Whitcomb: Development Delusions; An SAT Question; Kelp Company; Nuke Looks Nicer

Sunday, November 18, 2018

 

View Larger +

Robert Whitcomb, columnist

“It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,

The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.’’

 

-- From “The Dry Salvages” (referring to some rocks off Cape Ann), No. 3, in T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets’’

 

 

Bribery Will Get You a Traffic Jam

Boston did well in failing to snare an Amazon “Second (or is it third?) Headquarters’’. The hysterically hyped project would have overwhelmed city services; stolen a lot of tech talent from the startups that are the foundation of the region’s economic future; worsened the city’s traffic woes,  and driven up already sky-high housing costs.

 

And it’s unlikely that Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would have come up with a bribe to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos that would have been big enough to offset Boston’s drawbacks, especially that it’s probably too small for the likes of Amazon. Despite the company’s show of looking all over America as a place for a “Second Headquarters (which of course turned out to be two “Second Headquarters’’ – New York and metro Washington, D.C.), it probably always planned to set up in cities too big to be overwhelmed by it, and with many, many techies already in residence. The apparently bogus national auction seems to have raised the bribe money that New York and Virginia, whose Washington inner suburb of Arlington, Va., won the prize, were willing to pay. Amazon says it will put 25,000 employees in each place.

 

View Larger +

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh were unwilling to get into a bidding war with the rest of the country for the projects.

 

New York State is giving the company a package that includes $1.525 billion in incentives, including $1.2 billion over the next 10 years as part of the state’ s Excelsior tax credit. The state also will help Amazon with infrastructure upgrades, job-training programs and even assistance “securing access to a helipad”.  There’s still some confusion about the total package, but by one measurement, it works out to $48,000 per job.

 

Virginia, for its part, is giving the company an incentive package worth $573 million, including $550 million in cash grants – and a helipad (for Bezos’s convenience to commute to his Washington Post?) in Arlington, right across the river from Washington, D.C. The Old Dominion also pledged $250 million to help Virginia Tech build a campus in Alexandria, near the Amazon site, with a focus on computer science and software engineering degrees. Folks are still trying to figure out the precise total cost.

 

By one estimate in this rather confusing bag of bribes, the basic package works out to  $22,000 per job.  We’ll see.

 

(As sop to the Heartland, Amazon will also put a 5,000-person facility in Nashville, at an estimated $13,000 a job.)

 

So the individuals and companies already in New York and Virginia will subsidize through their taxes an enterprise that had $178 billion in  2017 revenues and is run by the world’s richest person. And, of course, it’s impossible to know how well Amazon will be doing in a decade. Might it become the online version of Sears? Nothing lasts.

 

Think of how much stronger their economic development would be if New York and Virginia had put the bribe money into improving transportation infrastructure, education and other stuff that would make their markets better for everyone!

 

And will Amazon keep its promise to create all those jobs? Don’t bet on it! Big companies are notorious for breaking employment promises. An irritating recent example:

 

Wisconsin, with an outrageous $4 billion subsidy, lured Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer infamous for not keeping employment promises, to the state with the promise of 13,000 jobs.  But the company now plans to employ only a quarter of that; much of the work will be done by robots. You can bet that Foxconn would like all of the work done by robots! One estimate is that the project works out to $500,000 per Foxconn job.

 

No wonder that Scott Walker, the Republican governor who pushed for this deal, just lost his re-election bid. But then, Democratic and Republican governors and mayors do these deals with enthusiasm.

 

The politicians know that such extravaganzas sound great, for a while, and that few citizens look into the fine print or scrutinize these sweetheart deals for their long-term macro-economic effects. And by the time that the full bill comes due, the politicians who initially got credit have moved on to something else.

 

Anyway, such places as tech-rich Greater Boston (and less tech-rich Providence) would do better to make their communities better places in which to start and nurture companies than to break their banks by trying to get big ones from far away whose loyalty is apt to be remarkably evanescent. That isn’t to say that Boston (which already has a couple of thousand Amazonians) and Providence (with its graphics and other designers) won’t benefit from spillover  Amazon jobs from the New York operation. They probably will.

 

A March 2018 report by the Brookings Institution says that state and local governments give up to $90 billion worth of subsidies to individual businesses each year.  How much of this is worth it? To read the report, please hit this link:

 

Columbus, Ohio, offers an example of how an economic-development policy delighting in diversification, encouraging local startups, and improving local amenities and infrastructure, as opposed to focusing on luring a big, fat famous company, as well as strong civic engagement by a city’s established business community, can pay off.

 

From 2000 to 2009, Columbus added 12,500 jobs. From 2010 to the present, it has added 158,000!
 

To read more, please hit this link:

 

 

View Larger +

More Test Takers, Lower Scores

There’s no cause for dismay in the report that Rhode Island high schoolers’ increased participation in SAT tests has been accompanied by lower scores. Of course: Expanding the percentage taking the test means that more kids – especially from low-income backgrounds – who take the test will lack the proficiency of the sort of middle and upper-class students of the sort who have always taken the test.

 

95 percent of high-school juniors took the test this fall, up a whopping 16 percentage points from a year earlier. The percentage who scored “proficient’’ in reading fell to 50 percent from 56 percent and on math to 30 percent from 34 percent. Considering the increase in test takers, that’s not bad. Now if only more of the “nonproficient’’ hadn’t failed to choose affluent parents living in nice suburban towns!

 

Constructing the Kelp Industry

Kudos to David Blaney, who’s starting the Point Judith Kelp Co., which, in a saltwater 2.75-acre farm, will grow a seaweed useful as a food, as fertilizer for land crops, for cosmetics and that absorbs nitrogen (which in large doses, such as runoff from lawns, can be a very bad pollutant) and carbon dioxide.  In his project, he’s joining other local companies that are growing kelp.

 

There was a charming profile of Mr. Blaney in ecoRI News on Oct. 13.  As man-made climate change warms coastal waters, some fish species will move away. It’s important that we find alternate crops that can thrive in southern New England waters. Mr. Blaney, ecoRI reports, thinks about the water eventually getting too warm for kelp. But such warmer-water plant species as Irish moss and sea lettuce are a hedge. As global warming proceeds, we’ll need all the diversification we can get.
 

To read the Blaney profile, please hit this link:

 

It’s such small enterprises that take advantage of Rhode Island’s location and other comparative advantages, that hold out hope for Rhode Island’s long-term prosperity as it tries to recover from its far too long dependence on old manufacturing industries and low-paid service jobs.

 

Nice Words for Nuclear Power

That the Union of Concerned Citizens, many of whose members have long opposed nuclear energy, now urges that measures be taken to keep financially troubled nuclear-power plants operating shows the increasing anxiety about global warming. Nuclear-power plants emit very little greenhouse gases.

 

Fossil-fuel-burning power plants would have to provide most of the electricity generation lost when nuclear power plants close. It will take a long time for wind, solar and other green energy to meet the demand. It’s a serious issue in New England, which gets more than a quarter of its electricity from nuclear power plants!

 

Ken Kimmell, the organization’s president, released a statement that said:

 

“These sobering realities {about global warming} dictate that we keep an open mind about all of the tools in the emissions reduction toolbox — even ones that are not our personal favorites. And that includes existing nuclear power plants in the United States, which currently supply about 20 percent of our total electricity needs and more than half of our low-carbon electricity supply.”

 

 

View Larger +

First Lady Trump

The Fashion Queen in Her Fury

The “First Lady’’ is not mentioned in the Constitution as a federal office. No one elects such a person and nor do they undergo the advise and consent process for political appointees in the Senate. And Melania Trump, the fashion fanatic former Slovenian model and well… whose ignorance on many topics rivals that of her disturbed husband, managed to put out this pompous statement about (apparently obnoxious) Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel:

 

"It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she (Ricardel) no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House". (Honor?)

 

Ms. Ricardel has now been fired.

 

Too many “first ladies’’ have butted into matters of state that they should have stayed out of, most notably Hillary Clinton during her husband’s presidency. This should end.

 

Much scarier is that, after steep GOP losses in the midterms, his disastrous trip to Europe to mark the centennial of the end of World War I and other proliferating examples of Trump’s incompetence,  demagoguery, viciousness, avarice and mendaciousness – okay, nobody’s perfect! -- our leader seems to be retreating into a little world of bitterness and sloth. He may have belatedly realized that his adoring followers in his neo-fascist rallies represent a dwindling percentage of Americans.
 

As Trump enters King Lear/Captain Queeg country, watch out!

 

Economist Jeffrey Sacks wrote in Marketwatch:

 

‘’The coming months may be especially dangerous for America and the world. As Trump’s political position weakens and the obstacles facing him grow, his mental instability will pose an ever-greater danger. He could explode in rage, fire Mueller, and perhaps try to launch a war or claim emergency powers in order to restore his authority.’’

 

But perhaps Queen Melania is practicing to take over.


Please hit this link to read the whole essay:

 

 

There Go Some Contracts?

Trump’s insulting and stupid trip to Europe for the Armistice Day ceremonies, and his ongoing attacks on our allies, might have at least one big economic effect on this side of the Atlantic: European governments may cut back on buying U.S. military equipment and transition to buying more from their own makers as a hedge against an increasingly unreliable America.

 

 

Blame It on the Servants

By blaming “rogue’’ agents, the Saudi monarchy diverts attention from the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But it seems clear that the prince explicitly or implicitly ordered the murder, and no smoke machine can obscure that.

 

 

View Larger +

Movie, Wildland

More Firestorms

Besides drought and global warming, ever-increasing population and lax land-use oversight are leading to increasingly disastrous fires in California and elsewhere.

 

Char Miller, director of environmental analysis at California’s Pomona College, observed to the Los Angeles Times:

 

“Why is it that at the county, city, town level, we have repeatedly green-lit development in areas that we know are fire zones?

 

“Whether it is to allow a rock star to build on a ridgeline in Malibu or a manufactured-home community that nestles into the foothills, the decision is the same and the consequences are the same. People who have been routed out of their houses have lost their possessions, and many people have lost their lives.”

 

Oh, then there are those fast-growing eucalyptus trees whose resin makes them explosively flammable. Something’s gotta give.

 

We got this emailed note last week from old friends in Malibu:

 

“We are immensely grateful. Our house is standing. There is a little cluster comprised of our house and two cinderblock houses. Don’t yet know if the windows are intact. All our neighbors to the west lost their homes. About 70% of our street is in ashes. Even more was destroyed on the street above us. Have seen our island of green in the apocalyptic landscape on KTLA News. 

“We are relieved but are so sad for our friends and neighbors who lost their homes. It is hard to compute. 

“Our house was located in an area that had never burned. 

“It was however designed to withstand fire. 

“We have trees that we maintained, pruned and watered regularly. All deadwood was removed and the eucalyptus reduced by 40% a month ago. Leaf cover had just been reduced in preparation for possible Santa Ana winds. We have a metal roof, no eaves and smooth stucco walls to avoid cinders getting lodged in the structure.  And hardscape all around the house. 

“At this point the fire is only 20% contained.  Can still see smoldering ashes in our neighborhood.’’

 

I hope that a movie theater hereabouts shows the new film Wildland, about young firefighters out west. Maybe the esteemed Avon Cinema, on Thayer Street, on Providence’s East Side, will introduce it to our area. Here’s a link to information about the film, including its trailer:

 

News Director Kate Nagle and Bob Whitcomb discuss the week on GoLocal LIVE

 

Greener Light for More Trains, After 2020?

Readers notice and maybe complain that I put a lot of public-transportation stuff in these columns. That’s because of its centrality in the prosperity of southern New England.

 

It’s good news for passenger-train expansion that the Democrats took the House in mid-terms. Such pro-mass transit Massachusetts congressmen as Richard Neal and James McGovern will be in a position as committee chairmen to push for federal aid to boost such projects as rail service between Boston and Springfield and Boston and Fall River and New Bedford. Those would ease highway traffic and wear and tear on our roads, saving taxpayers time and money, and lift our region’s economy.

 

It will be tough to get anything helping New England through the GOP-controlled Senate, but a foundation (or rail bed) can be laid for when the political environment changes, perhaps after the 2020 elections.

 

Would Trump and the narrowly GOP Senate cooperate with the Democratic-run House in enacting a bill that would include the aforementioned projects? In his campaign, Trump talked up a huge infrastructure program but once in office pretty much dropped the subject and concentrated on giving himself and his pals a  big tax cut and trying to kill the Affordable Care Act. But then the current version of the GOP sees tax cuts, particularly favoring the rich, as virtually their only domestic policy.

 

Still, a swelling federal deficit, an aging population, crumbling infrastructure and increased military spending pose huge challenges. My guess is that in the next few years, the top marginal federal income tax rate will have to be raised to around 50 percent to pay for the services the public wants (if not needs) and to address the rapidly swelling national debt and associated higher interest rates. The bond and stock markets are without mercy. We can’t live in financial Fantasyland forever.

 

Street Calming

It takes a while to get used to them, but those posted 20-mph zones (enforced by big fines) on streets near schools in Providence do seem to have made street life calmer in those neighborhoods, and safer not just for schoolchildren but for everyone else.

 


View Larger +

Trinity Rep's Christmas Carol

Dickens Dependence

I think that Trinity Repertory Company should have made more of an effort to wean itself off its heavy financial dependence on A Christmas Carol, which it tries in almost tortured ways to make different every year.

 

 

Stripped Down for Spring

A few of the red and yellow leaves on the trees and bushes outside my window have survived the recent storms but most have blown off. As bleak as it looks,  it’s comforting in a way because it clears out the trees for next spring’s buds.

 

Thanksgiving Through the Years

Different species of Thanksgivings.  In my past, first there were the long, far-too-complicated and heavy feasts of my childhood, with my four siblings, parents, two or three grandparents, and sometimes a few other relatives from outside our nuclear family, in our house on a hill.  It seemed to always be gray and windy that day, with the brown oak leaves swirling.

 

Then, after the grandparent generation disappeared, the gatherings shrank, and we often ate in restaurants and sometimes included single friends who may or may not have been lonely. Mediocre food but a crisp couple of hours and it was over.

 

Much later came our kids and the gatherings grew again for a few years.

 

Now it’s back to small and quiet as kids and others disperse or disappear. But with holidays, as with so many other things, less can be more. I remember with particular fondness the very quiet and mellow Thanksgiving my wife and I had in the dining room of a hotel in 1975 followed by a nice walk in the old streets around Rittenhouse Square, in Philadelphia.

 

The lyrics and haunting melody of “We Gather Together,’’ the Thanksgiving hymn, although they can be traced back to the late 16th Century as a Dutch Protestant song, have always evoked to me New England’s Puritan origins. “Shining City on a Hill’’ and all that.

 

1.     We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

2.     Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou,
Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

3.     We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name
be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

 

 

Related Slideshow: The 50 Greatest Living Rhode Islanders

View Larger +
Prev Next

#50

Professor J. Michael Kosterlitz

Nobel Prize Winner

In October 2016, Brown University Professor J. Michael Kosterlitz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He has been at Brown since 1982.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that it awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 to three U.S. scientists, including Kosterlitz ”for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter."

"They revealed the secrets of exotic matter," wrote the Academy in their October 4 release.  "This year’s Laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. They have used advanced mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter. Many people are hopeful of future applications in both materials science and electronics."

The Academy wrote:

The three Laureates’ use of topological concepts in physics was decisive for their discoveries. Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that only change step-wise. Using topology as a tool, they were able to astound the experts. In the early 1970s, Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless overturned the then current theory that superconductivity or suprafluidity could not occur in thin layers. They demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures and also explained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#49

Barnaby Evans

Artist

Barnaby Evans is the creator of WaterFire, cited as one of America’s most important pieces of public art. Friedrich St. Florian called WaterFire the “crown jewel of the Providence renaissance.”

He has won numerous regional, national and global awards for his creation of WaterFire. The art and event has helped to transform Providence.

As his bio states, he "is also known for his photography which is included in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Bibliotheque National, Paris; the Musee’ d’art et d’histoire, Fribourg, Switzerland; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design among others."

View Larger +
Prev Next

#48

Howard Ben Tré

Sculptor

Ben Tré is a world leader in innovating cast glass as a sculptural medium, and his work has been exhibited at more than 100 museum and public collections worldwide -- and his studio is located in Pawtucket, RI. 

His works have been at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#47

Bill Reynolds

Sportswriter

Reynolds' books use sports as the framework, but are deeper examinations of poverty, race, and addiction.

His book "Fall River Dreams" defined him a leading American writer who uniquely captures the intersection of sports and culture. 

“Bill Reynolds is one of the best writers around, and this book is the Friday Night Lights of high school basketball,” said Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe.

"Success is a Choice," which he co-wrote with Rick Pitino, is a business "how to" book that was a New York Times best-seller.

Reynolds has written 11 books and is a sports reporter for the Providence Journal.


 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#46

John McCauley (Deer Tick)

Singer-Songwriter

McCauley has been a leading voice in the alternative, indie rock sphere for more than a decade. His work is a mix of rock with folk, blues, and country influences.

Along with his band, McCauley won Rock Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards (beating out Aerosmith) in 2013. He is married to fellow musician Vanessa Carlton -- Stevie Nicks officiated their wedding.

With Deer Tick he has produced five albums. 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#45

Ira Magaziner

Business Consultant

He created one of the most innovative university curriculums in America while he was an undergraduate at Brown, and went on to a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford.

Magaziner founded a leading business consulting firm - Telesis -- and then sold it to Towers Perrin. He served as the policy point person in President Bill Clinton’s Health Reform initiative that was led by Hillary Clinton. The effort failed and Magaziner was sued and fined — it ultimately was overturned

Today, he serves as the vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). His son Seth is RI’s General Treasurer.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#44

Angus Davis

Entrepreneur

Few business innovators in America have had the success of native Rhode Islander Davis. 

He co-founded Tellme, raised more than $200M in capital, and helped to lead the company to more than $100 million in sales and 300 employees. Tellme was acquired by Microsoft for nearly $1 billion.

Now, he is trying to do it again with Upserve, formerly Swipely. The company is "the smart management assistant serving up clear guidance that makes your restaurant thrive" - a tech firm that creates an information infrastructure for restaurants. He has raised upwards of $50 million for Upserve. Davis is a leading American business thinker -- all before the age of 40.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#43

Terry "Mother" Moy

Navy SEAL

If the Navy SEALs are the best trained and most respected in the United State Armed Forces, Moy is the "Mother" of the SEALs.

The Newport native is the embodiment of military lore. He was a famous SEAL instructor and one of his most infamous trainees was Jesse "The Body" Venture - Seal, professional Wrestler and Governor of Minnesota. 

While most SEAL activity is undisclosed, his effort to recover Apollo 17 was globally broadcast.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#42

Phil West

Government Reformer

Once dubbed the Godfather of Ethics Reform, West has been the driving force in reforming governmental ethics for three decades in Rhode Island. 

His successes include a then-record fine against Governor Ed DiPrete, Separation of Powers, downsizing and modernizing the legislature, and the requirement of electronic filing of bills and making hearings accessible to the public.

He was the head of Common Cause RI for eighteen years and retired in 2006, but still remains a guiding force in reform. Two years ago, the master lever was eliminated and this year major ethics reform is moving through the General Assembly — all under the watchful eye of West.

West has taken on the most powerful forces — sometimes alone — and made Rhode Island a better place as a result.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#41

Richard Jenkins

Actor

Jenkins is the consummate American actor. His work ranges from everything from “The Witches of Eastwick” to “Hannah and Her Sisters” to HBO's "Six Feet Under" to his award winning role in “Olive Kitteridge”

His formative acting years took place at Trinity Repertory Company (now Trinity Rep). Jenkins then returned later in his career to help save the financially struggling theater.

He has starred and appeared in more than 80 movies and television series or movies. In 2014, Jenkins and his wife Sharon received the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#40

Alan Hassenfeld

Business 

The former CEO and Chairman of Hasbro was a driving force in transforming the company from a toy manufacturer to an entertainment company.

Michael Jackson and slews of others came to Rhode Island to tour the company and negotiate licensing deals.

In the early 1990's he became a force in initiating ethics reform in Rhode Island. More recently, he endowed the creation of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University.

The Rhode Island-based Hassenfeld Foundation gave out roughly $4.7 million in donations in the most recently reported year. 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#39

M. Therese Antone, RSM, Ed.D

Educator

Sister Antone was born in Central Falls, and educated at Salve Regina University, Villanova University, Harvard University and MIT Sloan School of Management.

Correspondingly, she has taught almost every level of education, rising to President of Salve Regina. There, she transformed the school, and Salve Regina’s national rankings and student profile vastly improved under her leadership.

During her tenure, the University's endowment grew from $1 million to more than $50 million and the University invested $76 million on renovations and expansions and has received numerous awards for restoring the historic mansions, cottages, and gatehouses on its campus. She transformed the University and correspondingly has won countless awards for her service.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#38

Umberto Crenca

Artist and Entrepreneur

Artist, visionary and business leader, Crenca took a crazy idea of developing a sustainable art cluster in Downtown Providence and made it the most unimaginable success, and has become a national model. 

AS220 was founded in 1985 to "provide a local, unjuried, and uncensored home for the arts," and has grown to own and operate multiple facilities, currently providing fifty eight artist live and/or work spaces, four exhibition spaces, a print shop, a media lab including a black and white darkroom, a fabrication lab, a stage, a recording studio, a black box theater, a dance studio, and a bar and restaurant.

In 2016, Crenca was awarded Honorary Degrees from two different Rhode Island Universities.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#37

Carolyn Rafaelian

Businesswoman

In July, Forbes announced its “America's Richest Self-Made Women” list for 2018 and Rhode Island’s Carolyn Rafaelian came in at #21 on the list.

The list includes Oprah Winfrey at #6, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook at #12, Sara Blakely of Spanx tied with Rafaelian at #21, and Kylie Jenner at #27.

“Despite this crazy state, it’s possible for a Rhode Island woman to reach this self-made list. For that I am proud,” said Rafaelian, Founder and CEO of Alex and Ani in an interview with GoLocal.

“I am thrilled with my new team in place and we will continue to attract all the right people and continue to streamline the business and its efficiency. After all, we are the jewelry capital of the world!” she said.

In June, Alex and Ani hit a milestone that few companies could ever dream of achieving — it has surpassed the donation of $50 million to more than 50 non-profit partners through its Charity by Design program.

The program was created in 2011 to “spread the Alex and Ani ideal of sharing positive energy worldwide, igniting passion for the wellbeing of our planet, our communities, and our individual paths. Since 2011, Alex and Ani has donated $52.6M to organizations large and small,” she said.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#36

Louise Durfee

Environmentalist and Attorney

When one talks about trail blazers in Rhode Island, Louise Durfee’s image should be the first thing that comes to mind. She was the first female partner at a major Providence law firm at a time when most law firms did not employ women attorneys. She was one of a small group of Tiverton residents who joined together in the early 1970's to oppose a proposal to build a major oil refinery. 

The fight was so profound that it was featured in 1971 in Life Magazine and resulted in the founding of an organization that ultimately became Save the Bay. Again, Durfee the trail blazer.

In the 1980’s she helped to clean up the aftermath at Rhode Housing after widespread corruption was found. In 1991, Governor Bruce Sundlun named her Director of the Department of Environmental Management and just three years later, he fired her.

So she ran against him in the Democratic primary for Governor. 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#35

Ron Machtley 

Politician and University President

Rhode Islanders were first introduced to Ron Machtley in 1988 when he traveled around Rhode Island with a pig named Lester “Less" Pork to point out the wasteful spending of then-Congressman Fred St. Germain.

Machtley upset the 28-year veteran and Chairman of the House Banking Committee to take the Congressional seat. In 1994, he was the odds-on-favorite to win the Governorship, but was upset in the GOP primary by Lincoln Almond, who went on to serve eight years as Governor.

After his defeat, he was the surprise choice to serve as President of then-Bryant College. At first appearances it was a strange choice, but Machtley could not have turned out to be a better selection.

Under his leadership, the college transformed to a University, with massive improvements in the University’s campus, an elevation to Division I Sports, and an overall improvement in Bryant’s academic position. 

When he assumed office Bryant had a $1.7 million operating deficit and a tiny endowment. Today, the University’s endowment is nearing $200 million. Over the past 20 years, Bryant has become one of the most improved higher education institutions in America.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#34

U.S. Senator Jack Reed

Politician

If this list of greatest living Rhode Islanders had been developed twenty years ago, it might have been rich with elected officials - the likes of Senators Claiborne Pell and John Chafee, the retired John O. Pastore and Bruce Sundlun, but today there are few with the gravitas of achievement of those politicians. 

However, there is the now-senior Senator from Rhode Island, who has a national reputation as an expert on issues of national defense and is a constantly rumored to serve as the Secretary of Defense.

The former Army ranger worked his way up the political ladder as a State legislator and Congressman before winning the Senate seat of the retiring Pell.

In a time of great diverseness, he is a rare member that has conversations across the aisle.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#33

Trudy Coxe

Environmentalist and Historic Preservationist

Coxe has now headed three of the most most important preservation organizations in New England. As the long-time Executive Director of Save the Bay in the 1980's and 1990's, she was a powerful force in driving the preservation of Rhode Island's open space and improvements to Narragansett Bay.

Coxe lost a close race for Congress against Jack Reed, but was later appointed head of the largest Environmental Agency in New England when then-Governor Bill Weld named her head of the Massachusetts environmental agency - the Department of Environmental Protection.

After a multi-year stint in the Commonwealth, she came back to Rhode Island to lead and transform the Preservation Society of Newport.  In that role she has helped to recpaitalize and modernize the non-profit that stewards the mansions and other assets in Newport and across Aquidneck Island.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#32

Ken Read

Sailor

No one on this list may be more accomplished in their individual field than Ken Read is to sailing. Twice the Rolex United States Yachtsman of the Year, three times leading America’s Cup yachts, and dominant in the Volvo Ocean Races for decades.

One could argue Read may be the most accomplished sailor in the world. He was a three-time college All-American at Boston University.

Today, he sails leading privately owned yachts and has been involved with the North Sail company. 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#31

Michael Littman

Academic

There are few computer science professors that get tapped for their celebrity for a national television commercial (see below), but Brown University’s Littman is an academic rock star.  After ten years at Rutgers he left to join the faculty at Brown 

He leads an effort called Humanity-Centered Robotics Initiative (HCRI) in which Brown University aims to become a global leader in the field of creating robots that benefit, learn from, teach, support, and collaborate with people.

One of his recent journal articles he co-wrote was titled, “Learning behaviors via human-delivered discrete feedback: modeling implicit feedback strategies to speed up learning.”

His commercial was easier to understand -- it has been viewed 550,000 times. 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#30

Johanne Killeen 

Restaurateur

For decades the nicest restaurant in Providence might have been the old Rusty Scupper, but in the 1980's, Johanne Killeen and George Germon not only transformed the restaurant scene in Providence, but also proved that small cities with brilliant chefs could compete.

Food & Wine honored Al Forno for launching 'a new era of ambitious cooking in Providence [in 1980] with their thin-crusted grilled pizzas topped with superfresh ingredients.' The editors singled out Al Forno's Margarita Pizza (with house-made pomodoro, fresh herbs, two cheeses and extra virgin olive oil) as the signature item.

John Mariani, the food writer for Esquire put the new restaurant, Al Forno, on the national map by naming it the best new restaurant in America. Other food and travel magazines followed and the recognition transformed Providence, and as a result other mid-sized cities.

Al Forno put Providence on the food map and sparked many other creative and smart chefs. George Germon passed away in October of 2015. 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#29

Terry Murray 

Business

It has been a number of years since Terry Murray ran one of the biggest banks in America. In 2004, Fleet Bank was acquired by Bank of America. Even today, Bank of America is headed up by a former Fleet executive -- Brian Moynihan.

In the 1990’s, Fleet was a superstar financial service firm — it gobbled up bank after bank in the U.S. and in 1999 Murray and Fleet made the biggest buy - acquiring BankBoston. The new FleetBoston was a megabank. 

FleetBoston was the seventh-largest bank in the United States, as measured by assets (US$197 billion in 2003). It employed over 50,000, served more than 20 million customers globally, and revenues of $12 billion per year.

Murray grew Fleet from a small RI community bank to a global player.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#28

Farrelly Brothers

Movie Producers

The Cumberland brothers - Peter and Bobby - are two of the most prolific comedic movie makers in Hollywood. They created a genre of politically incorrect, slapstick humor that has generated billions in box office sales.

Their movies include Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber --  to name a few of their 15 movies.

The Farrelly Brothers also co-wrote one of the all-time great Seinfeld episodes -- titled "The Virgin."

View Larger +
Prev Next

#27

Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson

Judge

In 1965 Thompson came to Providence from South Carolina to attend Brown University and never went home. Today, she serves on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals - one of the highest federal courts in America.

She was elevated to the seat previously held by Judge Bruce Selya.  Before serving on the court she served on the District and Superior Courts in the Rhode Island Courts.

Today, she serves on the Brown Corporation, the Board for College Unbound and Save the Bay.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#26

Sid Abruzzi (Johnny Morocco)

Surfer/Skater

Abruzzi is known as the "godfather of the New England surf/skate mafia."

"With a face that launched a thousand spliffs, ‘The Package’ has skated, surfed, and partied over the last 50 years with no end in sight. After reaching rockstar status with Big World in the mid ’80s, Sid’s infamous Water Bros. Surf shop brought vert skating to the beaches of Newport, RI," wrote Jim Murphy in Juice Magazine.

Before ESPN's X Games (Extreme Games) or the Gravity Games were envisioned, Abruzzi was an innovator helping to create a movement and industry that was primarily a West Coast phenomenon.  

View Larger +
Prev Next

#25

Duke Robillard

Musician

The blues guitarist and Woonsocket native is well-known locally for co-founding Roomful of Blues, but his presence on the national stage, performing with The Fabulous Thunderbirds and recording with the likes of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits has helped make Robillard a bona fide star in American music. 

He is a two-time Grammy nominee, won the W.C. Handy Award in 2000 and 2001 for Best Blues Guitarist, and in 2007 received a Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts.   But don’t take our word for it — Tom Clarke with Elmore Magazine extolled Robillard’s virtues when he reviewed “The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard” in 2015."

“A jazz man, a front porch pickin’ blues man and one-time guitarist for Dylan. A string band, jug band, ragtime, delta, Louisiana, Appalachian folk and Jimmie Rodgers-country aficionado. A backwards traveler, but forward thinker. A writer and singer with distinct style, and a studio owner and in-demand producer. Did I miss anything? Duke Robillard may wear a handsome, if nondescript, lid lounging on the cover of The Acoustic Blues,but he almost literally wears a hundred hats—all of them damn well. It’s hard to believe any one man can be as prolific as this Rhode Island Duke of the blues,” wrote Clarke. 

 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#24

John Ghiorse

Meteorologist

Ghiorse may be Rhode Island’s most trusted and beloved television and digital news personality of all time. The Air Force Veteran and Harvard educated weatherman studied Meteorology at Penn State. He transformed weather reporting in Rhode Island and created his own branded measure — the Ghiorse Factor.

He first joined WJAR-10 in 1968, then moved to Channel 6 for nearly a decade and then back to WJAR. He retired from Channel 10 in 2009 and joined GoLocal and helped the digital media company launch its first site in 2010. He has delivered the daily Ghiorse Factor to GoLocal for the past five plus years. 

Ghiorse continues to be one of Southeastern New England’s most beloved news personalities.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#23

Eugene Lee

Set Designer

If you have watched Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or many a production of A Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep, you have seen the work of Eugene Lee. He is one of America’s most creative and accomplished set designers.

The Providence resident has won three Tonys for Wicked, Sweeney Todd, and Candide. He has won multiple Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Set Design and has won an Emmy for the design of the set for Saturday Night Live.

He is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#22

Claire Andrade Watkins

Scholar

Rhode Island has always been one of the top destinations for Cape Verde emigres — and next month, Emerson College Professor and Brown University Fellow Andrade-Watkins, who grew up in Fox Point, will have a thirty year retrospective of her work at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. 

The subject? “Our Rhode: 30 Years of Cinema by and About Cape Verdian Rhode Islanders.”

Andrade-Watkins, a PhD, is Professor of Africana and Postcolonial Media Studies at Emerson, and is a Fellow at the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown (as well as a visiting scholar). She is the Director of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project, President, SPIA Media Productions, Inc., and a pioneer of global, intercultural media, marketing and distribution.  Her CV of work and accomplishments is 17 pages long. 

In 2006 Dr. Andrade-Watkins released "Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?" A Cape Verdean American Story" (SKFPR), the “popular and critically acclaimed feature documentary about the Cape Verdean community in the Fox Point section of Providence, RI, and the first in a trilogy of documentaries about this unique and important community of the Africana Diaspora,” states her Emerson bio. 

She’s won numerous awards including the 2008 Community Service Award from Fox Point Boys & Girls Club Alumni Association.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#21

Freidrich St. Florian

Architect

St. Florian is one of the most accomplished and varied architects in America. At one extreme he was the architect of the critically acclaimed World War II memorial in Washington, DC and on the other he designed the Providence Place Mall.

 St.Florian has won numerous awards for his architectural achievements. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. His drawings are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. In 2006 he was an awarded an honorary degree from Brown University.
 
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#20

Brad Read

Sailor/Educator 

Over the past few decades, Brad Read has built Sail Newport into a leading world class sailing education organization. Their programs vary from a partnership with the MET school  that introduces urban children to sailing to running world class sailing events. 

In 2015, Read was the driving force to bringing the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island and then followed it up by leading the state’s effort to successfully bring the Volvo race back in 2017.

Read is a leading sailor, educator, facilitator, organizer and leader. His impact on Newport — and Rhode Island — has been remarkable. 
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#19

Gordon Wood

Historian

In a scene in the movie Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon humiliates a Harvard grad student by picking apart the student’s thesis regarding Wood’s “pre-revolutionary utopia.” (see scene below)

Matt Damon aside, Wood is one of America’s most accomplished scholars on the American Revolution — he won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History for his work The Radicalism of the American Revolution. In 2010 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal.

He is the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University. His list of academic awards over the past 50 years is unmatched - he is the leading Revolutionary era historian.


 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#18

Barrett Hazeltine

Business Mentor

For the past 60 years Hazeltine has been one of the most important educators at Brown University. While Brown does not have a traditional B-School like Penn’s Wharton, it does have one of the top American business mentors. According to many of the top business leaders in America, Hazeltine was a guiding influence on their careers.

A 2000 article in Brown Alumni Monthly unveiled in 2000 that 10% of the freshman class at Brown University took his “Engin. 9” class — short for Engineering 9.

Entrepreneurs as diverse as “Tom and Tom” (First and Scott, who met at Brown), Founders of Nantucket Nectars to John Koudounis, the CEO of Calamos Investment to Marques Coleman at Carlyle Group all identify Hazeltine as being a driving force in their business careers.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#17

John Donoghue

Brain Scientist

Donoghue is one of the leading brain science researchers and entrepreneurs in the world. At Brown, he led the enhancement and growth of the Brain Science Center and his work to develop BrainGate, a mind-to-movement system developed in Donoghue’s lab.

Donoghue has published over 80 scientific articles in leading journals including Nature and Science. His work was featured on 60 Minutes and he has served on advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and NASA.

On October 2, 2018, he got another accolade that might just change the course of humanity -- "Brown scientist wins $1.5 million innovator award for new approach to decoding brain signals."

View Larger +
Prev Next

#16

James Woods

Actor

The Warwick native is a two-time Academy Award nominee and winner of a Golden Globe, and three-time Emmy Award winner. His acting career ranges from The Onion Field to Casino and Nixon. 

More recently his voice work has been featured on The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Stuart Little 2.

Between TV, voiceover work and movies he has played roles in more than 100 productions.

Once dubbed as a genius by Business Insider for his attendance at MIT and his reported near-perfect SAT score and IQ of 184.

Today he is a Republican activist and supported Ted Cruz for President.  He has also been the center of controversy.

View Larger +
Prev Next

#15

Arlene Violet

Politician

Violet was one of a group of pioneering women who changed the face of politics in Rhode Island.

Claudine Schneider had been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 in the 2nd Congressional District.  Susan Farmer won the Secretary of State post two years later in 1982. Violet was the first female Attorney General in the United States when she was elected by Rhode Island voters in 1984. The new decade had ushered in a new era in Rhode Island politics. All three were Republicans.

It was her work and the work of other women that set the stage for Governor Gina Raimondo to be elected Rhode Island's first woman Governor in 2014.

Violet was defeated in her re-election bid in 1986, but her political presence continued in the state.

She was a talk radio host.

She penned two books, Convictions: My Journey from the Convent to the Courtroom and Me and the Mob, a book about the witness protection program. Violet was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1996.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#14

Meredith Viera

Journalist/Entertainer

A native Rhode Islander, TV-journalist Vieira is one of the leading Portuguese Americans in the United States. She attended Lincoln School and Tufts before landing her first job in Worcester in radio and on television as a reporter at WJAR-TV in Providence.

Her hard news journalism bona fides were earned while working on the CBS news magazine West 57th, then as an investigative report for 60 Minutes.

Then in the late 1990s she shifted to more entertainment focused broadcast as a co-host to The View, hosting the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” co-hosting the Today Show and Dateline NBC. She hosted her own show, The Meredith Viera Show for two years.

More recently she has been involved with a range of event and initiatives in Rhode Island including speaking at RIC regarding her heritage — all four of her grandparents were born in the Azores. Last year, URI’s Harrington School of Communication traveled down to Viera’s show at NBC Universal.
  
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#13

Leon Cooper

Physicist

Brown University's Leon Cooper held the distinction as Rhode Island’s only Nobel Prize winner -- until colleague J. Michael Kosterlitz earned the honor in 2016.

Cooper won the Nobel Prize in 1972 for Physics (along with J. Bardeen and J.R. Schrieffer) for his studies on the theory of superconductivity. The winning work was completed while still in his 20s.

He has received seven honorary degrees from leading academic institutions from across the globe.

In the past few years, his work at Brown has focused on neural and cognitive sciences and has been “working towards an understanding of memory and other brain functions, and thus formulating a scientific model of how the human mind works.”
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#12

Ernie DiGregorio

Athlete

There are certain athletes who transcend the game and elevate it from sports to a higher level of entertainment.  Ernie D. was one of those rare athletes. He was am epic story, the 6 foot guard from North Providence who helped to take the beloved Providence College Friars to the final four. His skills and showmanship helped to transform the game from fundamentals to entertainment along with players like Connie Hawkins, Pistol Pete Maravich, Dr. J, and then Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. They all may have had better and longer careers, but none of them put on any better a show.

His NBA career was cut short due to injury but in his first year in the league he dazzled and won the NBA Rookie of the year. He was the third pick in the NBA draft.

For Rhode Islanders at the time his achievements were mythical. He teamed with fellow local boy Marvin Barnes and put little Providence College in the same sentence with powerhouse programs like UCLA.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#11

Elizabeth Beisel

Athlete

Arguably the best swimmer to come out of Rhode Island, the Saunderstown native and North Kingstown high school grad first competed in the 2007 World Championships at the tender age of 14, placing 12th in the world in the 200 meter backstroke after advancing to the semi-finals. 

Beisel was the youngest member of the U.S. swim team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, finishing just out of medal contention with a fourth place in the 400-meter individual medley and fifth in the 200 meter backstroke.  Four years later in London, Beisel made it to the Olympic podium with a silver in the 400 meter individual relay and a bronze in the 200 meter backstroke. 

The SEC Female Swimmer of the Year in 2012, Beisel won two individual national titles and was an eighteen-time All-American at the University of Florida, and a first-team Academic All-American.  According to her USA Swimming bio, the college communications major had dreams as a child of being an actress, but now has professional aspirations of being a news anchor.  As someone accustomed to being in the headlines, it’s not hard to imagine we’ll be seeing more from Beisel in the future. 
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#10

George Wein

Promoter

The Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals would not be among the top American music festivals were it not for Wein, who celebrated his 90th birthday last year. 

Trained as a jazz pianist, Wein might be Boston-born and educated, but it was the Newport Lorillards who invited Wein down in 1954 to the City by the Sea to establish the first outdoor jazz festival in the country.  Wein went on to form Festival Productions to promote large-scale jazz events, and has been well-lauded for his efforts — both nationally, and internationally.

In 1995, Wein received the Patron of the Arts Award from the Studio Museum of Harlem, and in 2004 given an Impact Award from the AARP. He was decorated with France's Légion d'honneur and appointed a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature) by the French government, and has been honored at the White House twice, by Jimmy Carter in 1978 and Bill Clinton in 1993. In 2005 he was named a "Jazz Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music and Rhode Island College of Music.

GoLocal’s Ken Abrams sat down with Wein for a one-on-one last summer — read more here.

 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#9

Jeffrey Osborne

Musician

Grammy Award-winning Osborne, born and raised in Providence, came from musical lineage. His father, Clarence “Legs” Osborne was a trumpeter who played with the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie.  And the Osborne roots are firmly planted here — in 2012, the city named a portion of Olney Street “Jeffrey Osborne Way,” to honor him. 

Osborne’s biggest hits include “On the Wings of Love” and a duet with Dionne Warwick, “Love Power.” He wrote the lyrics for Whitney Houston’s “All at Once,”  appeared in the fundraising “We Are the World” video in 1985, and has sung the national anthem at multiple World Series and NBA finals games.

While Osborne is an international legend in his own right, his star status continues to grow and impact the community here through his charity work.  He’s done golf and softball classics, comedy nights, celebrity basketball games. And he brings in the big names, from Magic Johnson to Smokey Robinson to Kareem Abdul Jabbar — the list is extensive.  Osborne is the epitome of a “greatest Rhode Islander” — one who’s gone on to make the state proud, and keeps coming back to help use his celebrity to benefit the community. 
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#8

Tom Ryan

Pharmacist/Business

Ryan helped to build one of America’s Fortune 500 top 10 companies, as CVS is a leading retail and healthcare force in America. 

More recently, the URI pharmacy grad has been involved with two of the biggest initiatives in Rhode Island in the past few years.

He and his wife Anne donated $15 million to fund the George and Anne Ryan Center on Neuroscience at URI. The effort is one of the key elements in bringing together major educational and health organizations in a broad-based neuroscience initiative in Rhode Island.

Ryan’s neuroscience gift coupled with his fundraising leadership and donations to build the Ryan Center have made him the single biggest individual donor to URI. 
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#7

Ann Hood

Writer 

Born in West Warwick and a URI grad, Hood is a best-selling novelist and short story writer; and the author of fifteen books, with her latest, The Book That Matters the Most, due out this August.

Hood has won two Pushcart Prizes, two Best American Food Writing Awards, Best American Spiritual Writing and Travel Writing Awards, and a Boston Public Library Literary Light Award. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and Tin House. Hood is a regular contributor to The New York Times' Op-Ed page, and is a faculty member in the MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School in New York City.  Hood’s “An Italian Wife” was recently featured as a play at the Contemporary Theater Company in South Kingstown. 

Of Hood's The Knitting Circle, The Washington Post wrote, “A wondrously simple book about something complicated: the nearly unendurable process of enduring a great loss."  Fellow best-selling writer Jodi Picoult even asked if anyone could top Hood. “Is there anyone who can write about the connections of ordinary people better than Ann Hood?" posed Picoult. 

While her reach is worldwide, Hood lives in Providence and is a fixture in the Rhode Island community.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#6

Bob Ballard

Oceanographer

Ballard found the Titanic.  And yes, he was a URI undergrad and now serves multiple leading roles at URI as a Professor of Oceanography; Director, Center for Ocean Exploration; and head of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography.

Today, the Archeological Oceanography, which he started in 2003 is a unique institute “combines the disciplines of oceanography, ocean engineering, maritime history, anthropology and archeology into one academic program.” The institute involves a broad cross section of URI faculty and includes faculty from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Florida State University, MIT and Woods Hole.

He is the rockstar face of oceanography in the world.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#5

Jonathan Nelson

Investor

Nelson is one of America’s leading investors. In an era of Wall Street mega firms, Rhode Islander Nelson has built in Downtown Providence a $40 billion private equity fund Providence Equity Group. 

Once the golden boys of private equity and lauded for putting together “the biggest deal in the world,” he and the firm have had a series of set backs.

The highest profile bump was the firm’s loss of nearly $800 million in the firm, Altegrity, that was contracted to review federal contractors like Edward Snowden.

As GoLocal previously reported, the domino effect of Snowden’s absconding with federal data bases exposed the deficiencies of Altegrity’s vetting process.

He has become more active as a philanthropist and is listed by Forbes richest in Rhode Island.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#4

Dennis Littky

Educator

Littky is a rebel, a disruptor, an innovator, a trouble maker, and an educator.  They made a movie about him, Newsweek has featured his schools, President Obama talks about his schools and Bill and Melinda Gates gave him millions to grow, refine and scale is model of disruption.

In 2009, Littky defied all and created an alternative college and by 2015 the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education approved College Unbound as a degree-granting postsecondary option in the state.

In Rhode Island, The Met School celebrated its 20th Anniversary this past week. Thousands of students who would not have finished high school have graduated and moved on to college, business and beyond.

There may be no more accomplished innovator than Littky.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#3

Bill and David Belisle

Coaches

Bill and David Belisle may be the best high school and youth coaches in history. Going by the statistics, the record of twenty-six consecutive state hockey championship (1978 to 2003) and a total of 32 may be a record never to be matched. Bill Belisle (the father) has coached at Mount for 42 years and his son David has been his assistant for years.

The younger Belisle made national headlines with his post-game speech to the Little League team he was coaching was defeated in the Little League World Series.

Twice their players have been selected #1 in the NHL Draft, countless others played in the NHL, and dozens played college hockey. There are movies and books on the exploits of Mount Hockey under the Belisles. 

Photo courtesy of Dave Belisle

View Larger +
Prev Next

#2

Nick Benson

Artist 

There are few people in the world that are recognized as the very best in their craft, but Nick Benson of the John Stevens Shop in Newport is globally recognized as the best stone cutter in the world. 

Founded in 1705, The John Stevens Shop specializes in the design and execution of one-of-a-kind inscriptions in stone — the MLK Memorial, FDR’s Four Freedoms Park, and the inscription for the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, to name a few. 

Benson won a Genius Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, and was recently featured on CBS news. The John Stevens Shop is one of America’s longest continuously running businesses.
 

View Larger +
Prev Next

#1

Viola Davis

Actor

Davis is one of the most accomplished actors in the United States. She is the winner of two Tony awards, an Emmy and a SAG award as well as being nominated for an Oscar.  With regards to her Emmy, she became the first African-American to win the Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015. Amazingly, she did not earn her SAG card until she was 30 years old.

Davis self-describes that she grew up in abject poverty in Central Falls and worked her way to Rhode Island College and now beyond but has been a constant force in helping Central Falls to recover from its bankruptcy and rebuilding its spirit.

She is a leading fundraiser for a range of Rhode Island causes.  Davis is the embodiment of the Rhode Island spirit and a model of how to overcome the greatest challenges to reach greatness.
 

 
 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 
 

Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox