The most influential people in the Central Mass. economy


My favorite entry this year is in the Food & Culture category, and her title is chief lettuce officer.
In compiling our annual list of the most powerful people in the Central Massachusetts business community, there are countless CEOs, executive directors, presidents and founders to choose, from organizations with billions in revenue and offices across the globe. Yet, as much power as Ernie Herrman from TJX Cos. or Ann K. Tripp from The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. wield, Lynn Cheney from Lettuce Be Local plays just as an important role in the Central Massachusetts economy. Through her largely one-woman shop – and really, it’s more of a refrigerated truck going from place to place – she connects the 7,000 farms in Worcester County with the region’s budding farm-to-table restaurant and grocery scene, which is creating a lot of hype around the Central Massachusetts economy. Operating almost by herself and (presumably) at slightly lower pay than the $17 million Herrman made last year, Cheney is transforming two industries.
When we seek to create this list every year, we focus on the people who use their positions to have an outsized influence on the business community. We want to tell the story of a changing region and economy through the people creating that change. Our last effort called WBJ Power Players appeared in December 2016, and was a more loosely defined feature with about 25-30 entries in a larger year-end issue. For this iteration, we decided to move the publication date from December to July, expand the list to The Power 50 and make it the overriding focus of the issue, along with our annual list of the area’s largest employers.
As you peruse The Power 50, you’ll find the expected (Timothy P. Murray from the Worcester chamber continues his streak of making the list every year) and fresh faces (like Robert Walker, the man behind the $160-million mixed-use development in Marlborough), but the concept behind creating such an issue is to personalize our current regional economic makeup and show how influence comes in all shapes and sizes. You can sit in a corner office and with the stroke of a pen change the lives of thousands of people, or you can sit behind the wheel of your truck, driving hops from a farm to a growing brewery in Hudson. Both actions are quite powerful.
- Brad Kane, editor
Read about the WBJ’s 2018 Power Players:
Harry Kokkinis, Table Talk Pies
Steve Rotman, Rotman’s Furniture & Vystar
Ernie Herrman, TJX Cos.
Michael Dundas, Sira Naturals
Ralph Crowley Jr., Polar Corp.
Christopher Baldwin, BJ’s Wholesale Club
Amy Lynn Chase, Crompton Collective & Haberdash
Food & Culture
Robb & Madeline Ahlquist, Worcester Restaurant Group
Troy Siebels, The Hanover Theatre
Karim El-Gamal, Rail Trail Flatbread Co., New City Microcreamery, Less Than Greater Than
Eric, Sam & Jack Hendler, Jack’s Abby Brewing
Lynn Cheney, Lettuce Be Local
Sandy Dunn, DCU Center
Higher Education & Nonprofits
Ann T. Lisi, Greater Worcester Community Foundation
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, College of the Holy Cross
Javier Cevallos, Framingham State University
Michael F. Collins, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Jill Dagilis, Worcester Community Action Council
Dr. David A. Jordan, Seven Hills Foundation
Laurie Leshin, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Corner Office
Kate Sharry, Group Benefits Strategies
Tina M. Sbrega, GFA Federal Credit Union
John C. Roche, The Hanover Insurance Group
Elaine Osgood, Atlas Travel
Michael P. Angelini, Bowdtich & Dewey
Susan Mailman, Coghlin Electrical Contractors
Edward F. Manzi Jr., Fidelity Bank
Dinesh Wadhwani, ThinkLite
Ravi Vig, Allegro Microsystems
Nobuhiko Tamura, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals
Daniel McGahn, AMSC
Michael Mahoney, Boston Scientific
Jeannie Hebert, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce
Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics
Chris Coghlin, Coghlin Cos.
Health care
Kevin O’Sullivan, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives
Kurt Isaacson, Spectrum Health Systems
Tarek Elsawy, Reliant Medical Group
Jeffrey M. Welch, Saint Vincent Hospital
Eric Dickson, UMass Memorial Health Care
Holly Chaffee, VNA Care
Richard P. Burke, Fallon Health
Economic Development
Ann K. Tripp, Opus Investment Management
Robert Walker, RA Ventures
Yvonne Spicer, City of Framingham
Cliff Rucker, Worcester Railers Hockey Club
Sherri Greene Pitcher, Fidelity Bank
Timothy P. Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Anthony Consigli, Consigli Construction Co.
Jennie Lee Colosi, E. T. & L. Corp.