Five Questions With Anne Marie Johnson

Anne Marie Johnson | President, Claflin Co.

1. Is Rhode Island a good place to grow jobs? Why or why not? We have a beautiful state with great universities and access to excellent health care. That is a great foundation for economic success, but the tax burden is high. Although Rhode Islanders have a strong sense of community, we need to support our local economy to create jobs and keep the money in our state.

2. If government could do one thing to help businesses grow jobs, what would it be and why? It’s time for the government to reform health care payments to support providers fairly, so that they can concentrate on delivering care to our community. Rhode Island’s hospitals are the largest employers in the state. When they struggle financially, our economy struggles.

The burden of uncompensated care due to the number of uninsured and repeated cuts to Medicare and Medicaid have contributed to an unstable financial outlook for health care providers. The good news is that we can look to other countries and develop a uniquely American solution that takes the best practices from existing health care systems around the world.

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3. What’s the most important attribute a business leader needs to grow their business/add jobs?

Encourage an atmosphere of creative thinking and collaboration. Innovate. Develop solutions and products that answer questions and alleviate pain points for your customers. The best leaders are accessible, encouraging and fun to work with.

4. You have started a new division that has gained some traction in the marketplace. How big a job-growth engine will it be for you? Our solutions have been developed from working closely with our customers on their pain points. We provide the expertise, knowledge and manpower to complete projects and create processes for ongoing efficiencies to the supply chain. … We think the growth opportunities are exciting!

5. Is Claflin’s job growth going to be concentrated in Rhode Island, or are you going to have to go where customers are across the country? At the end of the day, all distribution is local. The health care market in New England is extensive and distances are manageable, making access to care very good. Claflin has run multiple distribution centers in the past and we have access to multiple distribution centers across the U.S. We are poised to grow geographically with our customer base if needed.