketing campaign. I LOVE RI campaign is smart and much needed boost to RI.

Bruce Sundlun – he built WJAR into a regional media power (before Media General purchased it), responsible for the Convention Center, modern TF Green Airport and Providence Place Mall. While he passed in July – his legacy will live on.

Leslie Gardner – the former bank executive who has been a leading force in the development of Capital Center has stepped down as Chair. For two decades she drove the commission that saw billions in construction at the foot of the State House. From Providence Place Mall to the Intercontinental’ condo towers (Waterplace) to Blue Cross’ building.

LIN Media – Providence-based TV group recorded a solid quarter. Net revenues increased by 5% to $104.1 million, compared to $99.5 million for the second quarter of 2010.
Digital revenues, which include Internet advertising revenues and retransmission consent fees, increased by 50% to $22.0 million, compared to $14.7 million for the second quarter of 2010. LIN operates both WPRI-12 and WNAC-64.

NFL  – The end of the NFL strike is good news for businesses on Route 1 in Foxboro and hotels in Providence. The NFL is big business and Providence and Rhode Island benefit. Sure, worker productivity might be down a little after the Pats play on a Monday night game, but the Patriots are important to southern New England.

Flops

City of Providence – while the City is suffering through one of the worst economic periods in its history, it simultaneously continues to operate without an economic development director. For a city suffering from a regional metro unemployment rate in excess of 11% (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), the urgency to fill the economic helm is paramount.

Media General – while Channel 12’s parent company (LIN Media) had a solid quarter, the same can’t be said for Channel 10’s parent company Media General reported in late July a major drop in operating income in the second quarter of 2011 of $6.8 million, compared with $16.3 million in the second quarter last year.

RI Employment and Unemployment – RI continues to suffer through endless months of double-digit unemployment. While RI’s unemployment is third worse in the US, employers like 38 Studios (more than 40 vacancies) and Lifespan (more than 150 job openings) continue to find it difficult to find qualified and trained candidates.

The education system and the future jobs seem to lack alignment.


 

 

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