Merchant spoke of the satisfaction she gets when a young woman calls her from another continent to talk about a business challenge or from her car to ask her advice as to whether to accept a job offer, questions asked by women who do not work for her but for whom she makes time to help guide, as she herself was guided early in her career. She offered for public consumption that her mentor sent her to a class to improve her spelling and not long after to a fashion consultant to help her dress the part as her career in the automotive industry gained momentum. A good mentor she said, is both supportive and honest.
The eighth Business Women Awards event was held at the Providence Marriott Downtown, which attracted a sold-out crowd of 320 to give witness to the honorees, which included the 12 women profiled in monthly features that concentrate on entrepreneurship as well as the 12 women, one early in her career, the other an "industry leader," in six industry categories. In addition to Merchant's recognition as Outstanding Mentor, Connie Laverty O'Connor, senior vice president and chief customer officer for lottery giant IGT, was recognized for Career Achievement. O'Connor, who could not attend the event, emphasized the role of diversity and communication in helping individuals and organizations succeed.
The winners of PBN's Business Women Awards program are profiled in a special section included in the June 1-7 issue of the newspaper. Partner sponsors for the program included CVS Health Corp., LGC&D and USI Insurance Services. Media sponsor was AM790 and Cumulus Media.]]>
Oviatt, of Richmond, is an oceanography professor at the University of Rhode Island. She is also the director of URI's Marine Ecosystems Research Lab. Save The Bay says her research has help the R.I. Department of Environmental Management take action that's resulted in "significant reductions in nutrient pollutant loadings to upper Narragansett Bay and has been instrumental in advancing water pollution control and protection of Rhode Island coastal waters."
Judith Swift and Tom Borden of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program nominated Oviatt and in their nomination they called her "one of the most respected experts in the study of coastal ecosystems with a particular emphasis on the study of Narragansett Bay," according to a press release.
In a prepared statement, Oviatt said she was surprised and honored to receive the award and lauded Save The Bay for being a "watchdog of the bay."
The award ceremony will be held during Save The Bay's annual meeting at 5:30 p.m. on June 11 at 100 Save The Bay Drive in Providence. It will precede the group's Taste of The Bay fundraising event.
This year's recipients also include:
Environmental Achievement Award: Angelo S. Liberti III, chief of surface water protection at R.I. Department of Environmental Management.
Alison Walsh Award for Outstanding Environmental Advocacy: Dave McLaughlin, of Middletown, co-founder and executive director of Clean Ocean Access.
Volunteer of the Year: Louise Pryor, 93, of Cranston.
Bay Educator of the Year: Heidi Gauch, of Middletown, science teacher at Gaudet Middle School.
Bay Student of the Year: Isra Siddiq, rising senior at North Attleboro High School.
The land will be included in the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, according to an announcement Friday by U.S. Sens. Jack F. Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Reps. James R. Langevin and David N. Cicilline.
The state Department of Environmental Management will use the NOAA funding to partner with the local land trust, the Prudence Conservancy, in acquiring the land.
The parcel is adjacent to existing reserves on Prudence Island and home to a unique landscape and diverse wildlife.
Once acquired, the land will be open to the public for outdoor recreation. The reserve also will engage in research in an effort to better manage coastal and ocean resources in Narragansett Bay.
"This NOAA grant leverages funds from federal, state and private partners to acquire and protect this important area of Prudence Island. From our coastlines to our forests, safeguarding our diverse natural landscape is a smart investment in the health of both our environment and economy. This grant will help save this special parcel of land and permanently protect it for future generations," Reed said in a statement.
Said Langevin, "Prudence Island is one of our state treasures, and the incorporation of the Little Property in the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve will ensure this pristine and previously unprotected property is available and easily accessible to the public for education, research and recreation."]]>
Sheridan said the bureau analyzed data from Smith Travel Research to come up with the figures. She said the city hosted numerous conventions and sports groups, which helped boost business during the first four months of the year.
January's room revenue increased 10.6 percent, while February's room revenue increased 8.6 percent, according to the Smith Travel Research data.
Providence's numbers are beating the national average, she said.
From January through April, downtown hotel revenue was 16.9 percent, while nationally, it was 8.7 percent, she said.
"We're seeing a very strong start to 2015," Sheridan said this week. "Hopefully the trend will continue."
"I'm fairly certain May will also be strong year over year," she said, noting it is a busy month for college graduations. She said the city also received some of the spillover from the Volvo Ocean Race, which had its only North American stopover in Newport earlier this month.
In April, the hotel occupancy rate increased 14.3 percent year over year, while the average daily rate climbed 9.8 percent.
April's hotel occupancy rate was 76.8 percent, while it was 72 percent in March and 55.5 percent in February. In 2014, it was 67.2 percent in April, 65.4 percent in March and 55.4 percent in February.
The average daily rate in April was $146, compared with $148 in March and $142 in February. Last year, it was $133 in April, $136 in March and $131 in February.
She said April 2015 was a busy month as a result of several events, including the Church of the Pentecost 1015 annual regional convention from April 3-5 at the R.I. Convention Center, and the National Association for Music Education biennial eastern division conference, also at the convention center, from April 9-12.
Sheridan said that the convention and visitors bureau helped book 22 groups in the greater Providence area this past April compared with 15 last year.
The 10 downtown hotels included in the review were Courtyard Providence Downtown, Providence Biltmore, Hampton Inn Suites Providence Downtown, Hilton Providence, Omni Providence Hotel, Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel, The Dean Hotel, The Hotel Providence, Wyndham Garden Hotel Providence India Point and Marriott Providence Downtown.
As a result, the company will need to double the workforce of its beret division, which accounts for about 15 percent of its 130-member workforce, Max Brickle, company president, told the Call.
The Brickle Group's products also include wool blankets for the U.S. Department of Defense, yarn used in MLB baseballs and the wool fabric used in Homeland Security uniforms at airport-security checkpoints, Brickle has said.]]>
The expansion has been indefinitely frozen due to a state budget crisis, the newspaper said.
Gov. Charlie D. Baker said he was unaware that the 2024 bid included plans to use the expanded Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to host a variety of Olympics events and provide parking.
The journal reported that an administration official this week said that the governor was informed by Boston 2024 during a cabinet meeting earlier this year that the Olympics plan did not rely on the center's expansion.]]>
The Washington Trust Company has collected more than 115 tons of peanut butter since 2001. This year's drive kicked off Feb.16 at the Providence Bruins home game against the Manchester Monarchs.
"Our annual peanut butter drive has helped feed tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders by providing something as simple and essential as peanut butter," Joseph MarcAurele, Washington Trust chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
"Our commitment to helping our neighbors is one of Washington Trust's most important, time-honored traditions. At the heart of that commitment is our employees' dedication to volunteering and giving back to the communities they serve," said MarcAurele, who also serves as president of the board of directors for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
One jar of peanut butter can make 16 sandwiches, according to the company.
Washington Trust employees collected 3,000 pounds of peanut butter through dress down days, a Skating with the Stars event at the Washington Trust Community Skating Center, and other bank events.
The company also worked with area businesses, schools and organizations. CVS Customer Care collected more than 1,800 pounds of peanut butter. Schools that collected the most peanut butter included Burrillville Middle School, Rhode Island Philharmonic School and St. Philomena School.
Carousel Industries, the Providence Bruins, Servicemaster by Mason and Yawgoo Valley Ski Area also contributed to the peanut butter drive.
Local food pantries that received peanut butter donations included Comprehensive Community Action Program, Helping Hands of Block Island, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Jonnycake Center of Westerly, North Kingstown Food Pantry, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Rhode Island Center Assisting those in Need (RI CAN), St. Patrick's Food Closet and West Bay Community Action.]]>
"Here's where they get that much deserved love," Thrillist wrote.
Thrillist said Rhode Island is arguably one of the most "forgotten about states" and as a result, its capital city doesn't get the respect it deserves.
Providence, population 177,000, Thrillist said, has one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in America - in another Thrillist ranking last month, College Hill ranked fourth in the country.
Thrillist also noted the presence of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, which give the city a "younger vibe than you would expect from one of the oldest cities in the country" and also singled out Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza and Al Forno as places to sample the city's signature grilled pizza style.
Other "overlooked small cities" on the list: Rochester, N.Y.; Richmond, Va.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Cinncinati; Chattanooga, Tenn; and Mobile, Ala.]]>
The University of Michigan said Friday that its final index of sentiment for the month decreased to 90.7 from 95.9 in April. It marked the biggest decline since the end of 2012. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 89.5 after a preliminary May reading of 88.6.
Household concerns that the economy is stumbling and wages will be slow to increase combined to depress spirits at the same time gradually rising gas prices took a bit more of consumers' incomes. Continued improvement in the labor market that includes greater job security probably needs to be accompanied by pay gains to encourage more spending and propel growth.
"The consumer is still somewhat AWOL - they're feeling better about their financial situation, but they're not overly optimistic to the point where they're ready to go out and spend," Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. "Even though growth looks like it's sluggish, we're still improving on fundamentals, and I think that's a very good story for consumers."
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 62 economists ranged from 86 to 95.5. The index average 84.1 last year.
The Commerce Department on Friday said gross domestic product declined at a 0.7 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, revised from a previously reported 0.2 percent gain. A swelling trade gap subtracted the most from the economy in 30 years as a stronger dollar caused exports to slump, while imports rose following resolution of a labor dispute at West Coast ports.
"Although the loss in confidence narrowed in late May, the decline for the month as a whole was still substantial as consumers have adopted more modest prospects for a rebound following the economy's dismal first-quarter performance," Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, said in a statement.
In the May report, 56 percent thought the economy was improving, down from 63 percent a month earlier and 68 percent at the start of the year.
The current conditions index declined to a seven-month low of 100.8 in May from 107 in April.
The measure of expectations six months from now decreased to 84.2, the weakest since November, from 88.8.
Americans expected an inflation rate of 2.8 percent in the next year, up from 2.6 percent in April. Over the next five to 10 years, they expect a 2.8 percent rate of inflation, compared with 2.6 percent in the previous month.
The Michigan report corroborates the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, which fell for a seventh straight week in the period ended May 24. Attitudes about whether it was a good time to spend slumped by the most since 2011.
While the Conference Board's consumer confidence index advanced to a reading of 95.4 this month from April's 94.3, the measure is down from a more than seven-year high of 103.8 reached in January.
Weaker confidence helps explain why consumer spending has been slow to accelerate even after months of savings from lower gasoline costs. Retail sales barely budged in April and followed a 0.2 percent drop from January through March that marked the first quarterly decline in almost three years.
Growth will probably pick up after a weak start to the year, according to Federal Reserve policy makers, who are trying to figure out when the economy will be strong enough to withstand their first interest rate increase since 2006.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a May 22 speech she expects the economy to return to a "moderate" pace of growth after a disappointing first quarter as headwinds such as a cooling global economy abate.
Stronger growth would help boost industries including housing, which has shown choppy improvement over the past few months. Steady hiring, low borrowing costs and a limited supply of existing homes has spurred demand for new properties even as sluggish wage growth keeps some buyers out of the market.
"Economic fundamentals are in place to support the housing market," Dave Liniger, CEO of Re/Max Holdings Inc., said on a May 8 conference call. "More people are getting jobs, soon employers may be competing for employees, which should push wages higher. Wage growth coupled with increased consumer confidence should spur more activity on the housing market."
The Labor Department's monthly employment data showed hourly pay was up 2.2 percent in April compared with a year earlier, holding within the narrow range it's tracked over the past four years. The report also showed payrolls climbed by 223,000 last month after an 85,000 gain in March that was the smallest since June 2012.
Weak wages may not be the only thing holding back consumer confidence. Gas prices, which economists say helped prop up sentiment earlier this year, have recovered from their lows.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.74 on May 28, about the highest level since early December. While that's 35 percent higher than a more than five-year low reached in January, it's still less than last year's peak of $3.70.]]>
It also provided $274,000 in free advertising to Rhode Island nonprofits through the Google Ad Grants program.
The report, which highlights economic benefits received by businesses and nonprofits across the country through the continued growth of e-commerce, includes business examples from all 50 states.
It highlighted Displays2Go in Bristol as one business succeeding with the help of the Internet.
According to information provided by Google, DisplaysGo founder George Patton founded the business in 1974. Back then, he used a handwritten brochure to market his custom acrylic display products, and later switched to direct mail catalogs.
When he sold it to his sons in 1992, they realized that the Internet "was the wave of the future," said vice president of marketing Greg Banks.
"We always tried to stay on the cutting edge of things instead of being reactive," Banks told Google.
Displays2Go also launched an e-commerce website early in the '90s. It uses AdWords, Google's advertising program, which helps them target known customers and discover new markets.
"The bulk of our advertising consists of text ads and product listing ads through Google shopping," Martha Dias, director of multi-channel marketing, said in a statement. "We knew we had decent retail and finance markets, but we didn't realize how many churches we were reaching until we saw the Internet orders."
Displays2Go's social media presence includes a Google+ page.
"People can leave us comments, whether it's something they appreciated or a problem," Dias said. "We can correspond with them on social media. It's like having a 24/7 presence."
Displays2Go continues to enjoy steady growth, spending about 80 percent of its marketing budget online, company officials told Google.
"If you've got a website, you have an immediate connection with customers," she said. "I can't imagine us being anywhere near where we are now if we didn't have a website."
Google is well-known for helping people search for and find the information they want, Margo Georgiadis, Google's president of Americas sales, said.
"Through our search and advertising programs, businesses find customers, publishers earn money from their online content and nonprofits get donations and volunteers. The Economic Impact Report details how millions of businesses use our tools to make money. It's these solutions that make Google an engine for economic growth," Georgiadis said.
Last year, Google reports its tools helped provide $131 billion of economic activity for 1.8 million businesses, website publishers and nonprofits across the country.]]>