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Business Manager’s Blog

John P. Dumas

John P. Dumas, the Business Manager of Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, represents more than 7,000 electrical and telecommunication members in the Greater Boston area.

A 37 year member of Local 103, Dumas is a seasoned and experienced leader. Along with serving as 103’s president for the past 18 years, Dumas served the union in a number of leadership roles, including business agent, member of the union’s executive board and trustee of the health, ANNUITY, pension, LMCT and JATC funds. He also has served as a member of numerous contract negotiation teams, playing a pivotal role in several major contracts governing members’ benefits.

Throughout his career he has shown a keen interest in nurturing younger union officers in preparation for leadership roles in the future, and his leadership style has always been one of inclusion and accessibility to all members.


Boston 2024 Partnership offers details about where Olympics venues would be located

Boston Business Journal | By Jon Chesto
October 17, 2014

Dan O’ConnellThe Boston 2024 Partnership has until December to formally put together its argument to the U.S. Olympic Committee that Boston should host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

But the Partnership and its representatives have already begun making the case to the public. Witness the busy day they had today, first at the State House talking up the Olympics to Boston’s legislative delegation, and then reconvening at the partnership’s headquarters on the South Boston waterfront to chat with the media.

As part of his presentation to reporters, Partnership president Dan O’Connell offered a long list of details about where the partnership would prefer to build certain venues, and where certain activities would take place during the games. There wasn’t much in the way of surprises in terms of the locations that would be used. But this was the first time that O’Connell talked about many of them in a detailed way with a group of reporters.

The goal would be to build a Summer Games that is largely reliant on public transit for spectators and private shuttle buses for athletes, with no new parking spaces at the venues. This, of course, is aimed at the widespread concern that three weeks of Olympics events could paralyze the city’s major roadways and side streets. O’Connell offered a projected budget of $4.5 billion — a price tag that would be covered through a combination of ticket sales, broadcast rights payments and sponsorships. That figure doesn’t include a tally of at least $5 billion in public infrastructure investments — such as extra tracks at an expanded South Station and a new West Station in Allston — that the Partnership’s backers say are on track to happen anyway.

The proposed venues would be reflected in the bid book that Boston would submit to the U.S. Olympic Committee by December. The USOC would then make a decision on which city in the U.S. would bid for the games in January — Boston and Los Angeles are potential front-runners in a race with San Francisco and Washington. The International Olympic Committee would make a final decision on the 2024 location in 2017.

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Electricity switching risky for households

The Boston Globe | By Jack Newsham
October 19, 2014

Natasha DeLimaThe jump in electricity rates this winter has consumer advocates and state officials warning residents to think carefully before signing up with energy marketing companies offering better deals than the power supplied through the state’s regulated utilities.

Under the state law that deregulated electricity markets here, businesses and residents don’t have to get their power from utilities, which buy electricity in wholesale markets and pass the costs onto consumers. Residential customers can choose from 95 companies licensed to sell electricity in the state and try to find lower rates.

For businesses that use large amounts of power, the few cents per kilowatt hour that competitive suppliers knock off rates can save thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars a year.

But for households, which consume relatively small amounts of electricity, the savings are often minuscule, and switching can sometimes expose customers to higher costs down the road.

“While we encourage consumers to look into ways to save on heating costs, we urge consumers to be careful and stay educated when considering alternatives offered by competitive suppliers,” said Jillian Fennimore, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

Competitive suppliers, which have long been popular with industrial users, have made a renewed push for residential accounts in recent years. Since 2006, the number of households getting their electricity from a competitive supplier has more than doubled, hitting 420,000 last December.

But consumer advocates worry that the news of National Grid’s increasing rates by 37 percent this winter could invite unscrupulous companies to step up marketing and employ deceptive tactics to get residents to switch. Northeast Utilities, the state’s other major utility, is expected to file winter rates for customers of its NStar and Western Massachusetts Electric subsidiaries over the next few weeks.

Many authorities and experts have raised concerns about hard-sell tactics used by competitive suppliers. Some companies recruit armies of door-to-door salespeople who work on commission and promise things like “110 percent guaranteed savings,” in the words of a recent ad on the classified site Craigslist.

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Phillips Academy Andover opens Tang Institute with $15M donation

Boston Business Journal | By Mary Moore
October 19, 2014

Phillips Academy in Andover on Friday announced the opening of the Tang Institute with a $15 million donation from Oscar Tang, an investor from New York and an alumni of the school.

In 2008, Tang, who graduated from Andover in 1956, donated $25 million to the school, which was the largest single donation in its history.

The Tang Institute is a “hub for innovative approaches to teaching and learning and a catalyst for creating partnerships with educators around the world,” according to a press release from Andover.

A spokeswoman from Andover was not immediately available for comment.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation also provided funding for the Tang Institute, but the press release did not specify how much. The school has unveiled a website – www.tanginstitute.com- which details initial projects of the Tang Institute. These projects were launched over the past year when the Tang Institute was in its planning phase.

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Nuts-and-bolts focus sets Wentworth apart

The Boston Globe | By Callum Borchers
October 19, 2014

Zorica PanticOn a sunny afternoon in late September, Zorica Pantic, the president of Wentworth Institute of Technology, halted her stroll through the campus quad. A group of female students was holding a bake sale to help fund a trip to Los Angeles for the annual conference of the Society of Women Engineers.

In the background young men tossed a Frisbee while other students studied on the grass. The whole scene looked like a brochure for one of the city’s more celebrated academic institutions, and a visitor on tour with Pantic joked that it must have been staged.

“You’re right — it does look that way,” she replied, laughing. “But it really is like this.”

This bright, ambitious portrait of Wentworth is precisely what Pantic envisioned nine years ago when she became the college’s first female president. Long known as a commuter school for students who couldn’t afford — or get into — other area colleges, Wentworth is rapidly raising its profile.

Wentworth has grown to 19 from 11 undergraduate majors three years ago and built new computer, manufacturing, and materials science centers collectively known as the “high-tech highway.” Most of its nearly 4,000 students live on campus these days, including a lucky 305 in a gleaming, $44 million apartment building that opened this fall.

The school also has cracked US News & World Report’s regional college rankings, rising in the latest edition to 12th in the north among nonliberal arts schools focused on undergraduate education. Yet Pantic says she isn’t out to conquer the world — just to supply the designers, architects, and engineers who form the backbone of the state’s innovation economy.

“Our idea is not to be another MIT,” Pantic said. “It’s to be Wentworth at its best.”

Wentworth at its best looks a bit like a job factory. It may not produce the PhD who discovers the next miracle drug therapy, but it graduates plenty of biomedical engineers who can help bring new medicines and treatments to market.

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Now Massport seeks up to … $200M more!

Considers privatizing Southie port to dredge up cash

Boston Herald | By Erin Smith
October 20, 2014

Massport’s Paul W. Conley TerminalFresh off a successful lobbying campaign to secure state and federal funding for a $310 million Boston Harbor dredging project, Massport says it now needs up to $200 million more and is considering privatizing a busy South Boston containership port to raise the money.

“A move to privatize would be a slap in the face to taxpayers after putting up federal and state commitments to fund the $310 million dredging project,” said state Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston). “Privatization should be taken off the table. We can talk about other options and we should. I’m surprised they haven’t done that yet, given that we were just in discussion with them over the dredging.”

U.S. ports have been rushing to dredge channels to accommodate “super vessels” — gargantuan containerships expected to travel the Panama Canal after its capacity is doubled thanks to a massive excavation project due to be completed in 2016.

Massport recently received the green light for state and federal funding to dredge Boston Harbor, a project which would deepen channels to allow larger containerships to dock at the Paul W. Conley Terminal in South Boston.

Now the quasi-public agency said it will need $100 million to $200 million in additional funding through 2022 to handle the projected increase in container shipment traffic.

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MBTA May (May) Scrap Some Green Line Trolley Stops Near BU

Boston.com | By Hannah Sparks
October 16, 2014

Green Line BNext Thursday, MBTA officials will convene at the Boston Public Library to discuss a proposal that would consolidate four trolley stops in the BU area – Boston University West, St. Paul, Pleasant Street, and Babcock Street – into two, according to a release from State Senator Will Brownsberger.

The aim of the possible consolidation is to increase both speed and safety (really) on the Green Line.

The meeting piggybacks off May’s “Green Line Forum,” in which Green Line riders asked questions and aired grievances about the line. Riders had also raised concerns about the speed, frequency, capacity, and accessibility of trains and trolleys, among other things, at Brownsberger’s January meeting on the topic.

And those complaints were well-founded, according to transportation blogThe Walking Bostonian. The line’s trolleys moves at an average speed of 6-8 mph between Kenmore and Brighton Avenue, and four stops in the area are less than 250 meters apart, according to the blog.

Rider frustration is playing out in the numbers: Citing stats from the MBTA monthly ridership report, a Sept. 2014 post on The Amateur Planner (via Universal Hub) showed that overall T ridership is growing. That growth, however, has been driven primarily by the Red, Orange and Blue lines. Ridership on the Commuter Rail and Green line, on the other hand, is dropping.

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Presidents Place In Quincy Adds Restaurant, Two Office Tenants

Banker & Tradesman
October 17, 2014

Three new tenants, including a new restaurant, have signed leases totaling more than 10,000 square feet at the Presidents Place office complex in Quincy.
Beacon Clinical Research signed a 10-year lease for 6,000 square feet and will move into the building in November.

Cellar Door, a restaurant specializing in American cuisine, signed a five-year lease and will open this fall. Mass Bay Credit Union leased 1,700 square feet for five years and is slated for a fall move-in date.

Developer Related Beal of Boston and New York acquired the eight-story, 350,000-square-foot building at 1250 Hancock St. in December 2012 for $44.5 million and has been upgrading common areas and the parking garage. The complex is now 93-percent leased.

“The significant investments we are making at the property are paying off,” Stephen Faber, an executive vice president at Related Beal, said in a statement. “As we anticipated, downtown Quincy has a lot to offer employers. One of our focuses is to revitalize and activate the superior ground floor retail presence at Presidents Place. The new restaurant, bank and Quincy College’s addition of a Barnes & Noble bookstore are a great start.”

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BRA board approves nearly $152m in new development

The Boston Globe | By Chris Reidy
October 17, 2014

The board of Boston’s city planning agency approved six new development projects that together represent $151.7 million worth of investment and nearly 674,000 square feet of construction.

The agency, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said the approvals, made at a Thursday night meeting, pave the way for 195 new units of housing to be developed in Brighton, South Boston, and downtown.

Among the projects approved is a $45 million plan for a 12-story residential development along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The development at 55 India St. will have 44 condos and 4,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The developer is Boston Residential Development LLC. Hacin + Associates is the project architect.

Another project getting the green light is a $30 million boutique hotel near North Station. The site of a former bank branch at the corner of Canal Street and Valenti Way will be redeveloped by Somnath Hospitality LLC as a 90-room hotel, the BRA said.

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Uber headed for new digs

Ride provider says workforce to double

Boston Herald | By Jordan Graham
October 20, 2014

Uber is moving its Boston headquarters to the Waterfront, tripling its square footage and looking to double its headcount.

The office for Uber Boston, which handles operations for Uber riders and drivers in Boston and several other Northeast cities, will be moving to 239 Causeway St. in January, taking up a floor and a half in the office building.

The 17,494-square-foot office is nearly three times the size of the company’s current office near South Station, and comes with an option to expand to another floor in the future.

“Uber Boston has been growing at an incredible rate,” said Meghan Joyce, general manager of Uber Boston. “We were looking for something that could house not only our Uber Boston team but also teams that support the broader region in New England and beyond.”

The ride-sharing startup, which allows customers to summon and pay a driver through an app, is one of the hottest tech companies in the world, with a valuation that hit $18 billion earlier this year. The rapidly growing firm has put drivers in more than 200 cities in 45 countries since it was founded in 2009.

The space on Causeway will allow Uber to bring operations including driver training to the office, something that the company has had to rent hotel conference rooms for until now.

The office will include an event space, as well as room for 90 employees. Uber currently has about 40 employees in its South Station office. Joyce said the company plans to add 20 new employees by the end of the year. There are eight listings online in Boston.

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Housing on Greenway, Brighton, Southie OK’d

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
October 18, 2014

Brighton Marine Health Center campusBrighton, South Boston and downtown will get 195 new housing units — including apartments for veterans — under projects unveiled by the Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

Under a $40 million redevelopment of its campus, the nonprofit Brighton Marine Health Center will build 101 new apartments, including 80 affordable units, and give leasing preference to veterans.

Boston Residential Development got the green light for a 12-story luxury condo building with 44 units and 4,000 square feet of street-level commercial space downtown at 55 India St. The building will replace a small parking lot along the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway.

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Casino question could be jackpot

Boston Herald | By Owen Boss
October 20, 2014

Vote no on 3Top union officials are vowing a strong Election Day turnout to defeat a casino-repeal ballot measure — a push that could prove the wild card for the gubernatorial race.

“Obviously Question 3 (the repeal initiative) is a big question for organized labor and also for the economy of Massachusetts,” Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien said yesterday at a raucous Charlestown rally of hundreds of union members for Democratic candidate Martha Coakley. “We must maintain the legislation to build casinos in Massachusetts.”

The effort to get out the union vote for Coakley has been in full swing for months, said O’Brien, who leads the largest Teamsters union in New England, with 11,000 members.

“We’re out there, we’re knocking on doors, we’re doing phone banking every night, we’re doing robocalls, we’re using social media, we are doing a grass-roots campaign to make sure that our candidates get elected,” he said.

The casino ballot question will be an incentive for union members to head to the polls, Coakley said after her speech.

“That is one question I think will drive some turnout,” Coakley said. “I expect that will have an impact.”

At a campaign event in the North End an hour later, Republican candidate Charlie Baker said he would welcome high union turnout.

“I’ve talked to a lot of union members over the course of this race who feel they’ve been nickeled-and-dimed to death by the commonwealth of Massachusetts … and the attorney general has made it quite clear that she has no problem with continuing to raise taxes,” he said.

Both candidates may be right to welcome — and fear — union turnout on the issue, said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center.

The latest polling shows the repeal losing by 15 points. But among registered Democrats — despite strong opposition by the party’s traditional allies in organized labor — the repeal is passing, Paleologos said.

“The second place it gets tricky is among women voters. Because the literature suggests that women are more susceptible to higher divorce rates, higher domestic violence, higher spousal gambling addiction, etc. etc. … women oppose Question 3 in our poll,” he said. “Women should be Coakley’s wheelhouse, so it’s not all fully correlated … You don’t have full alignment of these groups.”

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Hillary to hit Boston on Friday to stump for Coakley

Boston Herald | By Matt Strout
October 8, 2014

Hillary ClintonFormer Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to sweep into Boston next Friday to give a star-powered bump to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Martha Coakley, who’s counting on a long list of high-profile surrogates to help energize voters.

Clinton, long viewed as a potential 2016 White House contender, will appear at an afternoon rally with Coakley at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, a campaign aide said — a little more than a week after her husband, former President Bill Clinton, stumped for Coakley in Worcester.

It adds to a growing list of power players who have already turned out for the attorney general in her neck-and-neck race with Republican nominee Charlie Baker.

First lady Michelle Obama appeared with her earlier this month in Dorchester, as did Vice President Joe Biden, who is set to return to headline a fundraiser for Coakley on Oct. 29. Bill Clinton addressed 800 supporters at Clark University yesterday before skipping off to Manchester, N.H., where he delivered a similar stump speech to Democrats there.

Rumblings of a Hillary Clinton visit have floated around the Coakley campaign for weeks after the Herald reported earlier this month that Democrats were working to lure the former first lady to the Hub to help pump some much-needed cash into Coakley’s campaign.

A fundraiser with Bill Clinton helped pull in $200,000, Coakley’s campaign said, but even after taking nearly $300,000 in public financing this month, she and running mate Steve Kerrigan still trail Baker by nearly $1.2 million in cash on hand as of mid month

More details on Hillary Clinton’s visit weren’t available last night, Coakley’s campaign said.

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Massport to build 1,700-car garage on South Boston Waterfront

The Boston Globe | By Jack Newsham
October 15, 2014

With the Seaport District adding apartments, hotels, and attractions at a frantic pace, more than 3,000 parking spaces have been eliminated in the past few years, causing frustrated drivers to circle endlessly for open meters and garages.

Last week, the Massachusetts Port Authority proposed some relief.

The regional port authority saidthat it is seeking companies to design a parking garage on an empty lot atop the Massachusetts Turnpike. The new garage, which Massport said should be completed in two to three years and could hold as many as 1,700 cars, would increase the waterfront’s total parking spaces by more than 10 percent.

The proposed garage would be built over a strengthened section of the turnpike tunnel near the World Trade Center complex. Although the site is about a third of a mile from the Seaport Square area, where visitors to Fan Pier and attractions like the Institute of Contemporary Art vie for parking with workers from the adjacent financial district, Massport said the parking garage would be vital for apartments and a planned hotel near the convention center.

“I think there’s going to be more than one centroid of demand in the Boston waterfront,” said Jim Doolin, MassPort’s chief development officer. He said the garage would replace parking spots lost to the Waterside Place Apartments and a proposed hotel for the convention center.

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Somerville to partner with emerging green-tech companies in effort to become carbon neutral by 2050

Boston Business Journal | By Sara Castellanos
October 16, 2014

Greentown LabsThe city of Somerville is soliciting help from green-tech companies in an effort to become carbon neutral by 2050.

In its first “Pitch Your Product to Somerville” event, the city is asking companies with a commitment to environmental sustainability to submit information about plans and projects they are looking to pilot, demonstrate and launch. The city will then launch a Green Tech Program in spring 2015, where certain companies will be chosen to test and pilot their ideas within the city.

“Sustainability and taking care of the environment is a deeply held conviction of the community,” said Daniel DeMaina, media manager for the city of Somerville, in an interview.

The city will release a form called a Request for Information, for companies to propose their green-tech ideas at an event on Oct. 21. Companies have until Dec. 1 to submit their plans.

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EF Education First headquarters debuts in Cambridge

The Boston Globe | By Taryn Luna
October 16, 2014

NorthPointEF Education First is helping to put the “Lost Half Mile” back on the map.

The stretch of former industrial land between Charlestown and Cambridge will soon have a hair and nail salon, a gym, a Hubway station, and a 250-seat bar and restaurant with an outdoor patio overlooking the Charles River. And it’s all inside the international education company’s massive campus.

On Thursday, the company will debut its new 300,000-square-foot building — it cost $125 million — at a grand opening ceremony. The structure is a centerpiece in the redevelopment of an area, now called NorthPoint, that was once dominated by warehouses and rail yards.

EF’s unconventional complex emphasizes open work spaces and doesn’t have any individual offices. It features a glass waterfall that juts down the middle of the building, streaming natural light inside.

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