Karyn Polito: State, SouthCoast working to ‘unleash’ region’s potential

Behind the Counter: Hippo is where unique meets hip meets art

City’s art museum hires UMD grad as new executive director

Nov 6, 2017 at 9:12 PM

Ashley Occhino, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth graduate, has been named as the new executive director of the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, officials announced Monday.

“I’ve always found myself coming back to New Bedford again and again. There’s such a rich art community there,” said Occhino, who is in her mid 30s. She’s from Attleboro and lives in Taunton.

Occhino has served as the manager of studio class programs at the Worcester Art Museum since 2014.

Occhino is set to take the helm Nov. 27. Her leadership follows retirement of Noelle Foye who shepherded the merger between the New Bedford Art Museum and ArtWorks! which occurred in 2014 and directed the combined organization. Under Foye’s guidance, exhibitions and educational programs grew while collaborations with other institutions expanded, according to a news release from the museum.

“Noelle Foye’s leadership positioned the art museum to be central to the community and that strength has allowed us to attract such a new talented leader,” said Lee Heald, director of AHA! and a member of the museum’s board and search committee for a new executive director. “We expect that Ashley will continue our strong support of community expression in the arts as well as support for excellence and achievement in the local arts community.”

Heald also said Occhino has a lot of enthusiasm and will bring a fresh perspective to the city.

“New Bedford holds a very special place in my heart and it’s through my times at UMass Dartmouth that I really learned about the city,” Occhino said.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts and has an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. She was one of the first classes to experience the Star Store in New Bedford, part of her thesis involved displaying work at ArtWorks! and she’s also taught art classes there, she said.

At the Worcester Art Museum, Occhino said she was in charge of developing programming, managing staff and working with community partners. Also, an education wing with dedicated exhibition space fell under her purview. The museum has an intensive education program with more than 100 classes each season, Occhino said.

She’s previously held leadership positions at Danforth Art in Framingham and the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, each time serving in education departments.

“I really just want to embrace the idea of a community museum,” Occhino said. She praised Foye for being successful with the merger, adding “I’m really honored to be following in her footsteps.”

“We are excited the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! has hired Ashley Occhino as the museum’s new Executive Director. The NB Art Museum/Artworks! is ideal for arts travelers and invigorates the community. Ashley is familiar with the arts & culture landscape in New Bedford as well as her years of experience and passion for the arts, we look forward to working with her,” said Dagny Ashley, the city’s director of tourism and marketing, in a statement.

Jamie Uretsky, curator at NBAM/ArtWorks! said she looks forward to removing her hat as acting director.

“I’ve only heard good things about Ashley,” Uretsky said. “It’s going to be nice to have her energy in the space.”

Follow Aimee Chiavaroli on Twitter @AimeeC_SCT

Original Story Here

 

 

New Bedford retains title of highest valued port for 17th-straight year

While Tom Brady and the Patriots work toward two consecutive championships, the Port of New Bedford achieved its 17th straight.

No other port in the United States brought in more revenue in 2016 than New Bedford’s $327 million, NOAA announced Wednesday. Dutch Harbor, Alaska, finished second with $198 million.

New Bedford’s commercial fishermen landed 107 million pounds, which ranked 11th in the country and 663 million pounds fewer than Dutch Harbor. Still, New Bedford held the crown for the most valuable port in the country by nearly $130 million.

In context, Dutch Harbor and Empire-Venice, Louisiana, which ranked second and third respectively, in terms of value, combined wouldn’t equal New Bedford.

In 2016, the Port of New Bedford landed 17 million fewer pounds than 2015, however, the value of the landings increased by $5 million.

The port landed the most catch in Massachusetts, too. Gloucester ranked 15th nationally and second in the state with 63 million pounds, which led to $52 million, 18th in the country.

Provincetown-Chatham ranked 29th in the country landing 27 million pounds, which equated to $33 million, 33rd in the country.

Massachusetts held the third highest value in the country behind Alaska (caught by far most volume at 5.6 billion pounds) and Maine (caught 83 percent of the country’s lobster, the most profitable catch in 2016). Of the Bay State’s $552.2 million, New Bedford accounted for nearly 60 percent of that total. The value of the landings in the state increased by more than $27 million from 2015.

Massachusetts led the country in landing 19.8 million pounds of surf clams and 22.9 million pounds of scallops.

The price of scallops dropped 26 cents to $12 per pound from 2015 to 2016.

The state landed the second most Ocean Quahog (12.2 million pounds), soft clams (669,000 pounds) and lobster (17.7 million pounds).

Despite the increase in value from 2015, the state still saw the the number of processing and wholesale facilities decrease by two to 50. However, the number of overall employees at those facilities in the state only dropped by six.

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.

Original Story Here:

Bay State Wind opens downtown New Bedford office in wind power bid

New Bedford makes its pitch to impress, attract Amazon

Calling New Bedford “a city unlike any other” with its proud past and bright future, officials submitted a 40-page proposal to Amazon, as the e-commerce giant seeks a location to construct a second world headquarters.

While the state included New Bedford as one of 26 Massachusetts communities in its formal proposal to Amazon, the city also independently submitted its pitch to build the headquarters on property at the municipal golf course on Hathaway Road.

The prize is huge: a million square foot facility and 50,000 well-paying jobs — enough to transform the economy of wherever Amazon decides to place it.

“New Bedford’s come a long way in the last few years,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “And we’ve reached a point where we can — with a straight face — make this kind of pitch to the likes of Amazon. It’s not to say we’re the odds on favorite, but we can make a play for this with credibility.”

It was in May that the city teamed up with Mass Development to divide the golf course property and create a 1.3 million square foot commercial development that would bring an estimated 1,000 jobs, well short of what Amazon expects to create. The rest of the land would become a nine-hole golf course; the course currently has 18 holes.

In June, Jay Ash, the state’s housing and economic development secretary, visited the course and called it a “no-brainer” for economic development because it’s one of the few greenfields left in the state.

Ash declared that there are only two other sites with the potential that New Bedford’s has, given the easy access to highways, rail and an airport: a former Naval air base in Weymouth and vacant space across from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Both are included with the state’s bid.

In its proposal, the state writes that the New Bedford site has the potential for a 9.5 million-square-foot build-out. It also notes the site is 18 miles from the Middleboro Line for the MBTA, 58 miles from Logan International Airport and 37 miles from TF Green airport.

 “The historic city of New Bedford is the SouthCoast’s hot spot for dining and the arts, while retaining its authentic character as the nation’s largest fishing port,” the state wrote in its bid.

In the city’s bid, New Bedford is touted as a home to a “hard-working, innovative, entrepreneurial and creative” work force.

“As a city of immigrants, we have drawn from the best that the world offers. As a city of ideas, New Bedford is the place where you can walk the same streets as Herman Melville and Frederick Douglass,” the bid reads.

“As a city of culture, New Bedford is the place where you can have a great seat to Yo-Yo Ma, the B-52s and a Bob Woodward lecture. And as a city of innovation, we transformed the whaling industry and are leaders in establishing the first American port to incorporate the offshore wind industry into the mix with fishing and cargo.”

Rick Kidder, president and CEO of the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce, sounded calm and confident Friday that the city’s application could be a winner.

“Having been around the world of corporate relocations I have never seen a process like Amazon is going through,” he told The Standard-Times.

Kidder said there is much here to offer. “I believe we have things going for us,” including the use of the golf course land, transportation routes including an airport, quality of life and reasonable housing.

The application included a reference to Entrepreneurship For All, a group that helps SouthCoast startups and entrepreneurs. The document lists it as a “innovation asset,” noting that “Seventy-three percent of E4All’s startups are headed by women, 57 percent by minorities and 52 percent by immigrants.”

Shelley Cardoos, executive director of EforAll SouthCoast, said Friday she had not heard that her organization was hailed in the Amazon application.

But she said she was happy to know that EforAll, just two years old in SouthCoast, had made an impression worth mentioning. “I’m glad our efforts and impact are being recognized for creating jobs and dollars,” she said.

The city also touted the lower cost of housing along with access to schools and recreational opportunities in this area.

In August, the median sale price for a home in the state was $372,500, while it was $200,000 in New Bedford. The city also boasts historic neighborhoods that provide “a variety of housing types,” the proposal said.

The proposal also notes:

“New Bedford High School offers academy learning, featuring engineering and finance, and it offers 19 Advanced Placement courses. The high school also has a history of graduates attending elite universities.”

“The city’s first open space was created in the 1860s, and the city hasn’t stopped — 6 parks, 24 neighborhood parks, more than 12 miles of trails and bikeways, 26 acres of beaches, etc.”

New Bedford officials also outlined to Amazon the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) program, which supplies exclusive breaks for coming to a Gateway City, and the “unique tax abatement” of a foreign trade zone.

In addition to New Bedford, others in the area making a pitch to Amazon include Fall River and Taunton. Fall River has 501 acres available with its Riverfront Park and SouthCoast Life Science & Technology Park. Taunton has 146 acres at the Silver City Galleria Mall.

READ NEW BEDFORD’S COMPLETE PITCH FOR AMAZON’S HQ2

 

 

 

US’ most valuable fishing port seeks $15m grant, wants to get bigger

By  Oct. 16, 2017 16:52 BST

Ed Anthes-Washburn wants to make what is already the United States’ most valuable commercial fishing port even larger.

For the second consecutive year the director of the Port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, has submitted an application for a grant from the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to add 600-feet of bulkhead and dredge areas that are now unusable at only three- to four-feet deep.

The changes, which would increase depths in those areas to 18- to 30-feet, would grow the number of berthing areas, allowing the port to expand from about 300 fishing vessels to more than 360. It would invite fishing companies that currently operate outside of New Bedford to make it their new base of operation or to simply offload there, and harvesters already using the port could overcome some frustrations and even grow their fleets, Anthes-Washburn told Undercurrent News.

“There are a minimum of three boats [rafted next to each other] at every dock, and in some cases there are five,” Michael Quinn, operations manager for Quinn Fisheries, said of the crowded situation in New Bedford. “When you have to climb across five boats, it takes all day to get [a boat] out.”

Quinn believes his family’s scallop fishing operation, which keeps six vessels at the port, would benefit by as much as $160,000 per year by the reduced costs and added efficiencies and revenue that could be created.

Having expanded dock space would allow Quinn Fisheries and others to bring in mobile cranes to load and unload, he said. Excess dock space also could be rented to a number of other vessel owners who are clamoring to get in.

Additionally, the changes – which also would include the expansion of roadways and connections to rail lines — would eliminate congestion and allow for direct vessel to truck and rail transfers of fresh seafood, Anthes-Washburn said.

‘It’s like getting into Harvard’

The Port of New Bedford is seeking $15 million from TIGER, which it is prepared to match with funds from the state. The deadline for applications was Monday, and Anthes-Washburn knows DOT has a pile of them.

Last year DOT chose only 40 of the 585 TIGER grant applications it received.

“It’s a very competitive process,” Anthes-Washburn said of the TIGER grant contest, comparing the chances to a graduating high school student being accepted by an elite university known to all Massachusetts residents.

“It’s like getting into Harvard,” he said.

The TIGER program has awarded $5.1 billion for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure since it was created in 2009 by one of several anti-recession stimulus packages, according to DOT. Congress has made $500m available for such grants in the 2017 fiscal budget, on par with last year’s awards and close to the amount typically set aside.

The US Senate included the money in the $1 trillion omnibus funding bill it approved by a 79-18 vote back in May. The US House earlier had passed the bill by a 309-118 vote.

President Donald Trump has made a point of calling for spending more on infrastructure and, upon passage, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) praised the funding continuation, saying TIGER was a “vital” program “that has done so much for infrastructure, road building, and highways throughout my state and throughout America.”

“[T]he dearest place to live”

To say New Bedford is a storied fishing port is an understatement.

The city now populated by 95,000 souls registered on the US fishing map way back in 1767 when it launched the colonies’ first whaling vessel, the Dartmouth. By 1847 New Bedford was the United States’ preeminent whaling port and, not longer after, it helped inspire Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. The boulevard that trucks use to haul fish from the port bears the author’s name.

“The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England,” wrote Melville in his famous tale.

But today sea scallops are the name of the game in New Bedford, not whales, accounting for roughly 80% of the $322m worth of seafood (140m pounds) that came into the port in 2015, according to the most recently available data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At the height of the season, 500,000 lbs of scallop meat will cross the docks in a single day, the city brags.

By contrast, the nation’s second-most valuable fishing port is Dutch Harbor, in Alaska, according to NOAA data. It accounted for 514m lbs of landings in 2015 — more than New Bedford – but its haul was worth far less, $218m.

Groundfish, which include cod and haddock among 19 different species, traditionally have been big, too, in New Bedford. But thanks to restrictions intended to preserve cod, in particular, these species now account for only 7% of the landings value. The port also brings in its share of lobster, Jonah crab and surf clams, Anthes-Washburn is quick to note.

And none of that counts the estimated 250mlbs of imported seafood handled by the roughly 39 processors and wholesalers in the city, including scallop giants Eastern Fisheries, which employs 250 there and keeps about 25 vessels at the port.

The other big fleet owners, according to Anthes Washburn: Oceans Fleet Fisheries berths about 22 vessels in New Bedford, including both scalloping and lobster boats; Atlantic Red Crab has six boats; Sea Watch International has five clammers; and Blue Harvest Fisheries has 15 scallopers and other boats.

Combined, the port is credited for creating 36,578 jobs in the area, including 6,225 directly employed at the port. The port itself, which maintains a budget of $2.3m, employs just 23, including 10 seasonal workers, according to Anthes-Washburn.

Though another 60 vessels would add 7m lbs of additional landings every year and 898 new and permanent jobs to that overall picture, according to an economic impact study performed for the city in 2016. It would generate $65.1m in annual wages and local consumption, spurring private investment and economic development.

The selection criteria remain fundamentally the same as previous rounds of the TIGER grants program, DOT has advised. Also, as before, each grant must be at least $5m and no greater than $25m, but available through September 2020. No state can receive more than $50m of TIGER money in any given year.

But the description of each criterion has been updated by the administration. The agency said this year that “special consideration” is to be given to projects that, among other things “promote regional connectivity, or facilitate economic growth or competitiveness.”

It’s something New Bedford’s application promises to deliver in spades.

 ‘[G]oing about their business’

New Bedford could use a lift following the recent scandal surrounding its biggest fishing operation.

Carlos Rafael, the so-called Codfather of New England fishing, pleaded guilty in March to deliberating misreporting more than 815,000 lbs of fish over a four-year period.

He was sentenced in late September to serve 46 months in prison and is in the midst of trying to sell his business, which includes a combined fleet of 42 vessels, to the owners of a local fishing auction for $93m.

Rafael is a major scallop harvester and his boats are estimated to account for 75% of the area’s groundfish by value.

The case has been a bothersome distraction for the port but, for the most part, New Bedford’s fishermen “are going about their business,” Anthes-Washburn said.

“There are still big questions that have to be answered,” he said. “There are people who didn’t do anything wrong and we want to make sure they don’t get wrapped up into this. It remains to be seen what happens with the permits, including the ones that weren’t implicated in anything. So, it’s a wait and see.”

It’s not the first time the Port of New Bedford has dealt with adversity.

In late August 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the city with waves of more than 14 feet, destroying more than 4,000 homes, 3,500 automobiles and 3,000 boats across Southern New England, according to the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. It was the costliest natural disaster in US history before Hurricane Diane hit North Carolina the following year.

During a trip with Undercurrent around the New Bedford Harbor in his patrol boat, a Boston Whaler, Anthes-Washburn pointed to the large hurricane protection barrier built in 1966 at a cost of nearly $19m, it was a response to the damage caused by Carol and continues to offer much comfort to the community.

Another problem the harbor has had to contend with in recent times is the tons of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were dumped in the water by local manufacturers between the 1930s and 1970s. In 1998, the harbor was designated a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency, giving it the ability to dredge to remove contaminated material.

Much of the cleanup work is done. But winning the TIGER grant would allow the port to finish a final phase of this job, removing an estimated 250,000 cubic yards of PCB and heavy-metal impacted sediment that are outside EPA’s purview, Washburn said.

Once completed, private waterfront businesses would be able to “complete routine maintenance dredging of clean material on their own in a simple and affordable way,” he said.

A different political climate

It’s not unusual for ports to win DOT TIGER grants. In 2015, the US ports of Baltimore (Maryland), Newport (Virginia), Indiana (Indiana), Hueneme (California) and San Diego (California) received a combined $44.3m to boost infrastructure, roughly 9% of the total funding that year.

Four of last year’s winners also received money to fix up ports, including the Port of Everett, in Washington state, which was granted $10m to help it strengthen more than 500 feet of dock and create “a modern berth area,” according to a DOT recap of the awards.

A $5m TIGER grant given to the International Maine Terminal, in Portland, in 2009, allowed it to attract the North American headquarters of Eimskip, an Icelandic shipping company, and was the tipping point needed to attract another $45m in funds, as chronicled in a video by the American State Highways and Transportation Officials.

As for its TIGER grant application, New Bedford hopes to get a good word in Washington this time from several top lawmakers, including Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Rep. Bill Keating, who presides over the 9th district that includes New Bedford.

Keating has confirmed his support of the program, telling Undercurrent in an email:  “The great economic advantages that would come from this new infrastructure will translate into jobs, community revitalization, local economic benefits, and a larger, reinvigorated fishing industry.”

Mark Montigny, the Democratic lawmaker who represents New Bedford in the Massachusetts Senate, wrote Transportation secretary Elaine Chao last week to ask for her support. He’s worked to secure more than $60m in state funding authorizations to help with the project, much of which is contingent on federal assistance, he noted.

Jon Mitchell, New Bedford’s mayor since 2012, can also be expected to fight for the grant. Born into a fishing family, his grandfather, Alexander Mitchell, is among the names of fishermen lost at sea inscribed at the Seaman’s Bethel, the church used as a model in Melville’s book.

“To this city, seafood is the biggest industry. This is the center of the commercial fishing industry on the East Coast,” Mitchell told Undercurrent during a visit to his office.

The political climate on Capitol Hill is a bit different than it was a year ago, as purse strings continue to tighten and the Trump administration seeks to differentiate itself from its predecessor, Anthes-Washburn observed. His new application, as a result, puts more emphasis on public private partnerships, he said.

TIGER grants have historically achieved an average co-investment of 3.6 dollars for every federal dollar spent, DOT observes on its website.

Quinn, for one, is hopeful.

“We’re the number one fishing port in the country,” he said. “We shouldn’t have to worry about dock space.”

Contact the author jason.huffman@undercurrentnews.com

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New Bedford’s Joseph Abboud perfectly suited for NBA sidelines

When the NBA regular season kicks off Tuesday night, Kyrie Irving will sit in the visitor’s locker room in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and lace up his personalized Nike sneakers for his debut with the Celtics. In the home locker room, LeBron James will have an array of footwear options within his signature shoe line.

Later that night, across the country in San Francisco, the Warriors’ Steph Curry will tie the laces of his signature shoe with Under Armor. Houston’s James Harden will feature his shoe with Adidas. All will don jerseys with their named emblazoned across the shoulders.

The coaches in each contest, meanwhile, from Brad Stevens to Steve Kerr, have their own uniform for the game —a dapper suit, custom made and tailored for them in a style of their choosing. Their names are elegantly embroidered inside the lapels.

All those suits share a common thread: New Bedford.

For the last eight years, every suit worn by an NBA coach in a game, whether played in Boston or Los Angeles, San Antonio or Minneapolis, was tailored at Joseph Abboud on Belleville Avenue.

When coach Doc Rivers walked off the court in 2010 after his Celtics lost in the NBA Finals, he wore a suit tailored in New Bedford. When Brad Stevens took over as head coach in 2013, fabric from Belleville Avenue traveled with him to every NBA city. As he ushers in a new era with Irving and Gordon Hayward, he’ll do so with ties to the Whaling City.

This year also marks the first season the company will tailor NHL coaches. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy visited the facility recently to be measured. It’s the latest extension into the sports world for Joseph Abboud Manufacturing, which also designs and produces suits for NESN, the official broadcasters of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins.

“From the very beginning of my brand, I’ve always been affiliated with sports and the Olympics because I was able to speak to American men,” Joseph Abboud said. “It didn’t matter the color of your skin, the political preference, your religion, it was always about a great American enterprise like the NBA. Yeah, I’m very proud of it.”

“I always thinks we have a responsibility to make them the best suits we can,” said Abboud, who serves as chief creative director of Tailored Brands Inc., parent company of the firm which bears his name. “When they wear our suits, we want them to feel good. But we also want to be proud.”

Three maps hang in the corporate office of Joseph Abboud in New York City at Madison Avenue and 49th Street. Most of the foot traffic breeze by the outlines of New York City and Milan, Italy. However, the map of New Bedford that hangs alongside draws the most comments.

“We took two world capitals and we also said, for us, New Bedford is just as important,” Abboud said.

That office’s proximity to the NBA store led to its current relationship with the league.

Tony Sapienza, CEO of Joseph Abboud Manufacturing and lifelong Celtics fan, frequented the store quite often, and it was there he bumped into Michael Goldberg, the former executive director for the NBA Coaches Association.

“He had worn the Joseph Abboud brand and he introduced himself,” Sapienza said. “He said we ought to do something together.”

A lunch sparked the deal for the 2009-10 season.

The coaches receive 10 suits a season, 15 if they’re a first-time coach. Joseph Abboud officials travel to Chicago each fall for the NBA coaches summit, meeting with their clients — some familiar faces and always some first-timers — for the fitting sessions. There they meet one of Joseph Abboud’s secret weapons.

‘Best of the best’

Amidst a jungle of hanging suits and the perpetual pounding of industrial sewing machines, Salvatore Mellace reaches into his pocket, fishing out a thimble.

“I was 10-years-old when my father gave me a thimble,” he said with a thick Italian accent. “My father tied this around (my fingers) with a rope for a couple of years — day and night so that this is automatic. So when you sew, the nail will go through this and you don’t poke your skin.”

Now 72-years-old, Mellace possesses more than six decades of tailoring experience and still owns the original thimble his father gave him.

When the NBA coaches flock to Chicago each fall for their coaching summit, Mellace meets each one with tape measure.

The Senior Vice President of Design and Quality needs only about 15 minutes to dictate precise measurements for the perfect fitting suit.

“He is the best of the best. Let me tell you,” Custom Manager Jenny Barroquiero said.

Mellace studied the artform under his father Dominic in Northern Italy. As a young boy in the rebuilding efforts after World War II, Dominic would send his son to the concrete construction sites. Mellace would search for the thick paper bags that once held the concrete and bring them back to his father.

“I used to put the cement bag in this bag, bring it to the factory, clean it, and then we would make the pattern from the cement bag,” Mellace said.

Within the Joseph Abboud Manufacturing facility today, computers efficiently plot the pattern on paper utilizing every inch of the fabric. Machines then precisely cut the fabric. But even with that industrial precision, Mellace keeps his eye on the details.

“I follow through all the garments to make sure that everything is on spec,” he said.

Movable waist-high shelves scatter throughout Joseph Abboud Manufacturing. The small metal racks include a stick with a white piece of paper attached at the top that reads, “NBA Coaches for Salvatore.”

What lies on the racks varies. There could be a portion of a suit, a jacket or pants. Regardless of the point in time of the suit’s life, Mellace examines them.

“I check to make sure that the chest piece is nice and straight, that the pocket is good,” Mellace said. “I check the waist, make sure that … it matches according to my number. Otherwise it’s going to be big or small. It’s no good.”

There are at least six checkpoints a suit has to clear under Mellace’s watch. For efficiency and organizational purposes, an entire order reaches each checkpoint at the same time.

Any issue regardless of its minuscule nature is repaired by hand. It takes about three or four weeks for the process to be fully completed.

“It’s very important that when (Barroquiero) ships the personal suits for them, they’ve got to be perfect,” Mellace said.

“To make a custom suit is an art.”

‘She’s the boss’

After Mellace takes a coach’s measurements, Barroqueiro helps them narrow more than 300 swatches down to 10 suit selections. Additional modifications are possible within each suit, like lapels, buttons, pockets and more.

“When Brad (Stevens) was the new Celtics coach, he was so overwhelmed. He was like, ‘I really don’t need 15 suits. This is a lot,’” Barroquiero said. “You could tell it was too much for him to handle. He was so sweet, though. He was like, ‘I don’t know what else to get.’”

Veteran coaches understand the process. Some waste little time in selecting suits. Others flip through hundreds of swatches, snap pictures on their phones and asked for suggestions from their wives.

Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers fell into the category of coaches who thoroughly enjoyed the process.

“He loves the swatches,” Barroquiero said. “He’ll sit and he loves looking and feeling.”

Other coaches took notice.

Tom Thibodeau, who served as Rivers’ associate head coach in Boston, asked Barroquiero one year to match his order with everything Rivers placed.

″‘He has good taste. I’m just going to do everything he did,’” Barroquiero remembers Thibodeau saying. She said she hoped he and Rivers would text one another to ensure they didn’t wear the same suit to game.

Barroquiero’s role differs depending on the coach.

“They trust Jenny. No question about that,” Mellace said. “They don’t trust me, but they trust her. They trust me for one thing. But when it comes to lining, fabric and style, she’s the boss.”

Barroquiero stacks the swatches categorically in an attempt to make the decision-making process easier.

Coaches flock toward navy. But color only accounts for a portion of the process.

“They’ll pick out a linen. I tell them that’s going to wrinkle,” she said. “You probably don’t want that. If you’re going to Florida and you want to wear it on vacation, that’s fine but not to a game because it’s going to be really wrinkly. So you just guide them.”

‘You don’t believe it’

Tens of thousands of yards of fabric, stacked in spools, rise more than a dozen feet off the ground in the southern end of Joseph Abboud Manufacturing.

They account for most of the swatches presented for the coaches. At times Barroquiero will walk through the tree-trunk sized spools. A specific fabric links her to a coach or NESN client.

“I know Brad Stevens wants just subtle fabrics, so you help him pick those subtle fabrics,” she said. “Whereas you know that Jim Rice, you show him something boring he’s going to say, ‘eh uh, that’s not for me.’”

Some of the spools will only contain 5 to 10 yards of material, but they’re exclusive to Joseph Abboud shows. They’re often referred to as “sample patterns” and right up the alley of the former Hall of Fame left fielder for the Boston Red Sox.

“Jim Rice comes to the factory to pick out his swatches,” Barroquiero said, “because he knows there’s always sample pieces here. He wants something different. He loves to walk through and pick out what he wants.”

At any given time, the unassuming two-story brick building could host Boston sports royalty. Rivers, Rice and newly ordained Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy have all walked through the congestion of sewing machines and hanging fabric.

“You do (have to pinch yourself). You almost do,” Sapienza said “It’s like you don’t believe it. You’re talking to (Hall of Famer Dennis) Eckersley. He’s talking to you about throwing fastballs. Or you’re talking to Jim Rice on how he hits home runs.”

The feelings extend beyond the date when the suits ship out of the New Bedford facility.

There are more than 1,200 NBA games a season. Playoffs can jump the number by more than 100.

Regardless of the contests, Barroquireo’s reaction is the same.

“Every time there’s a game on,” she said. “You’re like ’Ahhh! He’s wearing our suit.”

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT

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Milhench Supply celebrates 85 years in New Bedford

Jon Mitchell leads nation’s mayors into future of clean energy

Mayors from around the nation stood behind Jon Mitchell on Friday as he concluded the two-day summit on smart cities and energy technologies held here.

As the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy Policy Committee, Mitchell lauded New Bedford’s clean energy achievements as well as those accomplishments by the mayors behind him and their respective cities.

Looking to the future through conversations at summit, Mitchell said, “We’ve got to continue to lead, but as we do we need to partner with the federal government. We do need to think about the future. Not just for us, but for our kids and our grandchildren.”

This year’s conference came in a year where President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and has pushed for the production of coal.

Shane Bemis, Republican mayor of Gresham, Oregon, said his city continues to push forward to cleaner energy options.

Bemis said he believes in the science behind climate change, but doesn’t use it in pitching clean energy.

“Instead of on the moral ground, it’s easier to talk about the the return on investment ground,” Bemis said.

Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of U.S. Conference of Mayors, followed those comments with a strong message on the importance of mayors guiding their cities toward a prosperous future regardless of the president’s opinions.

“Presidents, dictators, queens and kings, and tribal leaders get together and fight and talk,” Cochran said. “But the mayors of the world walk. We are doing things to save our planet.”

 Part of that conversation revolved around sustainable energy through natural disasters.

The recovery efforts in Houston, Texas, the Gulf Coast and in Florida sparked the urgency to which solutions must be obtained.

Mitchell brought up the deaths of eight people at a Florida nursing home resulting from a lack of power to supply the air conditioner.

The mayors at the conference envision a future where natural disasters don’t force massive power outages.

“They’ve all reflected the need to keep the lights on,” Mayor Richard Thomas of Mount Vernon, New York, said. “What can we do now to make sure that they stay on even during or after a storm?”

The conversations won’t end Friday when the attendees return home. Next week some of the nation’s mayors will convene in New York City to meet with Paris’ mayor during climate week.

“These aren’t academic exercises,” Mitchell said. “We are where the rubber hits the road. We want people to have opportunity. We know these are areas where we can create jobs and save taxpayer dollars.”

— Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.

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