Name: Debbie Proffitt
Company: PURVIS Systems Incorporated
Job Title: Vice President, Defense Division
Q. What was your primary motivation for becoming a member of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce?
A. I grew up in and have worked in Newport County for a major part of my career. We all spend so much of our time in the communities in which we work and it was important for me to do something to give back to this community. I also wanted to support the promotion of the businesses and industries in this region and contribute to ensuring it remains a great community to work in. I also wanted to provide a bridge to and representation for the defense industry in this region.
Q. What do you find most interesting about your business or industry?
A. What I find most interesting about the defense industry is that it seems to be a hidden gem that so many Rhode Islanders don’t know about or understand. Even though it is in their backyard many local high school students think you have to join the military to work in the industry and they don’t have an understanding of the available careers in the industry. It is an innovative and high-tech sector that contributes to economic growth, generates high-paying jobs, and has been resilient despite economic downturns.
The defense industry is 7.6% of RI GDP with a 4.3 billion dollar impact. It is 6.2% of RI’s total employment, approximately 30,000 jobs. And for every 100 RI defense jobs, 119 community jobs are supported. It is the highest RI wage sector with an average salary of $70,000 for private industry and $92,000 public.
Q. How has your membership with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce helped to advance your business or industry?
A. Our membership in the Newport County Chamber has provided the opportunity to network with other defense companies as well as other industries in the region. PURVIS is a small business working in both defense, the US Navy and public safety, our nations Fire Departments. The skills we apply in these industries are transferable to other sectors so networking is a valuable asset. The Chamber has also been a valuable resource for information on many topics including legislation impacting businesses.
Q. What is your favorite Newport County Chamber of Commerce event or program?
A. My favorite Newport County Chamber events are the Economic Updates and the Politics and Pancakes events. Together these events not only provide networking opportunities, they also provide updates and insights into the economy and opportunities to speak with government officials and leaders. The Politics and Pancakes events are dedicated to bringing government officials and leaders to Newport County to discuss issues impacting the business community.
Q. What do you hope to bring to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as a Board Member?
A. With the changes in our economy and the emergence of strong industry organizations in the region in my role as chair for the Strategic Planning committee I hope to support the Chamber with the long range plan to meet the needs of the region and the business community.
Welcome to Q&A with CommerceRI, information that CommerceRI sends us monthly to share with our members. The goal is to answer questions about programs, services or resources that exist for your business. The Q&A will also address concerns you may have regarding the process of “doing business in RI” and inform you of any news you may find useful.
Q. How do RI businesses find relevant bid opportunities in the public sector in an efficient manner and in time to respond?
A. All federal agencies, state governments, and many local municipal governments post bid opportunities electronically. There are hundreds of postings that list announcements of solicitations, awards, sources sought, requests for information, and other opportunities and regulatory and event notices on a daily basis.
RI PTAC provides a BidMatch Program that is so much more than a bundle of software codes. It’s an entire service and dedicated bid match team devoted to helping PTACs find, filter, and deliver bid opportunities to your desktop. Working with a PTAC counselor, you can design a search profile specific to the needs of your business and modify it to keep up with the changes in your market. The BidMatch Program works to ensure that you receive only those bid opportunities suitable for your business, and your PTAC counselor plays a very active role in writing search profiles, including keywords, phrases, and product codes (e.g. PSCs, FSCs, NSNs, SICs NAICS) that best describe your business.
Q. Are there any services are available to assist businesses interested in becoming certified to bid on municipal, state or government contracts?
A. The Rhode Island Procurement and Technical Assistance Program (RI PTAC) provides a variety of contracting technical assistance services to Rhode Island based businesses of all sizes to help them to navigate the complexities of contracting with federal agencies, state purchasing departments, and local government municipalities
Q. How does the PTAC assistance program work?
A. Each new client will meet with an assigned counselor for an Initial Counseling Session which will include an explanation of the program’s services, a determination of your company’s readiness for government contracting, and a plan to design a government market strategy. You will be able to meet individually with your counselor as often as you need either face-to-face, by phone or email. RI PTAC counselors are experienced in government contracting and receive ongoing training enabling them to be on the cutting edge of ever-evolving government acquisition policies and procedures.
Q. What type of assistance can I expect from working with a PTAC Counselor?
A. From pre-solicitation preparation, bid submittal, to award and contract performance, RI PTAC is here to assist you in with:
Also, throughout the year RI PTAC presents informative, relevant training workshops geared to all levels of industry from new clients just getting started in government contracting, to seasoned suppliers entering new facets of the government supply chain.
Q. How do I get in touch with a PTAC counselor to learn more?
A. For more information, please visit riptac.org.
315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, RI 02908
(P) 401-278-9100 (F) 401-273-8270
Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) Information Session
Please RSVP to our next meeting on Thursday, November 9th at Foodworks Providence, RI https://www.eventbrite.com/e/commerce-ri-info-session-for-small-business-assistance-program-tickets-38669601820
Tours of this new facility will be available after the panel session
Have a question you would like answered? Email Liz Tanner at email@example.com.
2017 Legislative Bill Update
On September 19th, the House and Senate met to address a number of the outstanding issues of the 2017 legislative session. Since that time, the legislature has been transmitting bills to Governor Raimondo for her consideration on a weekly basis. This is a normal process meant to provide the Governor with ample time to decide whether to sign, veto or allow a bill to become law without her signature, in an orderly, thoughtful fashion. Now that most of the bills of interest to the Chamber have reached a conclusion, Under the Dome is pleased to provide you with a wrap up of new laws. Keep in mind that both the House and Senate only “recessed” leaving open an opportunity to return and address any piece of legislation filed this year should both branches decide to do so.
Bills of Interest Signed by the Governor
S.290 SubB and H.5413 Sub Bas amended – The paid leave bills were passed by both the House and Senate and were signed into law 9/27. The Chamber provided a summary to you in a special edition of Under the Dome when the bills passed in September. As was pointed out at that time, the law still requires a number of issues to be flushed out in regulations before businesses can actually attempt to comply. The Department of Labor will be holding public meetings in the weeks to come to take comments from all of the stakeholders. Some of the items to be addressed include: how to determine if a company has 18 employees or more, which businesses are required to carryover unused time accrued, what happens if an employee calls out sick and then the potential replacement employee declines to come to work for a reason covered under the paid leave law? The Chamber will be providing further information to you as the regulations are drafted. Keep in mind that the new law goes into effect July 1, 2018!
S.175 SubA and H.5182 – Prohibits the use of a non-hands-free personal wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, except for public safety personnel or in an emergency situation. A person may touch the hand held devise to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of a telephone. A violation of the new law can result in a fine up to one hundred dollars ($100) “except that the fine shall be suspended for a first time violator, who provides proof of acquisition of a hands-free accessory subsequent to the violation, but prior to the imposition of a fine.” The bills were signed by the Governor on 7/10 and 9/27 respectively. The new law will go into effect 6/1/18.
S.342 SubB as amended and H.2245 SubB as amended – were signed by the Governor 9/27. The bills create the "Small Cell Siting Act", which specifies how local authorities may regulate the collocation of small wireless facilities and small wireless facility networks. The new law seeks to position Rhode Island to deploy new wireless telecommunications technology to handle increased cell traffic and 5G technology. Small cell base stations are set to play an important role in expanding the capacity of wireless networks; and no state has – as of yet – deployed the technology on a large scale. These cells provide flexibility at less cost. Small cells can be placed on existing poles, street lights, etc. However, carriers need to install many small cells to communicate with each other. S.342 and H.5944 encourage the installation of small cells by creating a consistent siting process across municipalities.
H.6305 and S.108 as amended – This new law directs the climate change coordinating council to study a carbon pricing program. The plan must include a study of the effectiveness of the state and/or multi-state carbon pricing program to incentivize institutions and industry to reduce carbon emissions, the effectiveness of allocating revenues generated from a carbon pricing program to fund enhanced incentives to institutions and industry for targeted efficiency measures; projected emissions reductions, economic impact to businesses, and any economic benefits to Rhode Island as well as impacts to the state's economic competitiveness if the program were implemented. The bills were signed by the Governor 7/18 and 7/19. The Chamber will be following this study closely.
S.350 SubB and H.5932 SubA as amended – were signed by the Governor on 7/5 and 9/27 respectively. The new law bars employers from deducting from any employee’s wages, amounts for “spoilage or breakage, shortages or losses, and fines or penalties for tardiness, misconduct or quitting.” Federal law already prohibits deducting from wages for these items from many employees. The original version of S.350 would have barred the deduction of any amount of wages unless specifically allowed under federal or state law. The original language would have barred the deduction for health insurance premiums, gym memberships, charitable deductions, etc. unless the employee agreed to it in writing. The bills were amended at the very end of the session which was a positive result for the business community.
H.6308 and S.777 – These acts require that an automated external defibrillator (AED) and a qualified person to administer an AED be available at all public places capable of holding three hundred (300) people or more. The statute defines "public place" as “an enclosed area capable of holding three hundred (300) people or more and to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted, including, but not limited to, banks, bars, educational facilities, health care facilities, laundromats, public transportation facilities, reception areas, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, retail service establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, government offices, theaters, and waiting rooms. A private residence is not a "public place" unless it is used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility.” The bills were signed into law 10/5 and became effective immediately.
Law Effective Without the Governor’s Signature
H.5623 SubAaa and S.373 SubA – This new law requires that any applicant or holder of a retail license for the sale of alcoholic beverages (excluding Class F or those covered under RIGL 3-7-27) be required to file a certificate of insurance evidencing liability insurance coverage at a minimum amount of $300,000. Failure to maintain insurance as required shall result in a revocation of the retail license unless the holder of the license reinstates insurance coverage within 48 hours of notice of revocation. The law became effective August 1, 2017 and applies to new license applications as well as license renewals.
Governor Raimondo vetoed a few bills during the legislative session. The House and Senate can come back into session to override those vetoes, thus allowing the bills to become law over the objections of the Governor. To override a veto, 2/3 of the members of the House and of the Senate must vote in favor of the override. The following bills of interest were vetoed by the Governor:
H.5593 SubA - This act would have required that the contractual provisions contained in an expired collective bargaining agreement with certified school teachers and municipal employees would continue until a successor agreement has been reached between the parties. The Governor vetoed the bill 7/19.
S.772 SubA – This bill would have created a work disabling presumption for any firefighter who passed a physical examination upon entry into service and who later contracts disabling hypertension, stroke, or heart disease. Firefighters who are disabled due to a work injury receive their disability pensions - a percentage of their pay - and are not required to pay taxes on the income. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner expressed concerns over the potential financial liability to the pension funds should this law pass. The Governor Vetoed this bill 9/27.
The Pell Center panel discussion on “Connecting the Boardroom to the Server Room – Current Issues and Practical Guidance” will take place next Wednesday, October 11th, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. The event will be preceded by a networking breakfast at 8:30 a.m. (The event was rescheduled from September 20th.)
This event, part of the ongoing Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative (RICCI), will include a seminar and a panel discussion led by IBM industry leader, Mr. David Jarvis, and will focus on the expanding array of responsibilities that security leaders, C-suites, and boards will have to take on in an age of persistent cyber threat.
David will discuss current trends and threats in cyberspace and the challenges and emerging security issues that senior leaders are struggling with. The seminar will also address some of the lessons-learned from the Cybersecurity and Healthcare Sector tabletop exercise hosted by the Pell Center in May 2017, and explore innovative approaches to improving cybersecurity best practice and developing strong relations between boards of directors and security leaders.
The seminar will be followed by a moderated conversation with senior leaders from Lifespan on how good internal relationships can enable organizations to better prevent, respond to, and recover from incidents, and help mitigate cyber-risks.
David Jarvis - IBM, IBM Institute for Business Value Security and CIO Leader
Cedric Priebe, MD - Lifespan Corporation, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Alan Litwin - Lifespan Corporation, Vice-chair of the Board of Directors and Finance Committee Chair
518 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
This is an invitation-only event so participants must be confirmed in advance. Please RSVP by Tuesday, October 10, 2017
We are excited to announce that our 2017 Board of Directors has officially been instated. To help members learn more about our Board, we have added a new component to our monthly e-newsletter. Our “5 Questions with the Board” feature will profile a different Board member each month!
This month, we welcome and introduce our Board member, Brad Cherevaty! Brad is the Owner of The Fifth Element.
1. What was your primary motivation for becoming a member of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce?
Initiallly, I was always taught to be a conscientious business owner and join community groups. My father drilled it into my head as a child as he always owned his own business.
2. What do you find most interesting about your business or industry?
One of my favorite things about the restaurant business is how fluid it is. It is constantly changing whether it be trends over months or years or guests over the course of the night.
3. How has your membership with the Newport County Chamber of Commerce helped to advance your business or industry?
KNOWLEDGE - There are so many resources at the Chamber for small businesses. There are so many opportunities to learn through the contacts that I've made or the meetings that I attend. I am able to stay very current.
4. What is your favorite Newport County Chamber of Commerce event or program?
I always look forward to the Annual Fundraiser at Rosecliff and the annual golf tournament.
5. What do you hope to bring to the Newport County Chamber of Commerce as a Board Member in 2017?
I hope to continue to bring awareness of the benefits of the organization to fellow business people who are not yet members of the benefits and continue to help those that are members successfully utilize the resources at hand.