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Plan for Progress: Business | Connecting Point | May 18, 2015

Plan for Progress: Business | Connecting Point | May 18, 2015


THE PIONEER VALLEY PLANNING
COMMISSION HAS RELEASED THEIR 2016 PLAN FOR PROGRESS ON HOW TO
MAKE OUR REGION PROSPER INTO THE FUTURE.
TONIGHT, WE CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE PLAN FOR
PROGRESS LOOKING SPECIFICALLY AT WHAT IT TAKES TO FOSTER A
VIBRANT BUSINESS COMMUNITY. JOINING US, ARE SUSAN KASA,
PRESIDENT OF BOULEVARD MACHINE AND GEAR IN SPRINGFIELD, AND
DECIE BEAN, CEO OF PARAGUS STRATEGIC IT IN HADLEY AND THE
APPROXIMATE AND CEO OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL OF
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS, RICK SULLIVAN.
>>I THINK THAT THE EDC’S ROLE IS EXACTLY AS YOU TALKED ABOUT,
WHICH IS TO, YOU KNOW, MY BOARD AT THE EDC IS THE CEOs AND THE
BUSINESS LEADERS OF THE LARGEST EMPLOYERS IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF
MASSACHUSETTS IN TERMS OF THE WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS.
IN REALITY THEY DO, YOU KNOW, IN MANY WAYS, CONTROL THE ECONOMY
OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS, AND SO, WHAT THE LEADERSHIP POSITION
THAT THE EDC IS ABLE TO TAKE IS ON THOSE LARGER REGIONALLY-BASED
ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO BUSINESS.
SO, WHETHER WE’RE TALKING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, WHICH I
THINK IS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE ON EVERYBODY’S MINDS RIGHT NOW, YOU
KNOW, ENERGY, EDUCATION, PUBLIC SAFETY COMES IN, AS A COMPONENT,
WE NEED TO BE A SPOKESWOMAN AND DRIVE AN AGENDA IMPORTANT TO THE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY HERE IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS.
>>DECIE BEAN, AND SUSAN KASA, I WILL LET YOU FIGHT OVER WHO
TAKES THIS. YOU AND I HAD A CHANCE TO TALK A
LITTLE BEFORE THE TAPING, SUSAN. YOU BOTH LEAD RELATIVELY SMALL
BUT GROWING COMPANIES. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU FOUND,
WHAT YOU ARE FINDING IN TERMS OF THE SUPPORT, THE BACKING THAT’S
HERE TO HELP A NEW BUSINESS SUCCEED AND SUSAN, YOU WERE
SAYING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, PEOPLE FOUND YOU AND
WHAT YOU DO, YOUR MACHINE AND GEAR BUSINESS, THROUGH THE EDC
WEBSITE, RIGHT? THAT’S A WIN-WIN.
>>THEY CLICKED FROM ONE WEBSITE TO ANOTHER, FOUND US HERE IN THE
PIONEER VALLEY, AND HAVING THE REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT BOARD, THE
WORKFORCE TRAINING, IT’S JUST BEEN PHENOMENAL TO HAVE THOSE
THINGS HELP US HERE.>>DECIE BEAN.
>>I MEAN, FOR US, AS RICK WAS SAYING, THE WORKFORCE IS THE
BIGGEST CHALLENGE SO THE WORK THAT THE EDC AND THE OTHER
ORGANIZATIONS ARE DOING AROUND HELPING TO BUILD THAT WORKFORCE
PIPELINE IS WHAT’S MOST CRITICAL TO US.
>>AND IT’S A MULTI-FACETED, YOU KNOW, QUESTION AND ULTIMATELY,
ANSWER, SO IT NEEDS TO BE A DISCUSSION, YOU KNOW, AS WE WERE
JUST SAYING HERE, WITH PARENTS, YOU KNOW, PARTICULARLY AS WE
FOCUS AT THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE OF WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS, IS PRECISION, ADVANCED MANUFACTURING.
WE DO IT BETTER THAN ANY PLACE ELSE IN THE STATE, AND ARGUABLY
BETTER THAN ANY PLACE IN THE COUNTRY.
>>IT STARTED HERE.>>IT WAS BORN HERE.
>>THERE IS A HISTORY HERE, BUT, IT ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE,
EITHER. SO, YOU KNOW, PARENTS NEED TO
KNOW THAT THIS IS A PROFESSION THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY WOULD, THEY
WANT THEIR CHILDREN TO GO INTO. THESE ARE VERY GOOD PAYING JOBS
THAT YOU CAN LIVE THE AMERICAN DREAM, YOU KNOW, WITH THESE
JOBS. SO, YOU NEED TO HAVE ARE YOU
KNOW, THE TRAINING, AND YOU NEED TO HAVE THAT AS A VOCATION TO BE
ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD BECAUSE IT ISN’T THE MANUFACTURING THAT
PEOPLE THINK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, WORKING IN THE FACTORY AND
PUNCHING HOLES IN A PIECE OF METAL ALL DAY LONG.
THIS IS HIGH-TECH. IT’S PRECISION MANUFACTURING.
IT’S COMPUTERS, IT’S I.T., IT’S CLEAN, AND ASIDE FROM ALL OF
THAT, YOU DO SOME REALLY EXCITING THINGS, WHETHER YOU ARE
BUILDING AIRPLANE PARTS OR SUBMARINE PARTS OR, YOU KNOW,
RUNNERS ON THE U.S. BOBSLED TEAM.
IT IS ALL COMING THROUGH WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS.
IT’S VERY EXCITING RIGHT NOW.>>SUSAN, THE NEW CUTTING EDGE
VERSION OF THE BUSINESS ON WHICH THIS VALLEY REALLY WAS BUILT,
MACHINING, BUT LIKE RICK SAID, YOU ARE NOT DOING IT THE OLD
WAY, NOT JUST PUNCHING HOLES IN THINGS.
THIS IS REAL, HIGH-TECH STUFF NOW, RIGHT?
>>IT’S ALL CHANGED FROM THE MACHINERY, RIGHT DOWN TO THE
FLUIDS USED. IT’S NOT WHERE YOUR GRANDFATHER
WORKED, AND YOU SAW OIL AND CHIPS ON THE FLOOR.
IT’S A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, AND GETTING THE PARENTS TO OVERCOME
THAT STIGMA.>>DELCIE, YOU ARE THE OTHER END
OF THE SPECTRUM IN TERMS OF WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES.
PARAGUS STRATEGIC IT, WORKING WITH IDEAS, WORKING WITH NOT SO
MUCH THE HARD MADE PRODUCT, BUT THE IDEA END OF THINGS, AND
THAT’S THE FUTURE, TOO, RIGHT?>>IT IS.
THERE IS A LOT OF SIMILARITIES IN THE SENSE THAT WE’RE BOTH —
WE’RE BOTH SOLVING PROBLEMS. WE’RE BOTH CREATING NEW THINGS,
AND WE’RE BOTH TRYING TO MOVE THE NEEDLE FORWARD, AND SO AT
OUR BUSINESS, THAT’S OFTEN SOLVING BUSINESSES PROBLEMS,
USING TECHNOLOGY, IT’S MAKING THEM MORE EFFICIENT.
IT’S MAKING THEM, YOU KNOW, MORE OPTIMIZED, CREATING MORE
INFORMATION FLOW. BUT, IT’S ALL ABOUT DRIVING THE
BUSINESS FORWARD AND HELPING THEM SUCCEED AND THRIVE.
VERY MUCH LIKE THE MACHINE SHOPS THAT WE HAVE, SUPPORTING THE
COMPANIES THAT THEY MAKE THE PARTS FOR, AND HELPING THEM TO
CONTINUE TO THRIVE AND FIND WAYS TO DO IT MORE EFFICIENTLY AND
INEXPENSIVELY, FASTER, AND WE HAVE A LOT OF SIMILARITIES IN
THAT WAY.>>AND CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG,
I DON’T THINK THAT YOU AND SUSAN HAD MET BEFORE TODAY’S TAPING.
YOU SAT IN A CONFERENCE ROOM HERE FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE
THE TAPING. AND I COULDN’T HELP BUT TO
OVERHEAR, YOU WERE GETTING IN WITH THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN
THESE TWO ENTREPRENEURS WAS FASCINATING, AND THE SYNERGIES
YOU WERE FINDING, IT SEEMED?>>ABSOLUTELY, IT’S SIMILAR
ISSUES, WORKFORCE, IT’S SUCH A CRUCIAL POINT.
AND WE’RE GOING DOWN THE SAME LINES.
>>YEAH.>>AND USING THE SAME THINGS.
>>I THINK THAT IT’S — I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO
HEAR THAT BOTH THOSE INDUSTRIES ARE IN NEED OF EMPLOYEES, AND
REALLY, IT’S OUR GREATEST GROWTH CHALLENGE, HIRING AND FINDING
THE RIGHT TALENT. AND WE’RE BOTH TAKING SIMILAR
APPROACHES OF LOOKING AT HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH AND LOOKING AT
VETERANS AND LOOKING AT OTHER POPULATIONS THAT MAY BE CAN BE
TRAINED AND TURNED INTO THAT WORKFORCE, AND WE’RE BOTH
INVESTING A LOT OF OUR OWN TIME AND MONEY AND RESOURCES AND
PARTNERING AND COLLABORATING.>>TALENT IS ONE OF THE KEY
AREAS THAT THE PLAN HAS IDENTIFIED.
THAT’S ALL A BIG PART OF WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT TODAY,
MAKING BUSINESS WORK HERE, RIGHT?
>>ABSOLUTELY, AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION
HAS STEPPED UP, AND THEY HAVE BEEN OUT HERE A NUMBER OF TIMES
AND HAVE MADE COMMITMENTS TO LETTING THE REGIONS DECIDE WHAT
IS IMPORTANT FOR THEIR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUTURE.
AND I THINK THAT YOU WILL SEE PRECISION MANUFACTURING RIGHT UP
THE TOP, AS WELL AS THE INNOVATION SECTOR OF THE
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. AND IT IS NOT JUST CREATING
TALENT FROM WITHIN. IT IS ALSO THEN RETAINING THE
TALENT, SO I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES,
THROUGH THEIR PRESIDENTS, YOU KNOW, ARE EQUALLY INTERESTED IN
BEING ABLE TO RETAIN THE TALENT HERE LOCALLY, NOT JUST EDUCATING
THE TALENT AND HAVING IT LEAVE TO GO ELSEWHERE SO THAT MEANS
THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE A FULL PACKAGE OF QUALITY OF LIFE
ISSUES THAT THE YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO HAVE HERE IN WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS BECAUSE WHILE YOU AND I CAN THINK IT IS A GREAT
QUALITY OF LIFE AND A GREAT PLACE TO RAISE YOUR FAMILY,
THERE DOES NEED TO BE THE EXCITEMENT THAT THE YOUNGER
GENERATION WANTS TO HAVE HERE, AND WE CAN HAVE IT ALL HERE IN
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS.>>RICK SULLIVAN, DECIE BEAN,
SUSAN KASA, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND APPRECIATE HAVING YOU
IN. THANK YOU.
>>THANK YOU.

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