White, Machtley top honorees at PBN’s 2019 Business Excellence Awards

BUSINESS LEADERS from the region gathered Thursday evening to honor PBN 2019 Business Excellence Awards honorees. / PBN PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI
BUSINESS LEADERS from the region gathered Thursday evening to honor PBN 2019 Business Excellence Awards honorees. / PBN PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI

WARWICK – Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce President Laurie White and Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley were the top honorees at Providence Business News’ 19th annual Business Excellence Awards. The event attracted nearly 200 of the region’s business leaders to the Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick Thursday evening.

President of the state’s largest Chamber since October 2005, White was recognized for Business Leadership. She’s the first female president of the Chamber in its nearly 150-year history and has served as an inspiration to other women aspiring to become business and community leaders.

Before joining the Chamber in 1989, she was a public information officer at the R.I. Department of Economic Development (now R.I. Commerce Corp.) and served as an assignment editor for WLNE-TV ABC 6. Beginning in 2003, she served for 18 months as executive counselor to Rhode Island’s governor for policy and communications before returning to the Chamber as executive vice president in 2004.

It’s a background that well-prepared her for the challenges of advocating for the Greater Providence business community.

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“The landscape is constantly shifting,” White told PBN. “The Chamber has a front-row seat at everything happening in Rhode Island.” To be an effective advocate, she said, it’s necessary “to understand both sides of the story … and the counter arguments.”

Machtley was recognized with the Corporate Citizenship award. He’s been president of Bryant for 23 years and will retire at the end of the current school year, after devoting a lifetime to service.

A former Naval officer, Machtley also served as a U.S. House of Representatives member representing Rhode Island from 1989-1995. He readily acknowledges that when he was hired at Bryant, he didn’t know much about management of education. He told PBN he relied heavily on various board chairmen, who were “great mentors, all of whom inspired me to lift my game up.”

Among his many accomplishments at Bryant include nearly quadrupling undergraduate applications, two record-breaking capital campaigns, moving to NCAA Division 1 athletics and generally raising the school’s profile nationally. The latter includes recognition this year by U.S. News & World Report as a top school for undergraduate teaching and innovation.

Others recognized with video interviews and award presentations included:

  • Excellence at a Large Company: Brown University’s Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science
  • Excellence at a Midsize Company: (add)ventures
  • Excellence at a Small Company: Vertikal6
  • Community Involvement: Lifespan Corp.
  • Excellence at a Social Service Agency: The College Crusade of Rhode Island
  • Excellence at a Nonprofit: American Heart Association
  • Entrepreneurship: GrowthLab Financial Services Inc.
  • Education: The Wolf School Inc.
  • Family-owned Business: American Cord & Webbing Co.
  • Workforce Development: Igus Inc.
  • Women-owned Business: CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree Studio

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