In 2011, Al Subbloie and Tangoe danced to the top of the heap

 

 

We should all have a year like Tangoe Inc., the Orange-based developer of communication lifestyle management (CLM) software and related services, had in 2011.

 

Where to begin? Last year the company executed three major acquisitions, opened its first offices overseas, managed an initial public stock offering that raised $88 million and ended the calendar year with a market capitalization of half a billion dollars.

 

Not bad for a company that in 2000 had just two employees languishing in a dreary office in Shelton. That was before it was acquired, on what can fairly be described as a flyer, by Albert R. Subbloie Jr.

 

Today Tangoe’s chairman, president and CEO, Subbloie has graced these pages before. In 2005 he was named Business New Haven’s Innovator of the Year. Like his company, Subbloie is moving up in the world: This year BNH has named him its Businessperson of the Year.

 

Al Subbloie has many qualities that distinguish him as an entrepreneur and an innovator. But this may be his most precious gift: to identify a unique value proposition market niche hidden beneath a dense, tangled undergrowth of technology chaos.

 

He always has. If you know his track record, you would expect to encounter the personality of a single-minded tech geek — an intense, self-righteous engineer-type who views the world through the crystalline binary lens of ones and zeros.

 

Subbloie can talk the digital talk, and he does. But what impresses one in person is not the arcana of tech gibberish, but the polished and personable poise of the Trinity College liberal-arts grad and unapologetic jock that he was and is. (“I am not an introvert,” he acknowledges.)

 

Cognitive dissonance, they call it.

 

Matthew Nemerson, president of the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC), has known and worked with Subbloie (a past CTC chairman) for a quarter-century.

 

“I don’t know anyone who better combines the skills that define the complete entrepreneurial package,” observes Nemerson. “He has a complete grasp of what a given technology can do, but he never  falls in love with it. Second, the man thinks in business models. He instinctively can figure out who will pay for something and why. Third, like [Wayne] Gretzky he is always skating to where the puck is going to be and this shows up in his working years ahead in his game plan and acquisition of his team, capabilities and other companies.”

 

Speaking of hockey immortal Gretzky, Nemerson adds of Subbloie, “He has an athlete’s need to win.”

 

Al Subbloie grew up in Orange (Amity High School class of ’78), the same community he still calls home. His father was and is (at age 86!) a building contractor, and his mother an X-ray technician working in New Haven. His parents still live in Subbloie’s childhood home, not far from Tangoe’s present-day world headquarters on Enterprise Drive, where Al and his older sister (now a family-law attorney) who occupies a standalone office in the Tangoe building, go to work each day.

 

At odds with the stereotype of the propeller-head nerd, Subbloie is frank about the role athletics (he played both football and baseball through college, a relative rarity these days even at a Division III school like Trinity) playing in developing his character and stoking his competitive fires.

 

At Trinity Subbloie majored not in science or engineering, but in economics, with a minor (and intellectual affinity) for philosophy.

 

Although as an undergrad he didn’t know how his career would unfold, Subbloie had a keen sense from an early age “that business was where I wanted to be,” he says. “It would give me the most flexibility” in navigating a career and a life, he calculated.

 

Following graduation Subbloie went to work for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). He was advised in that decision by Trinity economics department chair Ward Curran, whose career advice the graduating senior had sought. Subbloie’s instinct was to start his own company — Steve Jobs was an entrepreneurial inspiration even in the formative years of Apple. But after the senior presented his honors thesis to the economics department, the chairman informed him, “Al, you don’t even know how to wear a suit.” That comment jolted Subbloie to his core. “He was saying, ‘You haven’t even hit the world yet — why don’t you get a job?” Subbloie recalls.

 

He took that advice, and interviewed with three major companies: US Steel, Northwest Mutual Life Insurance and Andersen. The recent grad’s future pivoted not on what he had learned in the classrooms of Trinity College, but on its playing fields.

 

“The person who interviewed me for Andersen was also the coach of the company softball team,” Subbloie recounts. “They had a really competitive team. And the first thing he saw on my résumé was that I’d played baseball at Trinity. He said, ‘Would you like to play softball for the Andersen softball team?’ I said, ‘That would be great.’ So I was in.”

 

Subbloie stayed at Andersen for two years, immersing himself in two areas of inquiry he had actively disliked in college — accounting and computer science.

 

Years later the 51-year-old speaks frequently of “life lessons.” One that has remained with him since the dawn of his professional life took hold when he was assigned to create financial models for a major client using the then-ubiquitous spreadsheet program VisiCalc — and, according to his supervisor, “You’re going to start tomorrow.” “But I’ve never used VisiCalc,” Subbloie protested. “How can you charge me out at $50 an hour?” “Well,” the supervisor replied, “you have a lot of time between now and tomorrow.”

 

So he stayed up all night with a VisiCalc manual and his computer and made himself, literally, an overnight expert. “It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it,” he observes.

 

Another valuable lesson from Andersen was that the natural assumption that large organizations, be they private companies or governmental entities, always make rational decisions and operate with maximum efficiency was far from the truth. “I was shocked at the degree of inefficiency in American corporations,” he recalls. “From that experience I came to believe that you could find many niches within large corporations and make things a lot more [efficient]. And computer automation really became the tool to go after that.”

 

Learning this life lesson would make Al Subbloie a lot of money down the road.

 

The genesis of Subbloie’s first entrepreneurial venture, Information Management Associates (IMA), unfolded when Subbloie and another young Andersen upstart, Gary Martino (today Tangoe’s CFO), hooked up with Martin J. Mattessich, founder of International Biotechnologies Inc. (IBI) headquartered in New Haven’s Science Park. Mettessich wanted to work with Subbloie and Martino but balked at paying Andersen’s steep hourly consulting fee. So he encouraged the pair to strike out on their own — which had been Subbloie’s intention ever since graduation college.

“We left Andersen together on a Friday and started IMA on Saturday,” he says. “And our first client was IBI, which is why our first office was in Science Park Building 25.”

That was in 1984, at the start of a 16-year run characterized by giddy highs — IMA would grow to $50 million in annual sales and seven offices worldwide — a few crushing lows, and plenty of those life lessons Subbloie speaks of. “You learn the street-fighting ways of building companies,” he says now.

IMA was built on developing and selling call-center and data solutions for sales, marketing, telemarketing and customer-service applications. It was one of Connecticut’s high-flyers in the surging technology marketplace, and Al Subbloie was anointed a rising star  in the industry.

But in 2000 the Internet bubble burst, and in July of that year IMA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (“The end of IMA wasn’t a success parade,” he says now from the salving distance of a dozen years.) In the wake of that filing one division of the company was sold to TeleTek Software Inc., a call-center outsourcing company. Subbloie went with that division and stayed for six months. “I went there intending to stay for quite a while,” he recalls. “I was the No. 2 person in a division that was mostly the division I had built and sold to them.” But Subbloie quickly grew frustrated with the new company’s inability to move quickly, and he readily acknowledges he is constitutionally ill suited to working for someone else.

Beyond that, “I find that in markets, especially tech markets, there’s only one position in a market — and that’s the No. 1 position,” he says. “The bone yard is filled with the ones that weren’t No.1.”

With TeleTek, “I didn’t see its ability to maneuver,” he says, “and of course I didn’t have the authority to maneuver it in that direction or move quickly enough.” That calculation, coupled with a disinclination to move his family permanently to the West Coast, prompted a life change from which would be born the company with the funny, misspelled name.

 

Tangoe began life in 2000 as an enterprise known as Telecom RFQ (Request for Quote), a startup based on a reverse-auction telecom buying model. Subbloie had along the way founded a reverse-auction company called BuyersEdge in 1997, and Telecom RFQ was started by four people who had worked with Subbloie on that project. Subbloie was not a founder of the business, but was an early and major investor, to the tune of about a third of a million dollars. Soon he would jump in feet-first.

 

“Like a lot of Internet companies in 2000, [the company] got to 14 [employees] very quickly, but by the time I got there there were two people left,” he says. “At that point the [Internet] bubble had burst — there was no revenue, and it needed more cash.”

 

Subbloie had returned east from the TeleTek experiment, and “I had a choice: I definitely wanted to something on my own, and I could either come up with a brand-new idea — and I believe I’ve had a few of them — or I own a decent portion of this business [Telecom RFQ] that is sitting in Shelton with two people and a bunch of computers — I could take it over.

 

“Between you and me,” he says conspiratorially, “I didn’t love the reverse-auction thing. But I took it over anyway.”

 

“What I did like was [the opportunity posed by] telecom inefficiencies,” he says. What he liked most was that it was largely untapped market with low barriers to entry. “I’d rather have a concept that is so unique that [customers] can only get it from you,” Subbloie says. “Then you can charge a nice amount of money for it, you can grow a great long-term profitable revenue stream without risk.”

 

Which, more or less, is what in fact transpired with Tangoe. But beyond the product side, Subbloie and his team still had to decide what marketplace would become Tangoe’s arena. “Picking markets is so critical,” he says. “Pick a market that has great value propositions in it.” That market was the so-called enterprise market — large companies with large operational inefficiencies — the counterintuitive lesson Subbloie had learned years earlier.

 

Another Subbloie life lesson: “When in doubt, sell something,” he says. “In business, in witnessing the sell you learn everything. It’s the hunt — you’re in the middle of it. In the room you’re going to witness all the elements of the proposition — you’re going to feel it and see it. And if you’re smart, you walk away and you begin to learn the model that can win.

 

Subbloie injected new capital (his own and other investors’) into the company, “and the first we did is we started selling. And immediately when we started selling, the mess that ultimately became the vision emerged within 60 days.

 

“What emerged from that was a business model that was a little different from what we thought we had been selling,” he says. “It became immediately apparent that the way big companies managed telecom expenses was a disaster. I was shocked by how much money they spent, and we found that out through the sell. It was a mess they way they bought [telecommunications services], and it was a mess they way they managed it.”

 

Subbloie and Tangoe knew there was a lot of money to be made cleaning up that mess.

 

The “mess,” Subbloie quickly determined, “was tailor-made for software. It was a game of details — these big [telecom] contracts, all these bills, and they’re all wrong. Think about it: All it is is a bunch of data to be reconciled.”

 

Bingo. Within 60 days Subbloie had renamed the company. “Tangoe” represents the “dance between the enterprise and the telecom carriers,” he explains (the E was added because the domain name “Tango” belonged to someone else). “We help manage that dance.”

 

(Subbloie recounts with pride that the Tangoe URL cost him $35, and the company logo, straight out of a graphics book, cost $200 — a far cry from the $50,000 IMA paid for a new logo when it was flush with cash. “Another of life’s lessons,” he says.)

 

From that realization, “It was clear to me what we needed to do,” Subbloie says. “You take the different components of the [expense] system — telecom contracts on paper, electronic billing from carriers — and you figure out how to create databases and software that can reconcile and audit these things.”

 

From that, “We began the design and build of this brand-new technology model from scratch,” he says.

 

Today Tangoe has more than $16 billion worth of data from more than 1,900 billing systems worldwide on its platform. Along the way the company’s core offering has evolved from selling software to clients to managing their telecom expenses soup-to-nuts outside of the enterprise client.

 

“I thought from the beginning that we would sell the software and companies would self-manage,” Subbloie says. “But this market — banks, retailers — it’s not what they do. It’s not at the core of their business to make sure that their telecom expenses are well managed.

 

“This became an area where [clients] wanted to have a third party that was an expert [in expense-management] be able to deal it — not just from a technology perspective, but also to have the bundled services around that,” Subbloie explains.

 

By 2005, he says, “It became evident that the majority of the market was moving in that direction.” So in April of the following year, Subbloie changed Tangoe’s business model from selling software suites for a one-time licensing fee to forging expense-management contracts with clients to create recurring revenue streams.

 

The results speak for themselves. Today Al Subbloie’s little two-person company employs nearly 900 people. It has a market cap of about $500 million, and generates just under $100 million in annual sales. In late January TNGO stock was trading in the mid-$15 range, with a first year target estimate of $17.50 per share.

 

For its chairman, president and CEO, life is good. He earned $734,000 last year, according to SEC filings, and recently bought a new Ford F-150 pickup truck. It’s red.

 

But Al Subbloie still sees himself (and likely always will) as a “street fighter” who’s been bloodied but remains unbowed.

 

But even more than the in-the-trenches fighter who lives for the sell, Subbloie is first and foremost a visionary.

 

“I thrive on that – I love it,” he says. “I just love thinking about things and where [the  company] should go. It’s what makes me really happy.”

 

“You can’t help but kvell when guys like Al make it big,” offers the CTC’s Nemerson. “It means there is something just in the cosmos.”

Business leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist, volunteer extraordinaire — Bob Alvine has seen and done it all

 

 

If you ask Bob Alvine what it is that he likes to do best, he says bringing people together toward a common goal but with a diversity of viewpoints and an abundance of their personal assets that will make the experience richer for all involved. This may be why he has given so generously of his time and talents to so many different organizations over a span of 50 years, bringing to each the lessons he has learned in life and in business.

 

Alvine, who was born in Newark, N.J. in 1938, earned his BA with honors in science, majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering with minors in physics and biology from Rutgers University. He did postgraduate work at Syracuse University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School executive program for management development. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of New Haven.

 

Following graduation with top honors from the U.S. Army Signal College, Alvine served in the Signal Corps, where he had top-secret security clearance for his assignment during the Cuban missile crisis. He serves on the panel for the U.S. National Technology Transfer Center of the Missile Defense Agency and NASA, and is a member of the Harvard Business School Club of New York and Connecticut.

 

Beginning his career with Celanese Corp., where he spent 17 years, Alvine rose through the ranks to hold dual positions as vice president and general manager of the company’s worldwide multi-division subsidiary and in a leadership role on the company’s Worldwide Strategy and Acquisitions Committee. During the next ten years with Uniroyal Corp. in Naugatuck he held top-level posts including CEO of its billion-dollar Engineered Products and Services Group, while also serving as chief corporate officer for worldwide strategy, capital formation and allocation, mergers and acquisitions, and research and development.

 

In his last position at Uniroyal as CEO, president and chief operating officer, Alvine led the company and its 32,000 employees in 1985 in the largest management buyout in history to date, and remains a principal of Uniroyal Holdings, Inc.

 

Alvine says he began his work serving on more than two dozen for-profit boards of directors that primarily had a business focus. He is a life trustee and chair emeritus of the Jackson Laboratory, where he has led several Board of Governors’ Trustees committees and the Jax Mice and Services Committee for the past five years. He was chairman of the Board of Governors of the University of New Haven (UNH) for six years and remains on that board as chairman emeritus. At UNH, he founded the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science in 1998, which he continues to chair, and also founded the university’s Alvine Engineering Professional Effective Enrichment Program and the Alvine Business Professional Effective Enrichment Program.

 

It was at UNH that he met Henry C. Lee, chief emeritus of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven and former chief of the state’s crime lab in Meriden, with whom he became good friends.

 

“I’ve know Bob for many years,” says Lee. “Over the years he has made quite a contribution to our institute here, where he is chairman of the board. He developed a business plan for the institute and made a contribution to it. He is an excellent leader and someone who easily gets along with everybody.”

 

Lee, along with Alvine, formed what he calls “The 1938 Club,” which includes former UNH president and Third District congressman Lawrence J. DeNardis and former Pilot Pen CEO Ron Shaw — all of whom were born in 1938.

 

“Every year we get together — not to talk about business, but to share some of our life experiences,” says Lee, who still puts in 16 hours a day at the institute that bears his name. “I’ve learned so much from him. He genuinely cares about people and he cares about students. It’s been a wonderful experience working with him.”

 

“Since 1994, Bob Alvine has provided invaluable service to Long Wharf Theatre as a member of the Board of Trustees,” said Charles Kingsley, chairman of Long Wharf Theatre’s Board of Trustees. “First and foremost, he has served as chair of the board’s finance committee, helping us make tremendous improvements in our financial reporting and in our development of the budget. He was also a member of the search committee which recently hired LWT Managing Director Joshua Borenstein. Bob brings a very high level of expertise in both the business and not-for-profit arenas and we are so thankful for his contributions to our work. It is a pleasure working with him and this honor is much deserved.”

 

Alvine remains active with the Naval War College Foundation, is past chair of the board for the National Theater of the Deaf, and served on the board of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. He has served in one capacity or another on numerous business, civic, military and trade associations including the National Association of Corporate Directors, of which he was a charter member, the National Institute of Board Chairs, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association for Corporate Growth, the Naval Institute and the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology.

 

He is also a charter member of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. Most recently he served on the boards of Kaman Corp., EDO Corp. and the Public Commission on Government Waste established by President Ronald Reagan. He currently serves on the board of the state of Connecticut Life Sciences Group and is treasurer of Long Wharf Theatre, where he also serves as chair of the finance committee and is also a  member of the executive, human-resources and compensation committees.

 

Obviously not a person to let any grass grow under his feet, Alvine founded i-Ten Management Corp./i-Ten Capital in 1987, where he serves as chairman and CEO. With his son, Robert James, and his daughter, Laurie Anne, he founded several family-run businesses overseen by his son including Premier Subaru, Premier Kia and Premier Realty.

 

Alvine shares his advice with young people coming into their own. “Do well at what you love and what you’re doing in your line of business, because the better you do in what you know best, the more you will have proven yourself to have the knowledge and the capability to contribute,” he says. “In the process of doing well, and having the proper recognition for that, you’ll begin to understand where some interests lie within you that you may not have had a chance to pursue.”

 

Alvine advises that if one’s interests are in the not-for-profit sector, it should be in an area one enjoys.

 

“Because you want to make a difference,” he says. “It’s just like the philosophy that, whatever you love, you do well. And if you love a certain kind of business, as a consequence of that, you can offer your experience in that subject to others. It’s not just about writing checks. It’s saying that you’re willing to get involved somehow and then you go from that involvement to helping others.”

 

His own sweeping range of interests — science, engineering, medicine, education, music, theater, the arts and military affairs — have steered him toward the organizations that he helped found and with which he continues to be involved.

 

Alvine believes that the addition of the Jackson Laboratory to the University of Connecticut Medical Center in Farmington is one that will have a lasting impact on the state’s focus on biomedical and high-tech industries and bring many new jobs to the state.

 

“It’s a world-renowned institution that is absolutely remarkable, the most advanced lab in the world when it comes to research on genomes,” Alvine explains. “The lab mice they created are the model for doing all the research on genetics and are provided to over 12,500 labs throughout the world. And here we are, in Connecticut, launching the first major move toward personalized medicine. It has enormous implications. It will be a huge catalyst for the state in biomedical and high-tech areas.”

 

He views the current worldwide economic crisis as part of historical economic cyclical swings, but he considers this one to be different.

 

“We’ve had other recessions, but I think this is different in three ways,” Alvine asserts. “First, at no time before in our history was the world so connected. In the past, when one country got into [financial] trouble, it didn’t ripple down through other countries as it has this time. Because the connections are so significant, it’s hard to make a turnaround by curing just one country. We have to make the whole problem turn around at one time. Otherwise it will just keep pulling us all down.”

 

Alvine cites as a second issue the accelerated pace of business driven by furiously evolving technologies.

 

“It’s more difficult to put teeth into something and allow it to build, because it gets substituted for something else, it gets changed, and as a consequence, keeping up with every change is very difficult,” he notes. “And finally, the world political environment is in a different boat than it’s ever been in and the United States — still a world leader in many ways — has also lost a lot. Whether we can get that back, I’m not sure. We have to position ourselves on some real solid ground so that whatever happens in the future, we will have our own capabilities to protect ourselves.”

 

Alvine, who lives in Woodbridge, has enjoyed playing tennis and golf in the past but now plays piano, enjoys woodworking, theater and art, and likes to garden and travel, the latter with a focus on history.

 

“I love traveling but with a historical bent,” he says. “We’ve traveled to Italy three times now and just love to focus on the joy of seeing different things and different places in the world. Traveling is a continuous education.”

 

“I love music,” he says. “I played piano in Carnegie Hall, but over time I stopped it. One of the things I’ll do is get back to it.”

 

If he can find the time.

TD Bank has announced that Mark Crandall, the bank’s regional president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, will lead the bank’s local leadership team in Connecticut as well. TD Bank has 79 Nutmeg State branches, and Crandall will head their retail, consumer, commercial lending and government banking operations. A 30-year veteran of the banking industry, Crandall joined TD Bank in 1998. A Massachusetts resident, he serves on the board of the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation, on Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and is a director of the Massachusetts Bankers Association.

 

Nicholas (Niko) Yanouzas, CPA has been promoted to partner at the accounting firm of Whittlesey & Hadley, PC. Yanouzas has more than 20 years in public accounting including Big Four firm experience. He is a licensed CPA and a member of the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants  (CSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). He holds a BS in accounting from the University of Connecticut.

 

Todd Cassese, MD has joined the faculty of the Frank H. Netter, MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. He will oversee clinical skills taught to first- and second-year medical students, and is creating a curriculum that enables students to see patients all four years of med school. Previously Cassese was assistant professor of medicine at Yale University. He completed his residency at the University of California/San Francisco, holds a medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine and a BS in biology from Harvard College.

 

Environmental engineer Paul Jobmann has been named a senior associate at the environmental engineering firm of Legette, Brashears & Graham in its Shelton office. Jobmann is a licensed environmental professional and registered professional engineer in the state of Connecticut. He holds a master’s in environmental engineering science and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and environmental studies from the State University of New York/Buffalo.

 

First Niagara Bank has named Robert Dellatorre of Bethany senior relationship manager in its New England Middle Market Banking Group. He will manage the bank’s relationships with middle market companies located in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Dellatorre worked for JPMorgan Chase Bank since 1991, most recently as vice president of that firm’s Middle Market Banking Group.

 

Bethany marketing communications firm Mason Inc. has hired Danielle Geer of Stratford as a media planner. She will be responsible for media planning for Mason clients including Yale-New Haven Hospital, Hospital for Special Care and Acadia Insurance. Geer previously worked as a media planner for Touch Point Integrated Communications in Darien.



William B. Meyer, a logistics services business in Stratford, has named Thomas Holden to the company’s business development team. He will offer clients transportation and integrated warehousing and inventory control that provides accountability throughout the distribution lifecycle. For four years previously Holden was operations manager for Meyer logistics.



New Haven-based Start Community Bank has hired Margery E. Petterson of Guilford as vice president and commercial loan officer. Petterson, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a commercial lender, previously worked at U.S. Trust/Bank of America. Start Bank also has hired Kristin K. Clemens as a credit analyst. With 21 years of banking experience, Clemens was previously a credit analyst at Darien Rowayton Bank.

 

Deborah Wheelahan has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer at Naugatuck Savings Bank. Wheelahan began working for the bank in 1978, and has held positions from teller to executive vice president. She holds an executive master of business administration degree from Fairfield University and is a graduate of Americas Bankers Association’s National School of Banking. She is also a director of the United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls and the Naugatuck Rotary Club.

 

Joe Cafasso Jr. has joined Wareck D’Ostilio Rea Estate as a Realtor and IT manager. The Southern Connecticut State University alumnus has been a Realtor since 2004, when he joined William Orange Realty (which later became Coldwell Banker). Before that he worked in the IT departments at Sacred Heart University and the Yale Law School.

 

Naugatuck Savings Bank has named Lisa Behling branch manager of its Southington and Woodbury offices. Behling has 16 years of experience in banking, most recently as vice president and branch manager of Webster Bank in Southbury. An alumna of New England College, Behling is a member of the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce and Southbury Business Association.

 

Quinnipiac University has named Terri Johnson director of student affairs. Johnson will assist the vice president of academic and student affairs, with whom she will plan and execute major initiatives and departmental communications. The Lehigh University alumna was previously a clinical therapist, and taught seminar classes at Quinnipiac.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), a statewide education-reform advocacy group, has named Rae Ann Knopf its first executive director. Knopf is currently deputy commissioner of education transformation and innovation for the Vermont Department of Education.

 

The law firm of Carter Mario Injury Lawyers has hired attorneys Jerry McEnery, Robert Messey, MD/JD, and Gayle Sullivan. The trio will comprise the firm’s expanded Complex Litigation and Medical Malpractice Unit. Also joining the firm are Attorney’s Pamela Cameron and Joseph Rossetti, both of whom formerly worked with McEnery, Messey and Sullivan at their previous practice.

 

Weinstein & Anastasio, PC has promoted Kevin F. LaChapelle of Beacon Falls to partner. A 1996 graduate of the University of Connecticut, LaChapelle joined the Woodbridge accounting firm in 1999 and began focusing his practice concentration in financial reporting, audits and review/compilation of financial statements in the construction, manufacturing, and service industries. He is a member of the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Associated General Contractors of Connecticut and the Connecticut Construction Industries Association.

 

Thomas S. Santa, president and CEO of Santa Energy Corp. in Bridgeport, has been elected chairman of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), the state’s largest business group. He succeeds Ramona Carlow, AT&T's vice president of public policy & strategy. Donald R. Droppo Jr., president and CEO of Curtis Packaging, and James P. Torgerson, president and CEO of UIL Holdings Corp., were elected as vice-chairs.

New members of CBIA's board of directors, who serve four-year terms, include:

• Eric D. Albert, president, Albert Bros., Waterbury

• Kevin J. Cunningham, president, Bank of America/Connecticut, Hartford

Mary Kay Fenton, senior vice president and CFO, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, New Haven

Charles V. Firlotte, president and CEO, Aquarion Water Co., Bridgeport

Mary P. Fitzgerald, president, Acme Wire Products Co., Mystic

Joe Singh, executive vice president, PCC Technology LLC, Bloomfield

Craig L. Sylvester, president, Reid & Riege, PC, Hartford

Martha R. Temple, New England region president, Aetna, Hartford

• Jeffrey J. Tengel, senior executive vice president, commercial banking, People's United Bank, Bridgeport

Chris Ulbrich, chief operating officer, Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, North Haven

Richard H. Wheeler, president, Capewell Components Co. LLC, South Windsor.

Webster Bank has promoted Anthony Denniston from vice president of staffing to senior vice president, employee relations. Before joining Webster five years ago Denniston was director of employee relations and training at Mohegan Sun. He holds a bachelor’s from the University of New Haven and an MBA from Albertus Magnus College.

 

Webster has also promoted Jennifer Salera Hoynes of Stratford to senior vice president, brand management. A four-year Webster employee, the University of Virginia grad played a significant role in developing the bank’s “Type W Personality” campaign and sports marketing initiatives.

 

The board of directors of Fairfield-based Competitive Technologies Inc. has elected Rustin R. Howard chairman, effective immediately. He replaces William Reali, who resigned as chairman but remains a director. Howard is chairman of DeepGulf Inc. of Pensacola, Fla.

 

The New Haven law firm of Wiggin and Dana has promoted David B. Schaffer, a member of the firm’s Corporate Practice Department, to partner. Schaffer represents clients in corporate and commercial matters including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures and other strategic transactions, private equity and venture capital financings, entity formation and restructuring, securities law compliance and corporate governance. He earned a JD and MBA from Pepperdine University, and a BA from San Diego State University.

 

TD Bank has named Deborah J. Dannenbaum vice president, commercial loan officer in the bank’s Commercial Real Estate Group in Wilton. She is responsible for generating new commercial real estate loans for business clients in Fairfield and Westchester (N.Y.) counties. Dannenbaum previously was a vice president at Wells Fargo in New Jersey and Connecticut.

 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has named Mark Ojakian chief of staff in the governor’s office, effective January 9. Most recently deputy secretary of the Office of Policy & Management, Ojakian replaces departing Chief of Staff Tim Bannon. Before joining the administration last year, Ojakian was deputy comptroller under now-Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman for 16 years when she headed that office.

 

The law firm of Cohen and Wolf, PC has named  Rachel A. Pencu, Gary Phelan and Barbara M. Schellenberg principals of the firm. Pencu in the firm’s Family Law and Litigation Groups. She also serves as a Special Master, appointed by the Superior Court, to mediate divorce disputes in the judicial district of Bridgeport. Phelan is a member of the firm’s Employment & Labor and Litigation Groups. He represents employees and employers in age and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, employment contracts and severance negotiations. Schellenberg practices in the firm's Appellate, Land Use & Zoning, and Litigation Groups, representing clients in matters including administrative appeals, securities law, family law, probate law, commercial and contract law, foreclosures and other real property disputes.

 

The Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) has named New Havener Rachel Gretencord director of real estate. She will be responsible for managing CERC SiteFinder, Connecticut’s local source for commercial real estate and demographic data to help growing businesses analyze a potential investment. She also will conduct business development activities to promote Connecticut as a top business location, and act as a liaison between economic development professionals, corporate real estate executives, site selectors, commercial brokers and businesses. Gretencord holds a MA in international relations from Yale and a BA in economics from Valparaiso University.

 DeStefano charts economic agenda for his tenth term

 

Last month John DeStefano Jr. was elected to his tenth consecutive term as New Haven’s mayor after fending off an energetic challenge from independent Jeffrey Kerekes. BNH Publisher Mitchell Young interviewed Hizzoner about his economic-development agenda for the next two years.

 

Looking to 2012, what is the biggest challenge for the city going forward?

 

The persistent national recession and how it affects the incomes of families in the city.

 

Do you see any strategies that the city can use?

 

The strategy is to not rely on what may happen on the national economy. Our challenges and our opportunities rely on a core of biosciences as an economic base and by institutional employers taken together to generate a strong service economy. That’s been reflected in employment and jobs in the city and in terms of an incredibly high occupancy rate in rental housing in the city right now. And low commercial [vacancy] rates. Challenges going forward are going to relate to how do we better connect New Haven residents to these jobs.

 

New Haven had a far different profile in 1993 when you first entered office as mayor. Why were interested in running for a tenth term, and what do you see as your biggest piece of unfinished business?

 

School reform. The goal for school reform, academic achievement and college-going are related to our economic development and wealth creation.

The key element is talent, and the most powerful feature of that is the [2010] agreement with the AFT [American Federation of Teachers] and the School Administrators Association which implemented rigorous evaluation for our teachers and administrators. The agreement includes test scores in teacher evaluations. This has resulted in eliminating tenured teachers from the school district this year. And also resulted in a lot of poor teachers becoming good teachers and a lot of good teachers becoming great teachers.

Another feature of the contract has been incredible flexibility on work rules and hours and also a ‘portfolio’ approach to schools, which accompanies strong accountability measures. All schools are ranked in a very transparent fashion, by both absolute performance and relative performance. We’ve done turnaround schools where entire school staffs have had to reapply for their jobs and we’ve had the introduction of two contract operators into the district.

 

In many districts that have tried to implement some of these tactics, it has been very difficult politically. What made it easier in New Haven?

 

I think you had local union leadership that was committed to this. They had a strong and trusting relationship with the superintendent of schools [Reginald R. Mayo] who they knew well.  The approach was to work together. The key elements of collaboration, a portfolio approach and a strong college-going initiative in New Haven Promise [a Yale-funded college-tuition program]. We’re in Year 2. We showed progress in Year 1 and we’ll see it in Year 2. My concern, and when you ask me why I was interested in running again, it is to institutionalize the culture in a way that in Years 5, 6, 7 and 8 we’re still making the kinds of gains that our kids deserve.

 

There is great emphasis on getting a college degree, but college isn’t for everyone. We see in a company like Chabaso Bakery in New Haven a large number of ‘working people’ who are making personal progress. How do we support these other routes to personal success?

 

First of all, every student needs to know that if they do have a college degree, they’ll make more [money], they’re likely to live longer and they are going to have more choices in their lives and that those successes will enrich the whole community. That said, not everyone will go to college. But we have to create the kind of jobs that can be held by [workers in] service and the trades, and that is by promoting the core economic base in biosciences.

When you see low vacancy rates, that’s a good thing; when you see population growth for the first time in decades that’s a good thing. The demand for plumbers, for breadmakers, for lawyers and other service-sector jobs will grow.

The second thing we can do is to create a direct link to employers. You see that with the building trades initiative the city has undertaken, where we train hundreds of people to go into the building trades. We have the largest number of unionized construction workers in the state. There’s a reason: We planned it, trained for it — we created a pipeline. The certification programs at Gateway Community College provide [in some cases] less focus on a degree but on the ability to enable people to obtain work. We’re working on a collaboration with Gateway and the school district for a unified high school/college program in trades, where some college-level work in the trades is appropriate.

 

In an interview after the election you took personal responsibility for ‘dropping the ball’ on community policing, now you have a new chief in Dean Esserman and a revised strategy for community policing. But how effective can a policing strategy really be in dealing with demographics and more inmates being returned to the city.

 

I do accept responsibility for the fact that five years ago we had five homicides in the city [for 2006], a record modern low, and we have 31 today. That is heartbreaking. It is unacceptable and as a community including the mayor we all need to take ownership to resolve that.

At the end of the day this is a small community of offenders who are committing these gun crimes on each other. We’ve lost the ability to engage them both aggressively and by conveying the message this is not acceptable behavior. I think we’ve also lost some part of our relationship with the community, which is perhaps not a direct victim, but they’re victims in that their children and they are exposed to this violence. We haven’t done a sufficient amount to engage [the community] to make sure they feel they can interact with us.

 

New Haven does have a large reentry population of previous criminal offenders. Isn’t that the core issue?

 

At any given time there are [in the city] about 5,000 people on probation or some form of parole. That is not every person with a felony conviction. The demographics of where this crime is occurring is mid- to late 20s. It’s ex-felons and there are some organized groups — gangs or whatever. Most of these, while they may be involved with drugs, tend to involve respect issues or boy-girl issues.

 

Outside of New Haven and Hartford, we haven’t heard much discussion about this. The talk has been jobs and the economy. Has that emphasis taken up all the oxygen that might otherwise go to address issues such as crime and public safety? Are you getting the resources you need from the state, for example?

 

The city has had the largest grand list growth in percentage terms in the state in the last three years: $6 million in new revenue generated by economic development. The state budget was more than fair to New Haven in an environment where they were having to raise taxes and make cuts. If you look at the arbitration award for [school] custodians that came out earlier this week, it was largely the agreement that was reached with leadership of the union and rejected by membership. It was unprecedented; we go from 25 job descriptions to four. We are enabled now to bring in a substantial amount of contracted workforce to the schools. It resets our whole pension-fund model, eliminates COLAs [cost-of-living adjustments]; it eliminates retiree dependent health benefits. This contract will save us $4 million next year over what we’re spending now. That arbitration award wouldn’t have happened, but the union took significant leadership in helping shape it.

In a host of areas we’re taking incredible strides in what are very difficult times for a lot of families. I don’t think you can find any city in the state that can match our repertoire of education reform, economic growth and resetting of employer-employee relationships.

 

We see very little support in the business community for a lot of the state economic-development programs. What do you hear from business and community leaders?

 

I think the governor has taken dramatic steps forward from the positions of his two predecessors. Two examples; the reorganization of DEP and Energy to DEEP [the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and a commissioner, Dan Esty, who is well known to us in New Haven.  He has demonstrated already a commitment to quicker and more reasonable environmental rules. In Jim Redeker you have a transportation commissioner who deeply understands promoting along transit corridors and the promotion of [public] transit over just highways. I think DECD is organizing itself, hopefully to move away from doing one-offs on projects to clear program guidelines on how they will support clusters and do so on a consistent and not one-at-a-time basis.

 

It sounds like you are very positive toward the start of this administration?

 

Dan Malloy is the fifth governor I’ve had the chance to work with. I worked with Bill O’Neill when I was [city] development administrator in the 1980s.

It has been a long time since we’ve had this kind of understanding, of ‘Let’s not make it complicated; let’s recognize we can’t invest everywhere’ and to invest in areas that will leverage the most amount of growth and that [play] to Connecticut’s advantages.

 

Downtown New Haven has been a restaurant destination for some time, but now it appears to becoming a retail destination, punctuated by the opening of the Apple store and the Elm City Market. What has that taught you about where New Haven is?

 

It’s occurring because of [population] density. When I became mayor there was not a supermarket on lower Whalley let alone downtown. A lot more people live in downtown New Haven now. I think that has a lot to do with promoting the institutional growth at the [Yale] Med[ical] School, and the hospital and the commercial development off of that. It’s related to growing transit, Shore Line East. It began 15 years ago, but it didn’t exist on lower State Street. It is interesting that 360 State Street that has the supermarket is right across the street from a train station. It is also interesting that a building that got its certificate of occupancy in late August 2010 is virtually fully leased, without any erosion of occupancy of other rentals downtown. I think the retail is the result of efforts to successfully promote density in growth in our core job base and our core employers and to integrate mixed-use development.

If you look at the Front Street project in Hartford, opposite the convention center, they built a great project but the space remains empty two years later. We had our own experience with that in Ninth Square, which took a decade and a half to fill up, in large part due to insufficient demand. [Gateway] community college at the end of Church Street will be important for retail at that end of town and the development of 100 College Street. The [former Veterans Memorial] Coliseum site is critical for retail development as well.

 

You mentioned 360 State Street. There is a conflict with developer Bruce Becker over the property’s tax assessment. Are you concerned that this sends a bad signal to other potential developers?

 

I don’t determine [property] values; the assessor does. I’m concerned that value be fair. I just mailed 50,000 reval[uation] notices to city property owners. I’m not just concerned about 360 State; I’m concerned about every property owner’s value being fair. There are administrative and statutory remedies and 360 State has the opportunity to take advantage of them, and they are and it will be resolved. I don’t think it has any impact on any developers. Not one of the developers we deal with commercial or housing has mentioned that as a concern to us.

 

Where does the Coliseum site development and the other major nearby projects down stand?

 

I don’t have high expectations for that site near-term. Where I do have high expectations near-term is initiating demolition of Route 34 at the end of 2012. Hopefully by the end of the spring [2012] bringing 100 College Street, a commercial building, to host for-profit life and bioscience companies. I hope to work out with the state the expansion of Union Station, parking and remerchandising of it. I would like to have a deal sometime in the first quarter of 2012 on the redevelopment of Church Street South to give decent housing to those people who live there and ultimately replace that with a much more dense housing and mixed-use development. I think the Coliseum [site] will be good, but we’ll see.

One other thing [that has a] huge development dynamic is Science Park. To look at Science Park compared to just five years ago, it is extraordinary how it has changed. I think you’re going to continue to see an aggressive buildout of that whole Winchester complex.

 

 WTNH-TV has named Anne Craig to co-anchor the weekday Good Morning Connecticut. Previously a weekend morning anchor on the station, Craig will now be on air alongside the morning team of Chris Velardi, Gil Simmons and Teresa LaBarbera weekdays from 5-7 a.m. on WTNH and 7-8 a.m. on WCTX-TV. Craig joined WTNH as a reporter/anchor in September. She came to WTNH from WNYW-TV in New York, where she was an anchor/reporter. Before that she worked at a Fox station in Orlando, Fla. A graduate of Miami (O.) University, Craig continued her journalism studies at Stanford University.

 

William Raveis Mortgage has named Joshua Hollander vice president of sales & marketing, responsible for sales and marketing in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. A 17-year veteran of the financial services industry, he began his career as an investment-banking analyst for Morgan Stanley & Co., helped build a personal finance startup sold to Mellon Financial and most recently was general manager of Connecticut Home Mortgage. Hollander holds a BA in economics from Williams College.  

 

James O’Brien of Trumbull has joined Start Community Bank as assistant vice president and retail banking manager in the bank’s Whalley Avenue location. O’Brien’s banking career spans more than 33 years, most recently with Webster Bank, where he was an assistant vice president and also worked Webster’s retail compliance department.

 

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra has named Elaine C. Carroll of West Haven executive director. She has worked in not-for-profit management for 18 years, including as general manager of the Stamford Symphony and business manager of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale Summer School of Music. She holds a master’s of performing arts administration from NYU and a BA in flute performance from the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill.

 

The University of New Haven (UNH) College of Business has appointed of Professor Gil Fried the school’s new coordinator of internships and for-credit experiential education opportunities. Fried has been at UNH for 13 years, teaching primarily sport management and management-related classes, as well as helping to coordinate internships for undergraduate and graduate students.

 

Victoria Richards of North Haven has joined the faculty of the Frank H. Netter, MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University as an assistant professor of basic medical sciences. She will teach pharmacology to medical students when the charter class of the new school enrolls in 2013. She is also designing the curriculum. Richards comes to QU from the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, where she was an assistant professor of pharmacology.

 

Sean K. McElligott has been named a partner at the law firm of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, which has offices in New Haven, Bridgeport, Danbury and Stamford. A five-year veteran of the firm, McElligott previous practiced law at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP in New York. He holds a BA from Trinity College and a JD from the Yale Law School.

 

John Logan Brady of Wallingford received the Quinnipiac University School of Business’ Emerging Leader Award at Quinnipiac’s Business Leader Hall of Fame event on November 3 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. This award recognizes business students who demonstrate excellence both in and out of the classroom, including leadership roles on campus and/or significant community service. In addition, the business school inducted David M. Darst, managing director and chief investment strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and James W. McGlothlin, chairman & CEO of the United Company to its Business Leader Hall of Fame, which strives to recognize the best and brightest leaders who serve as inspirational figures for young people entering the world of business.

 

The Firefighters Federal Credit Union (FCU) of Waterbury has named Gregory Zeliff vice president of lending. Most recently he was assistant vice president and commercial loan officer with Thomaston Savings Bank

 

Stephen A. Toross, CPA has joined the Hartford accounting firm of Whittlesey & Hadley, PC as a partner in its tax department. He has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting with expertise across all facets of federal income tax laws and regulations surrounding corporations, partnerships and individuals.  His areas of concentration include real estate and construction, debt and equity financing arrangements, transaction structuring, strategic business planning, and tax planning services for closely-held businesses and high-net-worth individuals.

 

The Bridgeport architectural and interior design firm Antinozzi Associates has hired Michael Losasso as project manager. He is a registered Architect, a LEED accredited design professional and an active member of AIA Connecticut. He holds a BA in architecture and an environmental science degree from Ball State University. Antinozzi also hired Lindsay Sacco as marketing coordinator and Ryan Buell as job captain.