Nine individuals who are bullish and optimistic amid the state's current tough times
Photo by Richard McCaffrey
Where he's from: Pittsburgh via West Virginia, Chicago, and Ohio
Moved to RI: 2002
Level of hope and optimism for the state's future, on a scale of 1 to 10: 8, tempered by how the state hasn't adequately dealt with some of its challenges.
Reasons to be cheerful: RI's strategic advantages in small size and location in the NY-Boston corridor; technology advantages citizens in moving past traditional institutions to make change.
The possibility of being able to make an impact was one of the things that most attracted Allan Tear (pronounced "Teer") when his wife and he moved to Rhode Island from Atlanta seven years ago. So it's not surprising that Tear and two fellow geeks, Jack Templin and Owen Johnson, hope to cultivate a new wave of local entrepreneurs through Beta Spring (betaspring.com), an annual 12-week boot camp set to debut in Providence this summer.
The private effort aims to attract roughly 40 to 50 recruits (60 percent of them from outside Rhode Island) for a team-based competition involving seed money, entrepreneurial mentoring, and the opportunity to connect with investors at the end of the process. Such initiatives are vital, Tear believes, since attracting and developing more talent could help Rhode Island to thrive.
The East Sider, who runs Aptus Collaborative, a technology and strategy group, sees raising the quality of public K-12 education as the single most important thing for the state's future. He believes the state needs to be more nimble in courting opportunity and to do better in capitalizing on its immigrant communities.
Despite some frustration about the lack of more progress, Tear and his wife haven't had any second thoughts about moving here. After an elaborate search — complete with a spreadsheet, 35 criteria, visits to eight semi-finalist and four finalist cities, the couple chose Providence, in part because of the proximity of family, but also because of its culture, strong sense of place, and the potential here to make a difference. Despite the challenges, says Tear, "I wake up every day glad to be here."