The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick was 10 years ago, but the impact of the blaze on Rhode Island hasn’t diminished at all. In West Warwick, The Station fire, caused by a pyrotechnics display gone wrong, marked the end of live music in the town – until now. Seeing the return of live music as a chance to heal and help invigorate the community, veteran Providence club manager and magazine editor Jim Vickers converted an old mill on the Pawtuxet River into Manchester 65, a rock club that opened in early August. The club specializes in classic rock – in many cases features bands that wouldn’t have been out of place at The Station – and has so far received a warm reception. more
Four years after Sovereign Bank was acquired by global banking giant Banco Santander SA, which is based in Spain, the name change to Santander Bank will become official on Oct. 17. That impending change, even though many in the financial community consider it just about a name, will nevertheless put Sovereign’s Region President for Southern New England Brian A. Azar in the spotlight. more
It was business as usual in Westerly this year until pop star Taylor Swift came to town. The singer’s purchase of a $17 million mansion on the beach in exclusive Watch Hill added celebrity sightings and trespassing dramas to sandcastles, fudge and the usual seaside entertainment. At screenprinting company J. Mack Studios, owner Kevin Adams occasionally uses T-shirts as a creative outlet and decided to design and produce a Swift-inspired shirt in honor of his hometown’s new most famous resident. While Adams never found out what Swift thought of his shirt, he did hear from corporate protectors of the Taylor Swift brand who asked him to stop, setting off a David-versus-Goliath gossip-column sensation. more
With energy production a priority around the globe, Scott DePasquale is focused on commercializing Utilidata’s advanced technology to make the electric grid operate more efficiently. The company’s move from Spokane, Wash., to Providence in June 2012 positions Rhode Island as a potential leader in energy technology. more
Hair-transplant treatment and procedures have come out of the Dark Ages and offer scientifically and medically sound alternatives to baldness, according to Dr. Robert Leonard. The founder and chief surgeon of Leonard Hair Transplant Associates in Cranston has six other offices, including five in Massachusetts and one in Salem, N.H. more
Before becoming involved with the Plainridge Racecourse harness track in Plainville, Mass., John Grogan’s game was investment banking. Grogan first met the president of Plainridge while working on a leveraged buyout and because of that relationship came out of retirement in 2009 to work as consultant for Plainridge. When Plainridge President Gary Piontkowski retired earlier this year, Grogan took over. more
The escalating international concern about climate change puts the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography square in the middle of the discussion. Bruce Corliss was named dean of the school after an international search and was heralded as having just the right combination of an outstanding record in research and education in oceanography, as well as highly regarded management experience in academia. Corliss began as GSO’s dean in September 2012 and discusses what he’s discovered so far and his vision for the future.more
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