10th August 2018

Speakers 2018

James E. Rooney

James E. Rooney is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the region’s leading business associations.

Under Rooney’s guidance, the Boston Chamber has become the leading voice of the business community on public policy issues, weighing in on important matters such as our region’s public transportation infrastructure, economic mobility, health care costs, workforce development and policy regarding our state’s competitiveness. In addition, Rooney has focused on broadening the Chamber’s membership, including introducing new programs and initiatives designed to attract and retain next generation leaders, minority-owned and small businesses.

Prior to joining the Chamber in 2015, Rooney was executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority for nearly 15 years, overseeing the development and construction of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) and leading the management teams of four MCCA owned facilities in Massachusetts. Before moving to the MCCA in 2001, Rooney served two years as Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, chairing the Mayor’s cabinet and playing a critical role in all aspects of city governance including education, public safety, public works and transportation. He began his public career at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the nation’s fourth largest transit system, where he spent 18 years, starting as a track laborer and ending as Deputy General Manager. He also served one year as the MBTA’s Acting General Manager during a gubernatorial transition. During the 1990s, Rooney served in senior positions at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the Central Artery Project, Boston’s $15 billion “Big Dig” highway project.

Rooney has served in leadership positions on several boards of directors and currently sits on professional and non-profit boards including the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) North American Advisory Board/Mexico Tourism Board, the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE), The Partnership, Inc., and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC).

Rooney has been recognized many times throughout his career for both professional and civic contributions including, a PCMA Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the global meetings industry and a City of Boston Lifetime Achievement Award for leadership and advocacy for immigrant advancement and diversity. In 2018, Rooney was named one of Boston’s Top 10 Most Influential People by Boston Magazine.

Rooney grew up in South Boston and attended the prestigious Boston Latin School, graduating as president of his class. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and attended the Boston University Graduate School of Management.

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Lord Haughey, OBE

Lord Haughey was born in the Gorbals in Glasgow in 1956. He served an apprenticeship as a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer.

After working abroad for two and a half years in the United Arab Emirates in the early eighties, he returned to Glasgow and set up the company City Refrigeration in 1985 with his wife Susan. The company started its first year with 4 employees with a turnover of £100k.

City is now one of the largest privately owned Facilities Management companies in the world with offices in the UK, France, Australia, Kuala Lumpur and North America and employs just over 12,000 people, with an annual turnover of approximately £1bn.

City is proud to have some of the largest companies in the world on its client base, i.e. Wal*Mart/Asda, Wesfarmers/Coles, Giant, Jardine Matheson, South Eastern Grocers and BP to name but a few.

Outside of City, Lord Haughey has many other business interests.

He was a Director of Celtic Football Club plc for two and a half years from 1994 to 1997 and is now an Ambassador for the Club.

In 2000 – He was voted Entrepreneur of the Year for Scotland
In 2003 – Received the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Entrepreneurship in the West of Scotland.
In 2005 – Honorary Doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University – Doctor of Technology.
In 2012 – Received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
In 2013 – Was elevated to the House of Lords.
In 2018 – Voted Entrepreneur of the Year for Sustained Excellence
In 2018 – Voted Entrepreneur of the Year for Scotland

The Haughey family has set up a charitable trust that has donated over £9m to charity.

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Mark Dowds

Mark Dowds does nothing in half measures.

An accomplished endurance runner and cyclist, a serial investor and startup founder, Mark has earned a name for his ability to motivate others to get “unstuck”—to innovate in old spaces and displace established industries in the name of relevance. He brings that level of commitment to the world of tech whether he is getting a new initiative off the ground or empowering audiences around the world.

In 2012 he co-founded Trov—the world’s first on-demand insurance platform—and today is accountable for all revenue, strategy, and growth as the company expands internationally. In two decades he has helped get dozens of ventures off the ground, through his Canadian-based incubators Fresh Initiatives and Creationstep. During his time in Toronto, he established a co-working facility that helped nurture the city’s emerging web 2.0 community and half a dozen other start-ups, including ServiceCloud that was acquired by Salesforce.com.

Mark was an LP in Bullet Time Ventures, an early seed investor in Uber, Twilio and is a current LP in Anthemis Venture Fund. He is the Chairman of Techstart Ventures, helping entrepreneurs build successful technology businesses from the ground up.

Mark is the Chairman of Generation Innovation – a program designed to bring entrepreneurial experiences to high school students throughout Northern Ireland. He is an advisor to several companies including, Modius Health, StageTEN, and eHarvestHub.

Mark is an electric speaker – tackling topics like disruption, relevance and upending the ways we approach problems primarily in the tech, finance, and insurance sectors. He thrives on pushing people forward to accomplish big things.

If he is not on a plane or a stage, these days Mark is on a bike or spending time creating adventures with his two teenagers and wife of 21 years.

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Michael J. Fitzpatrick

Michael J. Fitzpatrick was elected to the New York State Assembly, on November 5, 2002, representing the 8th Assembly District. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Mr. Fitzpatrick served as a member of the Smithtown Town Council for 15 years, from 1988 through 2002.

The 8th AD, within Suffolk County, is composed of the Town of Smithtown in its entirety and northern portions of the Town of Islip, notably the Islip portion of Hauppauge, and a portion of the village of Islandia.

Assemblyman Fitzpatrick serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Housing Committee and is a member of the Ways and Means, Higher Education, Agriculture and Labor committees. Mr. Fitzpatrick is an active member of the New York State Chapter of the American-Irish Legislators Society and is currently serving as secretary.

Maintaining a presence in the private sector, whose vitality he strives to bolster as a legislator, Mr. Fitzpatrick spent 16 years in the financial services industry.

Active in the community, Assemblyman Fitzpatrick is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and past president of the board of trustees of the Cleary School for the Deaf in Nesconset, New York, where he remains an honorary trustee. He was a member of the Suffolk County Charter Revision Commission and the Human Services Committee of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Assemblyman Fitzpatrick is a 1975 graduate of Hauppauge High School and a 1979 graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont, from where he received his B.A. in Business Administration.

Mr. Fitzpatrick was born in Jamaica, Queens on April 15, 1957 and raised in Hauppauge, Long Island. He is married to the former Lorena Herrera of Chihuahua, Mexico, with whom he has raised two children, Corina and Michael. The couple resides in the hamlet of St. James in Smithtown.
Standing committee assignments for 2017-18: Housing, Ways and Means, Higher Education, Agriculture and Labor. Member of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.

Nicholas Malito


Nick is an associate at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP where his practice focuses on commercial leasing, bankruptcy, litigation, and advising emergent companies. He represents national and regional clients in commercial leasing and retail property development, from the inception of lease negotiation to retail store launch. Nick’s broad civil litigation experience includes prosecuting and defending appeals, business torts, intellectual property disputes, real estate disputes, construction claims, bankruptcy avoidance actions, claims for disability and employment discrimination, and mass tort claims. Nick also advises emergent companies across all stages of development.

Richard J. Ensor, Esq.

A proven leader in intercollegiate sports, event management and law for over three decades, Richard J. Ensor was named the third Commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in August 1988.

Ensor has provided leadership in a period of transition and growth in intercollegiate athletics and the MAAC. During his tenure the MAAC has secured a stable membership base, expanded the number of championships conducted and developed an extensive marketing program cemented with broadcast agreements with ESPN, a web paged hosted by SIDEARM Sports and secured championship venues such as the Times Union Center (Albany, NY), Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Disney Sports Attractions.

During a time of tumultuous realignment and ethical challenges within NCAA Division I conferences the MAAC remains a homogenous association of private institutions of similar size and funding, which are committed to student-athlete excellence both on the playing fields and in the classroom. The MAAC’s graduation rate is yearly in the top 25% of all leagues and in August 2018 the MAAC again received a NCAA Public Recognition Award for its member schools placing in the top 10% in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate for student-athletes.

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Tim Kennedy


Senator Tim Kennedy, born on October 20, 1976, is a lifelong Western New York resident. Tim grew up in a blue-collar family in Buffalo, where his parents, Marty and Mary Kennedy, raised Tim and his four siblings to work hard, focus on their education, help their neighbors, and get involved in their community. Tim and his wife, Katie, live in the City of Buffalo where they are raising their three children, Connor, Eireann, and Padraic.

Since being sworn into office in January 2011, Tim has kept a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable in our community. He spearheaded the passage of Jay-J’s law, legislation that Tim introduced to stiffen penalties on repeat child abusers. The legislation was inspired by Jay J Bolvin, a young boy who was brutally abused by his father. Sadly, Jay J’s father received a light sentence due to antiquated sentencing laws. Tim worked with colleagues in both the Senate and the Assembly to secure passage of Jay J’s Law. Since then, he has pushed through several pieces of legislation to reform Child Protective Services, as well as Jackie’s Law, which protects victims of domestic violence from GPS stalking.

Tim has also fought to protect Western New York’s seniors. He worked with community and government leaders to secure funds to transform the former Holy Family Elementary School in Buffalo into a senior apartment complex. He also fought for a significant increase in eligibility for EPIC, a state program to help pay for prescription drugs. With Tim’s support, the income eligibility for single seniors has increased from $35,000 to $75,000, and has increased for couples from $50,000 to $100,000. This has opened up eligibility to thousands more seniors in Western New York.

Above all, Tim knows the importance of growing and protecting Western New York’s workforce. He fought to secure passage of SUNY 2020, legislation which is allowing the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College to thrive. He also has worked to secure funding to support workforce training programs to the long-term unemployed, opening them up to rewarding good-paying careers. Tim voted to fund the Buffalo Billion, which is creating thousands of jobs in Western New York, giving the local economy the boost needed to break away from decades of decline. He also regularly works one-on-one with local companies to link them with state resources that allow them to grow their workforce.

Tim went to St. Martin’s Elementary School before attending St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He then received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy at D’Youville College. As he studied at D’Youville, Tim began to truly understand the challenges facing Western New York. Recognizing that any challenge is an opportunity for a community to grow stronger, Tim was inspired to get involved in government to help move the community forward. As a licensed occupational therapist, Tim has spent his entire career working to help people. For 11 years, Tim worked with geriatric and pediatric populations to help them recover from injuries and fully participate in all life situations.