Slater, in a news release on Thursday, said Tamiami Angel Fund II led the round for the Warwick company, which included previous investors.
Founded in 2011, eNow's proprietary solar panel systems have been proven to significantly improve commercial vehicles' fuel economy by utilizing solar power to charge auxiliary batteries.
"While most developers are deploying solar to offset grid power, the opportunity eNow spotted, saving hydrocarbon fuel wasted on idling or deployed inefficiently on electric loads, really caught my eye," Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund, said in a statement. "Jeff [Flath] and his team are shrewdly targeting fleet operators' salient pain points first, but a micro-grid for the whole vehicle is a big idea. With fuel consumption among heavy-duty vehicles - which is eNow's core market - expected to rise by 23 percent over the next several years, we believe that the company is poised to make a significant impact on the transportation industry."
Slater said the market for eNow's products includes 25 million medium and heavy-duty trucks in operation, as well as 450,000 school buses, 805,000 commercial buses, and millions of light duty vehicles in the United States alone. Walmart, AutoZone and USXpress have already purchased or committed to purchasing the company's solar systems to optimize the efficiency of their trucking fleets.
Earlier this year, eNow launched a new Solar Photovoltaic Panel system integration for the Dometic Blizzard Turbo auxiliary air conditioner. The combined eNow-Dometic system is the first solar-powered air conditioner for Class 8 sleeper trucks. It allows a typical Class 8 driver to extend run time of the air conditioning, resulting in increased savings on diesel fuel costs and reducing the alternator load.]]>
That's on top of another $100,000 that the New York firm was asked to return to the state after the botched rollout of the campaign at the end of March.
The campaign featured a promotional video about Rhode Island with footage of Iceland, as well as numerous mistakes on the state's revamped tourism website, visitrhodeisland.com. Four days after it was revealed, the widely criticized slogan, "Rhode Island: Cooler & Warmer" was scrapped, and the state's new chief marketing officer, Betsy Wall, was out of a job.
IndieWhip, of Providence, also was asked to pay back $20,000 it received for producing the video with the Iceland clip.
Milton Glaser Inc. of New York City came up with the slogan. Epic Decade of Jamestown, which also has been involved with the campaign from the start, has since taken the lead on the effort. Residents are now being asked to share their stories about the Ocean State to help promote it.
A total of $4.5 million was allocated to create and disseminate the marketing campaign.
A Commerce RI spokeswoman and HAVAS representative did not immediately respond to queries as to why HAVAS is reducing its fees.
A document provided by Commerce RI states that the project fees will be lowered by $90,000 without reducing the scope of services to be provided. The amount represents the $30,000 monthly project fees for April, May and June. The change in the marketing services agreement between HAVAS and Commerce was signed May 3 by both HAVAS and Commerce RI.
On Wednesday, Commerce RI said Wall would receive a severance package of approximately $68,000. She was hired at the end of December.]]>
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index decreased to 42 in the week ended May 1 from 43.4 in the prior period. Of the three sub-indexes, the buying-climate measure fell the most, registering its biggest drop since the end of February.
The comfort index mirrors the behavior of the Conference Board and University of Michigan confidence gauges, both of which have deteriorated this year amid the financial-market turmoil, weak economic growth and election-year uncertainty. Improvement in the labor market and bigger wage gains would help convince households that it's a good time to spend.
The report's buying-climate measure fell to 38.2 last week from 40 in the prior period. The personal finances gauge dropped to 55.3 from 56.8, the biggest slide since the week ended Nov. 1.
The index measuring the state of the economy declined to 32.6, matching the lowest this year, from 33.5.
Sentiment fell in five of seven income brackets, with households making $15,000 to $40,000 posting the only gains. Confidence among people earning $50,000 to $75,000 fell to the lowest level since September.
Among other details, the comfort measure fell in every region except the Midwest, where it held steady. Confidence among people without a high school degree declined to the lowest level in a year, while it was the weakest since early December for those working full-time jobs.]]>
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane in Manhattan Wednesday approved the company's request to draw from a $160 million debtor-in-possession financing package provided by Crystal Financial LLC.
Aeropostale's senior lender, a unit of Sycamore Partners, opposed the loan. It called the retailer's reorganization plans "illusory" and said liquidation would be the most realistic course unless a buyer emerges in two to four weeks.
"Broadly speaking, you satisfied your requirements for interim relief," Lane said in court Wednesday, adding that he understood concerns about the arrangement and that those matters could be revisited at a final hearing on the full loan. Considering some of the financing will go to pay off other loans, the company is only getting $20 million in new money, he said.
Sycamore controls Aeropostale's biggest secured lender and one of its largest suppliers, MGF Sourcing, and used that influence to force the retailer into bankruptcy, according to the chain. Sycamore denies the allegations. Aeropostale wants court permission to investigate.
The judge also gave Aeropostale interim approval to start going-out-of business sales at 154 stores, including all 41 locations in Canada. The company will return to court later for final approval.
Aeropostale listed $390 million in debt and about $354 million in assets in the Chapter 11 petition it filed May 4 in Manhattan.
Aeropostale has stores at the Providence Place mall, Warwick Mall and the North Dartmouth Mall. Those stores will remain open.]]>
Jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 274,000 in the week ended April 30, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey was 260,000. The jump was the largest in more than a year.
Further increases in new applications would probably be needed to mark a shift in sentiment among hiring managers about the economy's prospects after the weakest quarter for growth in two years. Focus turns to payrolls data due Friday from the Labor Department, and forecasts call for another steady employment gain in April.
"I don't really see any reason for initial claims to change the tone very much in the near term, but if there was a risk, we may some signs of edging higher," David Sloan, senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. "The employment growth does look a little too strong to be sustained indefinitely."
Forecasts in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 250,000 to 275,000. Filings dropped to 248,000 in mid-April, the lowest since 1973.
While there was nothing unusual in the data, claims last week were estimated for Washington, D.C., according to the Labor Department.
The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, rose to 258,000 from 256,000 in the prior week. Filings have been below 300,000 for 61 weeks -- the longest stretch since 1973 and a level economists say is consistent with a healthy labor market.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to 2.12 million in the week ended April 23, the lowest level since November 2000. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits dropped to 1.5 percent from 1.6 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.
The Labor Department's monthly employment report is projected to show employment remained sturdy in April. Economists project about 200,000 jobs were added last month after a 215,000 increase in March.
Federal Reserve officials meeting last week noted that "a range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market," even as they passed on raising the benchmark interest rate from its range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. The central bankers next meet June 14-15.]]>
Centers receiving awards are: Blackstone Valley Community Health Care Inc. in Pawtucket and Comprehensive Community Action Inc. in Cranston, $1 million each; and The Providence Community Health Centers Inc. in Providence, $988,180.
"Today's awards will empower health centers in Rhode Island to build more capacity and provide needed health care to additional individuals and their families," U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement on Wednesday.
The investment builds on the $1.4 million awarded to health centers in Rhode Island for construction and/or renovation in September, according to HHS. Funding comes from the Affordable Care Act's Community Health Center Fund, and medically underserved populations in Rhode Island are being targeted.]]>
Johnson and Raimondo will discuss Rhode Island, business, the economy and innovation in a conversation to be moderated by Chamber President Laurie White.
"We are honored to have Abigail Johnson and Governor Raimondo as the featured speakers at this year's Economic Outlook Luncheon to discuss issues vital to Rhode Island and our business community," White said in a statement. "We are very pleased to have Ms. Johnson come to Rhode Island to speak to our members and other business and civic leaders. This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from one of the financial industry's most influential leaders as well as the head of one of the state's largest employers."
Fidelity employs more than 4,000 associates at its Smithfield campus.
Raimondo said she is looking forward to joining Johnson as a speaker at the luncheon.
"One of Rhode Island's largest employers, Fidelity is a great corporate partner. Ms. Johnson is a thoughtful and inspiring business leader who will bring a valuable perspective on the importance of innovation and economic development," Raimondo said.
The University of Rhode Island is the presenting sponsor.
For information on the event, visit providencechamber.com.]]>
FALL RIVER - Blount Fine Foods said this week that it is seeking to fill 25 positions on the factory floor and in business operations at its new plant in McKinney, Texas.
Blount, a maker of specialty soups and foods that can be found under the Blount, Legal Sea Foods and Panera Bread brands, said it acquired the Texas plant, the former Food Source LP, in January for an undisclosed sum. The Texas plant adds to the company's manufacturing operations in Fall River and Warren, R.I.
"Everything we do in McKinney, Texas is key to our plans for becoming the largest, most sought-after fresh soup company in the country," Todd Blount, president and CEO of Blount Fine Foods, said in a statement. "The people of McKinney will find Blount is a great place to work, because we will invest in our people and promote a positive, challenging and rewarding work environment; and they will find we are a good citizen in the community, one that not only gives back, but also creates opportunity."
This summer, Blount will begin to install and implement production equipment for making its soups and side dishes, which it sells to grocery retailers as well as restaurants nationwide. The new equipment will expand production at the plant, which has created the need for more staff.
"It is our sincere hope that the 25 positions we have posted now are just the beginning," Blount said.
Family-owned Blount Fine Foods has been processing food since 1946, and produces more than 900 premium products for restaurants, institutions, retailers and club stores in all 50 states. The company also is the largest manufacturer of lobster bisque in America.]]>
PROVIDENCE - Former state Chief Marketing Officer Betsy Wall will be paid half her salary - approximately $67,500, plus up to $500 for opting out of medical coverage, according to a severance agreement released by the R.I. Commerce Corp. on Wednesday.
Wall resigned April 1, four days after an error-filled rollout of the new statewide tourism campaign that featured the widely panned and since abandoned Rhode Island: Cooler & Warmer slogan.
She was hired for the post at the end of December at an annual salary of $135,000.
Wall also was paid $39,173.32 from her start date of Dec. 21, 2015 until her resignation on April 1, according to Commerce RI spokeswoman Kayla Rosen.
The severance agreement was signed by Wall on May 3. It also states that by signing, she agrees not to disclose confidential information, disparage the corporation or sue, and that she has seven days from the date of signing to revoke the agreement.
Meanwhile, Commerce RI has posted the chief marketing officer position. Rosen said applications are being accepted and the review process has begun. She said the department hopes to have the position filled by the end of the fiscal year.]]>
Reed created the National Housing Trust Fund in 2008 as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, to enable housing agencies to build, preserve and rehabilitate affordable housing for residents with limited means.
"I created the Housing Trust Fund to provide communities with the resources they need to help address the affordable housing shortage. Many of our neighbors who work hard still can't afford their rents, and our state has a real need for more affordable housing opportunities," Reed said in a statement.
Funds are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This year, the NHTF will provide more than $170 million to states to build, preserve and rehabilitate rental homes for extremely low income households, those with incomes at or below 30 percent of the median income in the area.
To ensure that Rhode Island and other small states received a fair amount of funding, Reed included a small state minimum of $3 million in the authorizing legislation.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition's 2016 State Housing Profile for Rhode Island shows that 41 percent of Rhode Island households rent their homes and that in order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent within the state, renters need to earn $18.49 per hour, which is almost double Rhode Island's minimum wage of $9.60 per hour.
A recent report by HousingWorks RI also found that roughly 3,500 units of new affordable housing are necessary each year to meet the needs of Rhode Islanders, particularly millennials and retired adults, through 2025.]]>